Did you know that 1.628 billion people are now on Instagram? They go to find entertainment, stay connected, and many follow at least one business account.
With Instagram becoming an integral part of our daily lives, it’s no surprise that small businesses are utilizing the platform to promote their products and services, and engage with their customers in an effort to grow their followers and eventually sales.
However, gaining followers on Instagram outside of your family and friends, is not an easy task. It can take years to get a few thousand followers. This can be discouraging, particularly for businesses that measure their success and reputation based on the number of followers and likes they have.
As a small business owner, you might be thinking if it’s easier to just buy ten thousand or more followers. Well, let us explain why purchasing followers can actually harm your business.
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FAQ’s About Buying IG Followers
Before we delve into why buying followers on Instagram for your small business is a bad idea, let’s address the questions you may have when considering it.
Can You Buy Followers?
Yes, it is possible to purchase followers for your Instagram business account from various websites at different price points. However, it’s important to note that these followers are typically either bots (9.5% of Instagram’s monthly user base) or inactive accounts that won’t engage with your content once they start “following” you.
The price depends on your service provider and the plan you choose, but it can range anywhere between $10 to $50 or more for 1,000 followers.
Is It Illegal to Buy Instagram Followers?
While it may not be explicitly illegal in most jurisdictions, it is against the terms of service of Instagram. The platform strictly prohibits the use of fake accounts, bots, or any other artificial means to inflate follower numbers.
Instead, you should familiarize yourself with the terms of service of the platform and adhere to ethical practices to maintain the integrity of your business and online presence.
Can Instagram Ban You for Buying Followers?
No, but engaging in such practice can result in penalties, including the suspension or deletion of your account.
How Can You Tell if Someone Buys Instagram Followers?
Fake accounts usually follow a large number of other accounts, but they have very few followers themselves. You can easily spot them by their unusual profile names, lack of content or strange content if it exists, and the absence of likes and comments on their posts.
Can You Buy Instagram Verification?
No, in order to get verified on Instagram, you need to provide proof of your identity and submit a verification request directly to Instagram.
Any website that offers to sell Instagram verification is trying to scam users. Instagram verification is exclusively granted by Instagram itself and is not provided by any third-party website.
Why Shouldn’t You Buy Followers
In the age of social media, having a larger following is often associated with increased engagement, sales, and a better reputation. There’s a common belief that having more followers automatically enhances one’s image. However, it’s important to be cautious of falling into the trap of creating an illusion of reputation and success by following the “Fake it until you make it” mentality.
There are numerous reasons why you should avoid buying Instagram followers. As we mentioned earlier, Instagram can penalize accounts that engage in suspicious activity. However, there are several other reasons to consider:
- Negative impact on organic growth. Buying fake followers can hinder your organic growth. Social media algorithms prioritize engagement and genuine interactions. If your follower count is inflated with fake accounts, it can signal low engagement to the algorithm, resulting in decreased visibility for your content.
- Lack of authentic engagement. Purchased followers are typically bots or inactive accounts that won’t genuinely engage with your content. As a result, your engagement metrics, such as likes, comments, and shares, will remain low, undermining the true purpose of building a following.
- Decreased engagement. The main intention behind purchasing followers is to boost engagement, but it often has the opposite effect. For instance if you have 100,000 followers but receive only an average of 1,000 likes per post, it significantly lowers your overall engagement rate. Such an inconsistent ratio of followers to likes can indicate to genuine followers that your account has bought followers, potentially causing harm to your brand reputation.
- Damage to reputation. While more followers might make your profile look legit, it can actually hurt your brand credibility. When users discover that an account has fake followers, it can damage the trust you have worked hard to establish. Authenticity and genuine connections are valued on social media, and having a high number of fake followers can be seen as deceptive.
- Ineffective marketing. Your marketing efforts will be less effective when your followers are not interested in your content or products.
- Lack of targeted audience. Fake followers offer no value in terms of engaging with your posts, interacting with your brand, or making purchases.
- Wasted resources. Buying followers can be a waste of financial resources. Instead of investing in artificial growth, it’s more beneficial to allocate your resources towards creating valuable content, engaging with your target audience, and implementing legitimate marketing strategies.
- Follower drop-off. Purchased followers are often temporary because Instagram is hunting and removing them all the time, and they may disappear from your account over time. This can result in a drop in your follower count, which can appear suspicious and further damage your reputation.
- Messed up analytics. Monitoring analytics is crucial for any brand as it provides insights into what is working well and what needs improvement. However, if you have bought your followers, it can significantly distort your data. These sorts of followers can lead to an imbalance in engagement compared to your genuine followers. This discrepancy makes it challenging to accurately assess your analytics, hindering your ability to create effective social media marketing campaigns tailored to your real audience.
- Spam. By purchasing phony followers, you expose your account to spam. The majority will be bots or inactive accounts that often come with spam-related issues. This can be detrimental to both you and your genuine followers as it compromises personal information. It may result in receiving inappropriate spam comments on your posts, which can be noticed by your real Instagram followers.
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What to Do Instead of Buying IG Followers?
Hopefully at this point you’ve made the decision that purchasing Instagram followers isn’t the appropriate choice for your marketing strategy.
While social media growth may appear effortless, it requires hard work. Building a strong presence and attracting engaged followers organically takes consistent content creation, strategic planning, community engagement, and staying up-to-date with trends every single day. Success in social media is a result of persistence and continuous improvement.
Here are some actionable tips on what to do instead of buying Instagram followers:
- Focus on Content Quality:
– Create high-quality, visually appealing content that resonates with your target audience.
– Post consistently and maintain a consistent brand aesthetic to attract and retain genuine followers.
- Engage with Your Audience:
– Respond to comments and DMs promptly.
– Like and comment on posts from your followers and other relevant accounts in your niche.
– Participate in conversations and build meaningful connections with your audience.
- Utilize Relevant Hashtags:
– Research and use relevant hashtags that align with your content and target audience.
– Engage with posts using those hashtags to expand your reach and attract genuine followers.
- Collaborate with Influencers and Partners:
– Seek out influencers or brands with similar values and target audiences.
– Collaborate on content, giveaways, or shoutouts to tap into their follower base and gain exposure to new potential followers.
- Run Contests or Giveaways:
– Organize contests or giveaways that require participants to engage with your content, such as liking, commenting, or sharing.
– This can increase engagement, attract new followers, and generate excitement around your brand.
- Promote Your Instagram Account:
– Leverage other marketing channels, such as your website, email newsletters, or other social media platforms to promote your Instagram account.
– Cross-promote your Instagram content to attract your existing audience to follow you on Instagram.
- Collaborate with User-Generated Content:
– Encourage your followers to create content related to your brand and tag you.
– Share and credit user-generated content on your account, fostering a sense of community and encouraging others to follow you.
- Use Instagram Features:
– Take advantage of Instagram’s features like Stories, Reels, and IGTV to diversify your content and engage with your audience in different ways.
– Explore trends and leverage the latest features to stay relevant and attract organic followers.
- Utilize Instagram Ads:
– Invest in targeted Instagram ads to reach a specific audience that aligns with your brand.
– Set clear objectives for your ad campaigns and monitor the results to optimize your strategy.
In conclusion, buying Instagram followers may seem tempting at first, especially to small businesses or brands seeking quick success, but it comes with significant drawbacks. From damaging one’s reputation and engagement metrics to account penalties. The risks outweigh the benefits. Instead, focus on organic growth strategies that fosters genuine connections and long-term business success.