How to Identify and Avoid Fake Influencers

How to Identify and Avoid Fake Influencers [VIDEO]

Is it just me or today is everybody calling themselves an influencer?

Newsflash – not everybody who uses that word as an influencer. In fact, most people who use that word are not.

So in this video, I’m going to show you a shortcut on how you can identify and avoid fake influencers so you don’t waste your time or money on them.

How to Identify and Avoid Fake Influencers

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Hi, I’m Christina Nicholson and I help small business owners all over the world earn exposure in the media without spending any money on ads, and in this video, I am going to share just a little bit of a presentation that I shared with the Gold Coast PR Council.

So, I spoke at a meeting recently and I was speaking to other PR professionals about working with influencers and how they can tell if they’re legitimate and how to tell quickly.

We don’t want to be scrolling through a newsfeed, and checking out all the comments, and clicking on a bunch of posts. So I’m sharing part of this presentation with you to shortcut this so you can identify and avoid fake influencers.

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Are you an influencer or an up and coming influencer and you want to kind of see what goes on behind the scenes?

This is good for you if you want to work with influencers and this is good for you if you are an up and coming influencer because I’m going to tell you what PR pros are starting to look at before they start to pay you.

So before I get to my slides, I want to know… are you watching this because you want to work with fake, not fake influencers, nobody wants to work with fake influencers. Are you watching this because you want to work with influencers or are you watching this because you are an influencer or an up and coming influencer and you want to kind of see what goes on behind the scenes?

So let me know: Do you want to work with them or are you one tell me in the comments below.

Now, let’s go to my slides so I can show you a little bit of what I shared at the Gold Coast PR Council meeting here in South Florida. Okay?

This is what you are going to ask from an influencer. You want to look at their Instagram insights and I’m going to show you exactly what to ask for from them in just a minute.

But first I’m going to tell you why we are going to ignore followers and comments.

Why do we ignore followers and comments?

Follow for Follow

1. Because people do this follow for follow thing and you can see really big growth on an Instagram account if you focus on the Middle East. I know many people who get almost 1,000-2,000 new followers on Instagram a month and most of them are from the Middle East.

Now if you do business in the Middle East and that is your ideal customer or client, then terrific. If not, these followers are going to do nothing for your bottom line


2. Bots. You can buy fake followers, you can buy likes, and you can buy comments to look influential for just $5 online.

People are doing this and this is very obvious when they post a video on their feed because that video will tell you how many people have viewed it. So it’ll have like 12 views but a thousand likes. That’s just impossible.

So you want to ignore the followers and comments because the shortcut I’m about to show you, will cut through all of this and you can tell if people are doing this right off the bat.

Comment Pods

3. And finally, there’s this thing called comment pods. This is where other bloggers support each other by pretending they’re influenced in the comments.

So, I recently did a campaign and a few other bloggers in my area did the same campaign and one was sharing a link because the client was tracking how many clicks to each influencer’s link. And she was just sharing it with all of her blogger friends saying, “show me some blogger love”.

Which yes, we do like to support each other. But sometimes that’s the only engagement and the only clicking that is happening – it’s from these comment pods. And it’s just other bloggers trying to help other bloggers, which again is fine, but you need to have some other things in place too.

You need to have true influence to make it worth your while if you are paying an influencer.

Go Inside Instagram Insights

So what do we do? Let’s go inside my Instagram and I’m going to show you exactly what to ask from an influencer before you decide to work with them. And if you are an influencer, then follow along and pay attention to this because this is what PR pros are not only asking for to determine if they want to work with you, but they’re also checking this stuff out to determine how much to pay you.

So the first thing we’re gonna do is we’re going to click on the hamburger, which are those three little lines on the top right-hand corner.

And you’re going to start on your profile page on Instagram. And then you’re going to click on insights. Now you don’t even have a business account to do this. You can have a plain old personal account. My account is personal.

So click on insights… and then you’re going to see a few things at the top. Activity, content, and audience. And for the purpose of this, we’re going to click on content.

So click on content and then we’re going to click on feed posts because we’re talking about the actual permanent posts that are in your feed. We’re not talking about stories or anything like that, so click on feed posts and then tap on “see all”.

I guess I should say tap, not click because we’re tapping now. We’re doing this on a phone and then at the top you’re going to filter what you see.

So I don’t care about the past year. A year is a long freaking time, so if you just tap where it says one year or engagement, it’s gonna open up this little wheel that you see right there on the right.


I changed that to show all impressions for the last three months. I think 30 days is too short because a lot of people don’t post very much. I post maybe twice a week into my feed. So I think three months is a good gauge of how many impressions you’re getting.

So let me tell you what impressions are. There are sometimes called a view or an ad view. It’s just a term that refers to the point in which an ad or a post is viewed once by a visitor or displayed once on a web page. So this just tells you how many people actually saw it.

So looking at mine, I can see that my post with the most impressions over the last three months is, I don’t know why it’s me making a stupid face, but it is. This is when I got somewhere when my kids were sleeping in the back of the car and I was like, great, what do I do now?

I posted that and a lot of people saw it. It had the most reach. And when something has the most reach and the most impressions, that does mean people like it the most because when people are looking at something for a long amount of time, Instagram sees that. If they’re liking it, if they’re commenting, Instagram will pick that up and their algorithm and will show it to more people.

So yes, when a person’s impressions are high, that does mean that people like it the most. So if you are an influencer, this gives you an idea of what to post more of. And then if you are working with an influencer as a brand, this gives you an idea of what that person’s audience likes. So this is good to know.


Another thing I look at is engagement. So social media engagement just measures the public shares, likes, and comments for an online business’ social media efforts.

And this does not describe how many users end up purchasing. This just means that they are liking what they are seeing and they’re actually taking the time to double tap or to comment. Most people don’t. Most people scroll.

And as you can see, most of these are similar to impressions because like I said, when people engage with it more, Instagram shows it to more people, which increases your impressions.

So you may see a few changes here than the last slide, but they’re pretty similar.

So you can see here I have 960 as my engagement numbers. So that means between the likes and comments that I’m getting 960 people either double tapped or they left a comment.

So these are the two screen grabs that I would request from an influencer. I would want to see the last three months of impressions and then I would want to see the last three months of engagement.


Something else you can do, especially if you are a hyperlocal business… if you go back to that screen that we first saw, instead of looking at content, look at the audience. If you are hyperlocal and you just want to target people in South Florida, for example, then I’m going to want to see where your audience is.

Are they all in South Florida or are they in the Middle East?

So you can ask questions like that.

Where’s your audience? Is it male, is it female? What is their age range?

So, if you are going to work with an Instagram influencer, have them go inside their insights and take screen grabs and you want to make sure the screen grab shows the entire screen. I want to see your picture.

I want to make sure it’s your account and not somebody else’s account because, let me tell you, some bloggers and influencers, they can get sneaky with this.

I know I was working with a blogger for a client and I wanted them to share their analytics for their website with me and they did not share their entire page. They took somebody else’s analytics and it looked like they had a lot more traffic they did because it wasn’t their traffic and when I told them to zoom out so I could actually see their website and their name and their image, it was a completely different story.

So you want to make sure you’re getting that whole screen grab, no cropping is happening here and that will help you make a more educated decision on working with influencers and this will also help you avoid working with those fake influencers.

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Thank you so much for watching. If you like this video, please give me a thumbs up and subscribe to this channel. I post new videos like this one every Thursday, and if you have not yet already hopped into my free three-day video media class, you can access that at

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