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Buying Instagram Followers – Is It Worth The Money?
What can $10 buy you? Two grande caramel macchiatos at Starbucks, a one hour surfboard rental in Waikiki, and 1,000 Instagram followers. Wow, the last one sounds like a great deal – that’s a penny per follower. But is it worth it to pay your way to popularity?
A big following and a lot of likes do look impressive, however, that’s the only pro we could find on purchasing Instagram followers. Reasons on why you shouldn’t buy followers and likes, although,=are plentiful. In this blog, we will discuss the top five reasons why your team shouldn’t buy followers and how to properly cultivate a following and higher engagements.
1. It’s a one-sided relationship.
When you buy followers and likes, you’re not buying a high-quality audience who can be converted to prospect consumers. Instead, you’re more than likely buying fake accounts or bots. Bots don’t engage with your content, produce conversions, or do anything beneficial for your brand.
2. Your brand’s engagement rate will plummet.
Yes, some services offer both paid followers and likes, turning a post that was receiving 10 likes to 10,000. But eventually, the mass likes will taper off, causing your engagement rate to plummet, making it even worse than it was before. This is dangerous because low engagement rates signal to Instagram’s algorithm that your audience is not interested in your content, so it will make your content less discoverable on their feeds and the Instagram discovery tab.
3. Social media networks will red card you.
Instagram has been actively combating these black-hat methods for fake popularity. Not only can their algorithm track your engagement rate and make your content less discoverable, but they also hold regular fake accounts, followers, and likes purges. Instagram use A.I. technology to search through all their user profiles to delete any spam accounts and inflated likes.
Instagram can even go as far as to suspend or ban profiles that had purchased followers. According to NBC, Instagram said that profiles using these paid followers and likes services are conducting an inauthentic activity that violates their community guidelines and terms of service. Remember, once your account has been banned by the network, you cannot restore your profile.
4. Consider your brand’s reputation ruined.
Instagram and other social media networks have empowered their users to police their feeds and keep brands accountable by reporting spam accounts, blocking profiles, and hiding posts.
It’s easy to fake anything on social media, which is why social media transparency is an increasingly important attribute for brands. Transparency weighs heavily on the brand’s credibility, which requires a lot of work to build and maintain, and buying followers and likes can ruin all of that. Losing face can be devastating for a brand. Just learn from the other brands, celebrities, and politicians who have been publicly shamed for committing this social media sin.
How to Spot Those Using a Paid Likes Service
Discovering if a brand is inflating their popularity is quite easy to do. All you have to do is pay attention to the like and follower ratio, or scroll through their follower list. If a brand was getting 15-20 likes per post for the past year, and now all of the sudden is getting a consistent average of 200 Likes Per Post (this could be any #, but the amount of likes will usually be very similar for every post), that’s usually a clear sign. Engagement and Likes normally build slowly over time, so post Likes would normally increase from 20 per post, to 30, 50, 75, 100, etc. Also, you should check the comments. If a brand’s post is getting 250 Likes per post, and there are no comments, that’s usually a sign that the people liking the post don’t really care about it. Finally, you can review the actual accounts that Liked the brand’s post. It’s easy to spot trends in fake follower accounts. If it is a Hawaii company posting, you should immediately see some recognizable Hawaii brands in their Likes list. Fake followers are usually very random accounts, and when you click on their details, you might see they have made something like only 4 posts in total and have 10,000 Followers.
5. Your brand will spam & annoy your followers.
Another danger of using these third-party mass followers and likes services is that they often require you to share your brand’s profile page login. This is not only a big security issue but it also enables these services the opportunity to spam your followers via comments and direct messages. It takes only one report from an annoyed follower to shut your page down.
The Verdict: Buying followers does more harm than good.
Faking your follower count is unethical, deceiving, and tacky. Sure, $10 is cheap and it’s easy, but the repercussion of black-hatting your way into social media success is not worth the risk.
Our tip? Spend your money and time to cultivate the best following, not the highest. There are many different methods to do this, but it does take a lot of effort and time. Here are some of our favorite social media follower growth tips:
1. Run a “Follow Us” social media ad or campaign.
Instead of buying a fake audience that won’t support or interact with your brand, use that money to reach out to an audience that will. With Facebook Ads, you can launch a campaign on both Instagram and Facebook based on your goals (i.e. gaining followers or raising brand awareness), as well as, customize your target audience. So, you’re hitting an excellent pool of real people and potential consumers.
2. Boost your content.
Similar to running a Facebook ad, you can boost or sponsor a post on your feed to the target audience of your choosing. We suggest boosting a high-quality post that gained a large amount of engagement.
3. Hold a contest
This is a great method to gain new followers and increase your brand’s awareness and engagement. Simply instruct the contest participants to follow your page, like the post, and tag a number of their friends. Team Vision Marketing also suggests running this contest as an ad to reach more people and make sure to offer a sweet prize to grab people’s attention.
4. Post high-quality content that your audience will want to engage with.
This method does require more resources and time, but this is the best, organic way to cultivate a strong following. This includes using geo-tags and hashtags to gain new followers and likes by getting your posts exposed to new audiences, experimenting with social media trends, and posting content that’s relevant and valuable to your audience.
5. Engage with your audience and follow relevant profiles.
This goes hand-in-hand with our fourth tip, but it’s still a very important method in maintaining and gaining your audience. Scroll through your feed once in a while to like and make thoughtful comments on your followers’ posts – “Good Job” or “Nice Post” isn’t enough. Following new pages that are related to your company’s business is a great way to attract a new audience, as oftentimes, their followers might follow you.
Need help improving your brand’s social media marketing? Team Vision Marketing, a full-service advertising and branding agency located in Honolulu, Hawaii is here to help! Whether your brand’s goal is to raise brand awareness, develop creative campaigns, or manage your organic social media feed, we can do it all. Just give us a ring at (808) 536-0416, or via our contact form.
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Phone: (808) 536-0416