It can be tempting for a new Instagram account, be it a company, an influencer, or anyone wanting visibility, to bypass the process of building an engaged following and take advantage of many offers of increasing your following quickly from companies who specialise in “follower growth”. However, is it a good idea to “buy Instagram followers”, and what harm can it do to your account and credibility in the long term?
What Is Buying Instagram Followers?
Buying Instagram followers is paying a third party to inflate your followers using their methods artificially. This can mean giving you many followers, but the quality of the followers is always questionable. Companies use Instagram bots, inactive accounts and fake accounts to build up someone’s following. Typically these accounts will unfollow in a short space of time so they can do the same to another unsuspecting account.
Does Buying Followers Work?
Basically, no, it doesn’t. While you can use these mostly questionable services, the likelihood is that Instagram will know what you have done, which will have a negative effect on your account. Buying followers is also against Instagram’s terms and conditions. Hence, you put your account at risk of being removed, having your “bought for” followers removed or banned from the platform altogether. So while it might seem tempting, it isn’t recommended.
Read on to learn more about why you shouldn’t buy Instagram followers.
Fake Followers Don’t Engage
In a nutshell, fake followers are generally that fake. While your following numbers may look impressive, you won’t get any real engagement on your posts as the accounts are usually inactive, set up for this purpose or Instagram bots. And if they do engage, chances are this will hurt your genuine reach and engagement even more, as well as being random, to say the least.
Instagram and Users Can Tell
Instagram has put a lot of effort into finding and purging fake accounts in recent years. These are usually Instagram bots, followers with similar names, little to no posts, or profiles with blank pictures. They can also follow trends and changes in usual activity to identify the changes indicating you are buying followers. This makes it even more useless if Instagram purges these followers right after you have paid for them.
Also, real users can tell when you have bought your followers too. If you have low engagement, which you will have, and high follower numbers, it will put off genuine users from following you. Meaning you have essentially shot yourself in the foot, so to speak, when it comes to growing your account without using Instagram bots and following services.
Fake Followers Don’t Earn You Money
Typically, the reason for people to buy fake followers is to grow their accounts, so it brings in revenue. Be it to make sales for a company or people to jump-start an influencer career. Whatever your reason, it won’t work. This is because brands and people looking to purchase via this social media site will be able to tell.
Brands looking to work with influencers now look for more than high follower numbers. You need a reasonable, authentic engagement rate; 1-3.5% is considered good, 3.5-5% is excellent engagement, and anything above 6% is deemed exceptional to accounts with over 1,000 followers (this can vary depending on the size of your audience). There are also tools brands can now use to identify fake followers and gauge their followers’ quality and engagement. This goes for joining in with comment threads or other tactics people use to inflate engagement artificially.
Instagram Bots Bring Spam
No one wants their account associated with spam, but fake followers can bring with them spam, and as they have access to your details and your followers, this gives them more channels to spread their spam and further damage your account.
It Hurts Your Credibility
In an online world where boundaries are drawn, crossing a line with your followers will instantly destroy your credibility. Once real followers catch wind of you buying followers, they will want nothing to do with your account and not only will you be called out, it can destroy your business or future earnings as an influencer. Avoid this route by building a genuine following and engaging with those who follow you and others in your niche to build credibility.
Lastly, fake followers or Instagram bots who leave comments often inappropriately. This is because they don’t take the time to look at your content or read your captions. You will simply have a random comment left. This can be anything from “amazing picture shared with this account @….” to “nice picture” on a post sharing bad news or something heartfelt. Not only does this look bad it is a dead giveaway. You have bots engaging on your posts.
If you are thinking about buying Instagram followers, the advice is to avoid this like the plague. Instead, focus on growing your account authentically, even if it takes time. Follow Instagram’s rules and expert advice to help you get the audience your account wants and deserves without ruining your chances before you even get going.