5 signs you’re in the presence of a fake influencer

Being granted the pleasure of being in the presence of an influencer is in itself a blessing, and not to be taken lightly…

The modern-day-celebrity, you’ll probably encounter them in nightclubs, bars, festivals, maybe even your local coffee shop or hair salon.

“Oh, what do you mean I can’t pay half price? I have like, way over 200k on Insta..”.

An elusive species, ‘influencers’ by definition, have the power to influence others.

In the modern world, this generally means betowing opinions or selling products to online minions; be it extremist political views or teeth whitening products.

The concept of the fake vs real influencer is in itself challenging as we grow increasingly aware of how much of the online life these influencers portray is in fact heavily edited and falsified to seem perfect.

Because perfection sells…

Even if it doesn’t exist.

But that’s not to say that genuine influencers exist.

They’re just fewer and further between.

And when trying to spot a fake influencer in the wild, keep an eye out for these 5 signs:

1) They live for the content

Gaining influencer status brings with it a great deal of benefits.

Free invites, goodie bags, discounts, selfies with strangers…

But to keep this status and keep the fans happy, you need to be selling or portraying a certain je ne sais quoi.

If they’re selling perfection and this becomes their main source of income, they can’t suddenly stray from this.

What begins as a hobby or side interest becomes a life quest to keep up with a constant overload of content.

Forget losing yourself in a tasty meal, so much so that you forget to take a pic.

Or having so much fun that you leave your phone in your pocket all night long.

No, fake influencers will be all dazzling smiles and back-breaking poses, until the camera is turned away.

Then it’s back to sitting hunched, staring at the phone screen and anxiously refreshing the like count.

2) They edit pictures 

I can’t demonize picture editing as I’m myself guilty of the odd airbrush, but it’s challenging to keep up with societal beauty standards when you are force fed images of flawless beauty.

Then look in the mirror, at your own wrinkles and rolls, and feel wholly disheartened.

The habit of smoothing skin, slimming waists, and whitening teeth has spread like a plague.

And whilst fingers shouldn’t be pointed at influencers, there are many with giant platforms who continue to edit their appearances before posting them online.

Then comes the tricky situation whereby you meet them in person and are completely blown away by how they look nothing like their online selves.

Plus have a host of impressionable followers who think these photoshopped beauty standards attainable, who spend nights crying about their own appearance.

But you also can’t even really blame influencers. 

They are as much influenced by this pressure to be perfect as their followers.

That doesn’t mean you still can’t help noticing how different they look IRL versus online.

3) And falsify reality

Plus it’s not just their own appearances that fake influencers alter.

They also photoshop every image of holiday destinations or ‘instagrammable’ locations to make them seem picture-perfect.

You get sold the holiday of a lifetime through someone’s page.

The pictures make the sea look so crystal clear and beautifully blue (they’ve cranked the saturation up to max).

There is not another soul to be seen in any of their pictures (they’ve really made good use of the eraser brush, or they got up at 4am to take said shots).

They talk about the most delicious, mouth-watering food (they were paid to promote a sub-par dining experience and slyly avoid admitting this is an ad).

Being in the presence of someone who strives to project this false reality to their followers will become far more obvious should you be in their presence.

Or even worse – their photographer.

Cue a night of letting food go cold as you stand on chairs or carry plates around, trying to get the money shot.

Or sit in silence as they quietly tap away at their phone, trying to photoshop clouds in such a way that doesn’t look too fake.

4) Their persona doesn’t match how they appear online

You’ve watched their chirpy, upbeat, confident online personality, yet you’re met with someone who rarely even smiles.

It’s easy to portray a certain character online.

A bit like roleplaying, many influencers can assume certain characteristics and keep it up within the safety of their own home.

But when it comes to bringing this character out into the real world, not only do they often not look like how they’re pictured – they also don’t act the same either.

This can partially be down to knowing or assuming how much they’ll be observed and perceived.

Feeling like all eyes are on you (maybe judging whether you look like your pictures or not) can contribute to a host of insecurities.

Or maybe they’re awkward, or sullen.

Perhaps they’re actually nicer than you imagined, if you were quick to judge and assume them vain or judgemental.

Either way, altering your true personality and playing a role is quite easily done online.

But a personality that doesn’t match with the online character is an easy way to spot a fake influencer.

5) They’re nice, until they realize you have nothing to offer

If you’re rubbing shoulders with said influencer, you might be at an event or party where one would assume you too might be an influencer.

And in this tight-knit online world, where gossip and rumours catch on quickly, it’s important to be polite, cordial, and even sometimes over friendly towards someone who might be able to give you a leg up in the world.

So you meet, and they’re showering you with affection and praise, to the point where you feel a little overloaded.

“So how many followers do you have then?”

You shrug and tell them you don’t really use social media. 

Maybe 200 if you rounded up. 

You only post pictures of your bird-watching, anyway.

The aftermath includes absolute shock horror and backing away, as said influencer realizes that you’re…normal.

They’ll get absolutely no new followers from posting a selfie with you or inviting you out.

Their demeanour does a 180 and they’re suddenly aloof and cold; any chance of scratching each other’s back and trading social media favor out the window. 

Not all influencers…

Not everyone is fake.

There are many people with huge followings and large platforms who come as they are, who you may meet and leave feeling “wow, they’re exactly as I imagined!”

There are also many who work against the stream and pressure of needing to portray a perfect online life (knowing full well that this doesn’t exist), and are amassing more followers as we speak for going against the tides.

But should you run into an influencer or be greeted by someone who deems their job title such, be wary of the above signs.

In the online world, everything is often not as it seems.

Knowing who and what is fake in contrast to those who work to present their genuine and authentic selves will help a great deal when it comes to deciding whose life you want to keep following.




Liv Walde

Liv Walde

London-based writer with big thoughts, big dreams, and a passion for helping others.

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