How to Spot a Fake Instagram Influencer

Ever bought an outfit, switched to a new skincare routine, or experimented with a health supplement all because a reasonably famous stranger on Instagram told you to do so? That’s the kind of power some individuals on social media wield over the masses – and their powers of persuasion haven’t gone unnoticed by brands striving to stand out.

Advertisers are increasingly relying upon social media content creators, especially those native to Instagram, to help drive awareness for their products and business. Popular with teens and young adults who are digital natives, Instagram content creators – AKA influencers – hold considerable sway over their audience, who are likely to follow their recommendations and advice seriously, and attempt to emulate their lifestyle.

To hook this younger audience, brands often look for influencers with large followings – after all, numbers speak to brands. Thus, the higher the follower count, the more likely it is for an influencer to be courted with partnerships, endorsements, and collaborations. Unsurprisingly, learning about this system has led some greedy individuals to resort to unscrupulous methods of increasing follower count while offering little substantive content in return.

Because marketing, and especially digital marketing often relies on agility and speed, executives operating under tight deadlines may not have the luxury of properly vetting the follower lists and accounts of the influencers they choose to work with. However, not implementing strict quality checks does not bode well for brands, as working with fake influencers will dilute brand reputation. Additionally, it will lead to wasted marketing dollars spent on reaching bots instead of real people.

If you or your brand are looking to engage influencers, here is a handy guide on how to weed out dubious social media personalities:

Famous nearly overnight

Did the influencer in question start at the bottom with a humble number of followers, but now boasts of tens of thousands of followers nearly overnight – without having committed any notable acts of internet notoriety? Whatever caused the follower count to skyrocket is a mystery that no one can attribute to anything the person posted, leaving you to only guess. To discern whether a following is legitimate or not, use social media tracking tools, which allow you to check the number of followers gained over time. If there a sudden spike that cannot be explained, it’s likely the extra followers were purchased. Another tactic that several fake influencers employ is the “follow-unfollow” ploy, which involves following people and then immediately unfollowing them once they have followed back.

Quality of comments

If the comments on an influencer’s post consist mostly of generalised compliments with dubious grammar or entirely of emojis, they are probably generated by hundreds of bot accounts. While they might seem genuine upon first glance, a few comments repeating the same variation of “great job”, “keep it up”, and “wow” are a tell-tale sign of non-human interaction. Spam accounts also often post comments begging for likes or follows on their own page, and may even ask you to check out a link on their bio (you are strongly advised not to do this as you might be redirected to a compromised website). So how do you know when comments are genuine? Look for positive and negative feedback, or people tagging their friends and interacting with them on the post itself.

Engagement rates

Engagement rates are one of the primary metrics marketers look for when choosing influencers to partner with. While the “magic number” for influencer engagement rates differs from company to company, 1-3% seems to be the generally accepted figure. On the part of the influencers, factors such as type, timing, and frequency of posts also play a role in how often followers interact with their content. If an influencer with a massive following (in the tens of thousands or more) attract a paltry sum of likes (10-20) per post or has a low engagement rate, their follower base definitely consists of bots. For exact figures, tools such as SocialBlade will automatically generate a report card detailing an influencer’s overall ranking, grade, and engagement rates. For more extensive campaigns, brands can also consider tools like Meltwater’s* Social Influencers discovery tool that has more in-depth analytics tools that break down an account’s demographics, interests and other metrics

Quality of followers

To gain a better idea of the influencer’s target audience, look at the kinds of accounts that follow them. Right off the bat, you’ll be able to tell if the accounts are suspect or not. For example, if the accounts have random strings of letters and numbers for names, then it is safe to assume they are spam accounts. Accounts like these be can bought by the thousands for a small sum of money, so if an influencer’s following is impressive, but consists mostly of these types of accounts, they’re probably not the real deal.

Social media presence outside of Instagram

While this might sound counterintuitive, it is not uncommon for influencers to maintain a presence across multiple social media sites. If they are experts in their niche (beauty, fashion, art, design, food, travel) check to see if they have been featured in magazines and newspapers. If they are genuine content creators, it’s likely they will have worked with other influencers, brands and companies. Keep an eye out for any public events they might attend, such as launch parties, interviews or television shows. If these “influencers” are virtually ghosts outside of the colourful pastiche that is Instagram, alarm bells should be sounding off in your head.

By following these guidelines, you should be able to determine if an influencer is legitimate or not. Fingers crossed the ones you have shortlisted are, and that you get to work with them!

Need help finding a popular face to better reach your Gen Z customers? Just say ‘hi’ at hello@mutant.com.sg and we’ll talk.

