Influencer Marketing: How To Avoid Getting Scammed By Fake Influencers

Last week, an influencer with about two million followers went viral for being unable to sell 36 shirts from her brand new clothing line. Yes, you read that right.  Ideally, given that she is an influencer, she should have been able to sell out the first stock from her clothing line without any issues. I mean, two million followers are no joke by any standard. Personally, I wasn’t surprised but this goes to show the state of influencer marketing in 2019 and how bad things are really getting.

I shared this story on my Instagram business page and two business owners actually said it was very common. Heck, just last year, it happened to me and the influencer in question gave a sorry excuse that her page had been shadowbanned.

No, we didn’t get a refund.

It is 2019. More than ever before the influencer marketing industry is growing at an exponential rate. MediaKix recently released a report claiming that the industry could be worth between $5 billion and $10 billion by 2020.

That’s huge.


Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

That also means that brands and businesses need to be extra cautious when dealing with influencers and not get carried away by the numbers. As much as influencer marketing can be incredibly effective, there’s also an avenue to get scammed by fake influencers who want to tap into the industry by any means possible.

How to choose the best influencers for your brand

  • Do your research first by looking for popular influencers within your niche. You need to niche down as much as possible. Sometimes the smaller the numbers, the more effective the influencer marketing campaign is. An easy way to spot them is by going through their feeds to check if a majority of their posts reflects your kind of products and aligns with your values as a brand.
  • Spend some time on their page and/or website to get familiar with them. If you feel any influencer warming up to you, note them down.

  • Check for their engagement rate. Followers and likes are nice to have but can be easily manipulated. So check for genuine comments on as many posts as possible. Check for feedback on posts with product reviews and what people are generally saying about that influencer. You don’t want your brand affiliated with a problematic influencer.
  • Once you have narrowed down your choices, check their website for their media kit and/or rate card. Most serious influencers will have this ready at all times. This gives you a general overview of how the influencer works and what to expect.
  • While researching an influencer and something starts to feel off here and there, note it down and pay attention to it. It is so important to avoid getting carried away with numbers and popularity.

How to protect your brand and avoid getting scammed by an influencer

  • Now that you have decided on the influencer you want to work with, you need to create your goals as well as your budget and be specific about it. From a realistic point of view, how much ROI should I expect from this collaboration? What metrics are important to me? (Impressions, followers and/or website visits?) You need to ask yourself and be specific about the figures. If you want 50 sales for your product, write it down.  When you’re clear about what you want, it is easy to communicate your expectations with the influencer.
  • After all the premilaries have been done, reach out to the influencer and express your interest in working together. Ask for their media kit and rate card. Ask for their social media analytics to be 100% sure their audience aligns with your target audience. If it doesn’t, you’re free to end the discussion right there and then in a polite manner. You’re not obligated to work with an influencer if your brands don’t align or if they are way above your budget.
  • But if the influencer agrees to work with you, discuss the specifics. From expectations to executions and payment. After all has been decided, draw up an agreement and ask the influencer to sign. This is such an important step that a lot of brands miss. That agreement will protect you and your brand if anything goes south.
  • After the agreement has been signed, you can officially begin. At the end of the campaign, document your results and decide if it was a success or not. If it wasn’t up to your expectations, make notes about what went wrong and correct it in your next campaign. Just because you failed once doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try again.

As influencer marketing becomes increasingly popular, brands now have a duty to protect themselves from influencers.

If you have worked with a number of influencers in the past and they have created content for you but you can’t seem to find them in one folder, here are three tips on how you can organize your social media assests.


  1. […] Are you using influencers for your e-commerce business? Here are a few tips to prevent getting scammed. […]

  2. […] Influencer marketing has been under so much criticism lately but the truth is when the campaigns are done correctly, the results can be really good. So, don’t completely give up on them. Explore both paid and unpaid influencer collaborations. As the organic reach on Instagram keeps declining, use your stories to host Influencer takeovers and expand your reach to bigger audiences. By working with influencers in your niche, you are exposing your brand to new audiences that will potentially buy from you. […]

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