The iScream Social Media Blog

Why is Buying Instagram Followers Bad?

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We’ve all been told plenty of times that you shouldn’t buy Instagram followers, but has anyone really given you an explanation why? Well, don’t worry, because we’ve laid out exactly why you shouldn’t buy followers. And it’s not just because it’s “not the right thing to do”. But it can also massively impact your Instagram account.

1. Buying Fake Followers Breaks Instagram’s Terms of Service

Instagram has made it very clear that they do not approve of people buying fake followers. As far as they are concerned, the buyer (you) is just as guilty as the seller (the fake followers). Instagram reserves the right to ban both buyers and sellers.

If you buy fake Instagram followers, Instagram may ban your account for encouraging dishonest practices. We know we said we wouldn’t bring up the point of buying followers not being the “right thing to do”, but hey, Instagram said this. Not us.

Sure, every account has some fake followers. But if you buy fake followers, you will have a higher than the typical percentage of fake followers, and Instagram will quickly notice this.

2. Instagram Purges Fake Followers

Over time Instagram has become skillful at spotting fake followers. Instagram’s success is based on a good user experience, and fake followers can bring that user experience down.

This means that the money you spend on fake followers may quickly become wasted anyhow, as your fake followers are removed from Instagram one-by-one.

3. Accounts with Fake Followers Lack Credibility

It isn’t that hard to spot an account with a sizeable number of fake followers. That goes for both Instagram itself and your actual followers. 

Everyone knows that there are bound to be some fake accounts everywhere on the platform, but if they see that most accounts are fake, they know that you’re not “good enough” for actual followers.

Ultimately, people who notice your use of fake followers will begin to doubt your credibility as an influencer or business. They will question how ethical your dealings might be.

4. Fake Instagram Followers Don’t Engage

There are two main types of fake Instagram followers. The first is the follower who has agreed to take a small sum of money in return for going on a Fake Follower list. They let someone add them as a follower to thousands of people they don’t know and have no interest in. They will happily pocket what money they can, but they certainly won’t take any interest in the accounts that they “follow.” They will never look at your posts or engage with you in any way.

The second type of fake follower isn’t a real person. “He” is a bot – merely a piece of code masquerading as an Instagram follower. In theory, some bots do engage – they make automated, often nonsensical, comments, on some of your posts. But these mean nothing. These followers definitely don’t engage with any thought – they may be some form of AI, but there is no deep learning involved. They are unlikely to be programmed to learn from your content. And even if they were, is that what social engagement is all about?

What is the point of a follower on Instagram, or any other social network, if he/she doesn’t engage? The whole reason that these online hubs are called social networks is that they are platforms for people to be social.

5. Your Engagement is Mismatched

Human beings are relatively predictable creatures. No matter how important you are, your genuine human followers will most likely follow a relatively typical pattern of engagement. Admittedly, larger accounts receive less engagement than smaller accounts, but there is still a general pattern:

• < 1,000 followers average about 8% engagement

• 1,000 – 10,000 followers average 4% engagement

• 10,000 – 100,000 followers average 2.4% engagement

• 100,000 – 1 million followers average 1.8% engagement

• > 1 million followers average 1.7% engagement

Your engagement rates won’t match these numbers exactly – they are just averages – but they should be in the general vicinity of these percentages.

If you have fake followers, however, your engagement will be noticeably different from these averages. Your fake followers will generally not be engaging in any way – and this will drag your engagement rate down.

One thing you should check out, though, is any “useless comment” type of engagement. The people who sell fake followers have recognized this engagement problem, and some of them now have bots making fake, but useless, comments, to boost engagement rates. If you see that somebody just makes “nice picture” type comments you can make a safe assumption that they are a fake Instagram follower.

6. Fake Followers Will Never Buy Your Product or Service

If you’re a business, what is the point of having an Instagram account? Sure, you want to provide entertaining/engaging content. But the whole point is to help gain leads, sales, and revenue.

Fake followers are obviously not going to spend any money with you. Whether they are bots (who cannot spend money with anybody) or real people merely playing a game for money, it makes no difference. They have zero interest in you, and no intention of spending any money on your product or service.

So there you have it. Buying followers is not only bad because of it being “not good”, but it also doesn’t benefit your business in any way. Your best bet is to go about gaining followers the natural way: by putting out great content on a consistent basis. If that sounds difficult, we can help you out with social media management. If you’re unsure about it, you can reach out to us for a free consultation.