DON’T Buy Instagram Followers, Just Do This Instead

November 19, 2020

You can have amazing content on your Instagram, but if your follower count is low it can make you feel like people just don’t care.

That’s when it can feel tempting to just buy Instagram followers to give your page a little boost and make it appear like your page is much more popular.

As tempting as it may be, buying Instagram followers is just not a good idea. In this article we will look at how buying followers actually works and why it’s generally not a good idea for your brand.

Buying Instagram Followers

You may have seen cheap offers to buy Instagram followers on the internet. Some platforms claim that you can instantly buy 1000 followers for as little as £10.00 – and technically they’re not lying. But the thing is, you’re purely paying for the number since most (if not all) of those followers will be from bot or inactive accounts. This means that these “followers” will never actually engage with any of your content.

It might still sound appealing to you. After all, 1000 new followers in a day for the price of a coffee and a sandwich doesn’t seem like a bad deal, right? But think about it this way — if buying Instagram followers actually had any meaningful impact, wouldn’t everyone just do it?

The main reason people and brands buy followers is to appear to be more influential than they actually are. But keep in mind, most bought followers are just bots or inactive accounts. Here’s how buying Instagram followers actually works:

Instagram Bots

Did you know that as many as 1 in 10 accounts on Instagram are bots? There are platforms out there that have automated the process of creating Instagram bot accounts, which they sell as followers. And the thing is, some of these platform that allow you to buy Instagram followers actually use bots with stolen identities from real people (names and pictures).

Some of the more advanced follower buying platforms even offer packages, where the bot followers are automated to the point where they can like and comment on your posts.

It sounds good, but in reality it will have very little impact.

Bots simply won’t provide any meaningful value to your brand, provide you with feedback or do word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing for your brand.

Inactive Accounts

It’s true that not all bought followers are just bot accounts. You may have seen some platforms offering “authentic” or “genuine” followers.

Still, they are not “real” followers. A lot of these types of accounts might have been created by real people, but are inactive. These types of accounts have been sold to follower buying platforms and won’t produce any real engagement with your brand.

Even if the account is still being managed by a real person, they could be located anywhere in the world and have no actual motivation or reason to interact with your products and services — so what’s the point?

Without interaction, there isn’t much point in having these type of followers on your account. If anything, it can prove to be a negative for your brand as the inflated follower numbers can distort your other account metrics and damage your brand reputation.

Can You Buy Real Instagram Followers?

It’s worth noting that there are other ways to “buy Instagram followers”. For example, there are platforms that offer automated following services through your account. This means that an Instagram bot will use your account to automatically follow people based on your targeting (location, niche, gender and hashtags). The point of this is to get people to follow you back and if they do, the bot can be set to automatically unfollow everyone later.

Doing it this way, there is a much higher chance that the followers you gain will be real people who are actually interested in your brand. But it’s still risky, since you can’t guarantee that people will actually follow you back or engage with your content. Not to mention, it is against Instagram’s terms of use and can get your account suspended. 

Is It Worth Buying Followers On Instagram?

It’s generally not a good idea to buy Instagram followers. It can sound very appealing, but the followers will most likely all just be bots or inactive accounts. They won’t engage with your content, so the Instagram algorithm won’t consider “boosting” your posts to reach a wider audience. It will also throw off your account analytics and distort useful metrics, as well as potentially get your account suspended.

Let’s look at why you shouldn’t buy Instagram followers in more detail:

Your engagement will look suspicious

In most cases when you buy Instagram followers the only number that goes up is your follower count. Since most of these accounts are bots of inactive, they won’t engage with your content. It will be pretty obvious that something isn’t right if you have 10,000 followers and you’re only getting a handful of likes, video/reel views and next-to no comments on your posts.

Remember, the Instagram algorithm works by “boosting” popular posts, so in essence – engagement creates engagement. If your posts are not getting that engagement, Instagram algorithm won’t push them to be seen by a wider audience.

