Cultivating an Instagram account can be difficult and time consuming, especially when it comes to growing a sizable audience. As a small business owner without a lot of time to dedicate to your photo feed, it may be tempting to turn your Insta audience into an instant audience by buying followers. When building an audience organically is going slowly and your schedule is packed with projects, deadlines, and meetings, those ‘buy Instagram followers NOW!’ ads look mighty enticing.
But wait! If you’re considering boosting your follower count by purchasing follows, I would encourage you to put away your banking information and stick to building your audience naturally. Here’s why:
A vibrant community is one that consists of active and engaged members. When you buy followers, you’re paying to inflate your follower count without bringing active participants who will be liking, commenting on, or sharing your posts. Legitimate Instagram users who come to your account can easily tell that something is off if you have tens of thousands of followers but your posts are only getting a few comments or likes here and there.
A small but actively engaged audience holds more value for your business than a large but inactive audience. Plus, those who view your profile are more likely to follow you if they see others regularly engaging with the content you post.
LACK OF CREDIBILITY
When a sizable portion of your Instagram following is clearly fake, your credibility and reputation can suffer. People who notice your use of fake followers may question your ethics and business practices, and may decide to take their business elsewhere as a result. Opting for the ‘fast and easy’ way and buying followers can actually end up dissuading prospective clients and limiting your business growth.
BREAKING IG’S TERMS OF SERVICE
Buying followers for your account contravenes Instagram’s Community Guidelines and Terms of Service. Violating these rules can lead to the suspension or deletion of your account. Instagram, included in Facebook’s efforts to remove illegitimate accounts from their services, has been cracking down on concerning behaviour lately. It is possible that buying followers could result in having your account shut down with all of the effort you put into building it going to waste.
DOESN’T HELP YOU MAKE SALES
Perhaps the key issue with buying fake followers for your business’s account is that doing so does not help you make sales. Fake or hijacked accounts are not prospective clients and are not interested in your service or product offerings whatsoever. And when a shady practice like artificially boosting your following account can drive away potential or current clients who do not want to do business with a dishonest individual or company, there is very little to gain from paying to increase the follower number beside your account name.
Instead, the best thing you can do for your business when it comes to Instagram is to aim for organic and loyal followers. Having 100 real followers is better than having 10,000 fake ones because those 100 are genuinely interested in what you have to offer and have the potential to translate into sales. Your main focus should be cultivating a strong and honest relationship between your business and your audience. It can be slow going, but taking the time and effort to make high-quality posts is a vital way to get initial engagements in the form of likes, comments and DMs. It’s a good practice to also reply to the comments you receive, further cultivating that connection with your audience and demonstrating your accessibility to prospective followers and clients.
Using a longer-term but sustainable plan for attracting real followers will do far more for your business in the long run than a quick spike of fake followers ever could. To create quality posts that people find engaging, think about using images that appeal to your target market, writing catchy captions that keep their attention, and showcasing your brand’s story and personality within your feed. If finding high-quality, engaging photos to use in your Instagram posts is the bottleneck in your process that is sucking your time and tripping you up, try out my stock photo service gramThis.ca for a wide selection of affordable, Instagram-ready images (sign up for my newsletter to get some FREE photos here). Or, if you simply don’t have any of the time to required to focus on growing your Instagram account and you need someone to take on that responsibility for you, Alyssa at thesocialfactory.ca has you covered.