Wanting a quick fix, or immediate effects, are parts of human nature fed by our instant gratification-based world. If you are a part of the online marketplace, you know that fast results are necessary for your company to survive.
The online quest for immediacy brought about companies specialising in providing social media followers for a price. This business practice means that global companies and individuals can buy Instagram followers in Australia, Canada, the US, and nearly every other location.
Naturally, this begs the question, just because you can buy Instagram followers, should you? There are plenty of uncertainties associated with purchasing Instagram followers.
In this post, you’ll learn more details about the effects of buying Instagram followers to decide if the practice is right for your business.
Can I legally buy Instagram followers?
The short answer is yes. It is technically legal to purchase Instagram followers. However, you should know that the practice is against the social media platform’s terms of service.
Even though you will not end up doing a hard time if you buy followers, here is what could happen should Instagram discover your account purchased followers.
- You will receive a warning if Instagram suspects dishonest activity on your account
- Confirmed fake followers will be removed
- Repeated offences can result in a temporary or permanent suspension of your account
What is the process involved in buying Instagram followers?
After Instagram caught on to the practices involved in buying followers, they amended their algorithm, making the process more difficult. Of course, difficult does not mean impossible. Here are the steps you will need to take if you are planning on buying followers for your Instagram account.
1. Find a company to supply your new followers
- Avoid any company that claims to need your password or other sensitive information.
- Think twice about a company that makes unbelievable claims. Such claims often boast outlandish numbers of followers or will repeatedly say that you can buy real Instagram followers.
- Remember, you get what you pay for when purchasing Instagram followers. If a company claims that you can buy Instagram followers and likes, en masse, for less than the price of a latte, you may want to reconsider.
2. Pick your delivery plan
You can opt to receive your new Instagram followers in one of two ways- in bulk or via the drip method. Here is a closer look at both.
- The Bulk Method – Delivery of your followers in bulk is as it sounds. You complete your transaction, and within a specified amount of time, the agreed-upon number of followers appears on Instagram.
- The Drip Method – Your newly purchased followers will come to you in intervals. Depending on the company you are dealing with, a dozen or so every day, a handful every few hours, or another agreed-upon time frame.
Both delivery methods have pros and cons.
- It costs less than the drip method
- The arrival of followers is nearly immediate
- The Instagram algorithm is likely to notice a sharp increase in your number of followers. This could lead to an account suspension or other action against your account by Instagram.
- The bulk option usually means it is unlikely that you will buy active Instagram followers.
- Your purchased followers will appear gradually, making them less likely to be noticed by the Instagram algorithm
- You potentially have a chance of adding active users to your followers
- Most companies specialising in selling Instagram followers will charge substantially more to set up a drip account
Many business owners will base their choice on whether they want to pay the least for the followers or whether they want the influx of new followers to be unnoticed by Instagram’s algorithm.
3. Enter your information
You will need to enter your username and a link to your Instagram page. Remember that you do not need to share your account password to purchase followers on Instagram. Additionally, keep in mind that you do not need to share personal information for the transaction. It would be wise to avoid interacting with a company that requests that sort of information.
4. Pay for your purchase
When it comes time to pay for your followers, be sure to look for an SSL certificate. This indicates you are working with a secure website and is vital for all of your online interactions. Also, the company you are purchasing from should offer reputable payment options.
5. Wait for your new instagram followers
It stands to reason that a company that is honest in its business dealings will deliver the agreed-upon number of followers at the predetermined interval.
How much do Instagram followers cost?
If you browse the numerous websites that peddle Instagram followers, you will see a wide divergence in price. Prices and packages vary from $10.00 for 1000 followers up to $100.00 for the same number. This is unregulated and unstandardised territory. (Some sites advertise prices as low as 50 followers for $1.79.) It is safe to believe that you will get the quality you pay for, just like other areas of commerce.
Who are my new Instagram followers?
A better question is, ‘who are my new Instagram followers?’ While it is technically possible that you may receive genuine human followers who will engage with your account, it is far more likely that this will not be your experience.
Typically, a purchased pack of Instagram followers contains a collection of bots, inactive accounts, and dummy accounts.
