Influencers and Brands! Buying followers is like smoking at this point: Everyone knows it’s bad, but they do it anyway because they think it makes them look cool. Well Kemosabe, it doesn’t. Sorry to break it to you. Smoking and all its derivatives (vaping, et al.) and buy followers (and all the bots people use to disguise their engagement) can shove off to some faraway island together and enjoy each other’s disgusting company. Too soon? No, not soon enough. We at REP are likely the only ones who have invested in micro influencers with less that 1k followers and the returns were staggering. Why? Because those influencers have a real, authentic, captive audience—not a bunch of pretend profiles taking up space.

So, where does this leave you fellow social media enthusiast and/or influencer or brand? We’ll tell you:

1) Don’t Buy! First things first, if you have at one point or are currently considering buying followers, do not. Step away. Find something else to do with your time and money. Brands are finally catching on. They’ll now look beyond your number of followers. Certainly with REP they can look at previous posts and gauge your engagement levels on both comments and likes, which mean those of you with tens of thousands of followers yielding less that 100 likes will not be hired. The jig is up. You may have fooled them once… but you know how that saying ends.

2) If You Have Done So, Clean Up Your Mess! Take the time and go through your followers. Clean up your mess, however, you’d like—but do it. This app seems to be the one to use, but to be clear: we don’t care how you do this, so long as you do.

2b) More On The Above. If you’ve never participated in any of the buying followers shenanigans, chances are your social media profile has quite a number of fake profiles—unless you have a private account. Studies show 8% of Instagram profiles are fake and up to 30% are inactive. This should be disconcerting to you if you’re an influencer. If you don’t understand why don’t worry, we’ll spell it out for you: Inactive followers mean less engagement, which ultimately will deter a brand from wanting to work with you. So keep your profile lean and mean. If you don’t think you’ve got enough fake followers to warrant using an app to clean up the mess, you might want to take a quick inventory of the following telltale signs of fake followers:

· No profile image/bio.

· Few posts on their profiles.

· Posting comments that are oftentimes generic/don’t match the image.

· Their own posts yield little to no engagement.

· This one is obvious, but the number of followers is dwarfed by the number of people they follow.

If you come across any of those on your profile, block ‘em. Kick ‘em to the curb.

We’d like to end by urging you once more not to try and impress or lure brands with a ton of followers when the engagement is weak. Again, it’d behoove you, as an influencer, to keep it lean; remember, micro influencers are yielding the best ROI and engagement levels. So please, please, please, don’t worry about the sum of followers. Focus on creating solid content that the followers you do have will be excited to see. The rest will fall into place.