Like any shortcut, buying Instagram followers can be very tempting.

And why not? Just look at these ads:

“Get 100% real Instagram followers within 10 minutes!”

“Pay only $5 for 500 followers.”

“Increase your Instagram following by 25% at shockingly low rates!“

See? Tempting.

But let us warn you – don’t give in.

These shortcuts are never worth it. More so, because the Instagram algorithm is updated regularly to weed out low-quality and fake accounts and interactions.

Plus, the results are hollow, scammy, and… mortifyingly obvious.

In this guide, we’ll cover all points to give you a better idea about how buying Instagram followers works – or rather how it doesn’t work – along with actionable ways to increase your number of followers organically.

So, let’s get started!

How People “Think” Buying Instagram Followers Will Help Them?

Buying Instagram followers is usually done in two ways, each having different results:

More (Fake) Followers

You can indeed get more followers very easily and cost-effectively by spending money.

But Instagram can track down your fake followers who are actually shell accounts and can ban them. Moreover, you won’t get any revenue or engagement for your business.

Automatic Following and Unfollowing, With More Likes

This method is based off on the common Instagram etiquette – #FollowForFollow.

You follow an account, and that account follows you back. The catch here is that the other account gets automatically unfollowed after a few days

You have the option to choose how fast you want the bot to work where you’ll follow other Instagram users, who will then check out your account and give you a follow.

We know that this method sounds better than the first one, but it still isn’t an organic way to increase your true fans. Here’s why it doesn’t work:

  • People Can Tell You Bought Followers 

The bot can like several pictures in quick succession, tipping off Instagram users that you aren’t really engaging with them. Having a high-followers-to-following ratio is another indication.

  • Doesn’t Identify Accounts Who Will Follow You Back 

The bot cannot identify accounts who are bots, brand ambassadors, or inactive accounts. So even if you follow them, these accounts will not follow you back.

  • Inaccurate Customer Targeting 

It’s necessary to have an organic, loyal fan following if you want to boost your engagement in the long run. The bot often messes up targeting and adds accounts who have no genuine interest in your brand.

Not everyone checks their Instagram regularly. So they can miss the bot following and unfollowing them, which again does nothing for your account. #MoneyWasted

Basically, you won’t have sustainable results in the long run.

How Buying Instagram Followers Affect Your Brand Negatively?

Before talking about why you shouldn’t buy Instagram accounts, let’s discuss why you choose to operate an Instagram account.

  • You want to connect with friends and family, giving them a glimpse into your daily lives. If this is you, why would you want to buy followers to have a bigger network? You don’t know them, and they definitely will have no interest in the posts you share.
  • You want to take advantage of the 1 billion Instagram users and sell your product or service. If you‘re a business or brand, fake followers have no use for you since they aren’t going to buy anything from you.
  • You want to influence your followers and potentially land lucrative deals from brands to showcase their offerings. If you’re an influencer, what’s the point of having fake followers when you cannot influence them? This will only make you look unreliable and fake.

In other words, buying Instagram followers is nothing but #Fail.

That said, let’s discuss the reasons why you shouldn’t buy Instagram followers in more detail:

Absolutely Zero Genuine Engagement

One of the main reasons why people buy followers is to boost their engagement. Well, right after increasing the number of followers.

The reality couldn’t be further from the truth, though.

Since you’re merely paying for fake bot accounts, the best engagement you can hope for is a generic “nice post“ comment.

If you‘re an influencer, your main job is influencing your followers‘ behavior and possibly steering them to buy products from brands with whom you share affiliate partnerships. 

But if they don’t engage with you, you aren’t influencing them at all.

Precisely why brands check out the validity of an “influencer“ before taking the plunge and working with them.

Your Competitors And Instagram Know You Bought Followers

There are some dead giveaways that scream you purchased your Instagram followers and likes, making your folly embarrassingly obvious.

  • Your likes-to-follower or likes-to-comments ratios are unnaturally high.
  • You have like-buying services following your account.
  • The accounts that like your post or follow your account have little to no activity in the form of posts, few followers, missing profile photos, and so on.

