If you’ve ever tried to buy Instagram followers, you’re probably familiar with this scenario. You spend $100s of dollars to buy thousands of Instagram followers. Then, a few days go by, and you realize it was a total waste of money.

Sure, your follower count went up, but your posts aren’t getting any engagement. You’re not showing up on the Explore page. Your account is basically just as inactive as it was before you bought the IG followers.

You’ve made the exact same mistake as thousands of other people: You didn’t buy active Instagram followers — you bought a bunch of fake bots.

In this guide, we’re going to show you:

  • Why buying low-quality Instagram followers is dangerous
  • The best way to get more followers on Instagram quickly
  • How and where to buy active Instagram followers
  • A tool recommendation that boosts exposure through trending hashtags

Now, let’s look at why using reliable growth tools will help you grow a genuine Instagram following:

The Dangers of Buying Fake Instagram Followers

Buying Instagram followers isn’t the issue. Buying low-quality fake followers is when problems arise.

Let’s consider two of the most common reasons people and brands buy Instagram followers in the first place:

  1. Influencers want to “beef up” their stats to attract more advertisers.
  2. Brands want to look more popular and build social proof to encourage others to follow them.

Here’s how both influencers and brands put themselves at risk when buying low-quality, fake Instagram followers.

Advertisers Don’t Want to Work With Influencers With Fake Followers

Buying non-active fake followers is one of the worst moves an influencer can make. By now, most brands are able to spot influencers with fake followings from a mile away.

It’s as simple as looking at your follower-to-engagement ratio. Take a look at the graph below that breaks down the average engagement rate based on follower count:

When you see influencer accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers but less than a 1% engagement ratio, it’s usually a red flag for advertisers that their followers aren’t real.

So your attempt to lure brands into paying you for sponsored posts backfires and ends up turning them away. For influencers, It’s better to have a smaller audience of active followers than a massive audience of bots.

Instagram’s New Algorithm Punishes Brands With Fake Followers

Instagram uses an algorithm to determine where your posts show up on your followers’ timelines, as well as if it’ll show your content in the discover tab.

One of the key metrics Instagram uses to rank posts is engagement. But it doesn’t just look at total engagement. It looks at the metric we mentioned earlier, your follower-to-engagement ratio.

So even if you have 500K Instagram followers, it means nothing to Instagram if you’re only getting a handful of likes per post. If your ratio of engagements to total followers is too low, your content will be less likely to show up for your target audience.

Let’s take a look at a real-life example. Let’s say you’re a brand that sells healthy vegan snacks. So you use the hashtag #veganfood in your captions because it’s something your target audience searches for a lot.

You might think that just because you bought a bunch of Instagram followers it would improve your chances of showing up when people search for the hashtag. But when we look at the actual search results, here’s what we see:

All of the “Top Posts” are from accounts that consistently get high engagement from their followers, and have a good follower-to-engagement ratio.

Long story short, buying fake followers is like throwing money down the toilet. They do nothing for your brand, and once you’ve ruined your follower-to-engagement ratio it’s hard to recover unless you can get the fake followers to unfollow you.

The Best Way to Get Instagram Followers Quickly

Instead of going the fake route, the best way to build your following quickly is to buy active Instagram followers.

Unlike the bots we just mentioned, these are legitimate accounts owned by real people. They’re actually interested in your content and, as a result, they like and comment on your posts.

So instead of an account that looks like this:

Your account looks like this:

Credit: www.instagram.com/mobvoi

The first account with seemingly fake followers has around a 0.2% engagement rate, while the Mobvoi account has over 4%.

Which account would you rather have?

The challenge most people face is that getting active Instagram followers takes a lot of:

  1. Time: It takes a lot of time to research who your target audience is, engage with them, partner up with other accounts, and use other tactics to get organic Instagram growth. You could easily end up spending 40+ hours per week with minimal return.
  2. Money: The second option is to pay for Instagram Ads. But let’s do some quick math. The average cost per thousand impressions (CPM) on Instagram Ads is $5–6. Let’s assume a generous engagement rate of 2%, which means you’re paying roughly $0.25 per follower. And that’s on a good day. Realistically, you could expect it to be closer to $0.50 or more per follower until you find an ad campaign that works. So you could easily end up paying $500+ just to get 1,000 Instagram followers. That adds up quickly.

Luckily, there’s an easier way: buy active Instagram followers.

How to Buy Active Instagram Followers Safely

We’ve touched on the dangers of buying fake Instagram followers. You put your account at risk, and it’s basically wasted money.

On the flip side, buying active Instagram followers only helps your efforts. The problem is there are a ton of websites that claim to sell real Instagram followers but actually are just selling you bots.

So, before you pay for Instagram followers, here are some tips to ensure you’re not being scammed:

1. Buy Targeted Followers

One of the first things to look for when you buy legit Instagram followers is the accounts that are actually following you. A legitimate seller will ask for details about who your target audience is, your most-used hashtags, or who your competitors are.

Using that data, they’re able to build a list of targeted accounts based on demographics, location, and interests.

The end result is not just a bunch of random followers, but an engaged audience you can build on.

Take a look at Beyond Meat, for example. The company makes vegan alternatives to animal products. When you look at their Instagram followers, you see plenty of vegan-specific and health-conscious accounts, which shows their audience is highly targeted and relevant to their business. These are the types of people that turn into customers:

If the service you’re buying followers from only asks for your account name, it’s usually a sign you’re not buying interactive Instagram followers.

2. Be Suspicious of Cheap Instagram Followers

For most, buying high-quality Instagram followers is going to be significantly cheaper than running ad campaigns. However, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

You see, there’s a difference between cheap and affordable.

