Digital Influencers Who Buy Followers Blacklisted

Influencers who purchase followers are now being blacklisted by the marketing community. As the importance of transparency increases, giants such as Unilever have been announcing that they will no longer work with social media influencers who buy followers.

Unilever Chief Marketing Officer Keith Weed called for more transparency from influencers in a speech at Cannes.

“At best it’s misleading, at worst it’s corrupt,” Weed told The Wall Street Journal ahead of his announcement. “For the sake of a few bad apples in the barrel, I believe there is risk in the area of influencers.”

P&G pulled more than $140 million in digital advertising in response to frustrations over transparency and brand safety, in what turned out to be a mostly symbolic move in that the company barely missed a beat in meeting its revenue goals.

While influencer marketing can be a powerful tool, it is important for companies to validated who they are partnering with. Here is a 3 basic point checklist you should ensure every influencer can pass.

1. Organic Comments

Any organic influencer will create conversation and have their followers interacting with them. Browse through the comments on various content pieces and see the types of conversations taking place. If there are too many that seem fake, for example comments with only emojis or saying something along the lines of “Very cool”, you may want to look at different influences. Now every content piece will likely contain these types of comments, though make sure there are some organic conversations happening as well.

2. Like to Follower Ratio

Arguably one of the most important stats to look at, seeing how many Likes a content piece receives, in relation to the accounts followers. This would be the number one point to look at, though Likes, similar to followers, can be purchased as well.

There is no baseline ratio number that validates an influencer in this area, though use your own discretion and best judgement. Generally, if something does seem or feel right, it likely isn’t.

3. Number of Accounts Following

Related specifically to Twitter and Instagram, look at the amount of accounts the influencer is following. No strong influencer will be following more accounts then their own followers or simply following thousands of accounts.

If you’d like to see the full article on Unilever’s decision, check out the article at Marketing Land.


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