By now we’ve all seen it, someone starts a new Instagram, and within a few days, she has a few thousand followers. You question yourself and your work, thinking your products and art aren’t beautiful. Don’t, the simple fact is that number doesn’t represent her genuine, engaged audience; she purchased her followers.
While there are some creatives whose work does seem to blow up overnight, for most of us getting a following takes time, effort and patience. Inflating your numbers by purchasing followers does zero for you. Sure, it might make it look a little more enticing on the surface, but having lots of followers that don’t engage with your content does zero for your brand and even less for your wallet.
Plus, we can all tell.
That Pesky Algorithm Will Work Against You
Instagram no longer works in a timeline manner, in fact, it isn’t even shown to everyone that follows you. It works on an algorithm that favors engaging content. The more interactions (like, comment, share) your post receives, the more people your post will be shown to.
EdgeRank explains, “Whenever someone visits their News Feed, there are around 1,500 stories waiting to be seen from the friends, people, and Pages that they follow. Since the average person doesn’t have the time to read through 1,500 posts, Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes these stories to show users what they’re most likely to be interested in.”
Without an algorithm, our feeds would be saturated with a lot of content we likely have no interest in. Platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook take this into account, attempting to give their users the best quality experience, much to the dismay of creatives like us who benefit from timeline feeds like that of Twitter.
Buying followers doesn’t buy engagement; it’s only a number for self-gratification. Those fake accounts don’t continue to interact with your account and content, and they only attract more spam from other bots. If you have 5,000 followers, but less than 100 people engage with your content, Instagram is going to take that into account and show it to even fewer people, deeming the content, poor quality.
Your Reputation Can Be Jeopardized
There’s nothing worse than being exposed as a fraud. It’s humiliating for your brand and for you, proving that you aren’t creating engaging content.
It’s also against Instagram’s Terms of Service, making your account liable to be shut down. Getting banned can compromise the future of your brand and your reputation.
The Bottom Line
Share work you’re proud of and interact with accounts you enjoy. It may take some time, but your patience and upstanding ethics will pay off. Need inspiration? Here are Eight Ways To Grow Your Instagram Audience Organically.
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