You could lose trust in your brand

It is true that many celebrities, politicians, influencers and other big accounts use fake followers to appear more influential. But they also tend to have A LOT of real followers, making it difficult to tell.

If you have a small to medium size account, your followers will likely be able to tell if you’ve “artificially” inflated your follower count. One of the major giveaways would be your engagement rate. Since your bought followers are very unlikely to create meaningful engagement on your posts, it will look suspect if you have thousands of followers and you’re only getting a few likes/views on each post.

This can come across as deceitful and make your brand appear as untrustworthy. Good brand awareness creates brand trust and loyalty.

We know that it’s hard to build trust and easy to lose it, so consider this before you buy Instagram followers. For example, look at this story about an Instagram influencer with 2.6 million followers who failed to even sell 36 t-shirts for a brand and had to scrap the lucrative deal.

Fake followers will distort your account analytics

In the era of data-driven marketing, paying attention to your account analytics and using performance metrics to make decisions is the way to go. But it’s going to be very difficult to make good data-driven decisions, when your data is distorted. How will you know what type of content is doing the best if your fake followers skew the data?

The point of Instagram marketing is largely to turn your followers into paying customers. If you don’t know how your real audience is responding to your content, you will find it hard to tweak your strategy to achieve your marketing goals. So what’s the point?

If you buy Instagram followers, you’re essentially just paying for a number. Instagram’s algorithm favours engagement over follower count, so buying followers won’t do much for your brand — especially in the long term.

You would be better to use that money on content creation and paid advertising.

Instagram deletes bots and inactive accounts

A lot of these platforms selling followers will have a disclaimer that says your follower count might gradually drop. This is because Instagram actively removes bots and inactive accounts.

Over time you can expect your fake follower count to keep reducing, taking any likes or comments with them.

How To Get Followers On Instagram Organically

Instagram algorithm works by showing users similar posts to what they have engaged with in the past.

There are a few ways you can take advantage of this and get your brand or personal account in front of your target audience organically.

1. Set your account to public

You want your content to be seen by as many people as possible, right? By making your account public, users that don’t follow you are able to see your posts and engage with your account. It can also result in your content being featured in the “Explore” section, giving you exposure from millions of Instagram users.

2. Publish high quality, engaging content

Think about how many types of different content Instagram now lets you post. Stories, pictures, videos, gifs, IGTV, quizzes, polls and much more.

Use these features to give your followers something to be excited about. Create high quality, engaging content that makes you stand out from your competition.

You can use Instagram feature’s like “Guides” to create longer content of how-to guides (very effective for engagement) using pictures and videos paired with useful tips and advice for your followers.

There is also Instagram Reels, which allow you create fun 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and exciting creative tools.

3. Run contests and giveaways

One of the simplest ways to create engagement and get new followers organically run a contest or a giveaway. The simplest format for this is to encourage your followers to like your post, tag some friends, follow your account and share it on their own profile/story in order to win a prize.

Research has found that Instagram accounts running contests grow 70% faster than those that don’t. It’s an excellent and cost-effective way to build brand awareness.

You can even combine your organic engagement with paid ads to increase your reach and drive even more engagement! 

In conclusion

Social media marketing takes a lot of time and effort in order to be successful. It can be very tempting to look for a shortcut in order to get your follower count up, but ultimately it is just not worth it. This article should give you an idea of why you shouldn’t buy Instagram followers and how to gain them organically.

If you need help with your Instagram marketing, consider getting in touch with us. We’re experts in social media marketing and paid advertising, so we can certainly help with growing your Instagram account.

Gatis Viskers

I am the founder & CEO at Ambition Digital and I help businesses improve their online visibility through commercial-grade digital marketing solutions. My speciality is SEO and organic growth and I have helped countless businesses grow through online channels. In addition to my work through the agency, I have been recognised in numerous industry-leading publications.


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