Is it worth it? Let us give you the lowdown.
As of February 2020, the number of active Instagram users on a monthly basis has reached 1 billion, with daily usage hitting 500 million. 120 million of all Instagram users are US based. With Instagram clearly clocking in as one of the most active social media platforms, it’s no surprise that influencers, organizations, businesses, politicians, public figures, and celebrities alike are aiming to boost their follower count.
After all, why wouldn’t they want to get more real Instagram followers?
And while it looks like many household names (see Ellen DeGeneres, Miley Cirus) are succeeding in building their Instagram followers, 40-50% of these followers are bought. If celebrities and politicians can buy Instagram followers, we can too, right?
Seems like a viable shortcut.
But are there consequences?
In this article, we’ll take a look at why people buy Instagram followers, how to get more organic Instagram followers and likes, and tips for growing your Instagram followers.
Read this article carefully if you want to grow with real followers. We will cover:
1. Dangers of buying fake followers
2. What happens if you buy fake followers
3. Alternative techniques and growth tool tricks
Let’s get to it.
What Drives People to Buy Instagram Followers?
In a world with growing competition, being noticed is at the forefront of most people’s minds. Top-notch content is key, but with that content comes the desire for more reach.
As an influencer, blooming brand, up-and-coming musical group, and more, going from 1k likes to 10k likes or 2k followers to 200k followers can be a game-changer; these metrics have an impact on those viewing our platform.
What’s the effect?
Millions of fake profiles on Instagram have surfaced over the past few years.
What is a “fake profile?” These profiles can consist of bots that simulate real user activity, while others can be inactive accounts that are there as a placeholder, an additional number.
Because brands looking for sponsorships or endorsements typically look to follower count and engagement numbers when making decisions, influencers and brands have begun to look for any means to boost their following and find more opportunities for profit and investment deals.
In the end, these companies are tricked into deals that offer little prospect of ROI and end up losing a bunch of money, and the influencer or brand also loses, because they’ve effectively failed at holding up their end of the bargain. They are untrustworthy.
This goes on and on, so why would people continue to buy?
What Actually Happens When You Buy Instagram Followers?
Let’s learn a little bit more about what actually happens when you buy Instagram followers, in case you are still considering it.
First, there are a variety of options in finding these followers for purchase; there are many outlets for buying followers, from apps to websites, that offer prices even as low as $1.
Seems legit, right? Well, not so fast. The only thing these followers can offer is a higher number count. Is this important? Yes. Is it the only piece to the puzzle? Definitely not.
Let’s say you buy 1,000 followers. These 1,000 are not going to offer any engagements with your posts, such as likes or comments. They are empty followers.
There are also companies that exist as a growth service. What’s the difference? Hiring a growth service promises to provide you with real followers that receive a stipend for their engagement.
A riskier way is through a service that does targeting; they will follow accounts that match your specifications and engage with their content, hoping for a follow back. This does not guarantee that they will, in fact, follow you.
Ultimately, none of these techniques will gain you a sustainable follower count. Your numbers may be higher, and you might see some initial increase in engagement, but there are some downsides.
Let’s say you have 25K followers on Instagram, but you get an average of 15-20 likes on your photo. Eventually, this is going to raise some eyebrows. Why is no one engaging with your content?
Another downside is that autobots can be programmed to comment, but the comments may sometimes be very generic or out of context, thus causing further confusion or doubt regarding your authenticity.
Finally, if you infuse your Instagram with fake followers and engagement, it will be virtually impossible for you to truly monitor your metrics and content performance.
If you can’t see what content is actually performing well with your real, organic Instagram followers, developing future content that will perform well over time will become a trying task. You will not have set yourself up for success by buying fake followers.
The likes and comments you receive from fake followers do nothing to affect Instagram algorithms and gain you a spot on the “explore” page.
In the end, buying fake followers might be an attractive quick fix, but it will not do anything to guarantee you success in the long-term, and can actually cause a future setback.
What’s more, you can actually be penalized by Instagram for using fake followers.
Wait – Penalties for Fake Followers?
Yes, you read that right. Instagram has a variety of penalties for those that are found using these fake follower tactics. When this idea of fake followers became a huge boom, Instagram took a step to reduce these inauthentic accounts to provide the best user experience possible.
