AliDropship Blog

Get marketing tips, tricks and dropshipping inspiration right into your inbox!
Sign up today not to miss out a single post:

Instagram Fake Followers: To Buy Or Not To Buy?

By Timur Y.

Buying Instagram fake followers is a tempting idea, but today it can be really risky

The number of followers on your Instagram account reflects how popular your content is. At least, this is how other people see it. So, a large number of subscribers can influence the account’s overall performance. Therefore, some bloggers decide to buy Instagram fake followers. But should you really do that and can it lead to negative consequences?

3.5 billion people use social media. That’s almost half of the world’s population! So, it’s no wonder companies promote products and services through these channels and by means of influencer marketing.

Same goes for small businesses. Being very limited in resources, they aim at attracting customers among social media users who share similar interests. SMM is also a great tool for promoting a dropshipping online store as it requires little investment. At the same time Facebook and Instagram marketing show amazing results.

It’s relatively easy to promote a brand that has 25,000 followers. But when you need to create an account from scratch and have zero subscribers, attracting the first followers doesn’t seem so easy any more.

As a result, sometimes businesses (and even celebrities) buy fake followers.

What are fake followers?

Fake followers are subscribers registered on fictional emails. These fake accounts are sold to other users of a social network to artificially increase their following, thus providing a faster growth and higher attractiveness. In most cases, such followers are not real people.

How to spot fake followers?

How-to-spot-fake-followers.jpg

Be it Instagram fake followers or subscribers on any other social network, they are relatively easy to spot.

Low engagement rate

Fake subscribers make an account look much more popular than it is, but since most (or all) of them are not real people, the account’s engagement rate remains at the same level as if these subscribers never existed.

Fast follower growth

Another distinctive symptom is how fast new followers subscribed to the account. Organic growth is more or less smooth and steady. But if you buy 1,000 followers, most of them will “subscribe” within a day or two. One can check this parameter with various apps and services.

Generic comments

You can also tell if an account has fake followers by browsing the comments. A real person usually writes specific statements while a bot leaves very generic comments like “Great post!” or “Nice info”.

No profile photo and weird names

The absence of a profile picture is a clear sign that it’s a fake. On the other hand, nowadays companies selling them use stock photos to make them look real. Their usernames often look weird too – just random letters and numbers.

Few followers vs. high following

Since fake accounts are created to follow other people, they typically have a very high following while nobody actually follows them. So if you see a lot of subscribers who follow dozens of other accounts but are followed by two or three people, they’re most likely fake.

Low activity

Bots usually have very few posts or none at all. A real person publishes content all the time – even those of us who’s not really into social media. If there are only two reposts both made more than a year ago, the account is probably fake.

Why do people buy fake followers?

Why-do-people-buy-fake-followers.jpg

1. To increase following

Simply speaking, the more followers you have the more followers you get. Users tend to follow accounts with a large number of subscribers. So, for a person who sees an account with 20 followers and another one with 2000 subscribers, the choice is obvious.

Therefore, buying Instagram fake followers works well as a starting handicap. The account looks great and popular, and people subscribe more often.

2. Better visibility

Instagram applies a number of criteria to determine which account will be shown in your newsfeed. The number of subscribers is one of them. From this perspective, Instagram accounts with few followers have little chances to beat those with thousands of subscribers.

3. Better engagement rate

Businesses that sell fake followers also offer the ones that can engage, i.e. somehow interact with your account or real users. If this is the case, it’ll increase your engagement rate which will have a positive effect on the account’s visibility.

Why you shouldn’t buy Instagram fake followers

Why-you-shouldn’t-buy-Instagram-fake-followers.jpg

Despite these pros, buying fake followers is generally considered a bad idea. They used to work much better when nobody paid attention to this phenomenon. But nowadays concealing the fact that you buy subscribers became harder. Besides, it can lead to very unpleasant consequences while the benefits aren’t always so great.

1. No long-term value

Followers are people who’re interested in the content of your account. They appreciate your work, they share the content, they comment and engage. All of this makes them potential customers or even the advocates of your brand. However, fake Instagram followers are inactive.

Although it is possible to purchase ‘active’ bots who imitate a certain degree of engagement, these fake accounts will never become clients. It’s like performing in front of a cardboard audience.

2. They distort metrics

When you need to develop an efficient Instagram promotion strategy, you need to gather reliable data on how your subscribers behave, what they like or hate, etc. But if half of your followers are fake, it’ll distort the metrics making you “blind”.

Without a clear strategy, turning subscribers into real customers will be extremely difficult.

3. They hurt your reputation

It’s not really hard to tell whether an account has been buying fake followers even without special apps. Ok, maybe other people won’t be able to tell for sure, but even a shadow of doubt can damage your reputation. Needless to say that if somebody uses serious software to reveal the truth, there’s trouble brewing!

4. Instagram can suspend your account

Other users are not the only ones that can punish you for cheating. Instagram finds and purges fake accounts on a regular basis. It also deletes any comments, likes and follows generated by such profiles. But what’s worse, a profile caught buying fake accounts can be suspended!

While a user claiming that you’re cheating is a gut-punch, being suspended is a head-shot that makes buying Instagram fake followers extremely risky.

Conclusion

As you can see, purchasing fake followers can provide a very good start for new Instagram accounts. However, the risks are high as well.

The good news is that Instagram takes into account lots of other parameters for ranking besides the number of followers including engagement. So, one can achieve good visibility even with few subscribers provided you have a high engagement rate thanks to interesting content.

In the end, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to buy followers or not.

If you’re looking for an established business, check out AliDropship’s Established Stores. Along with the website, you also get active social media accounts. This way you won’t have to buy Instagram fake users.

avatar
By Timur Y.
Timur is a senior copywriter at AliDropship who is keen to create easy-to-read educational content for ecommerce newcomers. His area of professional interest is marketing tips for beginners in dropshipping.

Leave a comment