Building up an organic social media following is an important part of marketing strategy for any growing business. It’s a great marketing and sales channel, plus it’s a source of potential leads and natural growth in reputation and revenue. It is, therefore, little wonder that some businesses and people try to skip the hard work, instead, they opt to buy followers.
On Instagram, the practice is prolific, with hundreds of thousands of bots acting as followers, and thousands of vendors willing to sell their wares to the right buyer.
In this article, we’ll share the ins and outs of purchasing Instagram followers, and we’ll explore:
The quick answer is yes, you absolutely can buy Instagram followers. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. There are many, many available services and marketplaces where you buy followers. A quick Google search reveals websites selling followers in blocks of thousands, at various levels of “quality”. Around $10 will net you 1000 new followers, whereas $650 adds 50,000 followers to an account.
It’s worth noting at this point that these are not actual followers. These are not people who are interested in what you do or will engage with your posts. These followers are simply numbers on the screen and are typically inactive accounts, bots, or stolen accounts. This isn’t a shortcut to becoming Instagram famous.
It is entirely understandable why people might consider purchasing followers. They’ve just started a business and want to appear legitimate. They feel they need to have a more significant presence online. They want to get on par with their competitors. Whatever the reason, there are just as many reasons, and more, why you shouldn’t.
Please don’t use this as a source of information and then head off to make purchases. We’re sharing this information purely for interest, not as suggestions. These sources are shortcuts to difficulties down the line and should certainly be avoided. Ignore these sources and learn how to get more followers on Instagram organically instead.
If you’re a regular on Instagram then chances are you’ve interacted with bots recently. You might not know it but they are absolutely everywhere. These sophisticated pieces of software use scripts and AI to act like human accounts, liking, sharing, and commenting on posts automatically.
The most advanced bots will act as humans, seem completely organic, and are difficult to spot. Others will simply comment the same thing on hundreds of posts, or like every single post from a certain account.
These bots might seem like a smart investment, especially seeing as they could be interacting with actual followers. But realistically this is not useful engagement and ends up hindering engagement from your real followers.
As mentioned above, a quick Google shows you endless pages of fake follower vendors. These guys are not the people you want to be doing business with, especially when it involves sharing your credit card information. Instagram is generally pretty wise to these types of transactions and if you buy followers you can quickly end up with your account becoming banned, shadow-banned, or suspended.
The process seems straightforward, you select the number of followers, you purchase the pack, and you wait for your account to receive the followers. The shadiest of accounts will actually act the fastest and will dump thousands of followers onto your account all at once. Immediately raising red flags, that just doesn’t happen in real life. The better vendors will drip-feed followers over a given period of time, but it’s worth remembering that these aren’t actual followers. They’re most likely bots, and they have absolutely no interest in your account.
This is a slightly reversed operation compared to the above. Purchasing this service automates your account to follow accounts with specific demographics. The hope is that by following them, they’ll follow you back. That dramatically increases the chances that they are real people, who might be interested in your account, but the majority of people won’t follow you back just because you followed them. That can, therefore, make for a wasted investment.
Inactive accounts are accounts that used to be held by real people, in fact, they might still be held by real people but they’re just not using them. These inactive accounts can then be made to follow your account and, hey presto, you have another follower. Will that account ever engage with your content? Absolutely not, once again, they’re just a number.
If you’ve got this far into the article then you already know that we think it’s a bad idea to purchase followers. If, however, you need some more reasons why you definitely should NOT buy Instagram followers, read on.
Instagram regularly updates its terms and conditions, does anyone ever read them before accepting them? Of course not. There are people out there that take the time to read them (us!) and pass on the specific information that’s interesting. In recent updates, Instagram now has the power to find and remove fake or botted accounts from Instagram completely. They can also remove followers, shares, likes, and comments if they’re added through third-party apps. These apps have been specifically created to “help” people grow their accounts, and usually do the opposite in the end.
If an account decides to purchase followers, those updated terms and conditions have been violated. That means Instagram can take action against that account, potentially resulting in a complete ban.
If you genuinely want to grow your business, understand your audience, and boost brand recognition, you’re going to be relying on data and analytics to see how you’re doing. Targets, KPIs, and audience data all rely on truthful figures, and you can only rely on those figures if you’re certain that your account has grown organically.
Imagine if you have 50,000 followers on Instagram, and you bought 45,000 from a vendor. That looks great on paper. You create a post that you’re certain should receive a great amount of engagement. It appears that only around 10 people have liked it. As a metric compared to your current figures, that’s only 10 out of 50,000 or an engagement rate of 0.02%, pretty shocking. Now if you only count your 500 genuine followers, your engagement rate is actually 2%, far healthier.
Bought followers aren’t real people, therefore they won’t be engaging with your posts authentically and organically. Instead, they’ll lie there dormant and silently. You can purchase bots that will engage with your account, but that’s arguably even worse. They’ll post the same comments time and time again, and eventually, your account doesn’t even look like a genuine brand anymore.
Consider also that you’ll have no idea what the best time to post reels and other content might be because your engagement just won’t be accurate.
On first impressions, people might be impressed that your brand has a solid following, it might even be one of their stipulations before purchasing from you. Their next move might be to dig a little deeper and find that actually very few of your followers are legitimate. At that point, your reputation will be damaged and your credibility will be taken into question.
It’s certainly not a route to getting verified on Instagram, the mods will take your reputation and credibility into account.
It’s fairly plain to see what our standpoint is on purchasing fake followers for Instagram. If this business is just a flash in the pan, quick in and out, a short-term business where you don’t care about reputation then maybe (and it’s an infinitesimally small maybe) it could serve a purpose. If, however, you’re taking your business seriously, you want to build a credible reputation, and a brand that people care about, then it is, simply, not worth it.
Building a social media presence takes effort and dedication, but that doesn’t mean that absolutely everything has to be done manually. There are incredible tools, like Publer, that help with huge amounts of heavy lifting. In fact, even the free version of Publer is absolutely stacked full of incredible tools such as Instagram post scheduling. Signing up takes moments, but the payoff is massive.
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