Real & Fake Influencers and How to Distinguish Them

In the world of influencer marketing, all influencers aren’t equal. Brands can waste time and resources negotiating and posting content through influencers who buy fake followers who have no impact on reach, engagement or revenue. This is why differentiating between real and fake followers is crucial for any business that wants to develop a genuine social following that serves purposes. In this blog, we will talk about 4 ways you can instantly tell if a fake influencer buys fake followers.

We all want to grow our Instagram organically with real, engaging followers

How to spot fake and real influencers

Fake influencers buy followers in order to make themselves look more “influential” so they can collaborate with businesses. This usually means that influencers receive free products and sometimes a fee for posting about a brand.

Working with influencers who have a large following is a great social media marketing strategy but without proper “screening”, influencers who buy large numbers of fake followers lead to little to no engagement on their posts, producing no return on investment for the brands who collaborate with them.

Luckily, popular social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and TikTok invest a tremendous amount of effort in cracking down on bots and fake accounts, but there are still many fake influencers who buy followers, likes and even comments, making it tricky for brands to differentiate the fake influencers from the authentic influencers.

Below, we will show you the 4 tips that can help you spot fake influencers instantly. Let’s check them out…

5 Social Media Marketing Tips for Restaurants - Vivid Candi Creative Marketing Agency
Want to create a solid social media marketing strategy for your restaurants? Read this blog.

How to Spot Fake Influencers

Tip 1. Their comments look like spam.

Fake followers don’t engage with any posts because, well, they are fake! Influencers who buy fake followers often end up having to buy fake comments. If the comments on an influencer’s posts look like generic spam, there is a high possibility that the influencer buys fake followers. Catching fake followers through comments is easier when there are multiple generic comments not specific to the particular post. If you see an influencer page with a lot of comments such as “Great pictures!”, “Nice”, “Good photo!”, run away fast!

Tip 2. They have a large following but few likes on individual posts.

If an influencer buys fake followers, they may have large followings but receive very few likes on individual posts. If an influencer gets no regular engagement, that’s a good sign that their followers are fake.

Tip 3. They don’t follow or engage with any accounts

Influencers who don’t follow back pr engage with any accounts can be a bad sign unless they are national or global celebrities. Even celebrities like Kylie Jenner who has 330 million Instagram followers reply to their fans on Instagram. If your business works with influencers, authenticity is key! You want to make sure that they genuinely like your products or services and can’t wait to introduce your business to their followers.

Tip 4. Their posts receive inconsistent likes

If one post gets a high number of likes, but the next couple don’t, that’s a good sign you might be working with a fake influencer who buys likes on posts. It’s perfectly normal for some posts to receive more likes than others but it’s a red flag if the difference is too big. If your business works with an influencer with inconsistent post likes, your post will most likely not receive any engagement.

So how do we screen influencers?

Websites like HypeAuditor and FakeCheck are great tools to check for an influencer’s engagement rate. A high engagement rate usually means that the followers are real people who are genuinely interested in the influencer’s posts. These tools are also helpful for marketing agencies to verify an influencer’s engagement insight before deciding to move forward on a collaboration.  


It’s important to spot fake influencers if your business wants to develop an influencer marketing strategy.

Being authentic and frequently posting high-quality content is the best way for businesses to build an organic following. Working with influencers with real followers help brands create authentic, engaging content and help them receive the most success in the long term.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Vivid Candi is an expert in growing an organic following on social media. Many of our clients have grown their Instagram followers and received an immense amount of engagement. 

Book a free consultation today, or call us at (310) 456-1784.