Fake followers on Instagram are accounts that are automated bots or impersonators. Their primary purpose is to increase the follower count and improve the engagement rate but some users create these accounts to deceive/defame others. Research indicates that these profiles make up approximately 8% of the user base on the platform – according to Italian security firm in 2022.
It’s essential to recognize and eliminate these followers to protect your account’s credibility and engagement levels.
There are 10 effective strategies to prevent the presence of these followers:
1. Examine the list of your followers
Examining the list of followers of an account can be a helpful indicator of its authenticity. To evaluate, look at the following:
- Account’s Username: Fake users tend to have long and generic names. Their names contain more digits than letters. Only 52% of bots write Full Name.
- Account’s Profile Picture and Bio: Typically, they don’t add a picture to their profile, and the only information in their bio is their name. 85% Bots have Public Profile with no Bio.
- The quantity of followers and followers: Nearly all fraudulent accounts have a greater number of followers than followings. For Instance: If a user has 100-200 followers but 5000 followings.
- Post count: The majority of these followers have either none or very few pictures and videos uploaded, making them extremely low in post count. Such as, an account with 10k followers and 6-10 Posts.
- Number of likes and comments: Their Posts receive more likes than comments. For example, a Post that has 31k likes with 6 comments.
Research Data concludes that 65% Fake followers fill the full name criteria and 93% Real accounts use their Full names (Source: PolyTechnic).
To check credibility, take an influencer’s last 10 photos, calculate the average comments and likes, divide by their followers, and multiply by 10 for the average engagement rate (source: Pixler Turnto).
2. Keep a regular check on your comments section
A regular check on your comments section enables you to stay updated regarding your active and inactive followers.
Review 4 aspects within the comments:
- Search for comments that are not related to your post or that are generic.
- Look for comments that are copied or repeated across several posts.
- Take note of comments that ask for personal information or that contain dubious links.
- Examine the commentator’s account engagement.
These fake followers often leave spam comments on your posts. According to reports, there are 95 million bots on Instagram, making up 9.5% of all users (Jenny Harper, Auto-comments on Instagram).
3. Evaluate the account in every aspect
Evaluating the account includes evaluating the general performance of your followers, which requires giving particular attention to three aspects:
- Followers growth: Monitoring the pace of your follower growth can help identify sudden spikes or irregular patterns that may indicate the presence of fake followers.
- Ratio of Engagement: By Paying attention to the likes, comments, and interactions on your posts, you can reveal if your audience is genuinely engaged or if there’s an imbalance, which could signal fake followers.
- Audience Demographics: Examining the demographics of your followers can indicate fake followers who don’t align with your usual demographic profile.
According to Ykone, over 65% of influencers have fake followers. If an influencer’s followers are from diverse countries, it’s likely many are fake. Additionally, a high follower count with low engagement (below 0.5%) is a red flag for fake followers.
4. Report suspected accounts
Reporting fake accounts removes them completely. It’s even recommended by Instagram itself to report accounts that appear to be fake. When you report them, Instagram takes your report into consideration and most likely removes it.
Three steps must be taken in order to report:
1. Open the Suspected Profile.
2. Tap the three dots in the profile’s top-right corner.
3. Click on “Report.”
As a result of users reporting fake profiles, the average proportion of fake Instagram accounts has dropped to 8.14%, according to a report by Hype Auditor.
5. Post original content to engage real followers
Posting original content attracts genuine followers who are interested in your content. By focusing on real followers, you prevent the fake ones.
It draws viewers in four different ways:
- Presenting your distinct character and viewpoint.
- Talking about one’s own experiences.
- Delivering insightful and useful content.
- Posting frequently and interacting with your audience.
Studies reveal that every day, 2 billion Instagram photographs and posts receive natural likes due to high-quality content. Furthermore, 86.6% of respondents to the Zen Mastery study reported posting fresh content on a daily basis.
6. Stay out of activities that encourage inactive followers
Staying out of activities that bring inactive followers to your Profile is healthier for your account. These inactive followers have a negative impact on your post visibility and engagement rates because they don’t engage with your content.
There are 2 common actions that encourage inactive followers:
- Participating in like-for-like or follow-for-follow networks: These chains result in inactive followers that show no interest in you.
- Interacting with automated bots: These bots communicate in a controlled style, and their communication tends to be illogical.
According to a survey, out of 2 million users the engagement rates drop as the follower count increases. For influencers with 10,000 to 100,000 followers, the like rate drops to 2.4% and for Influencers with 1 million to 10 million followers engagement rate increases to 1.4%.
7. Use advanced detection Tools
Using detecting technologies to target fake followers is a smart move. This detecting tool may contribute to a decrease in the quantity of fake profiles. It quickly and accurately detects fake accounts, saving your time.
A research claims that 10,000 Instagram accounts were utilised for testing, and using machine learning techniques, the model was able to identify fake accounts with over 90% accuracy (Image classification using machine learning to identify fake accounts, 2020)
According to research conducted in 2020, web crawler tools found 68.8% genuine Instagram followers and 32.31% bogus ones.
8. Buy followers after vetting service providers
Vetting service providers is quite essential for preventing fake followers. For a quick increase in followers, it is recommended to consider services that get you followers, but thoroughly research and vet the providers. Look for reputable and trustworthy followers providers with positive reviews.
Some of these service providers offer low-quality followers at a low cost, while others offer good-quality followers, which results in increased engagement.
A study by Later indicates that 49% of Instagram influencers purchased followers in 2021.
9. Connect with verified accounts
Connect with verified accounts with a blue tick instead of those without a blue tick. These accounts have been officially verified by Instagram, indicating their authenticity.
If two accounts have the same name and picture of the same person as the display, Trust the verified account and report the other one.
By engaging with and following these verified accounts, you can ensure that you are connecting with real users and building a genuine following.
According to Statistical research, 73.4% of Instagram accounts with a million or greater followers were verified accounts.
10. Read the News Feed
Reading through the feed keeps you updated. It’s helpful to browse through your feeds to find genuine, active profiles. Real followers are drawn to you when you follow them back.
The inactive ones are not on your news feed. According to a study, 30% of Instagram accounts are inactive.
While, Statistica also reports that Instagram had 2 billion monthly active users as of July 2023.
To sum up, it’s essential to keep a regular eye on your follower’s performance as it affects your account’s credibility and engagement rate. You need to create original content to attract real followers and prevent fake followers by following some strategies. If you plan to buy followers then inspect the service providers and pick the one with the best reviews. Manually report any suspected account that Posts inappropriate content or looks fake. Also, use machine learning tools to detect and remove fake followers quickly.