Should I Buy Instagram Followers? Lessons From a Digital Marketing Consultant

Summary: Fake Instagram followers can hurt your brand. Your marketing budget is better spent on online and offline advertisements than buying Instagram followers.

New Zealand has over 2.2 million Instagram users, accounting for 57.6% of the country’s population. This figure alone makes it highly enticing for businesses to build a prominent presence on the platform.

One of the biggest (and controversial) questions I get asked as a digital marketer is this: Should I buy Instagram followers? 

Brands and online personalities have two ways of growing their follower count online: organically through tried and tested ways or purchasing followers through third-party services online.

Buying followers is a quick way of increasing your follower count, and you can see a rise in numbers almost immediately after purchase. But the reality is not that simple, and you should consider the long-term effects it’ll bring to your business.

Should I buy followers on Instagram? The pros and cons.

Let’s review some of the positive aspects of buying followers on Instagram:

  • You can increase your follower count, which translates to a visible higher following rate for your brand.
  • Your overall brand image improves with a higher follower count, potentially increasing your brand’s perceived value.
  • A higher brand perception leads to better endorsement deals and partnerships with other brands.
  • More followers may attract more customers, as people trust your brand better.

While it may seem like a good idea, buying artificial followers does come with downsides. Before going into the cons, knowing where these purchased followers come from is important.

Most of the time, these followers are likely bots or inactive accounts, so they won’t engage with your posts. Unlike real followers who can comment, like, and share your post, their contribution only exists in the number of followers on your Instagram.

Let’s then discuss some of the negatives of buying followers.

  • Buying artificial followers can range anywhere from $10-$50, and there’s no guarantee of tangible results (i.e. likes, clicks, sales).
  • Bought followers are usually temporary, and you’ll have to keep paying to see your follower count stay at your desired number.
  • Artificial followers do not guarantee engagement, as they won’t comment, like, or share your posts. This may be harmful if you want to run any contest or interactive content.
  • The lack of engagement may hurt your social media presence, as your posts won’t appear on Explore Pages or your real audience’s newsfeeds.
  • Buying fake followers violates Instagram’s rules, and your account may get shadow-banned. This may be harmful to your brand image in the long run.
  • Consumers can sense when a brand page has artificial followers, which may potentially damage your reputation.
  • Instagram, and social media in general, works best when it promotes genuine interactions among brands and consumers. With artificial followers, you’ll be unable to measure your post performance accurately and monitor customer sentiment.

Key takeaway

So, should you buy Instagram followers? As someone with decades of experience in digital marketing, I don’t recommend buying followers.

Inauthentic followers hurt your data, reporting and content strategy. Additionally, your engagement rate metrics will be too inaccurate and unreliable to make meaningful, factual decisions. If you do go ahead and buy followers, you’ll harm your social profiles and analytics. I believe that Instagram followers are best when they are authentic.

To discuss how you can grow your following authentically, speak to our team at Net Branding.