There are two types of people in this world: those who want more followers and those who are lying. Likes and follows are like social media crack and everyone wants their fix. This applies to everyday social media users but even more so to brands and influencers whose businesses often heavily rely on a healthy following.

There are a lot of questionable tactics when it comes to growing your following on social media but there is none slimier than paying for fake followers. It’s like paying thousands of people to be your friend. It’s lame and it’s a lie. While I certainly understand the idea behind it, the reality is that when it comes to social media marketing, there are no shortcuts. Not if you want real results, anyway.

Unfortunately for the lazy bums, the only thing that’ll garner actual results is hard work and a solid marketing strategy. Bought followers are nothing but empty and often damaging numbers on a screen. Here are 4 reasons why you should never, EVER buy Instagram followers.

  1. These purchase-able followers have zero value

People who started following you organically have some level of interest in your page. Whether you’re an influencer or a brand, these types of followers are the ones that add value. They’ll like, comment, share, or at the very least, appreciate your content. They are all ultimately potential customers of yours.

Bought followers, on the other hand, have zero clue what your brand is. They’re empty fillers that contribute nothing beyond an inflated follower count. Not only will they never engage with your account, they’ll never buy from you. This is because they’re not real people. Focusing on vanity metrics does nothing for your brand and is incredibly irrelevant to the core of your business.

  1. It’s a colossal waste of money

Money is hard enough to come by as it is- don’t waste it on something that won’t benefit you long term. Beyond winning a social media popularity contest that people eventually see is rigged, buying followers has no real advantage to your business. The money wasted on fake followers would go much further if put toward sponsored ads or collaborating with an influencer whose followers are actually alive and kicking.

If a comedian buys 100 dummies to sit in their audience to make the room look more full, all they’re really getting is an audience that won’t laugh at their jokes. To make it worse, the few real people in the audience will likely be weirded out that they’re sitting among dummies.

  1. You’ll ruin your reputation

In the social media world, there’s almost nothing worse than being caught for buying followers. Whether you’re a brand or a social media influencer, this can result in a huge dip in trust and loyalty among your followers.

Just like in real life, your online reputation is everything. As an influencer, being honest is key. Once your followers know you bought your popularity, they’ll feel like you and everything you promote is a sham. The same goes for brands. Once your followers realize you’re deceiving them, they’ll question why you weren’t able to garner love on your own merit. They’ll second-guess your brand and the veracity of everything you say going forward.

This can greatly affect your business dealings as well. No one wants to work with an influencer whose followers are fake. It’s flushing their marketing dollars down the drain. And trust me, fake followers are very easy to spot.

The first tell-tale sign is when someone has a ton of followers with little to no engagement. If they’re smart enough to buy likes and comments too, you’ll see it easily in the missing profile pictures or spammy, auto-comments like “Cool post” and “Awesome!”.

With the amount of influencers and brands trying to fake it, there are more and more services emerging dedicated to measuring the “realness” of their accounts. Don’t get caught in that humiliating, tangled web.

  1. It’s breaking the rules

Buying followers is actually against the terms of conditions for most social networks. Most people probably don’t know that since no one has ever read the terms of conditions, but Instagram tells its users to  “stay spam-free by not artificially collecting likes, followers, or shares…”.

Social media networks are becoming increasingly proactive at sniffing out the fakers. So even if you have no moral qualms about buying followers, this type of violation can result in your account being shut down without warning. If you’re caught and lucky enough not to get banned from the platform, they’ll take it upon themselves to purge your account. This has seen users lose up to 80% of their followers- including some of the real ones.

 

Being a successful influencer or awesome brand comes from having real people liking what you’re about. Stocking up on followers may having you looking cool at first glance but long term it’ll have you being nothing but #fakenews.