Followers or Fraud? How to Tell If an Influencer's Followers are Real or Fake

  • Posted on Jul 15, 2020
  • Maddie Ehret

Instagram. It’s a platform made up of roughly 1 billion users, all who share images and videos unique to their specific platform. This is a powerful tool for influencers today, as it allows them to share everything from trendy outfits to a new recipe with their followers. There’s just one thing that not everyone can determine - are all followers real?

Fake followers can appear in a variety of different manners, one of which is known as a pod. An Instagram pod is a group of people who artificially inflate engagements on one another’s social media accounts. These pods can contain hundreds of thousands of users and are designed to help promote other user’s posts. For example, a user can notify their pod to go like their most recent post, and that user will receive likes instantly.

Fake accounts can additionally be set up by bots, and though it may increase a user’s following, it will not participate in any interactions with the user.


Here are a few more tips in order to spot a fake follower:

  1. Check their username. Oftentimes, a profile with the name “user” followed by a random assortment of numbers may signal that this is not a real person.
  2. Do they have a profile picture? No, not everyone has to have a profile picture, but this in addition to having a somewhat obscure username can come as questionable.
  3. Is the account Private or Public? In addition to obscure usernames and missing profile pictures, a private account hides the posts and is often a sign that the profile may be fake.
  4. What content do they post? Certain posts, such as the one below, can be scams. These users may include a link to take users to a website that might have harmful information. Also, take note of the typos on this post.
  5. Check out apps available to track your followers. These can sometimes inform a user of who interacts with their content the most and the least.
  6. Always use your best judgment! Trust your gut when it comes to a new follower. Does this person look familiar to you? Have you met them before?

Originally created in October of 2010, over 40 billion posts currently circulate through the platform. With any popular social media, there are certain aspects that come along with it, such as fake followers. You may be wondering, why is this important? Having real followers can help maximize the amount of engagement your posts can get from your followers. This can only increase the number of real followers you can gain in the future. 

Understanding these concepts can help you understand how active followers compare to fake followers. Be sure to check out our blog for more helpful tips to manage your Snips and other social media accounts. Happy Snipping!