When you purchase Instagram followers, you are buying a number. Numbers alone will not engage, purchase, or otherwise add value to your Instagram account.
Seven ways purchased bots and fake accounts can hurt your Instagram account
It is understandably tempting to take a chance on buying Instagram followers. Those in the business of peddling followers make a shortcut seem like the fast track to success. The likelihood of damaging your Instagram account by purchasing followers is high. Make no mistake about it. When it comes to buying Instagram followers, things are not always as they appear.
- When you buy Instagram followers, the odds are high that the Instagram algorithm will find out and sanction your account. In 2018, the social media platform began a sustained effort to crack down on bots, fake accounts, and the practice of buying and selling followers. The minimum you will receive is a one-time warning.
- Bots added to your following cannot determine the nuances of the social media platform. As a result, you can experience significant mistakes in customer targeting.
- Any engagement you receive from the purchased Instagram followers will be generic at best. You may get a comment along the lines of ‘good post’ or ‘agree’, but these will not be frequent. Additionally, you run the risk of bots offering comments that do not fit the context of your post. If your post touches on sensitive topics such as loved ones you have lost to the pandemic, the last thing you want is a bot commenting something like ‘good job.’
- Your crop of purchased followers will unfollow your account. Some will be gone within a week or two. Whatever amount you spent will have amounted to nothing in the long run.
- You are opening yourself up to spam. Additionally, spammers may access your real followers and send spam to those accounts.
- Fake accounts and bots will not purchase products or experience any motivation from your posts. You are simply buying numbers.
- One of the biggest hits you can take for buying Instagram followers is the loss of your credibility. If you are buying followers, you are doing it to boost the appearance of your social media reach. Once followers, affiliates, and brands who considered working with you discover the fake followers, you will be dumped faster than toxic waste.
How do Instagram users and brands seeking influencers know if my followers are not organic?
The belief that no one will notice if you buy Instagram followers is a common misconception rooted in wishful thinking. It is comparable to photoshopping the image of Hugh Jackman into pictures of your child’s birthday party. Your efforts are not fooling anyone because of the telltale signs.
Those who make it their business to understand the details of Instagram’s ins and outs will spot at least a few of the following indicators.
- Influencers and bloggers with little or no interaction or engagement of their posts- You can be sure that before Gucci partners with you as a brand influencer, they will go over your social media with a fine-tooth comb. No engagement points to zero influence, which leads to no partnering as a brand influencer.
- Your numbers are off- An unusually high likes-to-comment ratio is a beacon telling others your followers are not genuine. The same is true for a likes-to-follower ratio.
- Culpability by association- If you have numerous followers who happen to be companies that sell likes and followers, your account will look suspicious.
- A low level of activity on followers’ accounts- Having followers who do not post regularly or have very few if any posts or images screams ‘purchased followers’ for all to hear.
- Other engagement metrics are missing- A blogger or influencer will generally have numerous shares to go along with their likes and followers.
The ethical argument about buying Instagram followers
It is common to try and ignore the elephant in the room and carry on as if some issues do not exist. This principle applies to discussions regarding the ethical issues associated with purchasing Instagram followers.
There is a counterpoint to the loophole of legality. Alice Wright, the founder of GOMI, explains that most companies will be quick to look at a blogger or influencer’s numbers. If the influencer or blogger signs on to work with a company knowing that a significant number of their followers are fake, they are defrauding the company that is paying for their influence. Wright maintains that you cannot influence a bot, fake account, or an inactive account. Yet, the business expects that the influencer they hired will bring notoriety and customers to their site. The company will not receive the service they pay for when the audience is nonexistent.
How can I increase my Instagram followers quickly without buying them?
The keyword in this question is ‘quickly’. Unfortunately, there are no magical shortcuts to Instagram supremacy. However, there are several ways to grow your Instagram follower list organically.
One dozen ways to gain Instagram followers organically
1. Set your sights on your target – No sharpshooter ever succeeded without knowing where they were aiming. It may sound elementary, but you can create content that will attract them when you understand your target audience. If you are unsure how to define your key demographic, here are a few questions to point you in the right direction.
