Breaking Up is Bot to Do

Breaking Up is Bot to Do

Brand ambassadors and social influencers. If you work with an agency or want to increase your business through social media you’ve likely come across these two terms, and for good reason. Companies such as Sperry, Kia, and Old Navy have all used social influencer campaigns, and they’re not alone. In a recent study by Schlesinger Associates, 84 percent of respondents said they would launch at least one influencer campaign within the next 12 months. Social influencer campaigns have increased in popularity as consumers are honing in on tuning out certain forms of digital advertising.

But who are these influencers? That’s a big question with many answers: there are macro-influencers, micro-influencers, celebrity influencers, authority influencers, activist influencers and more, but we won’t bore you with the minutiae. The short story is that influencers are people with large social followings, which companies or brands compensate to feature their product or service on the user’s personal social channels.

But in reality, some of these “influencers” are not influencing many humans at all. If you take a closer look, you might find that most of their followers or “likers” are actually bots. Yes. We mean non-human, algorithm-driven, computer-generated robo-people.

Likes — or followers — used to be the best metric to litmus test the reach and legitimacy of a social channel. As people and companies found out they could profit and gain trust from having a large social following, the use of bots has exploded.

Facebook and Instagram have begun to fight back against bots, but Rebel recommends spot-checking followers/likers of any social influencers or brand ambassadors you’re considering working with.

If you see a cool new product and the page has 20,000 followers, don’t automatically assume it’s a trusted brand. Here are a few red flags to look for:

  • Does the profile have have a profile picture?
  • Has it posted 10 or fewer photos/videos?
  • Does it have a lot of followers but little engagement?
  • Does the wording of the profile name look jumbled or somehow “off?”
  • Does their following to follower ratio look disproportionately high?

Click here to read a recent New York Times article detailing how bots work.

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