Buying Instagram followers does not offer any benefit. In fact, choosing this purported “quick fix” can even hurt your business.
You can buy 1,000 Instagram followers for as low as $10. At a glance, you’d probably think that this is a quick route to success or a nice bargain for people who have no patience and skills to grow their followers organically.
But as with anything in life, you always get what you pay for. And Instagram is no exception.
You Buy Numbers, Not Engagement
The “bought” followers are either inactive Instagram accounts, bots, or a combination of them. Hence, they provide no or very little engagement despite their significant number.
Some Instagram bots run on automation so the dummy accounts can share and like content–or sometimes even produce written content. Nonetheless, they cannot replicate organic users because of their lopsided, unnatural following-to-follower ratio, which results in less than optimal engagement.
Sometimes, these bots carry the identity of a real person, stealing names, profiles, and photos. But still, they won’t provide authentic engagement because the dummy accounts have no friends and family.
Aside from bots, purchasable followers are also composed of inactive or barely active accounts mainly created to offer this service. Occasionally, these fake followers provide some engagement until they wane and become completely dormant.
Keep in mind that Instagram’s algorithm weighs heavily on engagement and not on the number of followers.
Buying Followed Accounts
In addition to bots and dummy accounts, you can also pay services that will follow other Instagram accounts on your behalf. Of course, in the ideal scenario, they should follow you back.
While the service mentioned above deals with real people, the level of engagement remains weak or even non-existent because there is no guaranty that the accounts will follow you back. And even if they do, they will not be active, long-term followers.
Reasons Why Buying Instagram Followers Is a Bad Idea
It can distort your performance metrics
With bots and dummy accounts, it is impossible to measure audience engagement accurately, as a result, you cannot optimize your content and know what kind of “materials” appeals to your audience.
And by not knowing your real audience, there is no way you can convert them into actual customers.
Bot-generated comments are often cringe-worthy and "unnatural"
Many bot-generated comments try to be generic like “nice post” and “thank you for sharing” but can still look awkward and unnatural when posted on sad news or polemic issues.
However, some bot-generated posts are downright cringe-worthy because they reflect extremist political or religious ideologies, backward beliefs, and inappropriate content for a specific target audience.
Instagram can shadowban accounts with bought followers
If the social media platform shadowbans your account, your content will be heavily restricted without you even knowing it. Frequently, it happens when users violate the community guidelines or post content that is deemed inappropriate.
Instagram wants to maintain genuine interactions between people and brands, so it is increasingly becoming more proactive in protecting organic activities. As a result, bot-generated comments, follows, and likes from third-party apps that grow accounts artificially are removed and/or blocked.
Dummy accounts and bots don't bring genuine engagement
The vast majority of purchasable followers don’t offer any form of engagement, and for those who do, it is downright unnatural, if not awkward, especially when you read the generic comments.
Dummy accounts also lack a profile picture, and those that do are stolen identities and photos of real people. Additionally, they follow a considerable number of users even though they have no or very few followers.
Also, these dummy accounts and bots have no family and friends to influence.
Purchasable followers mean unnatural engagement
To reiterate, some purchasable followers offer some level of engagement. However, they still won’t look organic because they cannot meet these “natural patterns” that are based on a survey released by Markerly.
- Less than 1,000 Instagram followers generate an average of 8% engagement.
- 1,000 – 10,000 followers generate an average of 4% engagement.
- 10,000 – 100,000 followers generate an average of 2.4% engagement.
- 100,000 – 1 million followers generate an average of 1.8% engagement.
- More than 1 million followers generate an average of 1.7% engagement.
You can't turn dummy accounts and bots into actual customers
The core purpose of using Instagram or any other social media platforms is to reach the target audience and turn them into actual consumers. But with fake accounts, you cannot expect them to spend money on your products or services.
They can hurt your credibility
Bot-generated comments and dummy accounts can hurt your business. While it is true that having a lot of followers may increase the likelihood of other users to follow you organically, these purchasable followers have no family and friends to influence and “recruit.”
By letting fake followers into your social network, you can easily ruin your credibility with your real audience and prompt Instagram to shadowban your account.
Ways to Grow Your Instagram Organically
Instead of taking the proverbial (but damaging) shortcut, it’s easier to find long-term success if you grow your followers organically. Keep in mind that the social media platform gives more importance to genuine engagement than the actual number of people who follow your brand.
Here, we compiled foolproof ways to meet Instagram’s algorithm requirements to grow your audience organically.
- Make your account public. Additionally, ensure that your profile and Instagram feed are “complete” and look professional and consistent with your brand.
- Generate people-centric content. Instead of churning out blatant promotions, why not focus on posting content that appeals to your audience?
- Be consistent. Consistently post high-quality videos and images, engaging quizzes on your story, funny GIFs, user-generated content, and how-tos and educational posts. A good rule of thumb is to post to Instagram feed 2-3 times a week, and not more than one content daily.
- Use popular and relevant hashtags. Research on which hashtags generate a lot of organic buzz that are in line with your brand or at least related to your industry.
- Experiment with different channels. Mix up features such as Instagram Stories, IGTV, Shopping, and Instagram Life to drive engagement and grow followers/traffic organically. Stories are particularly effective because they can humanize your brand and make it more authentic. Additionally, they allow you to take polls, link music, use stickers, and share consumer-centric content.
- Engage with other users. Instagram rewards accounts that provide genuine engagement–i.e., they share posts, comment on other posts, and like. However, don’t overdo this because the social media platform has been known to shadowban or block users who have commented and liked on hundred posts within an hour.
To learn more about growing your Instagram followers organically and ultimately turn your audience into actual customers, contact LOJO Marketing at (916) 303-4080. You can also schedule a free consultation with our chief inbound marketing specialist Stephen.