- Age of your target audience?
- Typical profession?
- Where do they live?
- How do they use Instagram?
- When and how often are they on Instagram?
- What are their challenges, goals, and pain points?
2. Craft content based on your audience – Once you understand who your audience is, you can put out content that will capture their attention.
For example, if you sell custom apparel for infants and toddlers, you know that mums between 20 and 40 make up a big piece of your audience. Think about the content you could direct to this group. You could offer helpful suggestions for sleep and feeding, ways that mums can practice self-care, reviews of baby products, and many more.
Try a few different directions at first to see what your followers seem to prefer. Maybe your followers enjoy entertaining content more than educational information. They could favour downloadable content like checklists, or perhaps they like quick how-to videos. Once you have a sense of what works, you can consistently offer relevant and valuable content that your followers will enjoy and share.
3. Create a look for your brand – Making your business synonymous with a style or an image is vital in the virtual marketplace as well as on Instagram.
Think of how many images or even colour schemes you associate with particular brands. The Nike swoosh, McDonald’s Golden Arches, the Qantas kangaroo, and scores of other symbols speak volumes without many words.
Whatever design and aesthetic you choose, make sure that you use it consistently to build familiarity and keep your layout uniform. For maximum impact, be sure your brand’s style conforms across all of your social media.
4. Optimise your instagram account – There are several ways to make your Instagram account memorable. Take the time to create an Instagram bio that represents you and your company, and you will be rewarded. Resist the temptation to present a cookie-cutter bio, use interesting images and put extra thought into captions. Remember that Instagram reaches numerous demographics, so it is ok to relax and show personality.
You can gain a little extra attention by tailoring your profile picture to seasonal activities or current promotions. For example, if you are an online sports publication, feature the most prominent sport of the season in your profile. Likewise, if you are a floral designer, show off your holiday creations in your profile image.
5. Be consistent with your instagram posts – Humans are creatures of habit. If you are building an Instagram following, make sure you take advantage of your follower’s habits.
Many sources will tell you their opinion of the best time of day for your posts. This is all well and good, but the best time for your posts should revolve around your followers and the pattern you establish with them.
For example, if you do an early morning post highlighting your bakery’s daily special, do not think you need to change your timing because someone said noon is a better time for post visibility.
If you have not established a pattern with your posts, analytics tools can help you pinpoint the best times for you to add your content. Here are a few other tips about timing.
- Tailor your posts to your audience’s time zone
- Remember the habits and lifestyle of your audience when deciding on a time to publish content. Executives with hectic schedules will likely miss posts you make after the start of the business day.
- Make a note of when your competition is publishing their Instagram content. A majority of businesses will publish on the hour. Tweak your plans, so your content comes out at a slightly different time, and you can avoid being lost in the shuffle.
6. No days off – Some advice that is worth following comes from many marketing experts. Post on Instagram every day. Statistics tell us that you will get twice as many followers if you post daily instead of just once a week.
It is helpful to know that you can schedule your posts so you will be able to maintain a schedule that is familiar to your followers. Scheduling posts also helps you avoid rushed or substandard material because you do not need to hurry to be on time.
7. Use hashtags but use them wisely – You likely have seen posts with a collection of hashtags as long as your arm. Many Instagrammers adopt the more is better approach to hashtags. Instagram allows 30 hashtags. However, wisdom dictates that relevance is better when placing hashtags. Most posts will have three hashtags. Experiment with different numbers of hashtags to learn what works best with your target audience.
Because you want to engage with those who have an interest in your product or service, spewing out the top cliché hashtags is not advisable. There are several types, so you may want to try a few on for size before crossing any off your list of possibilities. Here are some popular kinds of hashtags for you to consider.
- Holiday or promotion
- Product or service
- Niche or community
- Relevant phrases
- Trending topics if they apply to your products or services
8. Make your captions count – Gorgeous and compelling images are a big part of a successful Instagram account. However, the way you caption pictures will also impact how viewers will respond to you. Think outside of the box with your captions. Here are a few proven ways to make the most of your captions.
- Try asking a question – It could be something opinion-based or a trivia question that relates to your niche.
