Followers are how we build our brands; if we have no followers, we essentially have no brand. We need consumers to connect with our brand, otherwise, we’re doing a whole lot of social media for no one to see. Thus, it is important that you carefully curate your follower base, and maintain its growth. This is where quality vs. quantity comes into play. It can be tempting to buy followers, because who doesn’t like seeing a nice big number when they go to their profile? But buying followers can have many more drawbacks than it does advantages. Here are four reasons as to why buying followers may not work out in your favor.
The followers you buy are not your target audience
If you buy followers, you’re buying bots. These are not real people, so they won’t interact with your posts, and they won’t invest in your products. If the followers you buy are in fact real accounts, they are not accounts that willingly followed you because you earned their trust or interest as a brand. The reason you run social media is to sell your product or service, and there’s no sense in spending money on accounts that won’t buy your product.
You won’t get any interaction with your posts
Although you buy followers, often they are not real accounts. They are just empty profiles who boost your follower count but do nothing else. They won’t like your posts, comment, or engage in any way. The folks over at Hootsuite did an experiment where they bought followers to see what happened; you can read their results here.
Another part to consider is your engagement ratio. Let’s say you have 10,000 followers, but you only get 90 likes per post. Instagram sees that ratio as a red flag and therefore your account falls to a lower place in the algorithm. If you have 400 followers, but 50 users are liking, Instagram sees that as quality engagements and will, therefore, will favor your account more.
Your bought followers are spam, bots, or inappropriate
If one of your real followers were to click on your followers, they’d be greeted with several unintelligible usernames, accounts that are clearly fake, and accounts that contain porn and links that could give your computer viruses. You don’t want a follower to click on your profile and see that, because it will give them a bad impression of what kind of business owner you are. If you want to have a reputable business, you need to have reputable followers, even if curating those followers takes a long time.
Instagram does not allow for fake followers
Instagram has not turned a blind eye to all the fake accounts people have been buying. In fact, this summer they’ve taken an active stance on trying to get rid of said bots. For more details on how exactly they’re planning to get rid of these accounts, check out this post about Instagram’s tactics. Lastly, if Instagram finds that you are a repeat offender in terms of bot followers, they might shadowban you or just ban you altogether. An article from Entrepreneur magazine writes “If you have been shadowbanned, most likely your behavior has caught the attention of the algorithm and spam filters.” As long as you’re playing fair, Instagram will too. To learn more about shadowbanning, you can check out our post on it here.
Building a business takes a long time, and that includes curating your social media followers. Although the appeal of buying followers is tempting, at the end of the day it does much more harm than good. You want real, vibrant, engaged followers, not fake accounts that won’t interact with your posts. As tempting as it might be, the reward will be much greater if you do the social media legwork yourself.