Top Red Flags When Choosing Potential Social Influencers


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How To Know When An Influencer Is A No Go

Social media influencers are the biggest thing right now as far as brand marketing is concerned. And with the rise of the social media celebrity, it's becoming easier and easier to find an influencer to represent your brand.

But it's important to know when an influencer may be bad news for your brand, and some of these warning signs aren't always obvious. In this blog, Hollywood Branded reveals the top social influencer red flags brand marketers need to know and how to spot them.

Top Red Flags When Choosing Potential Social Influencers

1. Bad Follower To Following Ratio

A high number of followers is a good sign for an influencer, but it's extremely important to check how many people they are following as well. Often on Twitter and Instagram, a user will follow and like thousands of other users in the hopes of getting followed back in return. If they follow as many or more people than their own followers, that's a red flag. 

For example, the perfect ratio would be Beyonce's remarkable 102,000,000:1. Of course, that's practically unattainable so you most likely want to make sure that for every person they follow, an influencer has at least 3 followers.

You want your influencer to be popular on social media organically, not because they had to beg for followers. Also - remember to check for paid or fake followers, also known as "bots" who follow accounts to make an influencer seem more popular than he or she is.

A good way to check this is plugging any Twitter handle into or There are similar checks for Facebook and Instagram.


2. Be On The Lookout For A Spike In Followers!

While follower growth is great, both for brand exposure and for the influencer, growth that comes too fast and at too large of a rate can raise some concerns. It's natural for an influencer's growth to be linear, but when they gain dozens or even hundreds of followers in minutes or hours, you should be a bit wary of them. Although viral videos and social media moments can catapult an influencer to overnight fame, viral social media trends typically don't come every hour. When you see an influencer with an uptick in their following for seemingly no reason, it is important to take a look at who is actually following them; they could be fake followers that the influencer bought to grow their follower size. 


3. Check For Engagement!

Another way to make sure your influencer actually has influence is to check the engagement on their posts. If a post has thousands of likes but no comments, this could be another red flag for fake followers or an uninteractive fan base. 

When selling a brand, it is important to be interactive. That's why it's a good sign when an influencer's fans interact with him or her and especially when they interact back.

After all, you want the influencer to engage their audience when they represent your brand right? For example, celebs and social influencers like Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber are known for their funny fan responses. 

justin bieber fan response.png

4. Do They Have A Press Kit? 

Although the influencer industry is a growing one, it's growing very rapidly, and won't be stopping any time soon. Because of this, it can feel overwhelming to have to sift through the influencers who are more serious about partnering with a brand versus those who just want some free product. One way to weed out the less-serious influencers is by requesting a press kit - those who take the industry seriously will have one! These kits should have materials that support their paid sponsorship requests, outlining their audience demographic, engagement rates, client referrals, and case studies. 

Media kit

5. Be Sure To Check For Negative Responses

Just because an influencer has a ton of comments doesn't necessarily mean they're all good ones. Read through the comments and make sure they are positive and engaging, not hateful or full of arguments between users. Sure, social media celebs can't control a lot of this, but you don't want your brand associated with a super-controversial figure.

READ THROUGH ALL THEIR POSTS. It's better to be safe than sorry with online controversy. Make sure they're not a loose cannon with posting or commenting. And watch the language! This one seems obvious, but many people fail to vet their social media influencers and end up with scandals on their hands. And the saying is true - once it's on the internet, it never goes away. 

6. Selling Or Featuring Too Many Brands

You don't want to share the spotlight with tons of other brands, and if you partner with an influencer that's known for posting mostly branded or sponsored content, you may risk your brand getting lost in the fray.

Also, you need to realize this is why influencers delete their brand posts after a time.  They don't want to look like a branding machine if someone scrolls through their backdated posts.

Nobody likes an influencer that is always selling something. Partner with a niche influencer that will go perfectly with your market and avoid having their post come off as an ad instead of an endorsement. 

gerber influencer marketing.png

7. Posting Frequency

A major red flag for social media marketing strategy is post frequency. Posting too often can be a major annoyance, and many people will unfollow someone who spams their feed, especially with sponsored posts.

But remember, you DO want an influencer who will post regularly! If you hire an influencer who almost never posts, you've thrown your money away. Make sure they are posting in an appropriate way for which platform - 3 or 4 times a day on Twitter, once a day on Facebook, and a few times per week on Instagram. 


8. Be Aware of Their Values

It's only natural to not see completely eye-to-eye with the people you work with. However, when it comes to hiring influencers who will be promoting your brand, it is important to do a deep-dive into the content they post, especially in when it comes to politics or other controversial topics. Taking stock as to what the influencers you work with say (or, don't say) about controversial topics might be a bit difficult, but it will save you in the long run. Aligning your brand with an influencer who is outspoken about a controversial topic might alienate your customer base or may even cause some turmoil within the partnership or your company. As a brand, it is important to think about whether or not you want the influencers you work with to be open about their political leaning and if the statements they are making are ones that you would feel comfortable defending.

9. Off-Topic Comments

Another way to check if an influencer has fake followers is by doing a deep-dive into their comment section. If the comments are wildly off-topic in regards to the post that they're commenting on, you should be raising a red flag. Bot accounts can be programmed to comment on posts, but oftentimes aren't "smart" enough to comment with something directly related to the post. While one or two off-topic comments may not be cause for concern, having a comment section filled with primarily random comments is a sign that the influencer has purchased a majority of their followers and is likely spending even more money for higher interaction rates. 

Could Your Social Media Strategy Use An Influencer?

Are you interested in learning more on how your brand can work with social media influencers?  Check out these blog posts below to learn all there is to know about influencers! 

Want to learn even more about social influencers? Download our infographic that provides case studies, rates and strategies for success when creating a social media influencer program.

How To Connect Your Brand With Social Influencers