Buyers need to carefully analyze the websites they try to buy. One important thing that buyers should look out for is fake followers.
Do a manual review
It’s not that hard after all. We recommend to look at the following red flags:
Have a look at the followers:
Followers without photos or posts (depending on the channel): If a social account is only followed by users that have never posted and/or lack a profile picture, you can assume that those followers are not real. As a buyer, you should look out for tons of private accounts and “spammy” usernames.
Irrelevant and/or spammy comments: Review existing photos and look at the comments. Are they gibberish or weird – you have a strong signal that those users are fake.
Following or followed by “fan-buying” accounts: If you review the followers and who they are following, you eventually find so-called fan-buying services. They are a huge red flag that this account is fueled by fake Instagram followers.
Analyse the actual follower engagement:
A social account with thousands of fans, should have engagement rates that are proportional. Buyers can analyse this by comparing the number of followers to the total number of likes and number of comments.
If there are many followers and only low engagement rates, there might be quite a lot of fake followers. Here is a benchmark for checking follower engagement.
Example: Take the profile’s last 10 photos and average the total number of comments and likes, then divide by the number of followers and multiply by 10 to get the average engagement rate.
If the engagement rate looks fine, ensure that you still analyze their followers and respective comments to confirm that those followers look like real people and that the comments do not sound weird.
Do you want to read more about the fan buying business? Vox.com compiled a good article here.
Review followers automatically
If you want to save some time you can leverage some an automatic analysis tool.
While there are quite a few of them out there, I found Modash.io especially helpful:
If you have any kind of feedback, let me know in the comments below.