- Use emojis to grab viewers’ attention. Unless you are a part of a niche that is extremely serious by nature, emojis are acceptable across social media platforms.
- Experiment with various lengths of captions. Some audiences are very receptive to quick bits of information, and others find more extended captions delightful.
9. Promote your Instagram on your other social media accounts – Growing your following across various platforms makes sense. You want to put yourself in front of as many relevant eyes as possible.
The chances are good that your Facebook, Tik Tok, LinkedIn, and Twitter followers also use Instagram. Give them a reason to find your Instagram account. Sweeten the deal and offer a special promotion like free shipping or a percentage off of an order if they use a code added to the post.
10. Take advantage of the Instagram stories feature – If you are not using Instagram Stories on your account, you are missing out on a prime way to help potential followers find you.
In addition to putting yourself in front of a large viewership, using Instagram Stories connects your account with highly engaged users. Instagram estimates that one out of every three stories nets a direct message. The odds of an increase in followers are definitely in your favour.
*Here are three quick tips for making an impact with your Instagram Stories*
- Highlight your stories. You can pin stories that are most relevant and keep eyes on them
- Add an Instagram Story Poll to your post. Polls are a great way to keep your audience engaged with your brand. Engaged viewers are more likely to share your content, widening your audience further.
- Put your most important content at the beginning of your story. These days people will not wait patiently for the crux of your story. Grab their attention straight away
11. Run contests or host giveaways – You already know that everyone loves to win free products or services. You can delight your followers and get new viewers by offering a chance at prizes in exchange for likes, comments, shared content, and more.
Instagram contests and giveaways are easy to create and the platform permits them if you follow their guidelines.
- Be clear that Instagram is not promoting your contest or your brand
- Make an easy to understand set of rules then post it in an obvious place
- Post a disclosure absolving Instagram from any responsibility for the contest or its outcome
Once you have the framework for your contest in place, you can entertain ideas for your promotion.
- Like and comment to win contests are popular and easy from an administrative standpoint. Ask viewers to like an image of the prize and to post a comment that relates to what you are offering. Generally, this is easier if you provide a question for viewers to answer in the comment section.
For example, your shop sells t-shirts that feature various dog breeds. Your image will include several examples of the prize, and your viewers enter the contest by liking your post and commenting on their preferred breed of dog. The contest winner will receive a shirt featuring their preferred dog.
Like and comment promotions will give you better potential leads than contests that simply require viewers to tap the like button as they scroll past.
- Tag a friend – Running a contest where followers must tag one or more friends in the comment section is an excellent way to expand your reach. Typically, entrants must tag between one and three friends as higher counts can seem daunting.
- Photo caption contest – Asking viewers to create a caption for an interesting or funny image related to your brand is a fun way to engage your audience. Entrants can show off their imaginations and potentially win something in the process.
12. Offer shareable content – Your followers are more likely to share your content if it is valuable and easy to share. This idea gives you a great deal of latitude.
- Create lists that can help your audience – If you post recipes, break them down into list form to make them easier to follow. If you demonstrate certain nail artistry, give your audience a list of brands and colours so they can emulate your look.
- Calendar – Not just the January through December calendars financial institutions hand out, but those that relate to your brand or business. For example, a shop that sells sports-themed merchandise may offer calendars with local teams’ schedules.
- How-to videos – Not all shareable content must come in print form. Short videos to instruct viewers in the method of doing something are useful and popular. For example, if you are a dog groomer, post a video showing the correct way to trim a dog’s nails or demonstrate brushing a dog’s teeth.
Is It worth buying followers?
Even though Instagram is a brilliant way to help build your business, reaching the top takes a significant amount of hard work and perseverance. The struggle can lead some to entertain the notion that they can buy real Instagram followers. Likewise, maintaining relevance is equally demanding, and many lack the patience to tough it out.
Ultimately, the answer to the question ‘can you buy Instagram followers?’ is up to you.
You may want to consider working with an experienced team of professionals like Digital Hitmen. We can take on the work of building your Instagram while you run your business. Contact us to learn more about our social media marketing services.