*Disclaimer – Meltwater is a client of Mutant Communications, but this blog is not sponsored by them

3 easy steps to speaking fluent Instagram

The subtle difference between a double tap and a scroll-through could lie in the caption. Instagram is full of well-lit, pretty images, but it’s the caption that anchors the image to your audience’s life

Using the right voice

The voice is the personality behind the account. The trick to achieving the right pitch is by establishing who your target audience is and mixing that with the nature of your business. You need to establish your own voice and Instagram is a social platform, so be social!

Consistency in format (both photos and choice of language)

Look at big companies like @generalelectric, you’d notice that there is a strong consistency in how the photos are all professionally shot. More importantly, there is consistency in how the captions are crafted. In the case of GE, their Instagram is all about inspiring people and sharing their research work to the world.

Ask the right questions

Look at @Sharpie’s instagram. There is a lot of art, which is great because it shows what the product can do – but the captions are conversational and show a personality behind both the brand and the images.
Here’s an example:

The picture is not great, and well that filter should be reserved for a Lana Del Ray music video, but the caption opens up the creativity of the reader and it follows the most important branding lesson we learned this year: advertising is about your audience not you.

Using the right lingo and hashtags

No matter who your audience is, Instagram is about getting people talking. There is a ton of Instagram lingo out there, and we don’t know where it comes from (either Reddit or the Kardashians) but it goes viral quickly, with short life cycles. Here are a couple we came across just looking today:

  • #transformationtuesday: self-explanatory. Used for weightloss but you could get creative with it for companies if you have a new product update.
  • #smh: shake my head
  • #fam: your peoples, someone you would consider family member
  • #wyd?: what would you do? Hypotheticals used to create conversation
  • #squadgoals: aspirations with your crew
  • #af: as heck

By now you should be speaking Instagram perfectly. If you’re a business that needs help speaking this foreign language get in touch with us at hello@mutant.com.sg.

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5 ways your brand will slay instagram

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a caption will turn browsers into consumers. Captions are the opportunity to connect with your audience on a more personal level. You know your brand voice? This is the time for it to shine. An effective instagram caption can make the difference between a conversion or leave a post ignored. 

1. Find the right voice

Voice refers to the personality projected when writing a caption or interacting with other users. The trick to achieving the right tone is through establishing your target audience and coupled with the nature of your business. When in doubt, caption it as if you were writing it to a friend, but leave out short-lived instagram slang that expires faster than you can say “on fleek”

2016 Instagram terms that we predict will die quick painless death:

  • FAM
  • Squad
  • Savage
  • Bae

Tip: As of Apr 2016, ‘Snatched’ is the new ‘On fleek’

2. Stay consistent

If you’d take a look at the instagram accounts of big companies like General Electric, you’d notice that there is a strong consistency in how the photos are all professionally shot. More importantly, there is consistency in how the captions are crafted. In the case of GE, the Instagram is all about inspiring individuals and sharing their research with the world.

3. Be funny

Take a look – Hewlett Packard, Intel, and our personal favourite, Ciscohave the funniest Instagrams of all time. Did we mention they are also traditionally pretty boring companies?

Instagram is the one place where you can let your freak flag fly, no matter how serious your product is. Don’t take yourselves too seriously on this platform, show some brand personality.

4. Use hashtags

Hashtags are the perfect way to increase the odds of accidental discovery from users who may just be interested in what you have to say. Hashtags are especially useful for campaigns as they allow user-generated content to get aggregated all into one place.

But don’t over do hashtags. #Otherwise #you #will #look #outdated.

Click here to see the list of trending hashtags!


Red Bull loves to hashtag their photos and I must say, it’s done very tastefully and as a result of that, Red Bull’s account often gets discovered by chance.

5. Be engaging

Do you know why Instagram overtook Flickr as the world’s leading photo-sharing app?

Social skills.

Instagram isn’t just a chance to share photos, it’s a platform where you can ask a question and people can have engaging conversations (or arguments) about your photo. The caption space is an opportunity to open up the floor to ask your audience anything, or to have them ask you. There’s a reason why some photos have over 9000 comments. Start a conversation on your image today.

View this post on Instagram

Tag who you would share your Taco Bell with.

A post shared by Taco Bell (@tacobell) on


An effective Instagram account is all about having the right attitude, good humour, and a solid picture to go with it.

