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Varför du inte borde köpa Instagram-följare (och vad experter säger att du ska göra istället)

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Why You Shouldn't Buy Instagram Followers (& What Experts Say to Do Instead)


Du kanske vet att ditt Instagram-innehåll är bra, men föreställ dig hur mycket bättre det kommer att se ut om det ser ut som att 10 000 personer håller med.

Whether you’re trying to become a social media celebrity or simply looking to spread brand awareness on Instagram, it can be tempting to take shortcuts wherever you can in order to expand your audience, including ‘buying’ Instagram followers.

Here, we’re covering all the questions you have about buying Instagram followers. We’ve also explored the pros and cons, so you can decide for yourself if it’s a good move for your brand.

Can you buy Instagram followers?

How to buy Instagram followers?

Alternatives to Buying Instagram Followers

1,000 followers seem like a good deal for the price of a small Starbucks latte. But of course, if it really was that cheap and easy, everyone would be doing it. So what’s the catch? Is buying Instagram followers legal and safe for your business? Is it a worthwhile investment? And how much do these fake followers cost anyway?

How much do Instagram followers cost?

The cost for Instagram followers can range from a few dollars to thousands of dollars depending on how many you plan to purchase. However, keep in mind that buying followers is against Instagram’s terms of service, so the price you pay could be more than monetary. Buying followers could cost you your Instagram account, at worst, and a decrease in engagement and reach, at best.

How to Buy Instagram Followers

The vast majority of purchasable followers are either bots or inactive accounts. Here’s how it works:

The Fake Follower Vendors

Buying fake followers on Instagram is much harder now than it was a few years ago. Why? Instagram has been cracking down on accounts that violate their terms of service. What used to be fairly above-board is now an enigma. In order to buy Instagram followers these days, you’ll need to know someone who can put you in contact with a vendor who will actually deliver the bots — I mean followers — they say they will (you’ll also want to choose someone that you trust with your credit card information).

But what happens once you’ve paid for your followers? Assuming the vendor is legitimate (as legitimate as can be for this type of service) you’ll wait anywhere from a few minutes to a few days for your followers to trickle in. The sellers roll out your followers over time so as not to alert Instagram that something fishy is going on. Once you have your brand new automated followers, don’t expect much. These followers won’t do anything for your engagement metrics.

When you buy Instagram followers, you’re paying for a number alone. Engagement is not guaranteed.

When you buy Instagram followers, you’re paying for a number alone. Engagement is not guaranteed, or even likely.

When you buy Instagram followers, you’re paying for a number alone. Engagement is not guaranteed, or even likely.

Instagram Bots

Instagram bots are everywhere — you’ve likely come across several of them today alone. There are companies out there that have automated the process of creating bots so well that they can then sell them as followers. In some cases, the bots may even assume the identity of a real person, using stolen images and names.

Depending on the service, these dummy accounts may even seem organic, running on automation to share and like content. Some can even be programmed to produce content. However, because they’re not real people, they will not have an organic-looking following-to-follower ratio. As a result, the engagement they do produce will have little impact.

Without real followers to engage with your content, your posts are essentially hidden from everyone except your inauthentic audience. Plus, your bot followers won’t discuss your brand in real life with friends or family, because, well … they don’t exist in real life (no offense, bots).

Inactive Accounts

However, not all fake followers are bots. Some companies sell followers with genuine accounts.

In this situation, the accounts are created either because they’re managed by users whose only goal is to get followed in return. And while these followers might show early engagement, they’ll ultimately become a drain on your Instagram account’s performance metrics when their accounts go dormant.

After all, if their account was created for the sole purpose of fulfilling sponsorship requests, the real person behind the account has little reason to dwell on the newsfeed, interact with content, or purchase the goods and services being advertised.

Without that interaction, your follower numbers are inflated with none of the value that organic followers would bring.

Demographic Accounts

In addition to buying followers directly, you can also pay services to strategically follow other accounts on your behalf based on your preferences (location, hashtag usage, account type, and gender). Ideally, those followed accounts will then follow you back.