Here’s an example of a cheap service that promises real, active followers:

They’re selling followers for as little as under $0.01 per follower. While that might sound like a great deal, chances are the followers won’t be as high-quality as you’re expecting. Even worse, the followers might eventually get deleted or banned by Instagram for being bots.

Don’t be afraid to spend a little more money on quality followers.

3. Work With Transparent Sellers

The whole “buy Instagram followers” industry has a reputation for being a little shady, so we can’t blame you for being cautious or wary of who you buy from.

If the company you buy Instagram followers from isn’t clear about how they’re going to get your followers, it’s a bad sign.

While they don’t have to walk you through the step-by-step process of how they get each and every follower, they should at least be able to tell you their strategy.

For instance, are they doing the follow/unfollow tactic?

Are they engaging with relevant accounts all day to build awareness?

Are they getting shout outs from larger, established accounts?

If they can’t even give you the slightest hint as to what they’re doing to get more followers, it’s likely because they have something to hide. And that something is almost always that they’re selling you bots.

4. Look For Engagement Growth

When you buy active Instagram followers, not only should you see your follower count go up, but your engagement numbers should be increasing as well.

Remember, the reason you’re buying real Instagram followers in the first place is you want them to engage with your content so you can get more visibility and awareness for your brand.

Sure, there was a point years ago when simply having more followers could be beneficial. But those days are long gone with all the updates to the Instagram algorithm. Now, it’s no longer about the quantity of followers; it’s the quality.

Stop thinking of buying Instagram followers as just a way to boost your follower count and start thinking of it as a growth tactic.

5. Don’t Just Buy Followers; Buy a Strategy

The problem with most sites that sell Instagram followers (even the legit ones) is they just give you followers and that’s it.

Having followers is nice, but do you know what to do once your following starts growing? You need to be able to keep them engaged so you can continue to grow your Instagram account.

The best site to buy Instagram followers from is one that also provides you with tips to keep growing and monetize your following. That comes in the form of consultations, hashtag suggestions, and other resources to make sure you’re not just getting followers but growing your brand as well.

The Best Place to Buy Instagram Followers

Okay, now you know the negative impacts of buying Instagram followers. I would stay well away from them and instead focus on using the power of trending Instagram hashtags to help you increase your exposure in an authentic way. This is one of the most powerful ways to grow with real followers… and it seriously works and is often overlooked.

Now that you know what to look for, you’re probably wondering, “What are the correct hashtags to use on Instagram for my niche or industry, and are they still relevant?”

It’s not so simple; you can’t just use any old hashtags. That’s where services come into play to help you. People often overlook the importance of using the correct hashtags in order to grow your account successfully.

Hands down, from experience, the best site to help you is Hashtagsforlikes. The difference between Hashtagsforlikes and most of the other services you’ll find online is it doesn’t give you bots; instead, it helps you use trending hashtags to increase your exposure. This service isn’t free, but it’s well worth the investment to always have the most relevant hashtags. They also offer other cool tools on their dashboard!

They allow you to target your audience in the most effective way by using the most relevant hashtags to boost your exposure and make sure you and your content stay relevant in your niche. Their hashtags are updated every day to ensure that they are the most trending and relevant hashtags for any niche.

They also are not in the “buy 1,000 Instagram followers for $5” business. Their team takes the time to get you real followers through branding, using the right hashtags, and other organic tactics.

You can waste money buying mass Instagram followers that don’t engage, decrease your likelihood of being found organically, and ultimately put your account at risk.

Or, you can work with a trusted company and grow with active Instagram followers that will lead to more brand awareness, engagement, and sales. The choice is yours.

Let’s look at some more reasons why you should avoid fake Instagram followers or companies that promise you quick followers. I recommend seeing the value in the organic techniques for long-term reward in loyal growth.

You’ll Lose Loyal Followers

Even if your Instagram following is small, it’s likely that you have at least a few loyal followers.

These are the followers who have been with you from the beginning. Maybe they feel a personal connection with you because of shared interests. Or they followed you right from the start of your Instagram game and now see themselves as early pioneers on your journey.

Whatever the case, these loyal followers are important. In fact, they’ll end up being essential to your eventual success.

They like or comment on your posts more often than casual followers. They share your content with their own friends and followers. They let you know that someone is watching, which can be great for encouraging you to keep posting and growing.

If you suddenly buy Instagram accounts and followers, these loyal fans will notice. They’ll see the spike in your number of followers. They’ll watch as their comments get lost in the sludge of unauthentic ones.

They’ll likely see this as a sign that you’re no longer committed to your original message. Instead, they’ll see your decision to buy followers as a sign that your only goal is fame and fortune.

You’ll Hurt Your Credibility

Losing the loyalty of your committed followers isn’t the only negative side effect you’ll experience when you resort to buying Instagram followers.

You’ll also lose credibility with new followers or any casual followers you may have.

Your casual followers are those who follow you but don’t actively engage. They may not comment or engage because they haven’t made up their mind about your content or personality yet.

If they’re still on the fence about you, then when they notice that you’ve purchased followers in an effort to skyrocket your account, you’ll likely tip the scales.

Losing your credibility with these casual followers will cause your follower count to drop. While the drop may be small compared to the number of followers you bought, you’ll be losing real, authentic followers, which is much worse.

So, if you’ve made it this far, congratulations! I hope you found my insights educational and, now, spotting the mistakes of buying Instagram followers is obvious to you. More importantly, I hope you’ve learned how you can use helpful tools out there to manage and boost your Instagram with organic followers.Opinions 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.