If you need help with your Instagram captions, let us help you create some magic. Drop a message to hello@mutant.com.sg 

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Finding the right social media influencer for your brand

In this day and age of social media, the rise of influencers can no longer be ignored. Social media influencers are often a powerful channel for driving engagement. Perhaps, a personal touch is just what a potential consumer needs to make a decision. In this blog, we’ll take you through the definition of social media influencer marketing and how to best use this for your business.

What is social media influencer marketing?

According to GroupHigh, social media influencer marketing is the practice of building relationships with the people who can build relationships for you. Influencers are basically your bridge to a whole new pool of end-users. No matter the size of the following, these influencers will be able to help you reach consumers via their social networks and blogs that your brand may not be able to.

As you can see from this little diagram by Affinio, target your audience through various influencers who share the same following.

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 10.30.37 am

From finding the right influencer for your brand to having them represent you, you will need to identify them, market to them, market through them, and then market with them. Here’s how:

  1. Identifying influencers – rank them in order of importance and relevance.
  2. Marketing to influencers – increase awareness of the brand amongst influencers.
  3. Marketing through influencers – using influencers to increase market awareness.
  4. Marketing with influencers – turn influencers into brand ambassadors.

Why social media influencer marketing?

Because a whopping 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations and only 33% trust advertisements!

In the eyes of the consumer, a social media influencer is that cool kid in high school and whatever he or she is into is the next cool thing. Most importantly, there is an authenticity and trustworthiness that comes with your influencer’s recommendation that advertisements lack.

How to get into social media influencer marketing?

Develop and build your relationships with the social media influencers that you think will best represent your brand and reach your target audience. Simply drop them an email with what you have in mind for your collaboration. Here’s how to find the right influencer for your brand:

  • Find an influencer who is pretty much already an ambassador

That means that the influencer’s content is already aligned with your brand’s message. Look through an influencer’s archived content to find out what kind of consumer they are.

  • Engagement vs. reach

Your choice of influencer should not only be able to reach a great number of your target audience, but should also be able to engage them to respond, comment and share. The relationship between your influencer and his/her readers should be meaningful and not just superficial.

  • Look out for authentic and organic content

The more organic the content, the more likely your target audience is to trust his/her recommendation.

The key is to find a social media influencer that allows for a mutually beneficial relationship. And don’t forget, a great relationship between your brand and your influencer of choice will definitely make activating your marketing goals more seamless and effective!

Need help with your social media? Drop a message to hello@mutant.com.sg 

 

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10 steps to Instagram success for unsexy companies

Can you tell your brand story in nine images? According to eMarketer, Instagram’s global mobile ad revenues are expected to reach $2.81 billion by next year. With 400 million users and growing, visual content via social media is becoming an increasingly important part of a marketing campaign.

Corporate tech giants like IBM, Intel, Salesforce and Cisco are killing it on the photo-sharing app. How? The key isn’t in exotic landscapes, squat workouts, or well-lit bacon burgers – it’s about telling your brand story in a cohesive tone that’s unique to your company.

Here are 10 steps to success on one of the world’s most influential platforms.

1. Start with your core company values.

If you don’t have a tangible product to work around, the sky is still the limit for creativity. Pluck out key points from your brand manifesto. Concepts like ‘delighting customers’, ‘teamwork’, ‘encouraging innovation’ are possible to illustrate in a creative photograph.

2. Profile staff.

If the global success of Humans of New York doesn’t have you convinced, check out some of the creative staff posts from IBM. Your employees are all part of the brand story. Include a short description or anecdote of your staff member’s role in the company. Plus, there are tons of fun ways to take a profile shot for Instagram.


3. Be cohesive.

Have one picture lead to the next. We don’t just mean with colour and lighting, but with the tone of each picture. Have transitions between uploads. For example, if you’re posting about a company outing, have some transitions or pre-event hype: i.e. “T-minus 45 minutes ‘til we pile into the car for the conference!”

4. Show behind the scenes.

Context is a great way to express your brand values. Showing the magic behind what you do with a sneak peak at of your office, lab, or even toilet.

5. Engage with your community.

Instagram didn’t get to 400 million users by just being a photo app. Comments, captions and trending hashtags are chances to engage directly to your audience like a friend. It’s not the place to sell. Use the space below the snap to ask questions and likewise go through other accounts of similar companies. Then tag, comment, hashtag, and of course, double tap.

6. Humble brag about your office space.

Get inspired by accounts like @apartmenttherapy and post pics from the office. Ask users for suggestions on how to improve a space or what colour to paint a wall. Ugly office? Creative #desk spaces get good hits!