With this option, your followers are more likely to be real people, but engagement is still unlikely. Since you can’t even guarantee these accounts will follow you back, it’s a risky investment. Most accounts won’t follow you back, and even if they do, they probably aren’t going to be long-term, loyal, or active followers.

Simply put — you’ll get early engagement that tapers off over time.

Purchased Instagram followers also provide no long-term value to your profile’s content. The followers you buy might give you views, likes, and comments early into acquiring them as a follower, but the attention they throw you now won’t be there later — when you start reporting on how your Instagram account is performing.

And how helpful are 10,000 followers that don’t engage with you? Engagement is key to how Instagram’s algorithm displays posts to users. Without likes or comments, your post probably won’t show up on your audience’s newsfeeds, and it also won’t show up on any Explore Pages.

Fake followers could hurt your credibility.

Having a lot of followers could convince users to follow you organically, but it’s not a guarantee.

Remember the risks: these followers will probably never like or comment on a post, and if you’re caught with a ton of fake followers, that could ruin your credibility with your real audience.

Users might notice you don’t have a ton of engagement on your posts, which could deter them from following you. If you have 10,000 followers but only four likes per post, it won’t take people long to realize something is up.

Think of it this way: would you keep following an account if you saw that most of its “loyal audience” was made up of inactive accounts or bots? I’m guessing not. It could seem deceitful, and lead you to believe the brand couldn’t get authentic followers through good content alone.

Purchased Instagram followers can distort your performance metrics.

It’s practically impossible to measure how well your target audience is connecting with your brand if a high percentage of that audience isn’t real. How will you measure posts that do well with your real audience if those bots and inactive accounts skew the ratio?

If you don’t know how well your posts are doing or what your real audience thinks, you’ll never convert your Instagram followers into real customers. And isn’t that the point?

Ultimately, if you pay for Instagram followers, you aren’t paying for quality, real-life followers. You’re paying for a blank number. And since Instagram’s algorithm is largely tied to engagement, not followers, buying followers isn’t a long-term solution. In fact, it isn’t a solution at all.

Take the time, energy, and money that you would’ve dedicated to buying followers, and focus instead on building genuine relationships with a real audience. If your content is engaging and authentic, your loyal followers will spread the word and engage with your brand without needing any bribes.

Instagram identifies and purges fake followers.

Recently, Instagram has updated its terms of use to identify and remove inauthentic accounts from its platform. Instagram is also removing likes, follows, or comments from third-party apps that are designed to artificially grow accounts’ audiences. By buying followers, you violate Instagram’s community guidelines and it may trigger a reaction from Instagram’s moderators.

Instagram is looking to maintain genuine interactions on its site, protecting real accounts and experiences. Fake activity infringes upon this mission and might result in consequences, so it’s better to grow your audience organically.

Alternatives to Buying Instagram Followers

Instagram’s new algorithm rewards engagement more than follower count, displaying content similar to posts users engaged with in the past. To drive engagement, there are many different actions you can try on the platform to get in front of your ideal audience.

By using good Instagram marketing practices — whether you are building your personal brand or a company account — you can better reach the nearly 800 million monthly Instagram users and build an authentic audience.

1. Make your account public.

First, make your account public so that users can see your profile and content. This way, you can grow your audience organically when your content pops up on users’ explore pages, attracting and delighting your target viewership.

You can easily make your account public by unchecking the Private Account Box in your Privacy and Security settings.

2. Give users a reason to follow you by publishing quality content.

Next, publish a variety of posts to your feed: you can post images, GIFs, Reels, videos, Boomerangs, quizzes on your story, how-tos, user-generated content, and so much more. Build trust and excitement among your followers by using high-quality photos, writing catchy captions, posting consistently, and keeping up a unique style overall to differentiate yourself from other accounts. Do your research on which hashtags generate a lot of buzz and which are aligned with your brand — hashtags can be a great way to reach new audiences if done correctly.