Trust us, people will know.

You’ll Have Mismatched Engagement

Human behavior is predictable, which is why you‘re likely to have a typical pattern of engagement if you have a genuine following. 

Markerly analyzed the Instagram accounts of 2 million influencers and discovered the following patterns:

  • Less than 1000 followers average about 8% engagement
  • 1000-10,000 followers average 4% engagement
  • 10,000-100,000 followers average 2.4% engagement
  • 100,000 followers-1 million followers average 1.8% engagement
  • Greater than 1 million followers average 1.7% engagement

Now, this doesn’t mean your engagement rates should exactly match these numbers – after all, they are just averages. But a noticeable difference would mean there’s definitely something fishy going on.

Instagram Will Punish You or Even Suspend Your Account

Instagram is ruthless when it comes to penalizing accounts with fake followers.

The platform has recently updated its terms of use to identify and remove fake accounts and is also removing any likes, follows, or comments that come from third-party applications created to grow audiences artificially.

You‘ll also violate Instagram community guidelines if you buy followers, which can trigger a reaction from moderators.

Fake accounts are purged constantly, so your followers can disappear at any time. There is also the risk of Instagram outrightly suspending your account due to these unethical practices.

Higher Vulnerability to SPAM

The majority of your bought followers will be fake, but there might be a few accounts that bring SPAM with them.

When you provide your email address for purchasing followers, you‘re basically providing opportunities for spam posts. These spammers will have access to your followers and deliver SPAM there as well.

Some of your genuine followers may end up following these accounts just because they see you doing it, and when they discover the quality of these accounts, they might end up unfollowing you.

No Income for You

Your fake followers won’t spend any money on your products, and neither will they refer people to you.

So what’s the point of spending money to buy followers when there is no benefit?

As mentioned before, brands don’t select influencers based on the number of followers alone anymore. They use a host of tools to get an accurate picture to avoid working with unworthy accounts.

When they find you bought your followers, which they will, they obviously won’t work for you. 

Hence, you won’t earn any income despite spending some serious money on increasing your fake followers’ list.

You’ll End Up Being Blacklisted

Let alone income, brands will outright blacklist you if they find you lack credibility.

Influencer marketing is based on trust, which is why brands want to partner with genuine influencers who built their following organically. And when they find you’ve taken a dishonest shortcut, they‘ll start questioning your worth as a business.

Instead, you can consider buying Instagram ads. Not only will this help you increase your reach, but you might also be able to pull genuine followers. 

Plus, if you have the budget to “buy“ followers, why not spend it on paid advertising instead?

Actionable Ways to Increase Your Instagram Followers Authentically

We can now agree that buying fake followers isn’t going to get you Instagram success, and will only affect your potential adversely.

So the question here is how you can get more Instagram followers.

The following are some of the best practices to increase your Instagram followers:

Create Useful and Relevant Content

The best way to make people stop scrolling through their Instagram feed and like your post or follow your account is to create content that genuinely interests them.

Think about your target audience, and make the value of your post clear by tying it to a specific purpose.

What do you want to post to be? Informational, educational, or entertaining?

Here are a few suggestions to help you with content creation:

Informational Content That Informs Your Audience

  • Interesting articles, stories, and other relevant content from around the world.
  • Research and analysis that explore a specific subject or area.
  • Latest local, national, and international news in your niche.

Educational Content That Teaches Your Audience

  • Step-by-step how-to guides that show the user how to accomplish something.
  • Tutorials in the form of photos or instructional videos.
  • Video reviews of products or services to help users with purchase decisions.

Entertaining Content That Helps Your Audience Pass Their Time

  • Celebrity-focused gossip, stories, and photos.
  • Quizzes, brainteasers, trivia, and other mental tests.
  • Humorous content to break the daily monotony of life.

Inspirational Content That Uplifts Your Audience

  • Inspiring photos and videos related to fashion, home, food, garden, and travel.
  • Thought-provoking perspectives or strong opinions on critical topics.
  • Personal anecdotes or stories to create feelings of empathy.