7. Show your company culture.

What do your programmers do when they’re not doing sprints? Create FOMO with your staff. Show happy staff in action, whether brainstorming, in a meeting, or just chillin’ on the couch. A strong company culture strengthens a company’s brand. Likewise, your staff are your brand ambassadors, and happy staff are more likely to share their company activity on social media leading to more engagement.


8. Hop on holidays.

Festive holidays and other relevant events are an easy way to be part of a larger dialogue and increases your chance of being noticed. Even posting a custom greeting card, Christmas tree, or candy hearts spelling out your company name connects you to your users.

9. Focus on quality.

Take an extra couple of seconds to step into the right light and do a little set planning before snapping and uploading. Amateur pics are great to ‘keep it real’, but at the end of the day, you’re competing with millions of photos online. Make each one count.

10. Own it.

Popularised by Millennials inspired to ‘work with what they got’, owning it is taking pride in what you have. Businesses today don’t need to look longingly at National Geographic  or Nasty Gal with envy. Say, if you have cloud-based software that’s hard for people to understand, create fun ways to illustrate it. There are plenty of pretty accounts out there, just make yours looks like you (don’t believe me? Just take a look at Sharpie’s account. It’s only a pen, but it’s one of the coolest Instagram pages around.)

Do more (of what makes you happy) #BeHappy #Sharpie   A photo posted by @sharpie on

We hope this helps your company get its Instagram game off the ground. Tweet us @mutantcomms to tell us how you make your unsexy business cool, or get in touch with us at hello@mutant.com.sg

How to make your Instagram content discoverable

Congratulations! You’ve created an Instagram page for your business. Now what?

Since acquiring Instagram in 2012, Facebook has kept this simple photo-sharing app going from strength to strength.

With developers tirelessly rolling out updates to enhance its existing features, marketers and business owners alike need to ensure they are keeping up with the changes and learning to use the functionalities to their advantage.

Earlier this year, Instagram shifted its focus to its search function, giving users an even more comprehensive experience. This function was later made available on Instagram’s website, making the Instagram’s explore function one of its strongest suits at the moment – excellent news for users seeking out new content!

I’d like to present you with 3 simple, yet frequently overlooked, habits I promise will amplify your content’s visibility on Instagram.

They require little effort and time, and – best of all – there’s no cost attached to help make your content more discoverable (unless, of course, you’re wanting to explore Instagram’s latest developments – advertising – which is taking off around the globe!)

  1. Geotag your content

Geotag: To Include the specific location of your photograph at the moment you upload it.

Essentially, geotagging stores your current location – longitude and latitude – along with your photo, and this data is accessible to Instagram with your permission. You can also choose to add a location to your photo through the “Name this location” option, meaning you can tell people where you are at any time – a restaurant, a shop, an event or a business headquarters.

It’s simple and effective, but most businesses don’t make proper use of this very simple function.

Having your business as a location option allows people who come by your business, whatever it may be, to choose it as a location. This means customers can ‘check in’ at your location, and it allows other used to follow the location link and see other people’s posts related to the same location. This is an incredible effective way to showcase your product or venue and reach new customers. If you’re a shop on a busy street, it can be a great way for tourists to find out about you, for example.

It also gives you the option of regramming (re-posting) the images your customers are sharing to your official business Instagram, if it aligns with your branding and tone. This opens up lines of communication between your business and customers, which is always a positive.

  1. Using hashtags

Another way to enhance discovery on Instagram is to keep up with the #hashtag game.

Please note that I am not encouraging you #to #hashtag #every #little #thing – too many people do this, and it’s a strong indication that they don’t understand the actual usage of hashtags. Too many hashtags will distract your content from its key message and gain invaluable traction.

A good rule of thumb is to stick to one hashtag unique for your business (such as your brand name), along with two to five other hashtags made up of keywords relevant to your content. Not hashtags that will get you as many “likes” on your post as possible. (i.e very generic terms that can be linked to something else entirely.)

Pairing good content with inappropriate hashtags is like putting a snake and a mongoose together – it’s painful to watch, and the mongoose has no chance.

Over time, relevant and appropriate hashtags can create a following of their own, allowing users to search for it and find out more about your business. The more specific you can get with your hashtag, the more targeted your audience will can, which ultimately leads to better engagement.

  1. Following your followers (and non-followers)

If you’re unsure of who to start following, try making use of Instagram’s search function to carry out either a location-based search, or a hashtag search. The search will lead you to images that will help you locate people who have interests similar to yours.

Look through a list of people with interests aligned with your brand’s, or people whose demographics are closest to that of your intended audience. (Their bios and posts would be a good indication of their personalities, to a certain extent.)

