The Pitfalls of Buying Instagram Followers: A Shortcut to Nowhere

Feb 19, 2024


We, along with many other Instagram accounts, have recently been encountering messages like this:

Followed by 200 ‘like’ notifications like this:

All those likes for FREE!? What’s not to love? Well…

For millions of its users, they see the purpose of Instagram as a platform as being there to enhance their presence and influence to the wider world (that’s the beauty of social media, right?). The desire for a substantial follower count often leads some individuals and businesses down a tempting but ultimately detrimental path: buying Instagram followers. You may have even been tempted at some point yourself! And while the allure of a quick boost in popularity may seem enticing, the negative consequences far outweigh any perceived benefits.

Here at Social Progress we’ve been looking at exactly why spending your hard earned cash on Instagram followers is money down the drain, and the potential pitfalls associated with taking a shortcut to “popularity”.

Fake Engagement and Interaction:

One of the primary drawbacks of purchasing Instagram followers is the lack of genuine engagement. These bought followers are typically inactive accounts or bots, offering no meaningful interactions such as likes, comments, or shares. As a result, your content may appear to have a large audience, but in reality, it lacks the authentic engagement that builds a loyal and active community. And as we know, an engaged and REAL audience leads to a valuable (returning) customer base, and probably recommendations to others.

Damaged Credibility and Trust:

Audiences on social media platforms value authenticity. When users discover that an account has inflated its follower count artificially, it erodes trust and damages credibility. Genuine followers appreciate honesty and transparency, and the discovery of fake followers can lead to a loss of trust, affecting your reputation both online and offline, with a potentially detrimental impact on your business.

Algorithmic Punishment:

Social media platforms employ sophisticated algorithms to determine the visibility of content. When an account has a disproportionate number of followers compared to its engagement rate, it signals to algorithms that the content may not be valuable or interesting. Consequently, the platform may reduce the visibility of your posts, limiting the organic reach of your content to a genuine audience, which is ultimately counter-productive to what you’re aiming for!

Waste of Resources:

Investing in purchased followers is a waste of financial resources. Instead of spending money on fake followers, consider allocating your budget towards genuine marketing strategies, content creation, and community engagement. Authentic growth requires time and effort, but the long-term benefits far outweigh the temporary boost that purchased followers may provide.

Vulnerability to Purges:

Social media platforms periodically conduct purges to eliminate fake accounts and bots. If you’ve purchased followers, your account is at risk of being affected by these purges. Losing a significant portion of your follower count overnight can be demoralizing and can further damage your account’s standing in the eyes of both the algorithm and your authentic followers.

We know that the appeal of a rapid increase in followers may be tempting, but as you can see, the risks and consequences of buying Instagram followers far outweigh any short-term gains. Authenticity, genuine engagement, and a loyal community are the keys to sustained success on Instagram. Instead of seeking shortcuts, focus on creating valuable content, engaging with your audience, and building a credible online presence that stands the test of time. And if that in itself sounds overwhelming, or you just want some advice on how best to optimise your social media marketing, we’re there to help – all you have to do is get in touch!