You can choose any content type according to your target audience and personal preference – just make sure it’s purposeful. Your audience should feel they‘re getting something out of your posts. 

If you still face difficulty in understanding the kind of content to post, you can hire a social media marketing agency or consultant to do the job for you. 

Our team at Neil Patel Digital has a team of experts that are highly skilled in creating Instagram posts that drive traffic and boost engagement.

Using Growth Tools Strategically

Hashtags are an excellent way to grow your Instagram and earn authentic followers. 

Effective growth tools, such as HashtagsForLife, will allow you to see how a specific hashtag is performing in your content area and provide you insights and analytics. You can also see its reach, average likes, and unique posts made using that hashtag.

These are some of the top Instagram hashtags:

  • #love (1,271,692,015)
  • #instagood (742,795,562)
  • #photooftheday (507,358,504)
  • #fashion (487,010,088)
  • #beautiful (463,668,566)
  • #happy (427,528,663)
  • #cute (418,686,470)
  • #like4like (417,887,839)
  • #tbt (413,049,020)
  • #followme (392,011,012)

Promote Your Instagram on Other Social Media Platforms

It’s normal for people who are on Instagram to also be on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

So when you promote your Instagram on other networks, your followers will know that you have an account on Instagram as well, which, in turn, can drive traffic to the latter platform and simultaneously increase your followers.

Make sure your Instagram business account is linked to Facebook. This will enable you to share your Instagram post on your Facebook page, giving your Facebook friends and followers a sneak peek of what you have to offer on Instagram.

Try Instagram Ads

If you’re considering buying followers, you should give marketing with Instagram ads a try.

Choose an appropriate ad campaign objective like increasing your brand awareness or boosting your reach. 

Not only will this help you build your follower count, but will also get out there in front of people who’ve never heard about your brand and products, but want to.

Optimize your Instagram account

Optimizing your Instagram account can be an excellent way to get organic followers.

Your Instagram bio is like the homepage to your account, which is your brand. 

Think of a creative bio, add creative image captions, choose a good profile image and user name, and watch the magic unfold.

Doing this will help you build your brand identity as well as drive Instagram traffic to your site. You can also add links in your bio that direct your visitors to your site.

Top Tip: Make your Instagram as search-friendly as possible. If it’s too long, try to shorten it. Also, avoid adding numbers or special characters.

Follow a Consistent Content Calendar

Posting regularly on Instagram is a not-so-secret secret to lock in more followers. 

If you’re getting followers, you don’t want to make them forget they followed you in the first place, which is why maintaining a regular posting schedule is necessary.

You shouldn’t post more than two times a day to avoid spam – it’s the consistency that matters. 

Nearly 200 million Instagram users use their accounts daily, so even if you post a few times, it’s enough to get the followers rolling in. 

Just take a look at the above graph to know the best times to post to Instagram.

Follow the Follow + Like + Comment (FLC) Rule

You might have already heard about this rule, and it’s just as simple as it looks.

You should engage directly with your followers, follow different accounts, and like and comment on their photos. Try to do this repeatedly until you see a response.

In fact, when you FLC with a personal touch, you can have a third out of say, a hundred contacts that you engage with, follow you back.

Host Giveaways

Everybody likes free stuff, so why not get attention from other users by running a giveaway for your products, services, or merchandise?

You’ll find many businesses run a giveaway, where they ask the users to tag 3 to 5 friends and repost content. This can be a great way to boost your brand visibility and gain many followers quickly.

You Can’t Have Bots Carrying You Towards Instagram Success

Fake followers might boost engagement initially, but in the long run, there’s really no benefit – both in terms of credibility and financial gain.

Instead of trying to pay your way into Instagram popularity, follow our highly effective tips to slowly but legitimately grow your followers.

It may seem daunting to create a plan to increase your follower count, but with an effective strategic plan in place, you’ll have your followers growing faster than a bot ever could.

Wondering where to start? Contact us here and let us help disrupt your industry.