You’ve probably seen those Instagram accounts with generic content but a HUGE following and asked yourself, why are so many people following them? What are they posting that is so special?
The truthful answer is, they’re not. Instead, it is most likely that they have bought their followers – or bought their way into a mandatory follow contest with a big name celebrity or influencer.
It’s something that’s becoming all too normal on social media. The question is – should you do it, too?
What Are The Perceived “Benefits” Of Paying For Followers?
1. Instant Popularity (in terms of quantity of people following your account)
Having a high number of followers can be really useful in gaining even more followers, this time real ones. This is because people inherently want to know what they’re missing out on. Seeing an account with tons of followers makes people want to know why and follow out of curiosity. People also want to feel like they’re a part of something, and following a seemingly popular account can feed this need.
However great this sounds, buying followers cannot give you everything you desire. Just keep reading!
2. “Higher Credibility”
Business accounts with higher numbers of followers seem more legitimate and professional. Also, as mentioned above, this credibility can gain the attention of organic followers.
3. Jump Start Your Business
Having social accounts linked to your website/connected to your business will make your business look bigger than it is. This will help your account get started and attract real followers.
It’s important to know that, done this way, this will only be temporary. It won’t keep your business booming forever… or even for just a while.
These reasons for buying followers all sound great, right? Well, now it’s time to check out the other side.
What Are The Negatives To Buying Followers?
On social media, authenticity is everything.
1. They are NOT Real People
Sorry to burst your bubble, but the followers that you buy are not real people. Typically, these accounts are bots or inactive profiles that are created to only look like real people. You can have a high quantity of followers, but the quality will definitely not be there. Even on social media, quality is better than quantity.
2. Low Engagement
Low to NO engagement is probably the biggest drawback to buying followers. The followers that you buy are not real or active, so engagement from those accounts (likes, comments, shares) will be virtually non-existent.
If you have 10,000 followers and 5 likes on your content, it’s pretty obvious that the followers are not real – because anyone who was a real follower and actually interested in your content would take the time to like, comment, or share.
“To have loyal customers, your customers need to have something that they can connect to. Having a distinct voice makes you seem more authentic and authenticity plays a huge role in a customer’s feeling of connection to you.” – Like A Voss
Having a high number of followers but a low number of engagements on posts is one of the easiest ways to spot if an account has been buying followers.
3. Cheater Stigma
There is a negative stigma attached to buying followers. The act of purchasing followers is pretty well always thought of as cheating on social media.
If you buy followers, it’s not something you want people to know about, but, like the bot comments mentioned previously, there are some obvious tells of purchased followers.
If you were trying to choose between two businesses to purchase from and one had more followers, but less engagement and the other had a lower follower account but tons of engagement, who would you be most likely to purchase from?
4. Scam Magnet
There are TONS of sites and services out there that claim to be able to give you hundreds or thousands of followers for very low costs. Some even claim to give you “real” followers that will engage with your account (be VERY wary if you hear this. If it sounds too good to be true… it probably is).
Not every follower provider is legit. This particular online purchase is flooded with scams, so be aware of that.
What Are Our Thoughts On Paying For Followers?
Reaching and engaging with real followers that are actually within your target market is challenging but, in the end, it will benefit your business and brand the most.
Instead of obsessing over the number of followers you have, try looking at your engagement rates for each post. You may be surprised by how many likes you are getting considering your number of followers, especially if you compare that to accounts with hundreds of purchased followers.
Although there are initial benefits to buying followers, it’s not something we recommend at Like A Voss. Although organic reach is definitely the path less traveled, and a longer route, we believe in quality over quantity.
Need help improving your organic reach and growth? Contact us today to set up a FREE discovery session with our team – we’d love to help!
This blog post was originally published in June 2018 and has been edited to improve accuracy and readability.