Ever seen a blogger with 10’s of thousands of followers and wondered how they got so many? A lot of bloggers work hard to get those followers, but you’d also be surprised at how many buy followers and gain followers through a ‘follow for follow’ culture.
I’m going to tell you how to tell the difference between a real following and a fake following. If you’re a business owner reading this, this is CRUCIAL for blogger collaborations.
I just started my own business, Rani & Co., and I’ve had loads of bloggers messaging me asking for collaborations and I’m so grateful for it! It’s so amazing to see people appreciating your brand.
BUT, there’s a big but, unfortunately over 90% of these bloggers don’t have a real following. It sucks, because sometimes I get really excited when a blogger messages me with a 60k following, then I do an analysis and I think ‘not another one’.
Not only that, I see big brands like Daniel Wellington giving free watches to these people and I’m thinking, surely they should’ve done their research as such a big company?! I also think it’s unfair on the bloggers who are working hard on increasing their following (it’s a lot harder than you think!).
So, how do I analyse Instagram accounts? There are 4 main factors I look for:
- Engagement rate
- Number of likes in relation to number of followers
- How many followers are gained daily
- Brand Image
This is crucial! You’re looking for an engagement rate of 5% and upwards. Surprisingly it’s usually the bloggers with a lower following that have a higher engagement than those with 10’s of thousands of followers, so don’t ignore the small bloggers.
I use the Hypetap tool to check engagement rate. It’s free and I pretty much live on this tool for potential collaborations.
Number of Likes On A Post
This is linked to engagement rate. If a blogger messages me and has a following of 30,000 for example, I’ll compare the account to 2 others I know with a similar following and compare the number of likes on average on a post. Some bloggers will have 30,000 followers and 200 likes per post, something doesn’t add up there for me. With 30,000 followers you should definitely be getting more likes than that.
This probably means that the person has bought their followers or they’re doing something else that is sneaky.
Average Number of Followers Gained Daily
This is a HUGE indicator whether a following is fake. I use this amazing tool called Socialblade which tells you how many followers are gained daily (on average) and how many people the blogger followers on a daily basis.
Here’s an example of the ‘follow for follow’ culture:
- Look at the ‘Followers’ column. The blogger is gaining quite a few followers everyday, 34 on average, that’s pretty good.
- Look at the ‘Following’ column. The blogger adds hundreds of people a day then loses loads the next. This is an example of a ‘follow for follow’ culture. This person follows loads of people in one day, whoever doesn’t follow back they then unfollow them. It sounds weird, but it’s actually an easy way to get new followers. This indicates that the bloggers audience may not be my target audience as they could just be adding loads of randoms to get more followers.
This blogger is a nono for me.
Here’s an example of someone who buys followers:
- Look at the ‘Followers’ column. You can see that there’s a massive jump in the number of followers, from 14 new followers to 600+ followers. That’s definitely not normal and indicates that they bought followers, especially as they’re only following 2-3 new people a day.
This is an obvious one. You’ll probably want to repost pictures of bloggers using your products, so pick people that have a feed that is inline with your brand.
Working with bloggers is a bit of a gamble, you don’t know if you’ll generate sales through a collaboration but I think that having pictures of people actually using your product is a risk worth taking, it shows that your product is trustworthy.
I have had the misfortune of giving a blogger some jewellery for free to promote on Instagram, but she just took the jewellery and didn’t bother promoting it, even after several reminders to do it. It sucks, as a blogger myself I get that it’s cool to get free stuff and I get that it might take a month or so to get round to promoting a product as you have so many reviews to do, but when a company gives you ‘free’ stuff, it’s actually a loss to them and they’re taking a gamble by investing in a blogger.
It’s unfortunate if this happens, but hey-ho life goes on!
I really hope this post helps other businesses! Don’t get sucked into the number of followers someone has, do your research and pick the right people.
Lots of love,