Managing your brand presence on Instagram is no small task. It takes a lot of planning and dedication.
Not to mention the amount of time you have to invest in growing your online community.
These days, presence and visibility are critical to a successful online marketing campaign. Any business must have a dedicated follower base that they can engage with on a daily basis. And there really is no easy way to do it.
No wonder many businesses, influencers, and marketers start to contemplate an easier path at some point.
That’s right – we’re talking buying followers.
While there’s nothing wrong with the idea in general, there are many ways you can get ripped off and end up with a bunch of fake, zombie followers that do nothing for your bottom line.
There are plenty of services promising miracles only to leave you with a whole new set of problems.
Fake followers do more harm than good to your Instagram profile.
We’ll get to that in a minute.
First, let’s break down what fake followers actually look like.
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Fake Instagram followers
Although Instagram is trying their best to stop this, there are still plenty of sketchy Instagram growth services that sell fake Instagram followers.
Here’s how you can easily spot a fake Instagram follower profile.
A fake profile is pretty easy to notice. It is usually the profiles that lack a human touch that are particularly transparent.
- A profile picture is generic or missing
- A small number of posts
- Spammy, generic comments
- Generic or non-existant Instagram bio
Example of a fake Instagram profile
Services that sell fake followers guarantee that the followers you have purchased from them will be delivered instantly and are of high quality. These boosts in numbers are almost always temporary since these profiles are bound to be deleted by Instagram. This results in you losing the followers you purchased. You can also learn more about the effects of fake followers in our blog post – Why My Instagram Followers Are Decreasing Automatically Day By Day.
Fake Followers Means Low Engagement
At first, it may seem like a good idea to boost engagement.
Sure, if we’re talking real, target followers genuinely interested in engaging with your business.
But fake followers actually bring no engagement whatsoever.
Let’s not forget that a solid Instagram engagement is the holy grail every Instagram account is reaching towards.
To get it right, you simply must put in the work and employ only the trusted tools and services that promise tangible results.
Fake followers, on the other hand, won’t deliver anything in terms of engagement. In fact, they would do more harm than good.
Just like fake influencers, fake followers can’t generate any real engagement. In most cases, they won’t even provide comments or likes. The best-case scenario – you’ll get some generic comments that don’t work in your favor since they, well, just scream fake and inauthentic.
Here are some other most common drawbacks of fake Instagram followers:
- Risk of getting your profile banned
- Bad for your reputation
- Long-term damage to your Instagram profile
- Instagram will recognize and purge fake followers
- There is no profit
- Bad investment
Risk of Getting Your Instagram Profile Banned
Is it safe to buy fake followers on Instagram?
It looks like we’ve got a pretty straightforward answer to this question.
Taken from Instagram’s’ Community Guidelines
Instagram is pretty active in discouraging people from buying followers, and they are ready to take measures if necessary. Along with purging any fake profiles, they also reserve the right to potentially suspend your profile for an indefinite period of time. It’s definitely a hit to your reputation if your profile gets removed for engaging in dodgy practices.
There is a chance that you can appeal the claim and get Instagram to reinstate your profile, but without guidance, your chances are slim.
Example of an Instagram account getting disabled for violating the Terms of Service
Take a look at our step-by-step guide on how to get your banned profile back.
Bad for your reputation
Suppose you have to resort to fake Instagram followers. In that case, it makes a pretty weak argument that you are a successful Instagram influencer. Don’t think no one will notice. It’s pretty clear when someone has a bunch of bots following them.
Brands analyze influencer profiles for fake Followers when reaching out for potential partnerships. They want someone who can market their product to an active audience, and it’s safe to assume that they would like to have some feedback on it. Suppose the influencer in question has, let’s say, 10.000 followers, out of which 50% are fake. In that case, this is likely to leave both parties involved quite dissatisfied.
This practice has the potential to ruin your reputation and credibility with your audience. Whether you’re an influencer or a brand, it’s always better to go for the slow and safe alternative rather than taking shortcuts.
Brands can now check if someone’s profile is littered with fake followers. All they have to do is use one of the many tools designed for this purpose, and it shows the exact percentage of fake followers.
Long-term damage to your Instagram profile
If there’s still any doubt left, and you’re still wondering if it is safe to buy fake followers on Instagram, don’t worry.
We’ve got plenty more reasons why you should not get involved with fake Instagram followers.
Fake Instagram followers can completely mess up your Instagram algorithm.
- The purpose of the algorithm is to tailor content for users and make sure that everyone is seeing what they want to see. Instagram is all about showing relevant content first. Instagram will show your content to users that fit your Follower Persona. The Followers persona is determined based on your current Followers.
- Since the followers you received are just numbers that don’t engage with your posts, your posts will be even lower down in the feed. That can severely affect the engagement you get from real followers that you have built so far. Your Followers are less likely to engage with you if they have to scroll down 10 or more times just to find your latest post.
- The ranking of your posts on the Explore feed will also take a hit. Most of the fake followers that you receive are not a part of your target audience. It can be a real mess since the Explore feed works by connecting your content with users similar to those who already follow you. And if the people seeing your posts for the first time are not your demographic, you’ll have a hard time attracting new followers to your profile.
