Why shouldn't we "buy followers"?
By VFR Team
February 25rd, 2022
It is not uncommon to find offers on the internet for purchases from followers (especially on Instagram, but the same is true for likes on Facebook and YouTube videos). This practice, although it is always undergoing transformations in order to adapt to the functionalities of the platforms, is very old and in this post you will see because IT IS NOT WORTH IT to acquire new followers from purchasing followers from third-party tools.
What is a follower?
As obvious as the answer may seem, we must analyze this question from the perspective of marketing. A social media follower is an important asset that will have contact and sometimes interact with a brand's content, and can be impacted to the point of buying or acquiring a product or service.
Even if the brand does not eventually sell products or services (in the case of celebrities, for example), it is still a brand, which aims to generate value for its audience, whatever it may be.
The main issue to consider here is that not every follower is relevant to the brand. For a company that sells meats and sausages, it doesn't make much sense to have a vegetarian or vegan following. Just as there is not a big impact on a brand that sells suits for executives, having followers who don't need to wear formal clothes in their daily lives.
For this reason, more than understanding what a follower is, it is important to understand that it is better to quality than quantity, because the more followers that are really part of our brand's audience we have, the better the interactions generated with them will be.
How to buy followers?
It is not necessary to explain here the procedure to get more followers on Instagram and other networks almost instantly.
A simple google search with the term and we will have results that promise the most beautiful feats such as “thousands of followers in just 2 days” or “real followers for your Instagram account”.
After payment, such services promise to deliver a predetermined amount of followers on their networks. The services even say that they are real followers and that they guarantee that they will maintain a minimum number of active followers on their networks.
How do these services work in practice?
Ethere are a few different ways to do this. In general terms, there are bots (which are robots) to do the big work en masse. These bots are fake profiles, and are used for various purposes. The second way would be through inactive or even hacked profiles, which these services have access to and manage to make these profiles follow another profile. The third main way uses real people, through services that offer some type of rewards for these people to follow a certain account.
The big question is: does it work?
The answer is yes and no. Many of these services actually deliver a significant number of followers in a short time. However, we have three serious problems related to this, which we will address below.
Why shouldn't we buy Instagram followers?
Quantity is different from quality
As already reported here. It is of little use (for example) for a local Portuguese brand to have tens of thousands of followers from the interior of Brazil, since these followers, even if they are real people (which is unlikely), are not part of this brand's audience.
An account with a lot of followers and little engagement will not have any kind of benefit.
In addition, platforms monitor fake and inactive accounts and deactivate them regularly. This will cause the purchased followers to decrease considerably over time.
Credibility and Performance
Real users who are part of your brand's audience may notice that your account has thousands of followers and very few interactions. If this happens, they will realize that there is something wrong with their account and this can tarnish the credibility of the brand as a whole.
Furthermore, imagine that your brand has 20 followers and of these, only 4 are real followers, who spontaneously started following the company. The problem with this is that monitoring will be critically affected, after all, bots, fakes and users who do not engage with your content will distort all monitoring metrics.
There are great risks of sanctions from the platform itself
Whether on Instagram, Facebook or Youtube, unconventional behaviors are constantly monitored and, because the practices of buying followers and likes go against the policies of these tools, the account can be suspended and even deactivated, without any kind of prior notice. . It's a big risk not worth taking, isn't it?
The Hootsuite platform made a very informative video about what happens to an account that buys instagram followers, especially from a follow-up metrics point of view over time.
what can we do to instead to buy followers?
The algorithm of Instagram and other platforms prioritizes engagement over quantity. In this way, it should be kept in mind that a medium and long-term strategy makes much more sense than a strategy to buy followers, since we have all the negative points mentioned above.
Aiming at this medium and long term, content is still the main way to generate value and gain followers that will really engage with your brand. And to create relevant content, we must know our audience well, creating meaningful experiences for them, which will undoubtedly bring many benefits to the brand over time.
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