• Hollyn Gayle

Thinking of Buying Followers? Why You Should Hold Off

For a long time, vanity metrics have been the marker of success on Instagram. But with the changes to the algorithm, high engagement is the new marker of a successful Instagram account. While it may seem like a good idea to bump that follower number up by buying followers, it can actually hurt your account overall. We've had this conversation with many clients and thought we'd share what we know with you.


Bought Followers are Just a Number

When you buy followers you are only guaranteed one thing, the number of your followers to go up for a short amount of time. Here's a list of things a higher following number WON'T gain you:


your posts showing on the Explore Page

higher Accounts Reached number

website clicks

profile visits

ACTUAL SALES

story views

any form of engagement at all

long term, organic growth


Easy to Spot from a Simple Glance at Your Profile

Have you ever gone to someone’s profile and they have thousands of followers but only 10 - 20 likes per post and zero comments per post? Yeah. That’s a dead giveaway that those thousands of followers were bought. There are also lots of online services that people can run your account through to discover what percentage of your followers are fake, and how quickly you gained followers. Hype Auditor, Fake Check Co, and Social Blade are just a few options your sleuth friends might turn to explain your sudden jump in following. And if you're hoping to strike brand partnerships as an influencer, buying followers to boost your metrics is a sure fire way to end those partnerships before they even start. Brands have access to even better auditing software than the ones listed above. Long story short - you won't be fooling anybody by buying followers.


Engagement is NOT Guaranteed

We've mentioned this already, but it has to be stressed again. Raising your followers number will not raise your engagement numbers. And what does the Instagram algorithm reward? Engagement. The more people interact with your posts, the more likely your posts will be suggested to other users. If you have a high followers numbers but low engagement, Instagram's algorithm will come to the conclusion that your content isn't worth showing to others - and what's even worse, they will show it less on the feeds of your real followers.


No Way To Analyze Your Metrics

Analyzing your metrics is a great way to see what content you post is performing the best and what times your followers are most active. If 1/2 of your followers are bots, these numbers will be way off. Bots are sporadicly "active" so the accounts aren't deleted from Instagram. Sometimes bots are programmed to be "active" at odd hours of the night, which will ruin your metrics about when your real life followers are active. Your metrics are also a great way to see which posts gain you followers. If you’ve subscribed to a service that gives you a slow steady drip of fake followers, your analytics about gaining followers will be completely useless. If you ever hope to gain organic growth on your Instagram account, reading and utilizing your analytics is key. If your analytics aren't accurate, organic growth will be near impossible.


It Violates Instagram’s Community Guidelines

At the end of the day, buying followers is against Instagram's rules. If you buy followers, you run the risk of your account being completely disabled by Instagram. While your account may not be fully disabled, Instagram will restrict you from using certain Instagram features, and your account will receive new features later in Instagram's roll out timeline. Read an excerpt from Instagram's Community Guidelines below to get the facts straight from the source.


Quick Tips for Organic Growth

So buying followers is a bad idea ... what now? First, use all of the free tools Instagram has available to grow your followers and your engagement metrics. Use polls and question stickers in your Stories to encourage your followers to interact with your stories. Create original, shareable content, and ask your followers to share it to their stories. Have an effective hashtag strategy. Make sure to add CTAs to all of your captions. And after you've done all of that, consider spending money on promoting your post through Instagram's ad feature. By spending your money through Instagram as opposed to buying fake followers, you can hone in on specific active users who are already interested in the kind of content you're sharing. Creating long - term, organic Instagram growth isn't easy, but we know you can do it!


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