- When you pay Instagram ads to promote your posts on Instagram, you set some basic parameters (gender, location, age groups, etc.). However, the Instagram algorithm relies heavily on your profile’s Follower Persona, which is determined by your Followers. This makes sense, of course. If you don’t have fake Followers. Ask yourself, are you ready to sacrifice long-term paid-ads potential to get a few extra fake Followers?
Fake followers can cause severe and irreversible damage to your profile. Even if you try to clean your profile up from all the fake followers, you will still have to deal with the fallout of a broken Instagram algorithm.
Instagram will Recognise and Purge Fake Followers
As you probably know by now, Instagram is one intelligent platform. Although it can sometimes work in mysterious ways, they are pretty clear that excellent user experience is at the top of their list of priorities. And fake accounts don’t really add any value to the experience. Quite the contrary, right?
For this reason, Instagram is putting a lot of effort into finding and get rid of any fake profiles out there.
The continuously updated recognition program will target and immediately eradicate anything that looks seemingly suspicious.
This is why fake Instagram followers don’t really work. You could spend all that money and get zero benefits from it. Sooner or later, each and every one of those accounts will get purged, and you’ll end up where you started from.
Fake Instagram followers add no value to your IG growth.
There is no Profit
Another major drawback of fake Instagram followers – zero return on investment.
Whether you’re a business or an Influencer, one of the end-goals of your Instagram efforts is to gain profit. Either directly, by setting up an IG store, or by implementing a clever Instagram marketing strategy, chances are most businesses use Instagram as one of the most valuable resources for acquiring profit.
So, let’s see how fake followers stack up when it comes to generating ROI.
Well, they don’t.
For a brand trying to sell or promote to their followers, it would require real followers to make the selling or promotion work.
Fake followers are just there, showing numbers that don’t actually amount to anything.
The same goes for influencers that want to work with brands. Landing some excellent brand deals takes solid, authentic engagement, which is something fake followers can’t provide.
Long story short – fake Instagram followers do nothing for your ROI.
Instagram is all about creating your own online community. In this case, it’s people interested in your brand and are here to support or engage with you in some way.
As mentioned before, Instagram has been fighting the use of fake profiles and bots for years now, and it’s safe to say that they’ve gotten pretty good at that. A fake account can be flagged, reviewed, and deleted within hours of its creation.
This means that the “short-term boost” you were expecting can be even shorter than you thought.
You see now how fake Instagram followers are a complete waste of money?
But this doesn’t mean you’re doomed. You can and should strive to get faster and better IG growth.
Enter, real, organic followers.
Before and after a profiles’ fake followers are deleted
Real, organic Instagram followers
On the other hand, real, organic Instagram followers bring tenfold benefits to your Instagram business or creator account.
Unlike fake, authentic Instagram followers
- Genuinely want to know more about you or your business
- Engage with your profile – like, comment, and share your content
- Are active on Instagram – They have a complete and active profile. Real followers post regularly and share content that aligns with their interests and profile.
- Convert – Your genuine, organic followers turn into customers over time.
- Are worth your time and effort.
How to grow your Instagram profile organically
There are, in fact, safe ways to build your online presence without engaging with fake Instagram profiles.
The key to sustainably growing your profile is to focus on what you as an influencer/brand can provide for your target audience. This includes things like:
- Focusing on improving your content. Instagram is a social media platform that is constantly evolving. And we gotta grow with it if we want to succeed. See which posts and content types work best for your current clients and which are interesting to the people who are discovering you for the first time.
- Engage more with your community. Answer their questions and help them understand what you’re all about. The best way to spread awareness about your Instagram profile is by word of mouth. If satisfied users frequently give you shoutouts, you are bound to attract more people to your profile.
- Host a giveaway. This gives your followers the incentive to engage with you and spread the word for them to receive one of your unique products. And all they have to do is like your recent post, leave a comment, and maybe tag a couple of their friends. This method is used by many influencers these days, and it works wonders for their profiles.
- Daily story engagement. Instagram Stories are the spammy version of Instagram posts. Feel free to use them to your advantage. You can post things like quizzes, polls, and much more. They are a great way to make your followers feel like you are there for them.
- Mutual shoutouts. It’s not that hard to find like-minded profiles who also want to grow their audience. Giving shoutouts to one another is an excellent way to gain followers and even help out someone in need.
And if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands to try out some of the methods above, you can always enlist Social Media Marketing tools to give you a helping hand.
Flock Social, for example, focuses on organically growing your profile. Everything we do is carefully curated to fit your target audience and get your profile the visibility it deserves. Get started and get 1,000 monthly laser-targeted, organic followers on average that want to engage back with your profile.
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We even have something special for our rising influencer. Our team went deep to shed some light on How Big Influencers Started. This is an excellent start if you’re looking for some inspiration and tips on how Charli D’Amelio kicked off her Instagram career.
Also, make sure to check out our guide to Instagram followers to get the ultimate list of ideas on how you can grow your Instagram follower base completely organically and safely.
Hope that this blog sheds some light on the topic. If we didn’t change your mind about why you shouldn’t engage with fake Instagram followers, we at least gave you enough information to make a conscious decision. Overnight success takes time, and you shouldn’t try to skip the crucial steps on your way to fame.