In the ever-evolving world of social media, authenticity is paramount. So, how do you tell if an influencer has fake followers?

In this article, we’ll unravel the mystery behind inflated follower counts and reveal the telltale signs that can help you separate the genuine influencers from the impostors. 

Get ready to navigate the influencer landscape with confidence as we uncover the secrets to spotting those elusive fake followers.

What are Fake followers?

Fake followers are like pretend friends on social media. Some are made by companies to boost an influencer’s numbers, and others are just computer programs pretending to like and comment on posts – but they’re not real people!

These fake friends mess up the influencer’s stats, making it seem like they have more followers and likes than they do. That’s not good for brands because they might end up working with influencers who don’t help their business.

To avoid this, brands should team up with influencers who have real followers that match their customers. Fake friends and computer bots won’t buy stuff from your brand, so it’s better to keep it real for better results!

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How to Tell if an Influencer Has Fake Followers?

Choosing real influencers who connect with their followers is super important in influencer marketing. If an influencer gets attention from fake followers, it doesn’t mean anything. 

Those likes and comments are just empty, with no real people interested in your stuff. That’s why spending money on influencers with lots of fake followers is just a waste for brands.

When you’re looking for influencers to team up with, watch out for these signs that they might have fake followers:

1. Very Low or Very High Engagement Rate

When considering influencers with a substantial following, their wide reach might catch your eye. Yet, in the realm of mega or macro-influencers, it’s crucial to scrutinize their engagement rates for potential red flags.


Low Engagement Rates

    • Indicators: A very low engagement rate may hint at the presence of fake followers.
    • Calculation: Use the formula (number of engagements/number of followers) x 100.
    • Threshold: A rate below 1% suggests potential fake followers.
    • Explanation: This occurs when an influencer has numerous followers but lacks genuine engagement, resulting in minimal likes or comments from real people.

High Engagement Rates

    • Indicators: An extremely high engagement rate may suggest the use of automated bots.
    • Caution: Consistent likes or engagements on every post could be a sign of Instagram bots.
    • Explanation: Influencers may purchase likes and comments to artificially boost engagement, compromising the authenticity of their interactions.

Instagram’s Efforts

    • Mitigation: Instagram attempts to block suspicious behaviors, such as a surge in likes or followers in a short period.
    • Reality: Despite these efforts, some influencers still manage to circumvent these restrictions.

Dilution Effect

    • Challenge: Having a massive following can dilute an influencer’s overall engagement rate.
    • Expectation: Ideally, you’d want at least 1% or more of an influencer’s audience actively engaging with their content.
    • Warning Sign: Unusually high engagement rates could indicate the purchase of fake followers and bots to inflate engagement numbers.

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2. Spammy & Irrelevant Comments

If you want to check if an influencer has real followers, just go to the comments section! Real comments usually talk about the content or respond to others. 

But, if you see comments with just emojis, short phrases like “Hot!!!” or irrelevant stuff (like saying “Beautiful girl!” on a food photo), those could be fake followers or bots.

Keep an eye out for these suspicious comment patterns:

    • Emojis Without Context: Comments are solely comprised of emojis without any meaningful context.
    • Short, Common, and Repetitive Phrases: Comments featuring brief and repetitive phrases like “Hot!!!,” “Beautiful,” or “Great shot!!”
    • Irrelevant or Out-of-Context Comments: Comments that seem unrelated or inappropriate for the content, such as complimenting a person on a food photo.

As a final checkpoint, scrutinize the accounts leaving these comments. Typically, they exhibit the following characteristics:

    • Very few or no followers.
    • Generic or random Instagram handles.
    • Lack of bios.
    • Often private accounts.

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3. Number of Followers to Following Ratio

Another clear sign you can spot right away is the follower-to-following ratio. This ratio is about the number of accounts someone is following compared to the number of accounts following them. 

A genuine influencer typically has more followers than the number of accounts they follow.

Be cautious if you see an influencer with an equal number of followers and following. This might happen when people do “follow for follow” (f4f) or “shoutout for shoutout” (s4s) to boost their follower count. 

Although this increases their followers, the community they build is often unrelated to the content of their account.

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How Do Fake Followers Hurt the Brands


1. Misleading Metrics

Brands may be deceived by inflated follower counts, thinking they are reaching a larger audience than they are. This can lead to misguided decisions and investments based on inaccurate engagement metrics.

