Fake Instagram Followers: no one wants it, but everybody has them

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“Do I have fake Instagram followers on my account?”

In June 2018 Instagram said they hit the 1 billion active monthly users. This puts the Instagram platform in the top few social media platforms. It makes it exceedingly attractive to marketers wanting to use (for example) influencer marketing to generate conversion and social engagement.

The forecasts of 2019 is that we reach up to 2.38 billion dollars spend on Influencer marketing on Instagram (up from 1.6 billion in 2018). It can be tricky to know who to trust when you’re choosing an Instagram Influencer for your next marketing campaign. You don’t want to use an influencer who has fake Instagram followers, or a fully fake engagement audience. This would be a detriment to your marketing budget, but it could put your brand’s integrity at risk!

Why influencers tend to buy fake Instagram followers

Most people think that they can fake it till they make it. I’m no enthusiast of this method, but if you use it make sure you make it. There are millions of fake instagram followers “active” on the platform. Most likely there will be also a percentage of fake Instagram followers following you.

So you are saying everyone has fake Instagram followers?

Let’s start by analysing what a fake Instagram follower actually is.

,,A Fake Instagram Follower is an inactive social media follower.  One who doesn’t like, comment, or interact with posts by an account that they follow”

And yes, every account has ‘fake Instagram followers’, even you! To put things into perspective, you have to keep in mind that almost all fake followers are fake. I rather would like to call them ‘suspicious followers’. The followers can come from:

  • an Instagram bot network (and you didn’t even bought them)
  • account owners who lost their password and made a new one
  • accounts who have been hacked and are no longer in use
  • a growing group of people who are sick of social media and become inactive (ghost accounts)
  • accounts who have shared their login credentials with third parties. They use their account to like and/or follow other accounts without them knowing (they became part of an Instagram-bot network)

I always advice to never ever share your login credentials to a third party you do not trust. You can look up the app via this website  Facebook’s Verified Partner program to see if it’s trustworthy.

On average every account has around 1-5% fake following

This sounds like a lot, but it shouldn’t be a problem. Every Instagram account has this on average. If you are facing a higher percentage of fake Instagram followers on your account you should consider a clean up.

Why should I purify up my fake Instagram followers? Can’t Instagram do this for me?

In fact, Instagram (on a regular basis) purges fake Instagram followers. While for some this is the worst nightmare (as many try to fake it till you make it). For me personally I embrace these purges.

Fake Instagram followers purge

I will try not to get into details, but Instagram’s algorithm has one goal:

  • keep the Instagrammer for as long as possible on their platform.

Whenever you post, Instagram will not only look at the quantity of the likes, but also the quality. If, for example, you have 10,000 fake followers and 500 genuine followers you will have a problem.

The feed posts are based on what you like, and what the majority of the following of the poster likes. Your 10,000 fake Instagram followers won’t engage on your post. The Instagram network will soon categorise the content as “not useful enough” for the platform, and if your 500 genuine followers haven’t been online soon after you’ve posted, the post will get lost in nirvana.

Not only will your post lose impressions from your genuine followers. Your chance of going viral via the explore page (the place where the magic happens) is going down to zero. The only way you can make sure that the people who should see the content, is via paid Facebook ads.

If you are a brand, and you want to use influencers (even when they are verified) for your marketing strategy you should always keep in mind that the 1st step you should make to check what the percentage of fake instagram followers is of the account.

What you should do with fake Instagram followers

Building a real audience on Instagram isn’t rocket science. I always love to use my 3C strategy (content, community and continuity). In terms of fake following you should follow these steps:

  • always try and provide added value to your audience. They are not waiting for another selfie with the same #like4like and #follow4follow hashtags :). That audience doesn’t follow you for what you stand for (but just want to build a quick audience).Some have difficulties to produce valuable content, but out of experience every company, every brand and every individual has so much to tell and share. It maybe looks ordinary for you (because you’ve got so used to it) but for the outside world it’s mind-blowing. If you need help finding your C-factor, you can always reach out!
  • Direct your audience to channels you can control. For example a blog or mailing list. If you are crushing it on Instagram, but next week they decide to change the whole interface and users hate it (remember Snapchat…) they will no longer use it. It’s also easier to analyse your mailinglists, make improved segments and sending the right content to the right people.
  • Clean up your following yourself, period! If you want to get rid of your fake Instagram followers you can simply clean up your following every now and then. Block the accounts which look inactive or suspicious to you. Maybe your growth will slow down (or even decrease) but the quality of the following will go up. An extra benefit for you by cleaning up your fake instagram followers is that it will give a better favour for the Instagram algorithm and a higher percentage of the organic followers will see your content (via the explore page, hashtags or your feed).

Still don’t know what to do, or need a second pair of eyes to look at your account? Reach out for a free 15 minute consult!

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