Why you shouldn't purchase instagram followers

Why you shouldn't purchase instagram followers

Tuesday 8th November 2022 at 08:25

By Olivia

Fake followers

Why buying instagram followers is a BAD idea

... and what you should do instead


1) What? You can buy Instagram followers?
2) The followers are fake; and Instagram's algorithms know
3) The status symbol of Instagram follower numbers
4) The dopamine hit is short lived
5) Instagram will penalise you
6) How to check if an Instagram account has fake followers
7) There's no "get rich quick" schemes in real life
8) Our Instagram tips for genuine success

Screenshot of offending website

1) What? You can buy Instagram followers?

Yup! And it is very, very, very easy.

It is also, a very, very, very BAD IDEA.

If you simply Google "buy instagram followers" you'll find a ton of websites promising to provide you Instagram followers, eg 500 followers for $20 and so on. Yes, they will, in most cases, get you more Instagram followers.

Cool huh? NO... STILL A (VERY) BAD IDEA.

2) The followers are fake; and Instagram's algorithms know

The reason you don't want these followers is that these followers are fake, and whilst your follower count will go up, Instagram knows these followers are fake and will penalise you for it.

Ignore any adverts or promises of people offering to sell you "genuine" or "real" followers as they are always fake.

Fake account

3) The status symbol of Instagram follower numbers

Many people want more followers as some what of a status symbol. For example they'll compare their instagram account to their competitors and think "I want as many followers as them".

It's important to rationalise the follower count as if it's been achieved through buying followers it's just vanity and if it isn't backed up by engagement (likes and enquiries to buy your items) then it's just an irrelevant number and may be doing you more harm than good; Instagram's algorithms are not stupid so don't fall into the trap of putting the number of instagram followers on a pedestal.

4) The dopamine hit is short lived

Buying instagram followers will make you sad

So let's say you've just bought some Instagram followers. Within an hour or so you've seen your number of followers grow by hundreds or thousands. You check the Instagram app and see the number of followers you have and a smile appears on your face. YAY!!!

It's nice looking at that increased number; it makes you feel happy.... but that dopamine hit and smile on your face is short lived, because it's all downhill from there...


You've just ruined your instagram account.

5) Instagram will penalise you

Instagram's algorithms are not stupid. As your fake followers aren't real people won't actually be liking or sharing your posts, Instagram will see your engagement % (the percentage of people who follow you that like your posts) go down. This will cause instagram to think you're less popular, and it'll make your posts and stories appear less in people's feeds.

So whilst you have "more" followers, because those followers are fake the medium to long term affect is...

  • You'll appear less in people's feeds
  • Your posts will get less likes
  • You'll get less enquiries and sales

Booooo! :(

Sad face

6) How to check if an Instagram account has fake followers

Let's say you've just joined an antiques marketplace to advertise your items, or you've been sold advertising in a magazine which promises they'll get you lots of extra sales due to their huge instagram following. I'm sure we've all had a sales agent from a magazine spin us a load of lies regarding the exposure their magazine gets. So.... how do you know if their instagram followers are genuine, or fake? I mean it's just a number after all, right?

Fortunately there's a ton of tools which you can use to do this.

The screenshot below is from the Trend Hero online tool and shows an Instagram account which has 20,000 followers (we've blanked out the name of the account). For an Instagram account with 20k genuine followers, you'd expect around 400 likes per post and dozens of comments, but they're getting on average just 44 likes and 1 or 2 comments. This is what is known as the "engagement rate" and it's measured as a percentage. This is a terrible engagement rate, and has fake followers written all over it.

An engagement rate of over 2% is generally considered good. As you can see from the screenshot below, they're getting 0.22% so it's clear that they've been buying Instagram followers.

20k fake followers

As well as designing websites for antiques dealers, art dealers, vintage dealers and reclamation specialists, we also have our own online marketplace; Antiques Boutique with around 180 dealers.

We launched just over a year ago, so we "only" have just over a thousand followers. I use "only" as the follower count is not the number to look at; it's the engagement. Ours is 5.19% which is 5x the average engagement rate. This means that every time we post we'll get genuine engagement from real people interested in what we've posted, rather than a whole load of nothing.

You can also see from the graph trend that our engagement is growing consistently...

Trend Hero - Antiques Boutique

Ignore the follower count, and look at the engagement

It's simple... an instagram account with 1,000 followers and a 5.19% engagement rate is much better than an Instagram account with 20,000 followers and a 0.22% engagement rate; it's simple maths!

  • 5.19% engagement rate with 1,000 followers will yield 52 likes
  • 20k followers with 0.22% engagement will yield just 44

So ignore the number of followers and look at the engagement rate to see if an Instagram account is genuine or not. Instagram's algorithms have already done this maths and will be prioritising displaying accounts with higher engagement rates, irrelevant of the number of followers.

Tools you can use to calculate engagement

You don't even need the tools; just hover over

Below is a screenshot from a web design client of ours; Chapter Two Antiques who has a very healthy instagram account.

At the time of writing they have 1,671 followers on their Instagram account. If you hover over their posts and see the amount of likes and comments they have you can see their engagement is really, really good! The post below had 146 likes which is 8.7%... about eight times the average!

Whilst I'm sure they'd love to have 100,000 followers; 8.7% engagement on 1,671 followers is way better than say 0.01% engagement on 100k followers. Like they say in business; "turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, cash is king". And in the Instagram world, the number of genuine likes and comments is king. After all, we're not doing Instagram for vanity; we want to sell from it and get visitors back to our website to see all the details about our items and to buy them.

So even without using the online tools you can easily tell if an Instagram account is genuine or not by hovering over their posts to see what the engagement is compared to the number of followers they have.

Chapter Two - Instagram engagement

If you'd like to see how we've helped Chapter Two sell online easily and grow their instagram following; see our video spotlight with Jonny at Chapter Two Antiques by clicking here.

Reality check

7) There's no "get rich quick" schemes in real life

Have you ever been promised....

  • A winning lottery ticket that just needs you to pay a $100 admin fee to claim the money?
  • A Nigerian Prince who is desperate to give you his money?
  • 1,000 Instagram followers for just $10?

All these all fall into the same boat; too good to be true.

Building a solid, reliable, and high engagement Instagram following is just like building a solid business; it takes time and patience. Don't look at your competitors instagram following in awe if their engagement is low and remember that quality is always key.

8) Our Instagram tips for genuine success

Well, let's first define what "success" is in terms of using Instagram with an antiques, art or vintage business:-

a) More followers
b) High engagement
c) Posts being shared
d) Visitors going back to our website
e) Most importantly... sales being made

Our advice will depend on how healthy your instagram account already is, and how well versed you are in the best practices. If you're new to Instagram, we'd recommend reading our 6 ways to bump up your follower count on Instagram and How to use Instagram stories, and why you should use them.

For antiques, art and vintage dealers we also really can not recommend highly enough using Instagram shopping in conjunction with your website. It really helps gets visitors buying and spending money, as well as getting them onto your website to see the other items you have for sale.

We can help you sell online easily too!

We have been businesses sell online easily since 2004, and we can help you too.

If you need a new website for your business, contact us on...

Click here to contact us by email

or call us on

323 410 1032

As well as a hand held service, all our customers receive a copy of our marketing tips book which gives you lots of tips and advice on this on how to succeed online.

ph9 web design

By Olivia
Tuesday 8th November 2022 at 08:25

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