9 Reasons Your Business Can’t Afford to Buy Instagram Followers
October 1, 2019 by Rafaella Aguiar
Last Updated: March 20, 2020
In the world of Instagram, what’s viral today may be long forgotten tomorrow–which leads many brands to consider whether or not they should buy Instagram followers. While brands can still build a presence on Instagram through the manual effort of posting creative and compelling content, many view the easier route as the most efficient one: Why wait to build a following when you can buy one?
This is why you may be tempted to boost your following with a quick purchase instead of waiting for the hard-earned organic Instagram growth. While a large follower count looks impressive at first glance, once Instagram users dig deeper, they’ll soon discover that this follower count isn’t what it appears to be. The truth is that even brands with a follower count reaching well into the thousands may not be connecting with their audience at all. Many brands with large numbers of followers have nothing to show for it in the way of their engagement.
The Issue of Buying Followers
When looking to businesses for their social proof on Instagram, other brands and Instagrammers are looking for one key thing: authentic engagement. Brands interested in buying followers must consider the lasting impact of this purchase and whether or not it is truly worth it. If you think you should buy Instagram likes or followers, the following information will make you think twice:
1. When You Buy Instagram Followers, It Destroys Your Credibility
Admittedly, a brand with a follower count of 11k or more may automatically seem to have an engaged following and incredible reach on the platform. However, after an initial look at their followers, it’s important to dig a little deeper. Take a look at their comments, likes, and overall engagement.
When brands buy Instagram followers, there’s a distinct lack of engagement when looking at the number of likes and comments on their content. This evident lack of engagement is a clear sign to others on Instagram that this business is purchasing followers with the intent to appear more popular than they are.
While these efforts may initially work, the decision to buy Instagram followers can have lasting negative effects on brands, influencers, and businesses. Instead of wowing others with a high follower count, the choice to purchase followers makes a brand come across as shady and inauthentic.
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Real engagement and genuine influence is the most important thing for businesses seeking partnerships with brands and influencers. In this situation, choosing to buy Instagram likes or followers is an obvious sign that a business doesn’t value authenticity, honesty, or their influence as a brand.
Spammy Appearance and Inappropriate Comments
In addition to losing credibility and potential partnerships, fake followers can wreak havoc on your account. Purchasing fake accounts or bots will often result in these profiles leaving spammy comments on your content. These comments range from promotional posts to inappropriate comments that will make your own content seem unappealing to others.
Services that sell fake followers use bots that can post comments, send out messages, and share content that is inappropriate or spammy. For example, many of these fake follower bots leave irrelevant comments on users’ posts. In some situations, these irrelevant comments can ruin a brand’s reputation, as is the case in the event that one of these tools leaves an overly positive comment like “Incredible!” on a post sharing that a pet has passed away. This type of careless engagement will only serve to alienate your followers and discredit your brand.
2. You’ll Lose Any Organic Growth You’ve Made
While buying followers or likes can seemingly grow one’s Instagram account, the eventual drawback to this quick growth can have lasting consequences. For many, the low Instagram engagement as a result of buying fake followers is just the beginning. Any real organic growth you’ve made prior to using a service to purchase fake followers will go to waste once these fake followers wreak havoc on your account.
Oftentimes, brands and small businesses with a steady following of committed and real Instagram users grow impatient with their current rate of growth and imagine buying followers will help to supplement their organic growth, causing their engagement to skyrocket. However, real followers cannot coexist with fake followers. When real users engage with these spammy comments or come into contact with fake followers via direct messages, they’ll start avoiding your content, unfollowing you, blocking your page, and may even report your content or account.
Loss of Genuine Followers
This loss of genuine followers will hurt your engagement even more. When real followers start to realize that a brand they are following no longer values real engagement and authenticity on Instagram, they often no longer want to be associated with that brand. This drop in real followers will likely be coupled by a drop in your purchased followers as well. As many of the tools Instagrammers use to buy Instagram likes and followers, or use bots or fake accounts, once Instagram shuts down these accounts, you’ll see that your following is much worse off than what you began with.
When you realize it’s time to remove all of your fake followers, it may be too late. With both real followers and fake followers gone, you’ll have to start from scratch to rebuild your following from the ground up. If you hope to avoid a situation where all your followers are lost, invest in organic growth instead of a quick fix like buying followers.
3. You’ll Experience A Decrease In Engagement
A surefire way to distinguish a bot user is to look at their follower to engagement ratio. Trust us when we say that most followers and brands are able to differentiate between Instagram accounts that have real engagement and ones that don’t. This is the case with accounts that have a higher-than-average follower count but only have a few comments or likes per post.
The truth of the matter is that modern Instagram users aren’t as impressed by large followings as more and more Instagram users are being outed as having fake followers. With more followers aware of this rampant use of bots on Instagram, most go out of their way to find brands that are using authentic means to gain organic growth.
How to Spot Accounts with Fake Followers
It’s easy to spot Instagrammers with bot followers if you know what to look for.
This is a quick way for anyone to analyze their engagement on Instagram, which will leave a brand vulnerable if they do decide to buy Instagram followers.
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How to Increase Your Instagram Followers and Engagement
Engagement is just as important as trying to increase your Instagram followers, which is what makes purchasing followers so risky as it will ultimately ruin your engagement rate. Having real and authentic engagement will increase your credibility and establish you as an authority in your niche. Ditch the fake followers and focus on boosting your Instagram engagement by posting high quality content, using the right hashtags, and engage with your followers and other Instagrammers that you follow or interact with. The more you engage with others, the more of a connection you will establish with them.
After solidifying your brand image, post well-curated content regularly to attract a genuine audience in your specific niche. As these followers begin interacting with your content through likes and posts, keep the engagement going by replying and interacting with their content as well.
