InstaFamous or InstaFaker?

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’?


Outfit Details:

Two Piece | Honeyz

Shoes | eBay

Sunglasses | Primark




  • Reply Natalie August 9, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Great post! I recently realised that an account I had been following for some time had done something fishy. They had over 200k followers but just 30-50 likes on photos and no comments! It was really quite disappointing! I unfollowed…

    • Reply Alice August 9, 2017 at 8:23 am

      It’s really sad isn’t it, I think some bloggers feel pressure to do this! x

  • Reply Katie Jane August 9, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Great post. I think it’s so easy to spot a fake Instagram account. Also I think engagement is so much more important than how many followers someone has. Katie x

    • Reply Alice August 9, 2017 at 9:39 am

      100%, engagement is where results happen. I just wish all brands realised that, rather than how many followers people have. Most brands I work with appreciate engagement though which is great! x

  • Reply Kate | Afternoon Tees August 9, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Very interesting post – it’s a shame that it’s all about numbers to some accounts and they have to resort to bots and spammy comments. Yes, it may work in the short term, but at the risk to their reputation. Engagement is definitely a better metric.

    • Reply Alice August 9, 2017 at 9:41 am

      Thank you! 🙂 I couldn’t agree more with that! Short term and quick wins don’t work in this industry. I’d much rather gain my following organically! x

  • Reply Chloe August 9, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Great post Alice! People with fake followers really irritate the hell out of me! It is SO hard building a following (especially on Instagram!) and its so awful that so many are cutting corners. I have just under 2.5 k on Instagram, it’s a tiny amount but I love the engagement, I’ve made some lovely friends!

    Someone recently told me about a local blogger who’d bought her following on Instagram. I was gutted as I genuinely loved her photos. The evidence was there though and I refuse to follow fakers so I unfollowed her!

    Really hope that one day they all get found out!

    • Reply Alice August 9, 2017 at 6:48 pm

      Thank you so much Chloe! Me too, it’s really struck a nerve with me. Actually, I’ve heard about a local blogger too and I’m so disappointed too! You can just tell, can’t you! I’m really hoping they get found out soon. Me too, I have around 1.3k and I’m just enjoying the likes and surprising myself every time I upload and of course having fun with the content creation! We can’t give up, we’ll get there one day x

  • Reply Leigh at Fashion Du Jour LDN August 10, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Yes! Yes yes yes!!! To all of this. I love that you can look at this from both sides – as PR and blogger. It is so disheartening when people whose content isn’t as good (writing and photo wise) suddenly have thousands of followers and likes from bots, but brands just see numbers and shower with opportunities. Growing an organic and engaged real following in this day and age is so difficult…but you are right, wrong is wrong and good always comes out better. Here’s to the faker revealing coming out sooner rather than later.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Leigh at Fashion Du Jour LDN x

    • Reply Alice August 10, 2017 at 11:14 am

      Ah thank you so much Leigh! I feel your pain, but we can not let it dampen our spirits. We work hard, we appreciate opportunities that come our away so we just need to keep that faith and carry on doing what we’re doing! x

  • Reply Meg August 11, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    The Instagram changes are so frustrating, I’m only a small time blogger with around 1200 followers and I was starting to gain a decent following with lots of engagement, and now the gains are so small that they can’t outpace the losses of stupid bot followers so my count has totally stagnated! Frustrating to miss a lot of IGers posts that I do enjoy seeing too, going on to their profile and seeing that they’ve posted 3 times but it’s not come up once on your feed! Great post.

