Buying followers on Instagram is still a recurring practice among users of the social network, but the action can generate a series of problems for the account owner. The main reason is simple: the practice goes against the company’s guidelines, which prohibit obtaining followers, likes, and shares artificially. In addition, account metrics are negatively affected by buying followers, and engagement is greatly reduced due to low interaction between followers.
It is also worth remembering that the sale of followers is offered by unreliable companies. As they are buying an illegal service, people have no guarantee of support in cases of improper charges or other problems. Below, Techidence lists five reasons why buying followers on Instagram is not worth it.
1. It breaks Instagram’s Community Guidelines
The most lenient punishment for this practice is the removal of inauthentic likes, followers, and comments, identified with the help of machine learning technology. Users who are caught committing this infraction will receive a notification informing them of the penalty and requesting a password change since third-party applications have access to account credentials.
2. You gain a lot of followers but lose them soon after
As said before, Instagram can identify purchased followers and automatically remove them. Thus, it is possible to see a sharp drop in the number of followers shortly after buying them.
To circumvent the protection mechanism, many sites for buying followers on Instagram use the tactic of following real profiles, in the hope that the person will adopt the “follow back” tag. However, this procedure also leads to the loss of followers shortly thereafter, as people end up unfollowing accounts that do not effectively interact with them.
3. Engagement rate drops
Perhaps this is, for content creators and brands, the main reason not to buy followers on Instagram: the drop in engagement rate. The first explanation for this lies in simple mathematics. While there is not just one way to calculate the metric, it is generally the ratio of the number of interactions to the number of followers.
Imagine the following scenario: an account with 300 followers received 50 likes and 10 comments on the last post. The engagement rate for this content would be 0.2 (60 divided by 300). However, if that same profile suddenly gains five thousand followers, the rate drops to 0.012.
Another trap lies in the very functioning of Instagram’s algorithm, which favors showing content with high engagement and hides posts that are not making success. When you buy followers, the first to see your posts are bots or fakes, that is, profiles that will not interact. Soon, the code will stop showing your content to real people who are interested in you or your brand.
4. Performance metrics are skewed
It’s not just engagement that is affected by fake followers. All Instagram metrics are skewed when you include an illegitimate variable in the account. Reach, for example, starts displaying a very large number of profiles, but you can’t tell how many are real or bots.
The profile administrator does not know what kind of content the audience is liking or not. The information about the best time to post on Instagram also makes no sense, since most of the data present is from fake profiles. These distortions make it very difficult to understand the performance of the posts, making it impossible for the user to devise appropriate marketing strategies.
5. It damages your credibility in front of real followers and brands
It is very easy to identify accounts with fake followers. A profile that has about 30 likes on posts and displays some publications with 200 to 300 likes is certainly buying these interactions, usually sold along with the fake followers. It is also possible to recognize the bots by their usernames, which are often made up of illogical sequences of letters and numbers.
In addition, tools like HypeAuditor can quickly diagnose the account by evaluating the percentage of fake accounts and legitimate followers. These services use all of Instagram’s metrics, such as engagement itself, to determine the good or bad “health” of a profile.
Accounts caught by people and brands buying followers and likes give a bad impression. As a consequence, real followers, who could buy the product or interact with the influencer, end up giving up following the profile. Companies, in turn, will not want to associate their names with accounts that have nothing real to offer. Therefore, do not buy followers on Instagram and give preference to authentic interactions in the application, available for Android and iPhone (iOS).