On some level, all of social media is inherently a popularity contest. Nearly everyone, either consciously or unconsciously, is thirsting after all those likes, comments, and shares and it is partly from this frame of mind that individuals and businesses alike consider the prospect of buying followings on Instagram.
Reasons to Buy Followers on Instagram
While he was discussing the topic from the context of Twitter and not Instagram, famous marketing guru Guy Kawasaki said that there are only two kinds of people on social media: "those that want more followers and those that lie." Even without such a reductionist attitude, it is generally true that if someone is on a social media platform like Twitter or Instagram, they are interested in getting noticed. It's generally desirable to get noticed by more people.
The primary motivation behind buying followers, particularly if you use Instagram for business purposes, is perception. If an Instagram account has 50,000 followers, it is generally perceived by users as being more important, more influential, or otherwise "better" than an otherwise similar account that only has 500 followers. And the account with five million followers is deemed to be on a higher tier than the profile with 50,000 followers.
For businesses, a higher follower count can bolster the brand's image among the general public. The same is true for celebrities and politicians. For some online influencers, they need to reach certain minimum requirements in order to qualify for specific influencer networks or to attract and close private brand sponsorship deals. More followers can make them appear more influential.
Does It Work?
In the short term, paying for Instagram followers can appear to be effective. You will receive an instant boost to the number of followers that you have, which can be especially useful for new accounts and new businesses who want to get off to a good start and build their presence quickly.
Potential Risks and Drawbacks
You may be tempted to buy Instagram followers, but you should take the time to weigh the potential downsides before doing so.
- Engagement rates can look bad: If a sizable number of your followers are purchased, then they likely will not engage with your content the same way that real users would. Engagement rates already decrease with more followers in general and this is further exacerbated when you have many bots and fake followers.
- You could lose trust: As you work toward building real relationships with real people on the platform, you may be sabotaging your legitimate efforts by buying followers. If you are found out, your real followers may start to question whether you employ unsavory business practices.
- They could unfollow you: When you pay for a service that guarantees a certain number of followers, those followers aren't necessarily permanent. In fact, they could unfollow you in order to maintain a good follower-to-following ratio. You should always check to see if they unfollowed you in the days (or even minutes!) after they followed you.
Where to Buy Instagram Followers
The actual process for buying followers is generally very straightforward. You simply pay a fee, provide your Instagram username, and the service provider takes care of the rest. Audience Gain and CoinCrack are two places that offer this service.
- Audience Gain: While there is a risk that the followers you purchase from other providers are simply bots, Audience Gain claims that all followers are real users. The basic package starts at around $8 for at least 500 new followers, promoting your profile for two to five days. The largest package is nearly $250 for over 20,000 followers with your profile being promoted for 17 to 20 days. In all cases, you are offered a 100 percent money back guarantee.
- SocialEmpire: This marketing company has packages starting at 500 Instagram followers for just under $10, all the way up to $85 to buy 10,000 followers. They offer 24/7 support and promise to use safe promotion techniques.
IG Reviews reminds potential customers that they should only seek out the highest quality likes and the guarantees to back it up. While there are innumerable websites that offer the service of providing "high quality" Instagram followers, the "quality" of the followers and the experience can vary considerably. Don't waste your money on scams.
Genuine Engagement Is Best
Many experts agree that while the initial boost may have its allure, buying followers on Instagram or any other social media platform is ultimately not worth the risk. The more legitimate path with authentic engagement, posting great content, and targeting the right kind of audience may take more time and may be a lot of work, but it's the only strategy that can pay off in the long run.