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Thinking about buying Instagram followers? Here’s what you know about it in 2020

Thinking about buying Instagram followers? Here’s what you know about it in 2020

by Manavi Pandey April 19, 2020
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buying instagram followers

‘Numbers! Numbers! Numbers!’ – is all that Instagram followers care about. A big follower base is seen indicative of popularity, reach, and fame. The desire to gain followers has grown so much so that users are even buying Instagram followers today.

But does an increasing number of followers with money have any groundbreaking impact? Users ranging from regular ones to influencers to celebrities and companies are all known for buying Instagram followers to increase their impact. But is this growth in impact a fact or a myth?

To understand the uses and effects of buying Instagram followers, first, let’s clarify what does it mean to buy Instagram followers?

What does it mean to buy Instagram followers?

To buy Instagram followers means to increase a user’s follower count by paying money for it.

The followers gained in exchange for money, could be any of the following:

  • Inactive accounts
  • Fake accounts
  • Bot accounts
  • Spam accounts

More often than not new users find advertisements like –

“Get 500 followers, in just $50 today!”

“Like pictures, earn coins, exchange coins for followers, gaining popularity could never be simpler!”

Instagram has become the fastest increasing social media network, getting above Facebook and Snapchat. Naturally, users, companies, influencers, and celebrities are attracted to the platform because of its exponential growth.

To build a follower base genuinely and organically is tasking and time-consuming. As a result, increasing followers in a few minutes just by shedding a few dollars seems like an attractive option. More than attractive it seems like a viable shortcut.

Though this shortcut option is controversial, social media has always seemed to be silent about it. Users ranging from big companies to public figures have been accused of availing this shortcut. “It’s kind of depressing. You think these bloggers are famous because they work for it until you realize that it’s all bought,” said Siel Devos, who was a lifestyle blogger in Europe.

To increase your follower count by buying Instagram followers has its advantages and disadvantages, as described in the further sections. But is it at all legal? What is the fuss in buying followers?

The legality of buying Instagram followers

buy instagram followers

The best way to ascertain whether buying Instagram followers is legal or not is to read the terms of use. But you need not fret about going through the entire document, because below-mentioned are the terms of use that answer your queries:

  1. “You can’t impersonate others or provide inaccurate information. – …you must provide us with accurate and up to date information…Also, you may not impersonate someone you aren’t, and you can’t create an account for someone else unless you have their express permission.”
  2. “You can’t do anything unlawful, misleading, or fraudulent or for an illegal or unauthorized purpose.”

As displayed above, Instagram’s terms of use do not directly mention buying Instagram followers is violative of their policy. But, can it be called misleading and fraudulent? The answer depends on the type of followers gained by money:

  1. Gaining fake followers with money

What are fake followers?

Fake followers are accounts made up without there being an actual identity of the person whose account it is. For instance, if I make an account on the name of a person who doesn’t exist, it is a fake account.

If a user tries to gain such fake followers, then definitely the user will be violating the terms. In such cases, Instagram usually bans or deactivates the fake accounts.

  1. Gaining real followers with money

What are real followers?

Real followers are accounts made by active users with their own identity.

If a user tries to gain such real followers, then the user will not be violating the above-mentioned user terms.

Effects of buying Instagram followers

instagram followers

Numerous reasons encourage and discourage the practice of buying Instagram followers. From a bird’s eye point of view, more followers mean more popularity. It’s a very risky shortcut.

But in recent times it has gained momentum from both sides, pros as well as cons. To help you make a more conscious choice of whether it is the right to dive into or not, here is a curated list of the advantages and disadvantages:

  • Advantages of buying Instagram followers
    • Boosts visibility

A higher number of Instagram followers means a bigger space. Brands with a higher number of followers are highly likely to show up on feeds of different users.

Instagram’s algorithm works in a way that increases the reach and visibility of brands, companies, influencers, etc. with a higher number of followers. This is simply because more followers create an impression of credibility and popularity.

  • Looks credible initially

It helps in gaining credibility in a very short period. Instead of beginning with a handful of followers your account begins with a few ‘hundreds’ or ‘thousands’. Higher followers show that more people like and listen to that particular account.

