Influencers are without a doubt an important part of the marketing mix for brands today.  One of the primary ways that brands judge whether influencer campaigns are successful is to measure the level of engagement with sponsored posts.  Questions are being raised, however, about whether those engagement numbers are always real.

Here are some of the questions to ask when you're considering whether your influencer's enagement numbers are what they appear to be: 

1.  Are "likes" the result of bots?

2.  Is your influencer working with a network of influencers to engage with each other's posts in order to boost their engagement numbers?

3.  Is influencer engagement the result of organic interaction with users or as a result of sponsored posts? 

4.  Are influencer networks paying users to engage with their influencers' posts? 

5. Are influencer networks causing posts to be shared by unrelated influencers that generate "likes" but don't necessary generate likes from your target audience? 

Here are a few things you can start to do to battle influencer fraud.  Do some due diligence on the influencers and influencer networks that you're working with.  You can also include provisions in influencer contracts that define what are acceptable types of engagement.  Finally, consider auditing or spot checking influencer engagements to verify whether numbers are real.