Engagements that were likely produced by inauthentic accounts were removed, and third-party apps that access your account for producing inauthentic activity were booted out.
Bots that are eyeing accounts with high follower numbers or engagements were also identified, and users were alerted to protect their security, urging them to change their password to avoid being hacked.
Instagram is further developing in the direction of detecting fake or inauthentic activity; this development helps real content to be valued and featured while protecting accounts and deterring hackers or phishing.
So, How Can You Earn Authentic Followers?
After reading all of this, we can agree that buying fake followers isn’t the key to Instagram success, and can actually harm your potential. Even still, followers and engagement are vital for a successful Instagram platform.
So, how do you get more organic Instagram followers?
Check out these five proven tactics to guide you:
1. Update Your Instagram Bio and Profile
This is the first thing that users see when visiting your profile. Make sure you have a memorable username, profile picture, and bio. Include links to your social handles or other important outside sites that are related to your business or platform. Write a description that is interesting and fits appropriately with your brand. All of these elements need to form a cohesive snapshot of who you are on Instagram.
Also, keep in mind that the Instagram story highlights are featured on your profile. Use these strategically to offer your followers something valuable when they come across your profile. Organize them appropriately, have clear titles, and use cover photos that sync well together.
2. Use a Growth tool, and Use It Strategically
Using hashtags that are relevant to your content is one of the best ways to grow your Instagram with real followers.
HashtagsForLikes is an effective growth tool that illustrates how a hashtag performs in relation to your content area through insights and analytics. It shows things like reach, average likes, and unique posts with that hashtag.
If you are looking for more options, the tool can also generate useful alternatives. One hashtag won’t do the trick, so make sure you have a variety of hashtags to help promote reach and engagement to your target audience.
HashtagsForLikes also provides a list of trending hashtags, so use that list to improve your chances of reaching genuine followers that are interested in your content.
This is by far the most sustainable method of getting real Instagram followers that take action on your profile.
3. Be Consistent
It’s important that your followers see and feel your presence through comments and likes with users. The more you connect with them, the more engagement you will receive.
In addition, set up a posting schedule for yourself; find out the optimal posting times for your content to reach more people. You can even set up automatic posting through schedulers like HootSuite and Later to help you maintain your posting consistency.
4. Use Cross-Channel Traffic
While Instagram may have some of the most active users, other platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and personal websites can be invaluable in directing traffic to your Instagram platform.
Add your Instagram handle to your email signature, website, bios, and content posted on other sites.
If you have trust and credibility through your other channels, this is a great way to gain genuine followers on Instagram that already trust you. This will most definitely grow your Instagram with real followers.
5. Participate in Conversations
Don’t be shy in exploring hashtags and getting involved in trending conversations happening on the platform. Participating in trending conversations on Instagram posts that are in the same field as you can help boost your visibility and direct people to your site that may have an interest in what you have to offer.
Make sure your comments are in line with your brand and positively support your image.
Increasing visibility is a good way to increase your organic Instagram followers.
Feeling Motivated to Get More Instagram Followers?
Instagram offers a massive amount of opportunity for anyone out there looking to reach a wide audience for lead generation, increased brand awareness, and much more. Everyone is looking for more followers to accomplish their goals.
Sadly, with this desire, many people have resorted to unsavory solutions, such as buying followers or engagements.
Don’t fall into the trap – develop your bio and profile, build your brand with consistency and quality content, promote your content using hashtags and HashtagsForLikes, and don’t be shy in engaging with followers and cross-content promotion.
Do you have any questions about how to get more organic Instagram followers? Leave a comment belowOpinions expressed here are the opinions of the author. Influencive does not endorse or review brands mentioned; does not and can not investigate relationships with brands, products, and people mentioned and is up to the author to disclose. VIP Contributors and Contributors, amongst other accounts and articles, are professional fee-based.
Max has been traveling for the past 5 years working remotely as a digital marketing consultant, he’s passionate about helping startups transform into successful businesses. When he’s not working he loves to travel to remote places of the world! You can follow him on Twitter @maxkthompson.