Credibility comes because of the bandwagon effect. As higher followers indicate higher likability, it also indicates higher trust, value, and credibility.

  • Builds social proof

A common perception is that buying Instagram followers helps build perceived social proof.

What is social proof?

Social proof is the authority a person possesses over a particular topic/field. Numerous influencers and companies on Instagram buy followers and post content to build this social proof.

To understand better, consider a company on Instagram – XYZ that sells antique furniture. XYZ is a new company and so decides to buy 10,000 followers. Now XYZ posts picture about a new type of coffee they drink while they work on their antique products in quarantine.

Because these pictures seem to be reaching 10,000 people, it will become a trending topic. Now XYZ has built social proof over coffee and work; antique furniture; unique coffee, etc.

  • Short-term endorsements

Any user doing business on Instagram craves endorsement deals. A larger number of Instagram followers helps in doing exactly so. To jump-start, your business, buying followers to increase your follower count can help gain a tremendous amount of endorsement deals.

  • Disadvantages of buying followers on Instagram

    • Expensive

Numerous websites partake in the business of selling Instagram followers. Some websites like buzzed may charge as less as $3 per 100 Instagram followers and hype may charge $30 for 2500 followers.

These prices seem low because these companies offer followers who are mere inactive bots without any engagement, But the ease of buying Instagram followers often draws users into its trap and they end up spending huge amounts to just gain inactive and disengaged bots.

On the other hand, to make use of further advanced services, such as ‘buy Instagram followers’ prices may range from $90-$1350 for 1000-15,000 followers. This is a pricey option, but it is because such sites try to provide active Instagram accounts with a considerable level of engagement.

  • Absence of engagement

Most Instagram followers received in exchange for money are:

  • Inactive accounts
  • Fake accounts
  • Bot accounts
  • Spam accounts

Even though some websites may promise real and engaging followers, its rarely the case. Users are so subjective and diverse that companies in this business can’t provide real followers.

Many users who buy followers also think that it’s a quick fix to getting engagement on Instagram. But, to bust the myth – there is no quick fix to gaining engagement. And inactive bot accounts and fake accounts are incapable of any engagement.

  • Instagram account suspension

Instagram puts in tons of effort to create a genuine platform for its users. As indicated from its terms of use it has a 0 tolerance policy toward fraudulent and misleading accounts.

As per multiple announcements by Instagram:

  • The first temporarily disable misleading accounts and alert them with an in-app message.
  • Next, they ask you to change your password because sometimes third-party apps may have access to that to boost inauthentic likes, follows and comments.
  • They have an army of auto-detecting programs embedded in their algorithm constantly in search for accounts that either promote gaining inauthentic likes, comments or follows or accounts that make use of the same.
  • Harmful to reputation

It is very easy to spot fake Instagram followers for an account. This includes:

  • The ratio of the followers to the likes
  • Viewing the accounts in the follower’s list – Weird, spammy and complex names
  • Likes and views on a video
  • Comments section

Once it is revealed that your account has been buying followers, it becomes very insulting on a huge social media platform. People would view you as a cheater. In the case of businesses, competitors can twist and turn your reputation to pull you down further.

  • Short-term result

Buying Instagram followers is a very short-term method of trying to achieve popularity, fame, engagement, etc. After a few weeks either the follower count starts dropping or people may find out that you have been cheating.

Buying followers is a matter of a few seconds, but re-building your reputation upon exposure is certainly not!

A boost in followers in this way is temporary as you can never be sure which of those followers are bots and which are real and for how long will they stay?

  • Disrupts performance metrics

In case you make use of any performance metrics, especially like Instagram analytics, then fake followers are not a good idea. How will you target your audience when your target audience is not really in the first place?

At the end of the day, if you pay for followers, you are spending money on a blank number. Additionally, because Instagram’s algorithm itself is largely influenced by how followers interact with an account, buying Instagram followers is not going to help your account or pocket.

Instagram’s response to fake followers

fake instagram followers

What has been Instagram’s way of dealing with buying followers? Though this question has been partly answered in the earlier section, this section dives deeper into it.

