Instagram is one of the most popular mobile apps and there is a pretty good reason for that. People love visuals and Instagram is all about capturing the right moment at the right angle.
But that’s not all. Because of its many active users, Instagram has evolved over the years. It now offers various communication tools such as DMs (Direct Messages), Instagram stories and comment replies.
If you want to earn money, Instagram can help with that too. People can start, manage and grow their own businesses or become part of the group of small and big influencers and earn some extra cash with sponsored deals and merch.
And with money comes competition. Instagram has so many profiles that it makes it hard for newcomers to get started. Especially if they have no idea what to do in order to get ahead.
One big competitive factor is the number of your followers. And they are never enough. Everyone wants more followers, no matter how much they currently have. More followers open doors for more exposure, customers and better sponsorships.
There is no denying that followers are important but the way you get them is just as essential. Growing your account can be a long process but eventually, it gets much easier once you have a solid foundation of followers (a couple of thousands).
It takes time to grow your Instagram if you don’t have the budget to speed up the process. This growth can happen organically which indicates that someone found and clicked on your profile – through the set of hashtags you use on your recent posts, geotag, stories or interactions you make with others during the day, or by using paid advertising – promoting your content to a specific demographic for a budget you can afford.
However, because there are so many users on this platform, people have found a way to “cheat” the algorithm using unethical methods to grow their following. I have already talked about one of the wrong ways to increase your followers – follow/unfollow, so it only makes sense to continue the trend.
Today, I will discuss with you what is wrong with buying fake followers on Instagram and why it is NEVER a good idea.
If you are unfamiliar with the process, buying followers is pretty straightforward – you purchase bots in order to look like you have more followers on your Instagram profile than you actually have. You can pay a small amount of money for a few thousand followers or pay more and get hundreds of thousands of followers.
The sad part is because Instagram is so popular there are hundreds if not thousands of websites offering this service. So, if you have ever been tempted to buy followers on Instagram, read until the end and hopefully, you won’t want it anymore.
What happens when you purchase followers for your Instagram profile?
Let’s just call it the “fake effect”. Once you’ve purchased the desired numbers of followers, you will start getting notifications about how random “people” are now following your profile. Over time, your profile will reach the number of followers you have bought. However, what nobody tells is the snowball effect that fake followers can have on your account.
Related: Read next – How to spot a fake influencer?
Why is buying fake followers a bad idea?
Fake followers are not real people. They are bots which on the Internet/Social Media era is equal to a blank number. So, even if you purchase enough followers (10 000) and you can now use the swipe up feature on your Instagram stories (read more about Instagram milestones here), you have also purchased a blank number instead of devoting enough time to get there organically.
But that’s not even the bad part. The more fake followers you purchase, the more you mess up with your Instagram accounts’ engagement rate. And this metric is by far one of the most important for the Instagram algorithm. You can read all about the engagement rate here.
A good engagement rate will help you grow by boosting your account and the exposure/reach it gets. The more people interact with your content by sharing your post through Direct Messages, Saving, Liking or Commenting on your IG post, the bigger the chance to increase your reach by getting on the Explore page or Top posts of your hashtags’ selection. So what does engagement rate has to do with buying fake followers?
Because you are buying bots, they won’t interact with your profile in any way. Yes, they will follow you but that’s all you will get. And for Instagram, it is important that you get real and organic likes, comments, saves and reshares (through DMs) from the people that follow you or find your profile through hashtags.
So you can see how purchasing thousands of followers can hurt your Instagram profile for a long period of time. The more followers you buy (2k,5k,10k,50k) the harder it will be to get your account back on tracks.
Some people will try to keep the “fake effect” on for as long as they can. They will even go one step further and purchase likes & comments for their posts, so you can never tell if it is fake or not. However, Instagram is pretty strict when it comes to bots, so soon or later you will be caught and you will lose the money you have invested in your account and it will get banned. This question is just for you – do you want to live in constant fear?
Now you know why fake followers are bad but the list doesn’t stop there. If we look at it from a psychological perspective, buying fake followers can have a negative effect on your mental health.
Social Media has already proven that it affects the way we think and the amount of dopamine our brain release when thinking of possible rewards and milestones we can achieve. Dopamine is the chemical that the brain release during pleasurable situations such as food, love, exercise, and other triggers, which makes you feel good.
Reaching a certain number (10k,20k,100k) of followers on Instagram is a great example of a dopamine release. But what happens when you start losing instead of gaining followers?
We have seen it with influencers all over Social Media, especially on Youtube. It gives you anxiety and pressure to keep growing instead of going backward. And the fact that it is happening in from of so many eyeballs is even more traumatic for your brain. How is this connected with fake followers?
Instagram is constantly removing fake followers (bots), so if you are not getting as many followers as Instagram removes from your profile, you will soon start losing the followers you have just paid for. And this process can be infinite if you don’t know how to fix it.
To sum it up, you will pay for a blank number of bots that will mess up with your engagement rate, which will decrease the chance of getting more reach, thus GROW, while you will also start losing the followers you have paid for.
Why do people still buy followers on Instagram?
Some people like benefiting from small brands that are not that familiar with the process and getting free products or money deals. While others believe that if they start with a few thousand followers more than their competition, they will trick people into following them just because they have a big number of followers compared to other newcomers in their niche.
Which might be effective but to a very limited point. If your content is bad and you are not working on your Instagram profile, purchasing fake followers will get you in this downward spiral that will have a negative impact on your brand and your own mental health.
Bottom line is that fake followers are not worth it not only because you can get banned but because you can invest your time instead of money and get the same or even better results as long as you are consistent.
If you don’t know how to get started, there are so many free resources (articles, books, videos) on the Internet that will help and educate you.
If you are interested in Instagram, you can learn the genuine ways to grow your channel with my book Master the Art of Instagram: The Only Guide You Need.
You can also contact me or someone else in this field, so you know what to expect and how to get the best out of your profile.