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Building a sizable following from scratch can be daunting a task and we won’t lie, it’s going to be tough. Whether you’re on that influencer grind or looking to increase your brand’s following and subsequently your bottom line, a presence on Instagram is a very valuable asset. But how to get there?
Should you buy Instagram followers to get a head start? This can be an alluring “strategy”. Organic growth on Instagram has gotten a whole lot tougher in the past couple of years and creating content is resource-intensive. Maybe you just want an impressive follower count to look better to people who land on your profile.
Whatever your goal is, today we’ll go over the process for buying fake followers, what happens to your account (and your brand) when those fake followers come flooding in and better alternatives to buying followers.
How to buy Instagram followers (and likes)
Just to be clear, we really don’t recommend buying fake followers (we’ll go more in depth as to why a bit later). But we want to guide you through the process if you were to go through with buying followers and shed a light on how sketchy a lot of service providers can be.
Before you whip out your credit card…
If you head to Google and type in “Best sites to buy Instagram followers”, you’ll be met with dozens of articles (all of them affiliate blogs) claiming that the sites they list provide “real followers” or “Instagram automation”. Don’t be fooled, all that these companies provide are bots that follow your profile (and hundreds of others), offering no actual engagement.
Furthermore, as Instagram continues to crack down on the fake follower issue, a lot of these sites end up being taken down. The icing on the cake is that once you give them your information, you’ll be open to all kinds of spam, be it via email or Instagram DM. There’s also the risk of getting your account stolen.
Now that you’ve been sufficiently warned, here’s a list of the most popular sites to buy followers from. Also, most of these sites provide likes as well. Paid likes. From fake profiles. Of course.
Twicsy seems to be quite a popular option for people looking to spam their profiles with bot followers. Twicsy has been featured in magazines like Men’s Journal and Los Angeles Magazine. In fact, we found one of those articles.
“Sponsored” “By Los Angeles magazine’s advertising partner”. Hmm, seems genuine and unbiased. As for the actual services Twicsy provides, you can buy 100 Instagram followers for $2.97 and up to 2,500 followers for $28.99. Twicsy claims that they don’t use fake accounts or bots (whether or not you believe that is up to you).
You can also buy Instagram likes from Twicsy for $12.99 for 1,000 likes and Instagram views for $49.99 for 25,000 views.
Buzzoid is pretty similar to Twicsy, all the way down to the pricing and “Save 75%!” and promise of delivering “real” likes and followers. Besides their website having a bit less pizzaz, Buzzoid seems like a pretty run-of-the-mill Instagram “growth” service. One thing that stood out was their “Premium Likes” feature. For a pretty steep price of $19.99, you can buy 500 Premium Likes. According to Buzzoid, the difference between their standard high Quality Likes and Premium Likes is “Increased chance to reach the explore page” with likes from “100% real Instagram likes, from 100% real Instagram users. Is it legit? Probably not.
Likezoid works a bit differently than most Instagram followers and likes providers. For starters, Likezoid is a program that you’ll have to install on your Mac or PC. Secondly, Likezoid is free to use and claims to send real likes to your profile. Browsing through the reviews posted on their website, users claimed to have received the likes they were expecting as well as increased exposure. Of course, the profiles these likes will come from won’t actually do anything on your page like care about your brand or buy from you.
iDigic is claiming to have “revolutionized brand building on Instagram by pioneering several services since the launch of the app back in 2011.” Like most sites on this list, they pride themselves on offering quality likes. “You can’t buy Instagram likes with such quality elsewhere”. Though we’re not totally sure what they mean by that, we do know that the services they offer (likes, follows and views) are priced similarly to their competitors at $12.95 for 1,000 likes and $12.95 for 1,000 followers. They offer “Super Quality” followers and likes at a steeper price as well.
Prominent brands that have bought fake followers
Though buying fake followers is a decidedly bad idea, that hasn’t stopped some of the world’s largest brands and influencers from padding their stats with bought followers. Sortlist has compiled a list of the biggest offenders, including big name influencers and celebrities.
Though getting those figures isn’t an exact science, Sortlist used a social auditing tool to discover the audience credibility rate of some of Instagram’s most prominent brands and public figures. Fake followers are often accounts with very low follower counts themselves but that follow hundreds of accounts.
You may be wondering why these brands and influencers would buy followers. And while we can’t be 100% certain, the running theory is image. If you’re a multinational corporation or an Oscar-winning actress, nothing matters more than the perception people have of you. You aren’t using social media to drive leads down your funnel, you’re using social media as a kind of popularity portfolio. The more likes and followers, the more prestige you have. If you’re an influencer, a high follower count will work in your favor when striking brand promotion deals.
What happens when you buy followers on Instagram
Instagram won’t like you anymore
According to Instagram’s Community guidelines, buying fake followers is officially banned and considered fraudulent.
The small silver lining is that Instagram won’t necessarily ban accounts just for buying followers. The same policy applies to buying fake likes; Instagram simply limits your exposure, which is basically death when it comes to actually growing your following. A large following doesn’t matter as much as it used to. Nowadays, engagement (likes, comments, watch time, shares) is the most important factor if you want to end up on the explore page.
