2 min read

How to Tell if an Instagram Influencer Bought Followers

How to Tell if an Instagram Influencer Bought Followers

In 2022, 49% of influencers bought followers. Yes, for real.

While a substantial follower count may attract brands for influencer marketing collaborations, it's vital to recognize that quantity doesn't always translate to success or credibility, especially when those numbers are artificially inflated. 

But how can you spot the fakes? Read on to find out.

Can You Buy Instagram Followers?

Yes, you can indeed buy Instagram followers, but it doesn't mean you should.

Why not? Purchasing Instagram followers essentially means paying for a number, resulting in a majority of your "followers" being bots or inactive accounts that may either spam your posts or never engage with them.

Why Buying Instagram Followers Is a Bad Idea

Spoiler alert: Instagram followers do not equate to Instagram success.

For both budding and established influencers, buying Instagram followers can have detrimental consequences, including:

  1. Compromising their integrity
  2. Hindering their growth
  3. Resulting in mismatched engagement and spam-like, bot-driven followers
  4. Risking the suspension of their accounts due to Instagram's community guidelines violation

On the flip side, brands that collaborate with such accounts face partnerships that yield no returns and wasted resources.

4 Signs An Influencer Might've Bought Instagram Followers

Think you've encountered an influencer who has purchased Instagram followers? Here are four indicators to help identify the fakes:

Low Engagement Rate

Engagement is paramount when evaluating potential influencer marketing partners.

While a low engagement rate doesn't necessarily confirm that an influencer has bought followers (engagement has evolved since the early 2010s), it warrants further investigation.

Examine the influencer's likes, comments, and shares. How does their engagement compare to accounts of similar size?

According to recent data, engagement rates range from 0.95% for accounts with over 100K followers to 4.21% for those with fewer than 5K followers.

Use this as a rough benchmark; if their engagement significantly lags, proceed to tip #2.

Solely Spam-like Comments

One of the simplest ways to determine if an influencer has purchased Instagram followers is by scrutinizing the comments section.

If the comments are inundated with generic, irrelevant, or spammy responses, such as emoji strings, it raises a substantial red flag.

However, if you remain uncertain, we recommend investigating the profiles of these commenters (as explained below).

CREATOR TIP: Eliminate bots and fake followers by auditing your following list and blocking accounts that post spam in your comments.

Inactive or Empty Follower Profiles

If you inspect the profiles of an influencer's followers and discover that a majority are "ghost" profiles with no posts, very few followers, and little to no activity, it's a clear indicator of fake followers.

If there isn't much happening on these profiles, you've cracked the code.

Inconsistent Follower Demographics & Niches

Some fake Instagram followers can appear deceptively genuine, so it's prudent to dig deeper if you have suspicions. Our suggestion? Peruse the bios and content (if any) of these profiles.

If a substantial portion of them indicates unrelated locations or conflicting demographics (or niches), the possibility of purchased followers becomes more plausible.

IG Influencer Buy Followers... But You Shouldn't

Genuine engagement and active follower profiles are indispensable for a successful influencer marketing partnership. So, the next time you're dazzled by an influencer's follower count, remember the age-old adage: not all that glitters is gold. 

Influencer Marketing for Social Media

2 min read

Influencer Marketing for Social Media

Influencer marketing has become an integral part of social media strategies, offering brands a powerful way to reach their target audience...

Read More
Influencer Contracts: Stay Legal, Stay Cool

Influencer Contracts: Stay Legal, Stay Cool

Influencer marketing has emerged as a powerful strategy for brands to connect with their target audience authentically.

Read More
Why Influencer Marketing Needs to Be On Your Radar in 2024

Why Influencer Marketing Needs to Be On Your Radar in 2024

If you're still sleeping on influencer marketing, it's time to wake up. This isn't some flash-in-the-pan trend with a market set to hit $21.1B. It's...

Read More