Everyone’s talking about this, aren’t they? It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in, buying followers is a very big problem. For some reason, people – bloggers, businesses, etc., have believed that buying followers for social media pages or Youtube accounts was a GOOD thing. Once upon a time, it might have been. Having hundreds or thousands of extra followers on Instagram makes you look like a much better blogger or business, and it might even generate some extra interest. Long-term, however, it just won’t work. You’re just throwing money away unnecessarily.
Let me tell you why … The truth, and not just what they want you to read.
Buying Followers … Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Do It
I have decided to tap this out in a list format, in a bid to make it as easy as possible to understand. Because, even after all these years of social media managers, websites, and everyone who knows what they’re doing telling people NOT to buy followers, it still happens.
1: Buying followers won’t increase website or blog traffic.
If you’re buying followers they’re probably fake followers. It’s just an account; a made-up account, using a made-up email address. The new accounts probably won’t get used. They’ll usually have a very generic sounding name, and occasionally won’t have a main profile picture. Sometimes, there are a couple of pictures uploaded to the account, but mostly there are none. These accounts are not active. You might get lucky and grab yourself a few REAL followers in that made-up bunch, but, for the most part, these accounts are fakes.
Do you want to know how I know this? Because I’m a freelancer, and I sometimes visit freelancing and outsourcing websites to find work. Every day I see projects calling out for fake email address or fake Instagram accounts to build up a database of fake followers. These followers are designed to be purchased by people like you. I have been approached to help with these projects – making and compiling lists of fake accounts, and not once, even when I have been desperate, did I agree.
These fake accounts won’t buy your products. There will be no reading of your blog. They won’t share your information, and they probably won’t even ‘like’ your Instagram (or other social media account) posts or images. Your follower numbers might look impressive, but the rest of your Instagram account just won’t match up.
Why would you have 5,000 followers, but only 10-15 likes on each post? It either looks like you have purchased your followers or that you don’t know what you’re doing and can’t get people to interact with you.
What a pointless exercise?!
Side note: There are some companies that offer GENUINE accounts, rather than fake accounts, but you must still remember that you’re buying following from someone who doesn’t already want to follow you.
2: Buying followers = obvious, and you will be SLATED for it.
On the Twitter account for my vaping website – best-ecig.co.uk – vape reviewers are CONSTANTLY calling out other ‘fake reviewers’ for buying their followers. This applies to ALL social media accounts and media platforms – Instagram, Youtube, and more. These call-out vape reviewers are doing their research too, to back their theories.
There are programs that allow you to see statistics about a website, including obvious spikes and hikes in things such as engagement or followers / subscribers. If your numbers go up by 1,000 in one day (and this is very unusual for you), someone will notice. Trust me, I see the fallout of it every day on Twitter. It is one of the biggest reasons why I have NEVER considered purchasing followers for my vaping review site or any other social platforms. Someone WILL notice, and they WILL call me out. I’ll then need to explain myself and, in the process, there’s a good chance I’ll lose followers because people will then think I’m a fraud.
It’s a tough world out there. For every one liker, there will always be a handful of ‘haters’. But, do you seriously want to be the attention of everyone’s negative press? That’s exactly what buying followers will drop you right in the middle of.
3: Buying followers will stop you from being taken seriously by brands you actually want to work with.
This kind-of goes back to what I was saying about other people slating you when you get caught out. The internet is a brutal thing, and it takes just a few people to start saying negative things about you or your business for a whole bunch of other people to jump on the bandwagon. You can’t prevent people from having negative views or reviews – you can’t please everyone in the world, after all. I once read a great quote:
“You could be the juiciest peach in the world, but you’ll still find someone who doesn’t like peaches.”
Let’s use my vape review website as an example. If I’m being slated by all the other vape reviewers – ones that have more “power” and “influence” especially – brands aren’t going to want to work with me. People who once read my reviews, believing they were genuine, will think I’m a fake and a fraud, because I need to resort to buying my followers, and they won’t want to read or watch anything else I’ve got to say.
If they don’t want to read or watch what I have to say, my viewer and reader numbers are going to go down. My Google ads earnings will decrease, as will my affiliate earnings. Big brands won’t want to work with me, because people won’t want to trust me.
The whole boat is rocked when you buy followers, and there’s no guarantee that you won’t sink in the process.
4: Other bloggers (especially) look down on those who have bought their followers.
It isn’t fair to cheat your way to a larger following. Some of us have spent days, weeks, months, and perhaps even years researching the right hashtags and editing the perfect photos, all in a bid to attract interest. I have done it that way. I have built a number of Instagram accounts, including my own, and although growth HAS been slow, painfully so at times, every single one of the followers that I have across the board, on each of my Instagram accounts, has been organic. Not ONCE have I purchased followers. Not ONCE have I ever considered it.
