How to spot fake Instagram and Twitter followers

fake instagram and Twitter followers

Fake it until you make it, or so the saying goes. But buying fake Instagram and Twitter followers is cheating, and you are eventually going to get called out for it.

During the last New Zealand Fashion Week, I researched into some of the so-called fashion bloggers. Most had an astounding amount of fake followers on Instagram and Twitter. Fake fashion bloggers hack me off more than most. It could be because of they lack any real style or the fact that they arrogantly prance around these industry events, taking selfies and posting to their tens of thousand fake followers. They are not adding any real value if they have no real influence.

Fake Instagram and Twitter followers, by my definition, are fake or dead accounts, and also real accounts from users in countries that have no influential value to the profile. Both of these types of followers are easy to buy.

There is no point in having tens of thousands of followers if they are meaningless. The value of someone’s social reach should be measured by their engagement, not by the total amount of followers they have. Quality, not Quantity!

Spotting Fake Instagram and Twitter Followers

Look at how engaged the user’s followers are. Are their followers commenting and liking posts? Are their followers part of the cohort you’re targeting?

There are a few ways to tell if someone has fake followers.

A sudden spike in followers

Unless you’re Lorde and have shot to stardom in a super short amount of time, an unusual spike in followers can only be the result of a buying spree.

Low interaction with followers / Low engagement rate

I’ve seen Instagram accounts with over forty thousand followers, but each of their posts is only getting around 100 likes. The low engagement percentage shows that their influence on their followers is super low, and they most likely paid for the majority of their followers.

Average engagement rates (total likes and comments / total followers) now sit around 0.5 – 1.0%. Sounds low right?! .. yup, that’s all thanks to the new algorithm. Fake followers and dead accounts are going to lower that engagement rate even further.

Followers with no profile pics

Another dead giveaway is followers with no account activity or profile pic. These accounts are ‘dead accounts’. Instagram is routinely removing these accounts. We have seen some Instagram accounts drop thousands of followers at a time thanks to these fake follower purges.

Checking for fake Instagram and twitter followers

There are more and more tools coming out that help you see through the fakes. Here are ones I have found:

Don’t be tempted to buy followers. They bring you no value and you will be caught out!
Fake followers are easy to buy and very hard to get rid of.

Increasing your social reach should be part of your marketing strategy. Your social media channels should be used to amplify your value adding content. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for businesses to outsource management of their social media. If you are serious about driving leads from your social media then contact us to discuss your options.

Grow your Instagram following the right way

There are some good tactics and tricks to growing your Instagram strategy. The first thing you can work on is the quality and consistency of your images.

Learn how to increase your followers by creating a beautiful Instagram theme. Read the article here


Carl Thompson
Marketer / Director

Email - Instagram - Facebook

Growing businesses through data-driven strategies is Carl’s passion. Carl has over 16 years experience in digital marketing and growth, including starting successful startups TradeGecko and Bronami.

22 thoughts on “How to spot fake Instagram and Twitter followers”

  1. Love the blog. It’s really about the quality not the quantity. Having hundreds or thousands of followers but only having a few likes to the post doesn’t add up. For one that doesnt have too many friends, to find real people willing to be true instagram friends where we both *consistently* like & comment (kinda like pen pals), that’s the goal for me 😉

  2. Hi! Good article! Do you know some app to check a quality of followers on Instagram? I need something like that. Im working in company and we have a lot of requests of full sponsorships for photographers. And I would like to check theirs accounts. You know we give them disscounts like 2000-3000 € and its better to know if they have fakes followers o not

  3. I don’t know if u know this but my x best friend got like 200 followers in one day and out her over 500 another to find out if they are fake on Instagram if u tap follow it says loading and u can’t follow them or some u can’t even see their account. I hope this helps some of u

  4. I have noticed my Instagram engagement has declined. I’m wondering if there was a change that Instagram did that caused this and if you had any insight on how to increase my engagement. Any info would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

  5. Good article. One note on ‘a sudden spike in followers’ though. As I’ve learned by being an active user of Instagram, someone’s followers can actually go from zero to hundreds and even thousands overnight, if they are either introduced to a bigger audience via some popular online publication or if someone in instagram with 100k+ followers introduces them to their own followers.

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