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Fake Followers: Why They Hurt And How Companies Get Rid Of Them

By May 12, 2019 No Comments

It’s time-consuming and labor-intensive to build quality reach on social media channels. But buying fake followers can be dangerous. Because they sell nothing but an empty promise. Those who want to assert themselves on the platforms need a lot of dedication and patience to win a solid number of followers for their own appearances.

No patience? No problem! You can finally buy followers. That’s easy. The network is teaming with offers: 1000 Followers on Instagram are already available for less than ten euros. But beware: A purchase would be a quick way, but not the right one. Because such a procedure has for all parties involved – influencers, advertisers, social media platforms – in the long term only disadvantages.


The main problem: fake followers sell nothing but an empty promise. As if one would like a promoter to a full room, but in the end, there are only a few real people in the audience – and 500 mannequins.

That’s why followers should say: quality over quantity. Even if high numbers of followers seem tempting at first, they say nothing about activities and commitment. This also applies to the assessment of influencers, who are also not only allowed to rate their number of followers. On the contrary. So-called micro-influencers, who have a small but very loyal fan base and specialized subject knowledge, can be much more attractive to companies as cooperation partners than influencers who only want to increase their own market value with purchased followers.

Interaction needs substance and credibility

If you want to position yourself as a serious opinion maker, you lose credibility by buying followers: Fake followers increase the number of fans quickly and even distribute likes and emojis. However, these reactions are without substance. Just like the mannequins just applauding to stay in the picture above.


This ultimately leads to decreasing visibility of such an opinion maker. Influencers not only put their own reputation at stake but also those of the advertising companies and their advertising money. Because marketing managers would invest money in a profile with false followers and – if any – artificial commitment in such a case.

Incidentally, the same applies to the use of Bot programs that distribute likes and comments on foreign profiles (often to generic hashtags such as “love” or “Wanderlust”) on behalf of the client, to the holders of these profiles on the Instagram account to alert the client.

Everyone should be aware that buying followers and using bots is a waste of money: fake accounts are not interested in either the content or the brand. And, of course, they do not buy a product either.

Findings for Influencer Relations

But in the meantime, a change in the attitude of companies has begun: they have understood that reach alone is not everything. The influencer has to fit with his theme world, his aesthetics and his target group to his own brand. This was also the result of a large study published in spring on Influencer Relations.

Not only influencers and companies lose credibility through fake followers and bots, but social media channels themselves also lose ground as platforms for high-quality content.


The focus of the problem is above all Instagram because here messages and products can be well presented in attractive images. In the past, Instagram played pictures chronologically. This is now different – often “cast” and/or annotated images have greater visibility.

Although fake followers and bots can artificially increase their attention through their interactions and thus make a picture more visible, they do not stimulate a real exchange.

Here is a calculation example: If you have 20,000 followers on Instagram, 1,000 of whom interact with a specific image, you get a commission rate of five percent. If there are many fake followers and bots out of 1,000 reactions, hardly anyone would like to get in touch with annoying spammers who only post comments like “Nice shot!”. And again let the mannequins greet …

Avoid fake followers and bots

Once fake followers and bots have discovered their own profile, it is almost as costly to get rid of them to build up and expand their own community. But the effort is worth it. So what do you do? Those who have time should check profiles of new followers directly and block them if they have doubts about their credibility.


A look at the follower list of the examined profile usually helps. Suspicious profiles can be recognized quickly by asking yourself the following questions: How old is the account? How many accounts does the profile follow? Have you already uploaded your own pictures, what do username and profile photo say? Is there a profile picture at all? If a user only has a handful of followers, but follows himself thousands of accounts, without having ever uploaded a single image, it is probably a bot.

To avoid bots as followers, it helps to think about your own hashtags and keywords in advance. The better and more specifically they are tailored to their own target groups, the less attractive they become for bots. Instagram is also working to identify and delete these bots.

A healthy community


Is it worth the effort for the care? While there is no official statement from Instagram on whether an account has bad visibility because many fake followers follow him.

However, one can assume that a healthy network of their own range only good. And in addition to work and patience, a healthy community means above all else: an honest, regular exchange.

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