Right after your paid followers start to flood your profile, you’ll notice a significant dip. Say you buy 1,000 followers. A day or two later, a large number of those followers will disappear. This is because Instagram is constantly purging fake profiles and bots from their platform. Not only will Instagram purge the fake followers, but they also reserve the right to suspend accounts that become involved in this practice.
Your earnings won’t budge
This is pretty obvious but fake followers won’t actually help your business. They can’t buy from you, recommend your product/service to anyone, etc. They’re bots. As for engagement, while you can buy bots to comment on your posts, those comments will be laughably generic and real people will notice something fishy going on (more on that later).
Buying Instagram followers hurts your brand
People WILL notice your mismatched engagement. There’s nothing more embarrassing than having 100,000 followers and 250 likes per post. That abysmal engagement rate is indicative of one of two things:
- A dying profile that at one point was thriving but then became irrelevant to their followers.
- A profile that loaded up on fake followers instead of providing real value (creating entertaining, educational or inspirational content) to their core audience.
Neither of those are good first impressions to have on potential followers/customers.
Furthermore, any fake comments you buy in an attempt to pass off your inflated follower count as genuine, will simply look fake.
As we mentioned before, bots don’t have the ability to contextualize. They’ll simply comment pre-programmed, awkward-sounding one-liners. All of those factors can play a part in harming your brand image. Not only will you potentially estrange new people visiting your profile, any real people who follow you will notice the sudden spike in followers and think something fishy is going on.
You open yourself up for spam
If you buy followers, you will generally have to provide your email address at some point. By doing so, you are opening yourself to vast quantities of spam. Indeed many of the people selling followers are doing so with the sole aim of gaining access to your email address for spam reasons.
Once you accept them as a follower, you are also giving them access to your other followers. Some of your followers will accept the spammers as their followers, just because they see that they are followers of you. Once they discover what you have sent them, you may find that your genuine followers purge you at the same time they remove the fake followers.
What to do instead of buying fake followers
If you’re considering buying fake followers, chances are that you want near-instantaneous results without having to put in much work. Hate to break it to you, but building an audience takes time and LOTS of work. That being said, there are a few legitimate hacks you can implement to supercharge your Instagram growth.
Keep up with trends
Keep an eye out for new changes and features that Instagram releases, as well as any significant algorithm changes. For example, on March 16 of this year, Instagram rolled out Family Center and Parental Supervision Tools on Instagram and in VR. The Family Center lets parents and guardians access supervision tools to monitor their kids’ Instagram activity.
If you create family-oriented content, you can push VR videos and highlight your focus on family-friendliness.
Check sites like Meta’s official Newsroom to be kept in the loop.
Get serious about creating content
Content is the backbone of your social media strategy. It’s the whole skeleton actually. There’s a lot that goes into building a winning Instagram content strategy and we won’t even attempt to cover everything right now. We’ve written an entire guide on creating a social media content strategy. Check it out. Here are some more useful resources
- Curating content
- How often to post on Instagram
- Useful Instagram statistics
- Instagram stories best practices
Use ads instead
If you have some cash burning a hole in your pocket, invest some of that capital into expanding your reach and getting your account in front of real people, not bots.
We have an entire article dedicated to creating and optimizing Facebook ads but let’s go over how you can get your profile in front of people who will actually care about your content.
- Open business.facebook.com/adsmanager
- Sign in to the Facebook account linked with your Instagram page/profile
- From the Ads Manager page, click the green “Create” button
- Select the Traffic objective
- Name your campaign and select Campaign Budget Optimization. Set your daily budget. Don’t go overboard, you can always increase your budget later.
- At the Ad Set level, add your audience. Go broad. You can always split-test more narrowed-down audiences once you gain traction.
- While you’re in the ad set level, head to Placements and select Manual Placements. Unselect everything besides the Instagram platform and only select Instagram Feed, Instagram Explore, Instagram Reels and Instagram stories.
When it comes to the ad itself, head to the Ad level in your campaign, and in the Ads Creation section, hit “Select post”. When prompted, select an existing post, preferably one that has performed well organically.
All that’s left is to set the target URL as the link to your Instagram page. Your Instagram profile link will be https://www.instagram.com/*yourusername*/. If you want to double-check, simply sign in to your profile on a web browser on your computer, click on your profile and copy and paste the link that shows up in the search bar.
There are better ways to grow your Instagram presence
We totally get it, growing a dedicated following on Instagram is tough. From investing loads of time into content creation and ideation to random algorithm changes killing your momentum, the temptation to give your profile a little artificial boost can be strong.
However, buying fake followers will grind your Instagram growth to a screeching halt. From Instagram penalties to scrutiny from real people when they see your questionable engagement rate, buying followers simply isn’t a smart move.
We offered some great ways that you can use to grow your Instagram the RIGHT way in this article and if you’re looking for more, we create content for growing your social media presence.