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Why Buying Instagram Followers Doesn’t Work

1294 words · Reading time: 7 minutes

When it comes to Instagram, the aim of the game is to gain followers. However, buying them won’t help you get the attention you want. Here’s why you shouldn’t buy Instagram followers, along with tips to get more influence organically. 

The goal of almost every Instagrammer is to have thousands of followers. For some, that desire might lead them to temptation, whereby they part with hard-earned cash to grow their fan base. However, this method has many flaws and what might seem like a quick fix, could leave you out of pocket. 

Buyer Beware

One of the first things you should know about buying Instagram followers is that you probably aren’t buying Instagram followers. In reality, the majority of paid followers are either bots of inactive accounts. 

The Rise of the Instagram Bot

According to a study carried out Ghost Data in 2018, Instagram is populated by around 95 million bots, which is equivalent to 10% of all the accounts on the platform. 

To make matters worse, some services are highly advanced, meaning that the dummy accounts they offer often seem like the real deal. They can share, like and even generate content. However, often they will have dodgy follower to following ratios, meaning that their engagement value is low. 

One of the important things to remember about social media algorithms is that they are designed to show your content to people that will like it. They do this by assessing who your clicks come from and then putting them in front of similar people. So, if all of your engagement comes from bots, guess who’s going to see your content…bots! 

When it comes to Instagram followers, to have any real impact, especially in marketing, you need to have real people. After all, real people have real desires and real money, bots don’t. Bots won’t discuss your products and they certainly won’t buy them. The only thing they will do is make you look popular, but even then that’s only when you personally point people in the direction of your account, because that’s the only way they’d find out. 

Inactive Accounts

An alternative to Instagram bots are Instagram accounts set up by real people which are made purely to follow people. Once they follow an account, there may be a small amount of engagement, but this will rapidly decrease to zero, because the people running them are human, and it takes time to engage. Scale this up to hundreds of accounts set up purely to follow people and there will be high levels of inactivity. Once again, you are left with increased follower numbers, but no added value as those followers will not be interacting with your content in the ways you need to generate revenue. 

Is it worth buying Instagram followers?

If the only thing you want to do is boost your follower number, then go ahead, but you won’t get much engagement, which is key when it comes using Instagram for marketing. You might be able to convince a few people IRL that you have a strong following, or are Instafamous! However, it won’t take an expert to figure out that those numbers have no substance.

How to get more followers on Instagram organically

Whether you’re a marketer, influencer or just want more people to see your pictures, then organic views will always be more beneficial than bots. The main reason for this is that the Instagram algorithm favours engagement over follower count. Therefore, the more people that engage with your content, the more Instagram will value your account and the more likely it is to get seen by more people. If more people see your stuff and like what they see, then more people will follow you. In short, engagement drives follower numbers. 

Your task, now that you know how to get more followers, is how to drive engagement. Here some quick tips to boost your engagement on Instagram.

Engagement grows engagement

Engagement is a two-way street, and engaging with other users on Instagram will help get your account in front of more people. It will also show that you are a real person. Be careful though, if you engage too much in a short space of time, Instagram will suspect that you are a bot and temporarily suspend your ability to like people’s content. It’s not the end of the world, but it is annoying. 

Act natural! Vary the ways in which you engage with the content you see by commenting, sharing and liking people’s posts. Also, it’s a good idea to try to limit your engagement to posts that are relevant to yours. Essentially, if you use your account to promote reusable drinking straws, try not to get distracted by videos of cute dogs and people injuring themselves. Instead, look for eco-conscious Instagrammers and influencers to follow and engage with in that area.   

Publish quality content

When it comes to Instagram, quality matters more than it does on other social media sites like Facebook. Instagram has its own aesthetic values which you need to try to harness. This will take time to establish, but once you find out exactly what your audience likes, it’ll be much easier to replicate. 

Instagram requires marketers to think more about overall brand image than individual campaign image. This is because all of the content for each account is easily visible in one place. If the posts on a page don’t fit together to create a unified message, then they will be lost. 

To ensure unity across posts, many influencers use colour palettes. If you can, create your colour palette early on and then try not to stray from it wherever possible. If you’re stuck and not sure where to start creating a palette, check out this site. [](https://coolors.co/) 


Hashtags are amazingly simple, but also quite complex. It’s unclear how they work in relation to algorithms, however, it’s best to err on the side of caution. 

Instagram allows you to have up to 30 hashtags per post, and each of these hashtags will allow you to reach more people. Therefore, the more the merrier right? Well, not necessarily. 

As with most algorithms, you can take an educated guess that they will be focused on engagement, and engagement relies on relevance. Use too many irrelevant hashtags or ones that people don’t engage with and you’ll probably find your overall engagement dip. This will be the algorithm’s way of telling you to be more precise and not to phish for likes outside of your area. 

Try to find hashtags that enough people engage with and which are also relevant to your niche and then use those. You can start out with just a few and gradually build them up over time. 

Another tip is that, while it might be tempting to use Instagram’s most popular hashtags, it’s not the most fruitful of techniques. After all, the more people using a hashtag, the more competition you have and the harder it is to stand out. 

When it comes to hashtags, you just have to find a good balance between relevancy and usage. It’s a natural progression, but you’ll know when you’re on the right track as your like count will start to rise quite quickly, and eventually peak. If you want to get it higher, as with any campaign, you’ll need to optimize. 

The Bottom Line

Instagram is a great platform and a lot of fun to play around with. It’s also perfect for beginners to test out optimization methods, without having to hand over cash. There’s a lot Instagram can teach you about marketing if you take the time to play around and get a good following. Plus, it’s free! Not only that, but it’s also a powerful tool for affiliates, providing it’s used correctly.

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