Does Your Hotel’s Instagram Account Have Fake Followers?

Suspicious woman checking laptop content in the night

The number of Instagram followers is seen by many hotel managers as an indication of their social media marketing success. After all, this vanity metric is easy to benchmark against the hotel’s competitive landscape and easy to explain to ownership; Instagram followers are either up or down over the previous period.

Furthermore, with many services promising to grow Instagram followers in exchange for a low monthly fee, it’s tempting for some “trusted” social media marketing agencies to resist taking the easy, but troublesome road.

“We continue to see so-called ‘leading’ social media marketing agencies using unethical methods to boost hotel Instagram follower counts,” stated DJ Vallauri, Founder and CEO of Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle. “These fraudulent methods artificially grow the hotel’s Instagram follower base and places the hotel’s Instagram account in danger of being shadow-banned or completely banned, all for the sake of continuing to collect monthly hotel fees.”

Fake Instagram Follower Accounts Are Easy to Spot…If You Look.

A sure sign your hotel’s Instagram follower count has been artificially inflated with fake followers is to click on your hotel’s followers’ link. If you see most of your follower profiles are from Instagram accounts that have zero postings yet hundreds (sometimes thousands) of followers, there is a good chance they are fake followers.

For example, we asked ourselves why would two legitimate Marriott Instagram accounts follow the @ciel.smile account with zero posts? In addition, why would 135 followers, follow an account with zero posts? Is this a real Instagram account, probably not.

Fake Instagram Follower Account

When you dig a little deeper, the @ciel.smile Instagram account is following many reputable hotel groups such as Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Shangri-La Hotels, and Peninsula Hotels (and there are many more, see below).

We have noticed this fake Instagram account following hotels that all use the same social media agency. This just doesn’t make sense to us, and it shouldn’t make sense for the hotel to consider this a legitimate follower of their Instagram page.

Fake Instagram Follower Account

And Then We See Many Follower Accounts Listed as “Private”

Another way unethical social media marketing agencies conceal their fraudulent tactics is by creating fake PRIVATE Instagram accounts so their customers can’t see who is behind the fake accounts. Ask yourself again, why would the @sam.03 Instagram account (below) have 536 followers with ZERO posts, there is no content to follow!  This just doesn’t add up and it is further proof the agency is gaming the system and being dishonest with its customers.

Fake Instagram follower account

It’s About Follower Quality, not Quantity.

We’re not going to call out unethical social media marketing agencies, but we do want to emphasize to hotel managers that follower count is not always what it seems, and further emphasis should be placed on the QUALITY of followers. Yes, in social media, quality trumps quantity. Consider this: Would you rather your hotel have 60,000 fake Instagram followers or interact with 3,000 real accounts and people who are genuinely interested in your hotel and what it has to offer? I’m sure we can all agree on the obvious answer.

About Lodging Interactive

Since 2001 Lodging Interactive has been a leading provider of digital marketing services to the hospitality industry. Customers include select service and full-service branded properties, as well as independent luxury hotels and resorts worldwide. 

Lodging Interactive is the parent company of Commingle:Engage, the Company’s social media marketing and reputation management division which serves hundreds of hotels, restaurants, spas, and management companies.

The Company also provides subscription-based website development and digital marketing services through its HotelSiteXPRESS offering. The service is based on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ model and requires no capital investment on the part of the hotel.

Lodging Interactive is an HSMAI Adrian Award winner and has won awards from the International Academy of Visual Arts, Interactive Media Awards, Horizon Interactive Awards, Web Marketing Association, Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts, and Travel Weekly’s Magellan Awards have recognized Lodging Interactive as an industry leader.

For more information, please contact hello@lodginginteractive.com, 877-291-4411 ext. 704 or visit the company’s website LodgingInteractive.com.

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