Let’s be real. Most of us want to be an Instagram influencer, get millions of followers and convert the attention to a product or service. The right way to do it is to focus on the quality of your posts, write creative captions, research trending tags and hours of engaging with the community.
Buying Fake Followers on Instagram 101
The average rate of buying followers from these services range between 3 cents to 1 cent per follower. That works out to about $100 to $300 per 10,000 followers.
These services boast that their bots are quality accounts. Being difficult to confirm, we can only assume this means they automate their bots to have “human-like” behavior such as liking, engaging and posting on a frequent basis. Or they could just build their bot network to like, follow and comment amongst themselves to give the perception of quality.
The theory behind buying followers is to make your Instagram page look more credible and reputable and therefore increases the chances for real people to follow you.
Fake it till you make it. Is it a reliable strategy?
The short answer is no. We investigated and found that buying follower doesn’t only provide you with a terrible return on investment; you lose more than just the money.
Let’s start with our shortlist of 5 simple reasons why buying Instagram followers will kill your account.
1. Followers don’t help you rank, engagement does
The number of followers can be a determining factor for some when determining whether to follow you or not. The issue though is that they have to first click into your Instagram profile to see your follower count. What this means is that buying fake followers can only be useful if you have already developed a solid strategy for getting your posts seen.
How Instagram algorithm works in the most simplistic form is the more likes and comments your post receives within a period, the more likely it is for your post to rank on the top of the feeds of the followers who engaged with your post.
For example, if Sally and 1000 other people liked my post. There will be a chance my post will also show on the feeds of Sally’s followers and the followers of the other 1000 pages.
The lesson here is that quality always trumps quantity. If you’re looking to grow your Instagram following, create a strategy that focuses on the influencers of your niche, and build an engagement model that benefits you both.
2. So I’ll just buy engagement. Right…?
If you can afford it, maybe? The question is how long can you afford to pay for fake likes and comments.
To even think about ranking on the top of the feeds, your post needs upwards of 1500+ likes. That means you’re spending on average $21+ USD a post. Don’t forget the likes will also look fake if there are no comments. Adding ten comments will set you back another $5 USD.
At that ROI, you’re better off investing it in Instagram ads. The advantages of Instagram ads is that you are promoting your best content, to a targetted audience that you plan on converting on, and premium functionality to make the conversion happen.
At around $30, you can expect to reach 6,000 to 15,000 real accounts that will produce real likes and engagement.
3. Good-bye Analytics
The purpose of analytics is to provide insights and accelerate growth. If you’re serious about growing your Instagram, one important metric to measure is (average likes + comments) / total followers.
The higher the percentage, the more engaged your followers are. The last thing you want is to have 10k followers, with an average of 100 likes per post.
If you’re also trying different campaigns to grow your following, say goodbye to tracking their performance. The impact of your hard work will be hidden by the growth of your fake followers.
Lastly, it becomes difficult to compare against historicals. When determining if your Instagram account is performing well, you would often compare week over week growth, and weeks of the same period last year.
Unless you have a well-structured analytics and tracking tool where you have been tracking all the periods that you have been purchasing fake followers, there will be periods where it looks like you significantly underperformed.
4. Tick, Tick, Boom!
Instagram is on the crackdown on fake accounts. It started way back in 2014 where Instagram purged millions of bot accounts.
According to the Guardian, “The crackdown has been called the “Instagram Rapture” or “Instagram Purge” as accounts dropped thousands, and even millions, of followers overnight.
Celebrities hit the hardest include Justin Bieber, who lost a whopping 3.5 million followers, while hip-hop star Akon lost more than half almost 56% of his Instagram chums.”
Since then, Instagram has made significant efforts to clean up their community. Afterall, Instagram is a social network and relies on real humans to be successful.
The crackdown continues today with the shutting down of Instagress. For those unfamiliar in the Instagram bot world, Instagress was one of the most popular bot services that gave you control of how you wanted to automate your engagement.
With Instagress, you were able to like, follow, unfollow and comment automatically. Also, you had the options to further optimize your bot by telling it only to target people who have engaged in photos with specific tags, locations or if they followed particular influencers.
Instagress wasn’t the only target. Instagram has also forced the shutdown of other popular automation tools such as Mass Planner, Peerboost, FanHarvest, and Instaplus.
You’re entering murky waters when you decide to buy fake followers. Are you willing to take the risk to purchase fake followers and engagement that is targetted for deletion and from companies that might shut down the day after?
5. Ok S*%T! How do I go back?
If you have already bought fake followers, it’s not too late to reverse the process. Here are a few ways to quickly audit your followers to see how impacted your account is by bots and the steps to purge them.
Step 1: Conduct the Audit
Unfortunately, there are no tools today that we could find that would audit your followers for free. The only way is to benchmark your account against accounts who have done the audits and purges and compare the results against your own.
Followers < 1k: 8.03% Likes, 0.56% Comments
1k-10k: 4.04% Likes, 0.27% Comments
10k-100k: 2.37% Likes, 0.17% Comments
100k-1M: 1.78% Likes, 0.09% Comments
1M-10M: 1.66% Likes, 0.06% Comments
10M+: 1.66% Likes, 0.05% Comments
Here’s an example. Let’s say you have 13k followers, 400 likes and 10 comments on average in the last five posts. By the metrics, you should be close to 2.37% likes (400 likes / 13k followers = 3.07%) OK, and 0.17% comments (10 comments / 13k followers = 0.07%) Not OK.
From the example, you have an engaged and real followers base. The images you are posting are fantastic and are converting to likes. The data does signal that the caption isn’t captivating enough, causing a lower than average comment count.
Social Audit Pros offers a quick and easy service to identify both fake and dormant followers. It works by first scanning through your follower list. The tool then runs your followers through an algorithm to determine the percentage of your followers that are likely bots, or inactive for an extended period.
The pricing for Social Audit Pros depends on the number of followers you have. You can either pay $5 for every 5000 followers checked or $0.001 per follower.
Step 2: The Purge
Social Audit Pros also offers a followers clean up tool for $30. After performing the audit on their site, you can use the cleanup software to select the followers you want to remove. You can either remove in groups (i.e., Dormant, Inactive or Fake) or select followers individually. As a heads up, this will significantly reduce your number of followers if you have a lot of dormant, inactive or fake followers.
To abide by Instagram’s terms of service, the tool can only remove 25 followers per hour. For you, its as simple as pressing a button, and letting it run till it finishes.
Have you bought followers before? We want to hear your experiences. Let us know down in the comments.