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March 2, 2020

You can buy social media followers, but is it a good idea?

If your company is looking to use social media marketing to grow your business, you may find yourself wondering about follower count. How many followers should you have? How important is it to have a lot of followers? And where does one get followers, anyway? You might have heard about the possibility of buying social media followers and even considered doing it yourself.

After all, what can it hurt? There are so many cheap services that allow you to buy thousands of followers for just a few dozen dollars, and they really work. So the question stands: should you do it? What happens if you do?

A person watching their follower count grow on social media
Everyone wants to see their fanbase increase. Increasing your followers is an obvious business objective.

Buying Followers 101

To buy followers, you first have to find a reputable service to use. That is, as reputable as it can be, when it comes to a practice that is against the terms of service of most social media platforms, including Instagram. In fact, there’s been a recent crackdown making it even harder to buy followers, as brands put pressure on social media platforms to cut down on the number of bots and fake accounts that inflate influencer marketing costs and lose brands money.

Pretty quickly, you’ll start seeing new followers roll in. It’ll probably take between a few days to a week to get them all, and you’ll most likely receive 90 – 95% or so of the number you paid for.

That means that a lot of previously-popular fake follower providers may no longer be around, and those who are are slightly more difficult to find. That being said, you should still be able to find a variety of options with ease, more or less, although the websites themselves may come off as rather sketchy.

You’ll be able to choose between two options: buying followers in bulk all at once or subscribing to a service that will help you accumulate followers more slowly, which will be less likely to catch the attention of the authorities.

You’ll input your information, including your social media handle and credit card number. You may want to be careful with this step since these aren’t the world’s most reputable businesses. Using a prepaid card can be a smart idea.

Pretty quickly, you’ll start seeing new followers roll in. It’ll probably take between a few days to a week to get them all, and you’ll most likely receive 90 – 95% or so of the number you paid for.

But, now, for the real question: is it worth it. Do you get a return on your investment? Is this a social media marketing shortcut worth trying?

Should You Buy Social Media Followers?

To put it plainly – probably not. The whole purpose of social media marketing is to expose your brand to people who will hopefully become customers. The followers you can buy are robots and sock puppets, not potential clients.

Beyond that, your fake followers aren’t going to blend in with your real ones. They won’t engage with your page, won’t like or comment, and it may seem pretty obvious what you’ve done. If anybody looks at your follower list, they’ll be able to tell fairly quickly from the usernames and photos that the accounts aren’t genuine. This can reflect poorly on you and potentially even make real humans lose trust in your brand.

Pop-art mannequin with a big smile
Purchased followers have as much use as a stadium full of dummies.

Plus, when it comes to partnering with other companies for sponsorships and brand deals, they care much more about your engagement numbers than they do about your follower count. At the very least, they will definitely pay attention to engagement and notice if the numbers don’t add up.

In fact, there are tools built explicitly for auditing social media accounts to check for fake followers. If nothing else, these will definitely reveal your deception and potentially cause you a hit to your reputation so hard that it can translate to actual financial loss.

Further, you could lose your fake followers at any time, as social media platforms make consistent efforts to purge these accounts from their systems. Even worse, you may also get your account suspended because, after all, you are breaking the terms and conditions when you buy social media followers.

Do it the Right Way

So if buying social media followers isn’t the way to go, what should you do instead? The answer may disappoint you if you’re looking for a shortcut: there’s no hack to growing your social media accounts.

Instead, it takes time spent consistently posting authentic content that resonates with your brand and provides value to your audience. Your social media accounts will succeed if you give your audience what they’re looking for.

If you do have money to spend and want to use it wisely, you’re better off going the more legitimate route of publishing social media ads. Ads have the benefits of being targeted toward your intended audience, are effective, and do not break any rules.

The bottom line? Keep at it. It may not be as easy as spending $10 on 1,000 followers, but it’s not so complicated, either.