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Influencer Marketing: What was left from the Mermaid Project and how to spot the fake influencers

The marketing of influencers is at the top of the heat since at least three years, including 2018 and everything shows that since its implementation in marketing campaigns, it will continue to raise. Nevertheless, as it is known, quantity doesn’t make quality and this is a parameter that must be taken into account when selecting and segmenting the social network stars that will be a part of our campaigns. However, we often hire profiles that are far away from being what our brand needs, this is to say, they are fake. The question is how to detect them on time to avoid an unnecessary spent or worse, a negative impact on the campaign.

The Mermaid Project

This Social Network’s experiment has been performed in an English version, where the market is wider, because it impacts in a more global way. On this occasion, the Mermaid Project, as it was named, was headed by a Spanish Marketing Agency (Human to Human). To make it possible they only required three simple steps:

  1. Hiring an actress
  2. Producing content for her, focusing on Instagram
  3. Buying hundred of followers, likes and comments.

With these three characteristics very well planned, the account reached 1000 followers in no time (with the celebration picture included). Due to this, many companies contacted with the incipient celebrity to pact products in exchange of adds, also to invite her to diverse events and more According to the agency’s report, this messages were sent directly by community managers, other agencies and enterprises and companies without any previous marketing advisory.

This is not the only example of influencer’s fraud, there are also those cases with virtually designed models. In fact, one of the most successful was Shudu Gram, who was created by computer and awoke immediate interest of fashion and clothing companies.

How to identify fake influencers?

This is the one million dollar question. If its true that we can always make mistakes, it is also true that we can reduce the risk percentage keeping in mind certain basic notions of analysis. (and common sense, as some would say) that can always be complemented with other digital tools of the profession.

Number of followers: You already know that this is strictly true, but it is good to start with the tip of the iceberg. Assess if these followers are bot accounts (remember the famous accounts of eggs on Twitter) How? Checking that they have post of their own and recent activity and some trajectory on the platform, meaning, that they haven’t been created recently. Besides, they shouldn’t have extremely weird names.

Engagement: Look intrinsically that there isn’t a considerably unevenness between one post and the other in matter of comments, reactions or likes. It can be exceptions if a post got an exorbitant viralization, but this is not the general rule. Also it is an indicator if the language of the comments matches the original post, because it is normal to find in a fake accounts of Spanish origin, hundred of messages in Arabic. (this as an example)

Type of content: Look carefully the content that the influencer in question is loading. A real star often shares histories and keeps a special contact with his/her fans, because every star must respond to his/her public, right? If this character is always distant and doesn’t interact with his/her community, it is a bad sign.

Follow the right advices: To hire a marketing agency before taking a decision on your own is the best thing you can do. Perhaps you wont hire their services but you should make a professional query about the topic because it can help you avoid a brand’s crisis.