    Meg x

    • Reply Alice August 11, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      Me too, I’m in the same boat. I invest a lot of time into my blog and Instagram so it’s incredibly frustrating your right! I believe Instagram will have a revolution at some point and our hard work will pay off. We mustn’t give up! x

  • Reply Sharon Sinclair-Williams August 11, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    I’ve learned to spot the fakers and sadly they too are some people I know. I currently have almost 700 on Instagram since February when I launched my blog and I really love talking to people and getting to know them. Then again I like doing this in real life so I guess that’s the true meaning of being ‘social’. There is the phrase ‘fake it til you make it’ tho!! xo

    • Reply Alice August 14, 2017 at 8:31 am

      I’ve seen a lot of peoples true colours via this, and it’s massively shocked me! Well done, that’s fantastic! Keep at it! x

  • Reply Fay August 12, 2017 at 3:04 am

    Firstly please take this comment – Your outfit looks BANGING hun! You look absolutely incredible x
    As for InstaFakers – it is really annoying when you actually enjoy posting on Instagram and the algorithm has put everything tits up. With regards to those that fake their followings I really do wish there was an app that would come out to find the fakers! (This comment may not be 100% making sense as on night shift!).

    Great post hun x

    • Reply Alice August 14, 2017 at 8:30 am

      Haha thanks hun! That’s lovely 🙂
      I know, it’s so frustrating! I reckon they’ll be a an app soon and they’ll be revealed x

  • Reply Hannah gladwin August 12, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Really insightful post! I can see why it’s tempting to buy followers; you think if you already have a few thousand then more people will be inclined to follow you. But those people really don’t think it through and don’t realise the impact it has.

    • Reply Alice August 14, 2017 at 8:29 am

      I agree, it can be tempting! But you’re right, quick wins don’t follow through!

  • Reply Ella August 21, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Great post. It’s refreshing to read as sometimes I feel like it’s just me who gets frustrated by this. I’m both a blogger and work in marketing so I can definitely see it from both points of view. It’s especially annoying because, like you say, these individuals are ruining it for everyone else as it is only a matter of time until brands get ‘stung’ by working with these ‘influencers’ and this has the potential to put them off working with bloggers altogether which would just be a shame. Genuine bloggers will then lose out as a result and the brands are missing out on opportunities too.

    I do believe that brands are becoming wiser and focus more on engagement rather than numbers but sadly ‘influencers’ can also ‘buy’ comments these days which makes it even more tricky to filter out real engagement from fake engagement.

    Then as a blogger, it bugs me because I slave away at my Instagram, very slowly growing my modest 350 following whilst others are buying their followers!

    • Reply Alice August 21, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Ah thank you so much! I’m so pleased you agree! Yeah, I think brands are too, engagement vs followers all the way! I’ve followed you, lovely feed x

  • Reply Samantha Abbott August 22, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    I just had to read this after seeing your tweet. I totally agree. I’ve only been blogging since last November and it’s taken me those nine months to gain 1,270 ish followers. I haven’t done any give aways just been growing organically. That said, I find the more I engage with others the more engagement I get despite the algorithm. I know it affects which posts are seen the most but recently my engagement fluctuated according to how many comments/likes I was leaving on others posts.
    Fakers are quite easy to spot but some not so much. Some with 4 posts and 50k following just look silly. It’s a difficult one as to whether to leave a big imbalance between your follow-following ratio for fear of looking like a faker.
    As I said I don’t have a huge following in nine months but I’ve worked with some fab brands already including L’Oreal who have gifted some Redken products plus a L’Oreal Steampod arriving tomorrow. So yes it’s all about engagement as opposed to the numbers for some brands but sadly not all.
    Fab post. Fakers should be named and shamed so we see them for what they are ‘uninspiring’ x

    • Reply Alice August 23, 2017 at 8:09 am

      Thanks for reading! I’m so glad you agree, it’s very disheartening, isn’t it? Especially since we work damn hard to get where we are and grow our following organically. Never mind, I’m sure there will be revolution soon and instagram will start spamming these fakers! Keep up the great work, you’re doing amazing x

  • Reply Gemma jamieson August 25, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Fab post!!!! As a relatively new blogger I’ve fell into many traps but results come from hard work and I’m happy sleeping at night knowing that my work is genuine!

  • Reply Hannah Louisa Nicklin August 29, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Really interesting post, there’s so much pressure on us bloggers to have epic stats that it can be totally disheartening when you don’t have 10k followers but I understand why brands need such a large audience to make it worth while just wish it was based more on quality sometimes 🙁

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