Here’s a question for you, could you spot an InstaFaker?
Working within the digital industry myself, as a digital marketing executive and a part time blogger, I really do get a deeper understanding into how both sides of the equation work. To put it simply, Brands + Social Influencers = Brand Awareness + potential increase in revenue + increased social following = reputable brand.
Before I became a blogger, I never really realized just how much work and thought goes into the creation of posts, especially sponsored posts. Bloggers are under a huge amount of pressure to deliver to brands and meet their expectations, I never really got that until I was in a position where I had to work closely with a brand and provide the material they wanted exactly how they wanted. It’s frustrating and most of all some brands are extremely demanding. However, on the other hand, I understand why, with my experience in public relations and working closely with marketing teams, they need to see results and the cycle continues at their ends, they are only human (but some do need to learn manners). It’s really important for marketers and bloggers to get the most out of their relationship and work in harmony with each other.
Marketers are turning to bloggers and influencers as a new technique to engage with their audiences since old marketing practices are becoming out dated and Google isn’t playing ball anymore. One of the fastest growing methods to do this in the past few years has been through influencer marketing. It’s become a key element of most digital marketers strategies, so well done to the likes of Zoella, Tanya Burr and Sophie Hannah Richardson who’ve brought our blogging community to life. National newspapers like the Independent have even branded them as ‘redefining’ celebrities, in this article, reporter Heather Saul states ‘Generations Y and Z now look to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter in search of their idols’. Very interesting!
Unfortunately, there’s always someone who spoils it for everyone else isn’t there? As influencer marketing has grown in popularity, this industry has seen a rise in fraud within campaigns. Bought traffic, fake engagements, fake followers and a lack of accountability are just some of the issues brands are now facing. With the bright lights, celeb glam and earning potential, we’ve now identified a growing number of social media users and bloggers turning to illegal practices to gain a bigger following, increase engagement and drive impressions. Rather than growing a digital following naturally, you can now buy one. There is a ridiculous amount of sites that offer a thousand new followers or likes for as little as £5. I must get about 10 emails a day asking if I want to go viral with 1 million followers…if only hun.
With an influx of bots and fake accounts that can help you to gain friends and influence people, the challenge of differentiating between the influencers that have the potential to massively drive brand awareness and ROI, and those that merely look like they can, is becoming an increasingly scary problem for brands and agencies. As a result of the fakers, brands are having very negative experiences with influencers, they just can’t correlate the results versus the investment meaning they just don’t want to work with us in the end and it gives us a bad name! Now, do you understand why brands want to know the far end of a fart about our stats? They see us as an investment.
As a digital marketer myself, I’ve stopped looking at size and started looking at engagement, then I compare. I’m not just saying this because of my own feeds and followers because I don’t have a huge following but the following I do have really interact with my content and it just works. If someone has 100k followers on Instagram, yet only gets 50-100 likes, it looks a bit fishy or even twitter, if someone has 150k followers on there yet rarely get a RT or a like, you just know. But do be warned, the latest Instagram algorithm has well and truly thrown a spanner in the works for us meaning bloggers who usually get seen by 20k followers are only being seen by a small percentage of their followers. Someone whose blog I love and regularly engage with on Instagram is Alice from Annie Writes Beauty. She’s grown a fantastic following and has an absolute #goals insta feed, yet struggles with how Instagram now works. Speaking with Alice about Instagram and it’s recent changes, she said “I’ve organically grown my followers over the last couple of years, tracking stats each month in a notebook and it was as the algorithm really took effect in March that I noticed the biggest difference. I used to gain between 800-1000 followers a month, in July I gained 73. My likes have gone from over 500, to barely hitting 200. I know it’s just an app but it is disheartening as I feel like Instagram are destroying what was once a fun, creative app.“
The struggle is real, but I think marketers now are so much more aware of the fakers because I could certainly identify that Alice has a natural following and I do think she puts her self down a little because she does a get great rate of engagement, you go girl.
I think we’re all forgetting too about the fact you can sift through social media profiles using apps, and specifically designed websites that have arisen since the rise of bots meaning we can look for patterns and spikes of automation such as liking, commenting and of course followers! I’ve discovered so many fakers through this and some even had me fooled.
In conclusion, good will always over evil. And right is always right, wrong is always wrong. I’d never advise anyone to fake their following, have some faith in yourself, you never know… you might go viral ha! I predict there’ll be a revolution soon and app will be created to unmask the fakers. So be warned!
What do you think about ‘InstaFakers’?
Two Piece | Honeyz
Shoes | eBay
Sunglasses | Primark