4. You’ll Sacrifice Future Relationships and Connections
While most businesses accept the fact that they need to invest in their Instagram marketing, buying followers is not a useful investment. Whatever benefit comes from the likes and comments from these purchased followers will be meaningless once these fake followers’ accounts are eventually deactivated. Thankfully, there are effective ways to invest in Instagram growth without sabotaging future connections or ruining your engagement on the platform.
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Instead of buying followers, make sure your Instagram marketing efforts are focused on targeting real people that are likely to actively engage with your Instagram. With the help of sponsored posts and Instagram growth services like Kicksta, any brand will be able to invest in their Instagram growth appropriately. With sponsored posts, you can use specific targeting and ads to better reach your target audience. With the help of Instagram growth services, you’ll benefit from their AI-powered services that kick start organic growth by attracting new followers in an authentic way.
5. You’ll Experience a Decrease in Sales if You Buy Instagram Followers
A recent study by AdEspresso compared the effects of brands using a follower bot service to other Instagrammers that focused on organic Instagram growth through strategic content campaigns. The test covered everything from in-app engagement to website traffic. While the accounts were using the bot services, they saw a sudden increase in followers and decrease in web traffic. Thus, choosing to increase your Instagram followers will ultimately led to a decline in potential sales.
This correlation proved to be true when measuring likes, views and comments, as well. Statistically, the more you buy Instagram likes and followers, the fewer comments, views, and likes you’ll experience.
You’ll Lose Money Buying Fake Followers
Part of the benefit of having a huge audience of committed followers on Instagram is that these followers can easily translate to customers. However, brands that buy Instagram followers won’t see any leads from these fake accounts. As other real followers begin to take notice of their favorite brands using fake followers, they’ll likely stop being customers as well.
Ultimately, choosing to increase your Instagram followers by buying them will result in a loss of money. Brands that buy Instagram followers miss out on the money that would otherwise be made if they were interacting with real accounts and end up wasting money by purchasing these followers in the first place.
6. Fake Followers Are Hard to Track
As your engagement won’t be authentic, the numbers used to measure your success on Instagram won’t be genuine either.
Businesses and influencers need these analytics to track their likes, comments, and to determine what content and times are the most successful on Instagram. Without these numbers, you’ll never have an accurate reading on what content drives engagement the most. Moreover, you won’t be able to produce a proper social media strategy as you won’t have the necessary metrics to do so.
Additionally, if you ever hope to partner with other brands or collaborate with influencers, you won’t have the pertinent data to share with them. Even if your brand would be a good candidate for collaboration, with no real data to back up your social media efforts, you’ll find it increasingly difficult to find anyone willing to partner with you.
7. Instagram Will Suspend Your Account
Since buying followers goes against Instagram’s terms and conditions, doing so can result in your account being banned or suspended. Even if Instagram doesn’t ban or suspend accounts that purchase fake followers, the platform constantly works to eliminate fake accounts and profiles, shutting them down as quickly as they are created. For this reason, if you purchase followers today you may discover that they’re gone tomorrow.
If you continue to keep purchasing fake followers, your engagement will continue to decline, and your fake and real followers will disappear. Eventually, Instagram will suspend or block your account if you continue to violate their terms and conditions. This is why brands must ask themselves the following question: Is purchasing followers really worth it if it means risking losing real followers and even losing their Instagram account itself?
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8. Supporting Poor Instagram Marketing Practices
While gaining more followers is likely the single most important goal for brands, influencers, and businesses on Instagram, it’s important to think of the community of Instagram as a whole rather than from the single-minded perspective of a brand improving their own follower count for the sake of higher engagement. Though buying followers may seem both harmless and beneficial at the moment, this practice will quickly take its toll on your brand’s account, as well as the rest of the Instagram community at large.
By continuing to use certain services to purchase followers, your brand will actively support poor marketing practices that will negatively affect the Instagram community as a whole. As real engagement on Instagram hinges on the idea that real followers are interacting with other users in an organic way, using services to purchase fake followers negatively impacts the very foundation that Instagram was built on. Continuing with this type of destructive practice will be harmful to other brands and agencies that are dedicated to organic growth and authentic engagement.
9. Buying Followers Facilitates Identity Theft
Though many businesses don’t think very deeply about their decision to purchase followers, the fact is that doing so can contribute to identity theft. While these brands are likely purchasing followers as a way to grow their Instagram audience and increase their engagement, buying followers from these “follower factory” companies helps to facilitate social identity theft. To create profiles that are convincing enough to pass as real people, many of the companies that sell followers actually replicate the identities of real people and create accounts based on their information.
In the case of the company Devumi, 55,000 Instagram accounts were sold with the pictures, names, hometowns, and other sensitive information of real people. While it isn’t quite illegal at the moment to commit this type of fraud, it is dangerous–both for your brand and for the victims whose identities are stolen.
Businesses that would otherwise avoid this type of grey area often don’t think twice about supporting these “follower factories” if it means their Instagram follower count continues to grow. Though these seemingly real followers may escape Instagram’s detection for the moment, is it worth putting other real people at risk?
Before engaging in this sort of questionable activity, brands should prioritize investing in services with positive practices rather than companies that engage in borderline illegal activity. Services like Kicksta serve to grow your Instagram account in an all-natural way. By liking the content of real Instagrammers, this service encourages these users to visit your profile. In most situations, these people will engage with your posts and will often follow you back.
Buying followers is essentially a quick fix that makes any Instagram account look good from afar. However, it’s clear to see that buying followers is a fast way to tank your own engagement, ruin your brand’s image and reputation, alienate real followers, and potentially destroy your Instagram account. If you really want to increase your Instagram followers and engagement, it’s in your best interest to do so as authentically as possible. By growing organically, you’ll enjoy the benefits of having real followers and the most authentic user engagement.
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