When starting a new business, Instagram is one of the best mediums to promote your brand and build awareness. A familiar feeling among new Instagram users is that they are not building fast enough. They feel their growth has gotten stagnant. You can get out of your growth slump in many ways, but the one way you need to be careful of is purchasing followers. There are many companies out there that promote growing your Instagram by getting you more followers. If you pay for these services, they 100% will get you more followers, but at a wasted cost. In my opinion, you might as well just throw your money directly into the trash for the reasons I will list below.
These vendors are found all over, and some or more “legit” than others. It is getting harder and harder for them to deliver on their promises because Instagram is cracking down on these services. What will happen when you pay for this service? Over the next few hours to a couple of days, your will start to see more followers being added to your account. In the end, this is just a number. Your engagement rarely goes up, and if it does, it isn’t for long.
Before I list the reasons as to why these services are harmful to your profile, I will walk through the different ways to buy followers.
Bots are fake accounts that are created by an automated process and are all over Instagram. You have probably run into these types of accounts before. They have a handful of photos and follow many accounts while being followed by very few. These accounts can be so deceiving that they will comment, like, and interact like regular accounts. Because of the bad follow-to-follower ratio that these accounts typically have, the engagement they produce has little impact on your account.
These accounts are real accounts either created by companies or users with the sole intent of adding more followers to their main account. These accounts might be good initially, but become a burden on your performance once they go dormant.
You can buy followers directly, but there are other services out there that will follow accounts like yours or that might be interested in your content with the hope of being followed back. The pro of this kind of service is that the accounts that follow you back will be actual accounts, so there is a higher chance of engagement with your content. The con of this kind of service is that it can be pricey with no guarantee of the accounts following you back.
What are some of the risks and downsides of purchasing followers?
Have you ever followed an account with a healthy number of followers and then saw that they were only getting a handful of likes per post? I have. It was a fellow marketing account to which made this sting a little more. The account had 7,000 followers and posted regularly, but was only getting 3-4 likes per post. This is a good sign of an account that purchased its followers. I unfollowed them because, as someone teaching others about marketing, you can’t try and cheat the system.
Skewed Performance Metrics
It will be hard to get an accurate measure of your page’s performance when you have low engagement compared to your follower count because of fake followers. When you have an inflated amount of followers, your regular engagement might look bad when, in fact, it is correct for what you are putting out there. Even worse, your content is not adequate, and you are losing your real followers because you are getting the fake engagement that will not last over time.
Dropping Follower Numbers
Instagram is starting to purge fake followers and likes that were acquired through third-party apps. By buying followers, you are violating Instagram’s terms of service. This might draw the attention of moderators that will reduce the amount of engagement you will get or remove you from the app entirely if you continue to violate the terms of service.
There Is A Better Way To Grow On Instagram.
Make Your Account Public
Making your account public will open it up to be viewed by the public. People will want to see your content before following you, and you will not show up on the discover page while your account is private.
Use Relevant Hashtags
Use hashtags so that you show up in other areas of Instagram. People follow specific hashtags to get shown relevant content. Instagram will also recommend pages based on hashtags you use.
Post Content Consistently
Make sure to post consistently so that your followers know when to expect your content. This will also help the algorithm see you as an active account. If you go for long periods without posting, then you might not pop up to the top of the timeline when you start posting again.
Engage With Other Users
Instagram favors engagement. The more you interact with other users, the more they will interact with you. With all of this interaction, your posts will start to crawl to the top of your follower’s timeline.
I would be lying if I told you that social media did not have a “pay to play” aspect of it. Brands and accounts that spend money on advertising to grow their following will grow faster than those that don’t. It is a simple algorithm that Instagram has in place to better user experience. Don’t try to beat it or work around it. Try and work with it, and you will be better off for it.
There are better ways to grow your engagement and following on Instagram. It can take a lot of time and effort, but what part of growing your brand doesn’t? If you follow the steps listed above and don’t fall into the trap of bought engagement, then you will do just fine.