5 Signs to Spot Fake vs Real Followers on Instagram
August 28, 2018 by Alexz Miller
Last Updated: January 14, 2020
In the age of excessive social media marketing and an overwhelming amount of similar brands, it’s becoming admittedly difficult to set yourself apart and grow a thriving new Instagram business account. Many companies have chosen to purchase followers, while the rest of us chose the noble route of acquiring real followers for Instagram.
While many fake followers, or “bot” services perform differently, they can oftentimes jeopardize more than one account. For instance, if your close friend – whom you engage with regularly on social media – purchases followers for their new Instagram business account, they can also be directed your way.
Unintentionally accumulating fake, “spammy” followers isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless you’re tricked into engaging with them. In this case, your page could get littered with spam. You may also notice the occasional but drastic drop in your follower count as these accounts are regularly being weeded out of the app.
While most bot followers are simple to identify, more advanced software have made rather convincing fake accounts to fool you. Don’t be fooled, however, and take a closer look at our five tell-tale signs that an Instagram account isn’t ‘real.’
1) Real Followers on Instagram – Check Their Numbers
We admit, this sounds rather conceded, but you have to be sure when dealing with potential spam threats on Instagram. Perhaps the most obvious sign to look for in a suspected bot account is their numbers. In fact, that might be the only thing to look at, as they are likely to have no posts at all.
Pro Tip: You can use an Instagram Engagement Calculator to easily calculate the engagement rate of an account. If the account in question has no posts, only a handful of followers (likely under 100) and follows thousands of other users, you can safely bet that they are in fact a fake account.
2) Look at Their Followers
If step one didn’t clear anything up for you, your next move is to investigate their followers. If their followers resemble their account (blurry, scandalous profile photo, no posts, following tons of people) then it’s a safe bet that they and each one of their followers are bots created by the same service.
Don’t be fooled by the different websites in their bios either, and definitely don’t click the link.
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3) Snoop for Spam
Some bot accounts can’t be detected using the first two steps, as they have different motives entirely. While most petty bots – like mentioned above – are created merely to follow accounts who pay for it, others are even more “spammy” in nature.
In fact, their goal is to get you to sign up for illegitimate deals or giveaways so they can take advantage of the information given. These accounts will commonly include big brand names in their handle and a bio such as, “2 for 1 Nike Sweepstakes” or, “Enter to Win This Gucci Bag!” Someone who is acquiring only real followers for Instagram will host giveaways in a much better fashion.
Use your best judgment when encountering these types – shouldn’t be difficult.
4) Look for Engagement
If a suspected bot account fails to pass any of the tests above, you may have to dig deeper into investigation. Assuming they have posted some content, look for any type of interaction occurring between them and other users. Bots cannot interact in a personable manner. This is why gaining only real followers Instagram will help your engagement rates soar.
Additionally, check if they’ve been tagged in any legitimate posts or have real, active Instagram followers. If not, you can most likely follow your gut instinct and disregard their account entirely.
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5) Bot Removers
While the Instagram Team does a great job of cleaning up bots over time, you might want to take further precautions if you’re worried about your account being at risk for spam. Some great services such as Spam Guard will detect and remove all bots and spammy followers.
For many brands, Instagram account is the backbone to their business, and without their current reputation their sales would suffer. Don’t let fake accounts jeopardize your brand, and look out for bots as you continue your Instagram marketing endeavors.
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