Depending on your brand personality, it can help to be funny or witty in your content. Having an awareness of how your brand is perceived and the trends going around Instagram will serve you when choosing content to post and how to interact with your Instagram community.

Quality Content in Action

HeytonyTV became an overnight viral sensation during the pandemic when he released skits where he plays the role of a school administrator. In a short period of time, he amassed hundreds of thousands of followers who couldn’t get enough of his creativity and wholesome, nostalgic humor.

Alternatives to Buying Instagram Followers: Creating Quality Content Featuring HeyTonyTV

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You don’t have to be a comedian to gain followers, though. Being relatable and providing value to your audience is the number one goal.

3. Try Instagram Reels.

Instagram Reels has been known to increase the reach of a post beyond the audience that is following the account. This presents an opportunity for your content to attract people who are already engaging with posts similar to yours.

Start by recording a simple video using Instagram Reels. Include a few hashtags to the caption and choose a popular sound that people enjoy listening to. Even if you don’t see an immediate bump in followers, stay consistent and keep an eye on how many views your Reel gets. This will indicate how many people are watching your content.

Reels in Action

Hickory Lane Home uses Reels to show her followers more relatable content that draws the viewer in. As a result, the comments are flooded with relatable responses and amusement that you just can’t get from purchased followers.

Alternatives to Buying Instagram Followers: Using Instagram Reels featuring Hickory Lane Home

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4. Use Hashtags.

Hashtags are like goldmines for finding new audiences. Users follow hashtags for updates about specific topics that interest them. If you use them intentionally in your captions, you have a great chance of showing up on the newsfeeds of people who’ve never seen your content before.

But don’t start adding random hashtags to all your content. You’ll need a hashtag strategy to ensure you’re targeting the right people. Moreover, the sweet spot for Instagram hashtags is 30. That might seem like a lot, but if you have a strategy for how you’ll use them, you’ll likely find more than 30 that would work for you. The key for hashtags is to be intentional with them. The reward will be well worth the effort.

Hashtags in Action

Take a look at the hashtag #dogsofinstagram for example. With over a quarter of a million posts, this hashtag has the potential to reach a wide audience.Alternatives to Buying Instagram Followers: Using HashtagsHowever, it’s a great idea to pair that hashtag with a smaller, niche one like #ridgebackpuppy to reach people who love your particular breed of dog.

Alternatives to Buying Instagram Followers: Using Niche Hashtags

5. Engage with other Instagram users.

A good rule of thumb on Instagram is to engage with other users. Whether you like, comment, save or share their posts, every interaction counts for you and them. Instagram’s algorithm favors engagement which means the more you interact (and the more people interact with you) the more likely it will be that your content appears on more and more news feeds. That means more visibility and growth for your page.

Engagement in Action

GoSimplified does a great job of responding to comments on its posts. This example shows that the comments don’t have to be detailed or long, but a simple acknowledgment goes a long way for engagement.

Alternatives to Buying Instagram Followers: Engaging with comments featuring GoSimplified

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Proffstips: Before you go overboard, remember that Instagram does have a limit to this “rule.” There have been cases where the social media platform blocked users from engaging with content if they liked and commented on more than a few hundred posts in an hour.

6. Use Instagram stories.

The audience for Instagram stories is simply waiting and watching for the next viral video or meme to slide across their screens. What makes stories arguably even better for growth than the traditional Instagram feed is the ability for users to interact with the content in a story.

Polls, quizzes, and questions are engagement magnets — the more people interact with those elements, the more people Instagram will share your story with.

Stories in Action

RMW.Home uses a series of stories to gauge her audience’s taste in home decor. Not only does this help her understand her audience better, but the polls are also helping expand the reach of her story and her profile to potential followers.

Alternatives to Buying Instagram Followers: Using Instagram Stories featuring RMW.Home

7. Conduct market research.

Each of the alternatives we mentioned above is native to the Instagram app. However, a solid Instagram strategy begins with comprehensive market research, and there’s no shortcut to hearing directly from your audience about what content they want to see.