If you already have a following, you may want to consider following your followers back. Alternatively, you can go through your competitor’s followers, and identify those you would like to follow.

Following people is almost like an open invitation into their lives, allowing you to find out more about what people are talking about and what they care about. You will also be able to identify social media trends taking place and better craft content around that trend to stay relevant!

If you’d like to speak about your brand’s social media strategy, please feel free to reach out at hello@mutant.com.sg.      

Image: Courtesy of @sharpie‘s Instagram page

Social media lessons from the rich and famous

The growth and popularity of social media has been incredible. As consumers, we use a multitude of platforms to keep in touch with people across the globe and to access information about products, events or brands, while the end goal for businesses is to make sales and connect to a target audience.

Many brands splash big bucks on social media spend in hope of explosive engagement, but many fail to ever get the traction they desire. They just seem to miss what their audience really wants to see, and too often lack personality and structure to their plans.

Celebrities are some of the best brands out there. They’re everywhere. Yes, they typically have a team of people shaping the way are seen to the public, but the biggest celebs in the world have an innate understanding of their appeal, their target audience, and the key messages then ensure they’re presented in the way they wish to be seen. And they do it damn well.

So, how can companies get their brand to become insta-famous? Gaining a little bit of inspiration from E!, I’ve outlined some of the best tips we can take away from our A-list mates.

Watch your tone

This may seem simple enough. Companies know what their brand stands for, right? Consumers generally respond when they feel the brand is talking directly to them, appealing to their needs.

While it’s nice to boast about your success, this gets old quickly. Instead, write like you would speak and include content that resonates with the audience.

Take actor Ryan Reynolds, whose lovable personality, humility and humour is showcased so well on social media. This recent Twitter post really made me laugh – he’s personable, funny and relatable, making me want to read more from him (luckily his posts just get better by the day).

ryan-reynolds


Be recognisable

Ok, so before you judge me for my next comment, I’d like to make it clear that I do not support the Kardashians, nor do I actually really like them, but there is something about that family that makes me (and the rest of the world!) pay attention. You have to give it to them – their social media following is through the roof! Between Kim, Khloe and Kourtney, the girls have a collective Instagram following in excess of 100 million – yep that’s right!

What makes their profiles work is their content. Take Kim Kardashian – just do me a favour and visit her Instagram profile. It’s filled with selfies, an act she has damn well perfected and more or less claimed as her own. It’s what her fans recognise her for! Kim’s narcissistic personality has worked in her favour (not an easy feat) but she also showcases behind-the-scenes shots and a glimpse into the crazy world that is Kim and her husband, Kanye West.

kimk

While companies might not be able to compare themselves to the Kardashians, you can learn a lot about building a recognisable brand, giving the customers what they want, and constantly, constantly engaging with them.

Avoid the sales pitch and bring out your personality

Too often I stumble across a Facebook or Instagram page where a sales pitch is just screaming at me. And yes, these platforms are great for getting directly in front of the customer, but there are more subtle ways of doing this.

Musician Taylor Swift has become a social media master. This savvy artist has an excess of 140 million followers across all her social media platforms. How does she do it? Well, she doesn’t sell her music directly – instead, she ‘sells’ her personality.

This video she uploaded to Facebook is just brilliant (click on the image below to view). Her likeable personality and ‘girl next door’ attitude is what people love her for, and she knows it.

taylor-swift

Similarly, let’s consider Lady Gaga, who’s ‘Little Monsters’ follow her every move. She loves her fans, shows genuine appreciation for her success and knows what works where. By showcasing her personality and letting her fans into her life through social media, Lady Gaga is indirectly selling records.

Brands need to understand that providing consumers with quality content is more likely to generate sales than direct marketing alone.

Learn the difference

Each social media platform is different and caters to a different audience. I’m sure many of you are thinking, “well that’s pretty obvious” but it’s important to mention, because too many companies are still posting the exact same content in the same manner across all their social platforms – a big no no!

Since retiring from professional football, David Beckham’s popularity has risen to new heights. Of course, being one half of ‘The Beckhams’ helps, but his social media presence really demonstrates who he is – something many professional sports personalities fail to do.

Go through some of his accounts and you’ll see a trend. We see more of his charitable side on Facebook, his adoration for his kids on Instagram, and constant support for his wife’s career on Twitter. With each social network that David Beckham joins, he finds new and unique ways to engage with his fans. He is strategically growing the Beckham social media empire by allowing fans to, in a way, experience life in the Beckham family.

Looking for some structure and strategy around your social media campaign? Get in touch with us at hello@mutant.com.sg