Something that I’ve been seeing a lot more of recently on Instagram is buying followers and shady business like that. It’s obviously a response to the truly terrible Instagram algorithm update where posts are no longer chronological and most smaller Instagram accounts don’t have their photos shown even to their actual followers, it sucks, really it does, I get it. most days I now struggle to even hit 100 – 150 likes per Instagram post BUT buying your engagement is NOT the answer and here’s why.
It’s really shady, firstly. seriously c’mon, are likes and follows that major to you that you went and spent money to look popular. This isn’t High School. Focus on your content, your aesthetic, what you want your brand to be and what you want it to look like. Buying followers on Instagram is like having someone in a Company buy you a ticket in, you didn’t earn it and it’s not going to gain you any respect in the Community or Niche that you are in on Instagram.
It’s really easy to tell if an Instagram account owner has purchased their likes or followers. If one day they start on 2000 followers and then the next day they have double that, unless you posted a photo of you with Every Victoria’s Secret Model or a Famous person and that Famous person also shared your photo, it’s unlikely that anyone gained 2000 followers overnight! The same goes for likes on a photo; if you see someone who has just posted a photo and it gets 1000 likes in 30 – 40 minutes, it’s pretty suspect.
Another way to tell is: if EVERY SINGLE PHOTO they post has the same average number of likes then they’re just not organic likes. I was looking through a very large Fashion instagrammer’s photos the other day and they all had such varying numbers of likes on each photo; some had 11,000+ likes on them, some had 5000 – 8000 likes and some had 1000 likes, all within just a few weeks of each photo being posted. It depends on the algorithm and how the platform shares and shows your photos on any given day. When you can see those big variances in photo likes then it’s clearly organic, however, every photo having the same number of likes on each one, is almost an impossibility.
This is one that’s really easy to spot; an account has 50K followers but each photo posted only gains an average of 50 – 400 likes.
The biggest issue here though is far bigger than simply getting a bad reputation: if you are being paid by Brands to advertise their products to your “followers” but all your followers are bought or bots then the Company is paying for nothing, you are tricking the Company in to paying you for something that you cannot provide to them and that is Fraud. Plain and simple, straight up, the Brand thinks that they will make sales from paying you to advertise their product and the likes are all bots or from people who are paid to like your content so they aren’t going to be buying the Brand’s product.
If you aren’t working with Brands and you are in Comment pods/ like for like pods then it’s not such an issue, it can be said that it’s simply a good way to get to know other smaller instagramners in your niche to build connections and build your own community, but if you start posting Brand sponsorship/ paid posts to comment/ like pods then that is fraud because it is the same as paying for your likes and engagement.
Think about it, there are better ways to go about the business of Instagram and Blogging, paying for likes and engagement is definitely not the way to go, the Blogging Community isn’t huge in terms of reputations and people/ brands talking to one another. You don’t want that bad rep and you also definitely don’t want a lawsuit.
Focus on putting out the best quality content and using Hashtags and social sharing, join communities to find out about other great ways to get your content noticed and ENGAGE with other users in your niche, that’s probably the biggest one with Instagram; comment, like and follow your favourite accounts and you’ll start to grow.