Market Research in Action

Stephanie Morgan, Founder and CEO at Social Lock stands by market research as an alternative to buying followers and says, “The alternative to buying followers is doing market research on what your ideal customer will resonate with, then posting that content in order to naturally accumulate [a] large following.”

Check out her methods for conducting market research on Instagram in the image below.

Alternatives to Buying Instagram Followers: Market Research by Stephanie from Social Lock

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There’s a Better Way to Grow on Instagram

Instagram has been one of the fastest-growing social media platforms for several years and it’s showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. The pressure to keep up and with the growth can make buying followers tempting, but don’t succumb to that pressure. Between repercussions from the platform itself, lower engagement metrics, and the risk of spamming well-meaning users with bot comments, buying Instagram followers is simply not worth the trouble. The alternatives in this article can help you navigate a path toward organic follower growth that will be worth more than 10,000 fake followers could ever be.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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MARKNADSFÖRING

Hur ett icke-marknadsföringsinnehållsmetod gav prisbelönta resultat

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How A Non-Marketing Content Approach Produced Award-Winning Results

Matt Hartley är ingen marknadsförare.

Och ändå är han en 2022 B2C Content Marketer of the Year finalist.

Även om det till synes inkongruent är det inte. Företag närmar sig inte alla innehåll (eller marknadsföring) med samma organisationsstruktur.

Matt leder den redaktionella strategin för TD Bank Group som senior chef på corporate and public affairs-avdelningen. Under hans ledning tog TD Stories hem högsta utmärkelser för programmet för bästa innehållsmarknadsföring i finansiella tjänster och fick finalistomnämnanden för lansering av bästa innehållsmarknadsföring och publicering av finansiella tjänster i 2022 Content Marketing Awards.

Dessa resultat bevisar att avdelning, titel och rapportstruktur inte spelar någon roll om innehållet fungerar.

”Vi berättar historier i linje med (företagets) kommunikationsmål. Vi är inte nödvändigtvis ute efter att sälja något. Det handlar om varumärkesbyggande, tankeledarskap, finansiell kompetens”, förklarar Matt.

Så här byggde en icke-marknadsförare finalist för Årets innehållsmarknadsförare ett prisbelönt program.

Om #Ccontent fungerar spelar detaljer som rapportstruktur, titel och avdelning ingen roll, säger @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Klicka för att tweeta

Lanserar nyhetsrummet

2018 gick Matt till TD som innehållsstrateg. Han anställdes delvis på grund av sin bakgrund inom att rapportera och skapa nya innehållsprodukter. Matt hade arbetat som teknikreporter på The Globe and Mail och National Post. Han skapade också Financial Post Tech Desk, ett hem för kanadensiska och internationella tekniska nyheter, och var grundare för Postens arkadvideospelnyhetssajt.

TD:s ledning hade insett det föränderliga medielandskapet. De såg färre förtjänade mediamöjligheter och vände sig till Matt för att hjälpa till att skala en TD-ägd kanal som heter TD Newsroom.

Medan TD Newsroom överensstämde med de externa kommunikationsmålen, slutade det med en intern publik – mindre än 10% besökare kom till webbplatsen utanför banken.

Vänd ut och in på innehållsprogrammet

TD Newsrooms betydelse växte när pandemin slog till 2020, vilket gjorde vissa former av traditionell kundkontakt omöjlig. Inte längre bara ett verktyg i kommunikationsverktygslådan, TD Newsroom blev avgörande.

"Att skapa vårt eget innehåll och kunna distribuera det blev avgörande för oss", säger Matt.

TD Newsroom-teamet fokuserade på att skapa varumärkestjänstejournalistik (innehåll avsett att hjälpa kunder), och trafiken till webbplatsen ökade avsevärt. Ämnen som bankuppgifter du kan utföra online, budgetering för inkomster som påverkats av covid och planering av en nödfond stod i centrum.

Det var början på TD Newsroom-utvecklingen.

