The 5-Step Guide to Spotting an Influencer with Fake Followers: Step 3

Using Followers’ Country Demographic

In the first and second parts of our guide, we taught you how to spot an influencer with fake followers by looking at audience growth and engagement (rate) respectively. In today’s piece, we’ll be showing you how to do this with the influencer’s followers’ country demographic.

Step III: Find out their Followers’ Country Demographic

Watch out for: followers from unexpected countries

It should not come as a surprise that the highest percentage of an influencer’s followers typically come from the same country as the influencer themself. This is almost always the case when the influencer communicates with their audience using a language that is not widely spoken across the world. Even in cases where the influencer writes in a more commonly-spoken language such as English, it is still most likely the case that the largest or a very large percentage of their audience resides in the same country as they do, since their posts are most likely to resonate with such an audience.

Country distribution of a South Korean influencer who has bought fake followers [Graph generated via Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform]
This means that if a significant percentage of an influencer’s audience is from a country whose language the influencer does not speak, there is quite a high chance that the influencer has purchased fake followers. An example of this is shown in the graph on the left, which represents the country distribution of a South Korean influencer who writes only in Korean. In this case, 65% of the influencer’s followers are from Brazil. This is highly suspicious given that the influencer never uses English or Brazilian Portuguese and has not made any trips to Brazil.

That said, there are several exceptions to this rule.

I. Celebrities

Celebrities who are well-known worldwide and who have fan bases spread out across the world are the first instances of such exceptions. Such celebrities have reached such renown in places other than the country they are residing in or that they are a citizen of that their social media demographic also reflects this transcendence across national boundaries.

Country distribution of @caradelevingne’s Instagram audience [Graph generated via Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform]
British model @caradelevingne is one such example. We can see from the graph on the right that her audience profile is extremely varied. 7 of the top 10 countries her followers are from do not use English as the main mode of communication. Yet, it would be difficult to accuse her of having purchased fake followers, given the lack of other signs to corroborate this information.

II. Mega-Influencers from Small, Developed Countries

One is also likely to find exceptions in small, developed countries such as Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, where influencers are likely to communicate with their audience in languages that are widely spoken across the world such as English or Mandarin.

While the micro-influencers in these countries are still likely to have more than half of their audience from the country in which they are residing, one cannot say the same for the mega-influencers. Since these countries have small populations, influencers who reside within them tend to have to attract followers from other regions in order to continue growing.

Top 3 country demographics of two Singaporean mega-influencers [Statistics generated via Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform]
As with engagement (rate), looking at an influencer’s audience can give you clues as to whether the influencer has fake followers, but does not provide you with this information at 100% accuracy. This information is best used in conjunction with other metrics like the audience growth and engagement (rate) statistics mentioned in the first two posts of this series. The more signs an influencer shows, the higher the likelihood that they have fake followers.

This is part three in a series entitled ‘The 5-Step Guide to Spotting an Influencer with Fake Followers’. The aim of this five-part series is to provide you with five foolproof methods of identifying an influencer who has purchased fake followers. To read part one on identifying fake followers using audience growth, click here. To read part two on identifying fake followers by checking their engagement (rate), click here.

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