Bloggers and online businesses work very hard to build up their following — to learn what makes their followers happy. They have gone through every part of their social media strategy with a fine-toothed comb, over and over again, to work out what posts weren’t working, and what posts were. For the average blogger or business, it might take a year to build up a following of just 1,000. It could even take a great deal longer than that. The hard work has been put in though — working from bottom to top.
Buying 1,000 followers just because your credit card allows … Well, that just seems a little sketchy, doesn’t it? It almost makes it look as though you’re not confident of your own skills, or the skills of someone you have hired to do the job for you. If you’re not confident about what you’re doing, why should your customers feel confident about using your products or services? Why should your subscribers feel confident whilst watching your videos? Why should they read your blogs and believe what you say? This is even more so the case if you try to lie and cover up your follower-buying status. That takes me back to point number 2: someone will do their research, they will call you out, and life will get much more difficult than it was when you only had 100 followers.
It feels so much better to get to 1,000 Instagram followers when you have worked your way up from 0. That first 1,000 is often the hardest for many people. That has certainly been the case for me. Cheating and gaining those followers overnight … What work have you actually put in?
5: Buying followers will only provide a temporary boost.
I have read a number of accounts of people buying Instagram (or other social media) followers, only to lose a huge bulk of them a few days later. Sometimes, a few weeks later. But, eventually, they lose a great bulk of the followers they paid for.
There could be a number of reasons for this.
- If the accounts are fake accounts, something I have already discussed, Instagram will pick up on the fact that it is a fake account, and will likely shut it down. This regularly happens on other social media pages, especially Twitter. I can lose 10-20 or more followers overnight, and when I look on the application I have to show me the followers who have un-followed me, I can see that they are “suspended users”. This means that they were probably fake accounts and Twitter has shut them down.
- It just seems to happen sometimes. After buying your followers, the company you bought them from will take some away again. In some cases, this is stated in the ‘contract’ when you buy them, but most people do not know that this is the case.
- As a side note, I would like to add that Instagram has recently cracked down on fake pages, and more specifically, those accounts that are purchased to increase following. This crackdown could see not just your new fake followers shut down, but also YOUR account.
In short, that big growth of followers you have just experienced as a result of buying followers isn’t likely to last long. The success is almost always short-lived, and quite a few accounts have stated that buying the followers in the first place had proved to be a pointless exercise. It hadn’t benefitted their business, blog, or website in any way. I found an interesting social media experiment on AdEspresso to back this up. You can find that here > Buying Instagram Followers? Our Experiment Reveals The Truth …
6: Buying followers makes spam much easier.
People are going to HATE you for buying followers, and here’s why … Fake followers attract spam. Your real followers are then going to bear the brunt of that spam. They’re going to get spammed too. If they work out that you have purchased followers, they’ll be able to work out that you’re probably the reason they’re getting spammed so much. They won’t like that, and, once again, you’ll find yourself at the stinging-end of the unlike button.
7: You’ll lose genuine followers.
People are more likely to be attacked by spam because you bought followers. They won’t be able to trust you because you bought followers, and possibly even then chose to tell white lies to cover the truth. They’ll think that you NEED to buy followers in order to be successful, so they’ll assume you have nothing interesting to say or offer. And, before you say they won’t know, they will. Your followers are not stupid. Someone will notice, perhaps even your competition, and they will call you out for it.
You’re going to lose some of the followers you already had — the genuine ones who WERE reading what you had to say, or buying what you had to offer.
Doesn’t that undo all of your hard work?
8: There are many advantages to working from 0 to hero!
When you work your way from the bottom to the top, you will have a much greater understanding of what the people following you actually want. You will understand what makes your business or blog work, and what seems to attract most interactions online. And that’s the aim of the game, isn’t it? Getting those interactions? Building your business or blog? Growing awareness of whatever it is that you’re offering?
If you build your following overnight, using purchased followers, you will still be right where you were at the beginning. You still won’t have a clue what your followers actually like, and you’ll have even less of a clue now because most of your new followers will be fake or totally uninterested in what you’re trying to promote.
You get something much more valuable when you work to build your social media following organically. There are other ways that you can pump your money into a social media strategy, including advertisements on the various social platforms. I would definitely recommend that you look more towards that route, than buying followers. At least when you put your money into advertising instead, you’re only attracting the followers who actually want to follow you. When you buy followers you’re gaining people who have don’t care who you are, what you offer, or what you have to say. They probably won’t find out either, and that’s because these accounts are more than likely fake, bot accounts.
Social media experiments have actually proven that organic traffic actually grows faster than when you use bot accounts, which systematically like and unlike pages to encourage higher results in the latest Instagram algorithm. These experiments have also shown, as well as many personal experiences, that buying followers is not a smart thing to do. In the short-term, you’ll feel good. In the long-run, however, things won’t be as peachy.
There really aren’t any GENUINE shortcuts to success here.
Oh, and if you haven’t already don’t forget to make sure you’re not using any of those banned Instagram hashtags!