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A Guide to Evading Influencer Marketing Scams

The influencer culture is at its peak today and has inconspicuously taken over the world of brand marketing. As brands seek to expand their horizons and reach a wider range of audiences across a plethora of digital platforms, spreading the word about their products and services through individuals with social influence becomes viable. These influencers are usually people with a massive organic social media following and are capable of driving trends and influencing perceptions and the buying decisions of others.

As the avenues of influencer marketing continue to expand, it also brings along the plausibility of scams and unethical practices. While it may seem like a lucrative opportunity for businesses to grow and expand their consumer base, the industry is replete with scammers, fraudsters, and people looking to make a quick buck as well. The team at RNF Technologies, led by Faisal Abidi,strives to relentlessly wade through these scams and help businesses reach new heights.

What Are The Common Red Flags Involved in Influencer Marketing?

As the influencer marketing industry prospers, what follows are unscrupulous influencers who are only in the business of big bucks and other perks. Influencer fraud can be described as a phenomenon where individuals deploy morally ambiguous strategies to augment their social media metrics and attract big brands to collaborate with them. The ripest target for such scams is Instagram, where almost 80% of the brands engage with influencers to present their products and services to a larger audience. If you identify yourself as being a part of this majority, you should be wary of the common influencer marketing scams that plague the industry.

Buying Fake Followers- One of the most common frauds that prevail in the influencer marketing industry is buying fake followers in order to thrive in the competitive world. These are usually people who create the illusion of being influential by garnering likes and followers by manipulating numbers and usually buying fake followers. In fact, in 2019,influencer fraud was projected to cost brands nearly $1.3 billion, and as for the year 2020, that number went up to $1.6 billion. As hard as it might be to wrap your head around these numbers, they are further expected to inflate in the coming years.

Steer Clear of Pods on Instagram- Another way that scammers try to infiltrate an effective  marketing campaign is by utilizing pods to “increase engagement.” Pods are secretive groups of Instagrammers who join forces to “like” each other’s posts. These pod members use hashtags such as #likeforlike or #followforfollow to find each other. In a chain of supporting each other “artificially,” even if a single member quits, the numbers level off and begin to decrease, primarily because the chain was sustained by little to no organic growth.

How Can Influencer Marketing Frauds Impact Your Business?

According to a Wall Street Journal story, a survey conducted by Points North Group found that mid-level social media influencers with followings of 50,000 to 100,000 users pad their number of followers by up to 20%. This can be especially alarming for marketers and their marketing campaigns, as evidenced by the expanding brackets of budget allocated to unconventional marketing streams like that of influencer marketing.

As a marketer, when you collaborate with an influencer with high followers but a staggering organic engagement, you are only wasting your funds. Blindsided by the sole aim of getting viral, these influencers often lack credibility, which only fosters a breeding ground for faddist ideas.

Faisal Abidi utilizes his expertise and professional interests that lie in the areas of branding, digital marketing, and developing anti-fraud and anti-scam tech solutions. He has also helped over 400+ businesses expand their digital footprint with robust content marketing strategies. 

How to Avoid Influencer Marketing Catastrophes?

Weeding out these scammers is perhaps the only way to prevent the industry from subsequent fallout. This is because if the problem continues to persist, companies would eventually want to look out for alternatives and not waste their money on marketing strategies that reap no tangible results. Here are some tips to follow to avoid falling prey to prevalent influencer marketing scams in the industry.

Understand The Goals of Your Campaign- Before you take a plunge and hire the first influencer you come across, the primary thing is to understand the goal of your proposed campaign. From creating brand awareness and gaining social media followers to app downloads or increasing newsletter subscribers, when it comes to outlining your marketing campaign goals, the sky is the limit! Once you’re clear with what kind of outcome you want from your campaign, you can reach out to influencers with followers who will resonate with your brand and its vision.

Choose the Right Influencers- As a marketer, you should be strategic with the choice of the people who represent your brand. The last thing you want is to collaborate with an influencer who is at poles apart to vision of your brand. Besides the common parameters (Reach, Engagement Rate, Relevance, Authenticity, Content Quality) involved to gauge the credibility of the influencer, you should also understand their values.

Remember Numbers Don’t Lie- In times when we are essentially dictated by numbers, it is safe to say that the influencer industry also thrives on the number game. When shortlisting influencers for your marketing campaign, make sure to look at the number of followers they have and the engagement on their recent posts. For instance, if an influencer has more than fifty thousand followers yet their posts hardly have 300-400 likes, it is a clear indication that most of their followers are fake.

Considering the ubiquity of social media and the impact it has on our lives, influencer marketing is a strong tool that can lead your brand to new heights. Influencers have the power to influence their followers to purchase new products and make the brand a success. However, it is essential to steer clear of spam present on social media platforms at the same time. Now that you know what type of digital marketing scams to watch out for, you need a company that delivers results. To learn more about building a social media marketing campaign, get in touch with RNF Technologies.


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