Numerous TechCrunch studies have identified services that sell followers for money. These advertisements openly violate Instagram policies. Instagram’s response to this has been that all those ads are continually being disabled and/or banned from Instagram and Facebook.

Instagram spokespersons have also stated that they are trying their best to maintain a community free of spammy behavior. He stated that Instagram has created numerous systems to identify and eliminate such kinds of ads and accounts. Due to the growth of this as a business, Instagram does struggle but it is committed to improvement.

Even after multiple revisions of its terms of use, Instagram released an important notice to address this issue on the 19th of November, 2018. This notice addressed the third-part apps that try to boost followers artificially.

Instagram did not make use of words like’ fake’, ‘buying’ or ‘money’ to maintain a professional and empathetic tone. But instead used ‘artificially’ and ‘inauthentic’. Irrespective of the words used the core of the notice was that from that day onward Instagram strengthened its policy. Alongside this, it places technical teams and systems to eliminate the inauthentic growing accounts.

Alternative strategies

If not buy Instagram followers, then how to gain a huge amount of followers? Here is a brief of top strategies that might help you boost your follower count in an authentic and real way:

instagram profile

  1. Interesting profile

To make other users feel that you deserve their follow, your profile ough tot be persuasive and engaging. Make use of catchy captions, follow a pattern in your posts to make sure followers stay for more!

  1. Simple usernames

Make sure that you use easy and meaningful usernames. Usernames are one of the first few things that your followers see. Do not use complex ones like @M.-.a.-.n.-.a.-.v.-.i-. With such kind of usernames, no one will even find you! Keep it simple, keep it straightforward.

  1. Catchy bio

A bio is like a first impression on your followers. Imagine you have a limit of 150 characters to portray what is interesting about you. Your bio should instantly impress a user and make him/her click the follow button.

  1. Time your posts

You must post at a time users want to see you. Living in Spain and posting for U.S. citizens at a time they will probably be sleeping, makes no sense. Conduct research on your audience’s time zone and most preferred time of engagement. Finally, combine those two to time your posts and in turn gain engagement.

  1. Cross-posting

Cross-posting is another new and important step toward gaining followers. Make it easier for users to find you. Be everywhere they go. Not in the literal sense, of course, but make sure your Instagram is connected to your Facebook. Instead of connecting accounts, you can also just make sure that your post continually on numerous social media platforms to increase visibility.

  1. Use engaging interactive features

Instagram has made it easy for you to gain followers by increasing your visibility. How?

Just make use of their live feature and talk to your viewer’s life. Be engaging, spontaneous and funny.

Another engaging feature is stories. Stories stay on your profile for 24 hours giving your viewers a short peek into anything – daily routine, playlist, pets, cooking, brand testimonials, etc.

More features include polls, questions, countdown tags, rating bars, quizzes, and boomerangs.

All in all, Instagram keeps rolling out a bunch of new and interesting features for all its users. So, keep an eye for the trending features and make sure you use them to gain followers.

Gaining followers in exchange for money is a poor choice considering the lack of engagement, risks, and budget. Though it seems like a good idea at first, have a look at the size of the list of our advantages and our disadvantages list and let us know, what are your opinions?

Is it legal to buy followers on Instagram?

Technically, it is not illegal to buy Instagram followers, however, it is against the terms of service of Instagram to do this. Though, that would only affect the people that buy these followers and likes.

Should I buy followers Instagram?

It's not a good idea to buy Instagram followers. The purchased followers are likely bots or inactive accounts, so they won't engage with your posts. This means your posts won't show up on Explore Pages, or on your real audience's newsfeeds.

Can Instagram permanently ban you?

Bans occur when you have continually received action blocks or is in clear violation of Instagram's terms of service. Bans will often result in account deletion. Bans will also permanently ban the username, so you will not be able to re-create your account.

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Manavi Pandey

Currently pursuing B.A. (Hons) Liberal Arts with a major specialisation in Economics, Law and Computer Studies. Performed social media marketing for McDonalds, GoIbibo, and LaughGuru. Budding researcher and marketing specialist.

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