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Instagram The rise of fake influencers in the social media marketing space

In the world of influencer marketing, the audience eventually get to see through the authenticity or otherwise of those they follow.

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The rise of fake Influencers on social media is at its prime play

The rise of fake Influencers on social media is at its prime

(Marketing Upwards)

Celebrities on social media are cashing out with their fame and influence, partnering with brands to push and promote their products and services.

In the world of influencer marketing, the number of followers, subscribers and likes someone has are key metrics in determining potential partnerships with brands and how much money influencers rake in.

play Wandergggirl, a fake influencer account was created by influencer marketing agency Mediakix to test if it would woo advertisers - it succeeded. (Social Media Today)


While some have managed to be honest about their reach and influence and getting paid by brands and businesses for their attractive, admirable personas, others claiming to be what they are not go the dark way of portraying themselves as social magnets with the supposed number of followers and likes they are seen to have on platforms like Instagram.

play This fake influencer account was created by the same Mediakix agency to test if it would attract offers from marketers - it did. (SocialMediaToday)

These frauds actually go ahead to buy followers using a bot software that links fake accounts with the user’s page. As low as $25 for 1500 followers, $119 for 10,000 followers. 

Potential signs that suggest Bot traffic

There are ways to figure out accounts that may be running bot traffic or vanity metrics, this include:

  • Irregular comment behaviour

  • Significantly low engagement rates compared to the number of supposed followers

  • Irregular spikes and dips in follower growth patterns

Then there is the Instagram Pod concept used by a group of influencers, usually the not so ridiculously popular figures, where they form a group and begin to compliment each other’s posts in good faith that followers would engage, visibility of their pages would improve and be favored by Instagram’s algorithm.

The downside with marketers using these influencers in a pod is that their engagement numbers are artificially improved. That means their following could be misleading as other pod members are engaging to boost their own visibility — not because they like the branded message.

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This could create false competition and impact the nature of the audience the brand aims to target, as well as the amount of money an influencer's partnership costs, as fees are often based on audience size.

These trends are warnings for marketers relying on influencer campaigns, because with influencer marketing on these social networks there is usually more than meets the eye, and a saying goes ‘’that  likes and shares should not be the focus but rather thinking about the influencers as humans instead of numbers.”

At the end of the day, it’s about the relationships and human connection. Users are more likely to pay attention to a persona that embodies authenticity and genuineness, and that’s what would make true influencer marketing win.

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