2. Engagement Dilution

Influencers with a high number of fake followers often experience lower engagement rates. Brands may end up paying for partnerships that do not effectively connect with a genuine and interested audience, diminishing the impact of their marketing efforts.

3. Wasted Resources

Resources allocated for influencer partnerships with fake followers can be wasted. Instead of reaching a real audience interested in the brand, the investment may go towards reaching bots or inactive accounts that contribute little to brand awareness or sales.

4. Damage to Credibility

Brands associating with influencers using fake followers risk damage to their credibility. If followers discover inauthentic practices, it can lead to a loss of trust, negatively impacting the brand’s reputation.

5. Missed Opportunities

Brands might miss out on authentic influencer partnerships that could genuinely boost brand awareness and engagement. Identifying influencers with real, engaged followers becomes challenging amidst those with inflated numbers.

6. Budget Inefficiency

Budgets allocated for influencer marketing may not yield the expected return on investment when directed toward influencers with fake followers. Brands may experience poor conversion rates and struggle to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.

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Free Tools to Identify Fake Followers

Manually checking an influencer’s engagement rate and comments to find fake followers can take a lot of time. Luckily, there are handy online tools that make this process much easier.

These tools analyze key metrics like engagement, unfollows, and comments to detect influencers with a potentially high number of fake followers. It’s a simple and effective way to ensure your influencers are the real deal.

1. Upfluence Chrome Plugin

How to tell if an influencer has fake followers?

Rating: ⭐ 4.1

Pricing: Free

Upfluence provides a complimentary Chrome plugin that provides users with a glimpse into an influencer’s social media performance. 

It also aids in conducting a check for fake followers among the chosen influencers.

Key Features

    • Works Everywhere: The plugin is handy on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, blogs, and Pinterest
    • Dig Deep into Profiles: It helps you check an influencer’s engagement, reach, and who follows them.
    • Spot Real Followers Easily: The plugin shows the percentage of real followers an influencer has, making it simple to pick those with the most genuine followers.

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2. FakeCheck

How to tell if an influencer has fake followers?

Rating: N/A

Pricing: Free

FakeCheck assists you in detecting fake followers on Instagram accounts. Just copy and paste the Instagram account handle you want to analyze, and they’ll handle the rest!

Key Features

    • Easy Fake Follower Detection: makes it simple to find fake followers on Instagram. Just paste the account handle, and it does the rest!
    • User-Friendly: The platform is easy to use, ensuring a hassle-free experience for everyone.
    • Full Account Analysis: thoroughly checks for fake followers, giving users a clear picture of an Instagram account’s authenticity.

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3. Social Blade

Rating: ⭐ 4.1

Pricing: Free

With Social Blade, you can check info about influencers on all social networks. This tool helps you easily find the engagement rate, how many followers they gain or lose each day and their total follower count.

Key Features

    • See Stats Everywhere: Social Blade shares its info with everyone. You can check out numbers for creators, streamers, or brands globally on different platforms.
    • Find Your Favorites Easily: Whether it’s YouTubers or Twitch players, Social Blade helps you find the info you want about different creators.
    • Getting Better All the Time: Social Blade is always adding cool stuff to make sure you get the best experience when checking out stats.

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Explore Influencers: Search Made Simple

In the rapidly changing landscape of influencer marketing, discovering the ideal platform to connect with influential content creators can be a game-changer for businesses.

In this realm of choices, Happine stands out as an exceptional option, transforming how brands engage with influencers and creating new opportunities for successful marketing campaigns.

How to tell if an influencer has fake followers?

Key Features

    • Diverse Influencer Network: A wide-ranging and diverse network of influencers spanning various niches and industries.
    • Advanced Search Filters: Intuitive and powerful search filters for precise influencer selection.
    • Real-time Performance Analytics: Stay updated with real-time insights into campaign success and engagement.
    • Seamless Collaboration Management: Effortless communication and transparent collaboration management throughout campaigns.
    • Campaign Tracking and ROI Measurement: Measure campaign performance and determine return on investment for informed decision-making.


To sum up, successfully navigating influencer marketing means being cautious, especially with fake followers. As we’ve discussed, these can lead to bad decisions, less engagement, and harm your brand’s trust. 

Pick influencers with real, engaged followers to protect your investments and make stronger connections with your audience. 

In this changing landscape, staying informed and using the right tools is key for brands looking for genuine and effective partnerships in the world of social media.