How to Avoid Influencer Fraud

Fraud. Everyone knows about it, but few people are proactive about it. Probably because we never think it will happen to us… until it does. Nowadays, brands are beginning to worry about influencer fraud. If you’re not familiar with influencer marketing, it’s an emerging form of marketing that involves endorsements and representation of your brand from people who have an established presence on social media. It’s a proven way to grow your business and boost brand awareness, but you should always be wary of influencer fraud. Looking to avoid it? We’ll help you steer clear of it!

First things first: What is influencer fraud?

Influencer fraud happens when “fake influencers” work with brands to promote them and boost brand awareness. These influencers have fake or bought followers, so it’s not beneficial for a company to work with them. The thing is, it can be hard to tell this when companies see thousands of followers on the account.

How to spot it

One telltale sign is when you see an influencer who has a lot of followers but not much engagement. Their profile may say 1.2 M followers, but if they’re only getting 100 likes per post or very little comments, it might raise a flag.

Another quick way to tell is by looking at the interactions the influencer has with their followers. If you see comments that seem weird or fake, that might be a sign that it’s a fraudulent influencer. Or if you see the same follower posting similar things on every post, you might also have a fraudulent influencer on your hands.

Avoiding fraud

Now that you know what influencer fraud is and how you can tell that someone may be fraudulent, it’s important to understand how to avoid it. Here are a few ways.

1. Screen your influencers

It may sound crazy, but vetting influencers with a preliminary screening or interview can be a good idea. Get to know their story. Ask why they’re influencers. Find out why they want to work with your brand. You can tell a lot about a person in a 30-minute get-to-know-you chat, so have at it!

2. Look at their followers

This one’s an easy one! Get a feel for the influencer by looking at their followers, including follower count, key traits, similarities and engagement. Then, to get a closer look, look at their followers’ followers. If you see a bunch of folks following an influencer that has absolutely no followers of their own, it could be a sign that it’s a fake account.

3. Set the bar

After a preliminary conversation, talk about the numbers. Get real about your budget and see what the influencer is thinking. If they seem unrealistically high or low, ask more questions. Another thing to talk about is your goals. Ask influencers what goals they have for your business or have them brainstorm a few first ideas for posts and campaigns. If they’re not eager to grow your business, they’re not worth it!

4. Use your best judgment

Sometimes what it comes down to is your gut feeling. If you’re in the marketing world, you probably already have a good gut reaction to things. And you can probably make pretty good calls about people — in this case, whether they’re fraudulent or not. If it doesn’t feel right, keep looking. There are lots of influencers out there who would love to make your business look great!