"Vi tänkte om hur vi gjorde innehåll och var kunden var på sin resa", säger Matt. Teamet fördubblade också datadrivet innehåll och förfinade sin innehållsstrategi.

År 2021, TD Stories debuterade. "Det placerar kunden i centrum av historien. Den berättar historier som resonerar hos kunder och kollegor, säger Matt.

Sajtens slagord – "Berika liv en historia i taget" – speglar detta uppdrag.

TD Stories organiserar innehåll runt fem pelare (som visas i sajtnavigeringen i skärmdumpen ovan):

  • Dina pengar innehåller ekonomiska tips och råd.
  • Innovation lyfter fram ny teknik för att skapa mer personliga bankupplevelser.
  • gemenskap innehåller berättelser om TD:s engagemang i de samhällen där de är verksamma och där dess anställda bor.
  • Kollegor berättar de anställdas historier.
  • Insikter presenterar tankeledarskap från bankens chefer.

TD Stories placerar kunden i centrum av historien, säger @thehartleyTO från @TDnews_Canada, via @CMIContent. Klicka för att tweeta

Att få allt att räknas

”Vi är ett litet men mäktigt team inom företagsfrågor. Det är ett platt team – alla kommer med idéer till bordet. Det skulle verkligen inte fungera om det inte var så sammanhållet som det är, säger Matt.

Det digitala innehållsteamet fungerar också lite som en byrå. Inom företagsaffärer arbetar de med relationshanterare för kategorier som personlig bankverksamhet, försäkring, amerikansk bankverksamhet, etc. samt produkt-, partnerskaps- och filantropiska chefer.

”Vi jobbar med dem för att skapa berättelserna. Vi kan vända oss till dem och be en ämnesexpert som hjälper oss att berätta en historia, etc.”, förklarar Matt. "Vi kunde inte existera i ett vakuum."

Han övervakar ett digitalt innehållsteam som inkluderar en datadriven strategiroll som har varit avgörande i TD Stories-utvecklingen. Det extra fokuset har hjälpt teamet i dess innehållsutveckling.

Till exempel bankens redaktionell kalender kretsar kring att upprepa deadlines och mönster. Tidsfrister för pensionsavgifter och inkomstdeklarationer sker under samma period varje år. Och varje vår börjar fler människor att jaga hus.

Med TD:s team för digitalt innehåll som utökar innehållsmätningsstrategin, kan Matt och teamet analysera hur väl dessa årliga innehållsbitar presterar. De kan också bättre förstå vad folk söker efter, så att de kan förfina och förbättra nästa innehållsupprepningar.

"Vi kan ta de ögonblicken och göra dem fräscha," förklarar Matt. "Vi kan säkerställa att kunden får den bästa och mest korrekta informationen som möjligt."

Mätvärdena återspeglar lagets dedikation till excellens. År 2021 ökade trafiken till TD Stories med mer än 125% från år till år. Nästan all trafik (98%) kommer från externa källor, inklusive 25% från organisk Google sökningar.

Att veta det verkliga målet

"I slutet av dagen är inte innehållet slutmålet. Målet är att hjälpa till att utbilda kunden och hjälpa dem att känna sig mer informerade och ekonomiskt trygga. När du har det i åtanke är den faktiska strukturen i en berättelse eller varje mening ett sätt att nå ett mål, säger Matt.

Att utbilda kunden är målet – berättelse och meningsstruktur är medlet för detta, säger @thehartleyTO från @TDnews_Canada via @CMIContent. Klicka för att tweeta

Det är en del av den hemliga vetenskapen om varumärkesjournalistik. Som Matt förklarar: "Ta efter verksamhetens mål och förena dem med berättelser som kunderna tycker är engagerande och användbara."

Och det är en prisbelönt formel oavsett avdelningsnamn, titel eller organisationsstruktur.

Vill du ha fler tips, insikter och exempel på innehållsmarknadsföring? Prenumerera till arbetsdags- eller veckomail från CMI.

HANDPLOCKAT RELATERAT INNEHÅLL: 

Omslagsbild av Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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