The Do’s And Don’ts To Buying Followers For Influencers (and my experience)

It’s the question that many influencers have asked themselves, so let me break down the do’s and don’ts to buying Instagram followers.

DO……not buy followers.
DON’T……buy followers.

Simples.

So why… oh WHY do Influencers keep buying followers? Who is your audience? Who are you promoting to?
Let me put it this way:

A company approach you and ask you to fill a stadium of people who love purple bears. You let the company know you can do that, that these people love purple bears and cant wait to hear what they have to say and sell.
When the company get up on stage in this stadium, they look out and see all these people and hear all this applauding and cheering over their purple bears.
They do a presentation better than Steve Jobs selling the iPhone, and throughout the whole thing there is constant cheering and support. However at the end of presentation when it comes to the audience buying their product, the product they were all so excited about, no one came forward. Not one cent was made, not one bear sold and in fact, the whole experience cost the company money.
What happened?
You see, all the people they saw, they were just mannequins. All the cheering and applauding they heard? Just the magic of sound effects.
Who would do that? Who would trick someone like that?

Well… you are, if you’re buying your followers, buying your likes and faking your engagement.

Those mannequins, they are your fake followers.

Those sound effects, that is your fake engagement.

“But, Alana, babe, I’m not buying my likes and comments… I’m in a pod. They’re real people.”

Ohhh… pods! That is totally okay then…..not.

Lets use the above story again:

A company approach you and ask you to fill a stadium of people who love purple bears. You let the company know you can do that, that these people love purple bears and cant wait to hear what they have to say and sell.
When the company get up on stage in this stadium, they look out and see all these people and hear all this applauding and cheering over their purple bears.
They do a presentation better than Steve Jobs selling the iPhone, and throughout the whole thing there is constant cheering and support. However at the end of presentation when it comes to the audience buying their product, the product they were all so excited about, no one came forward. Not one cent was made, not one bear sold and in fact, the whole experience cost the company money.

What happened?

What happened was, you went around to everyone you knew, you messaged them on Facebook, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Instagram Direct, WeChat, Myspace.. whatever, and told them they should all come along to this purple bears thing, with some signs that say “I LOVE PURPLE BEARS”, and you asked them all to cheer as loud as they could.. and they did!
But did they have any real interest in the purple bears? No. They were just there because you asked them to be there and told them you owed them one.

That is all a pod is.

“hey, like and comment on my photo and I’ll do the same to yours”.

They actually have no interest in what you are promoting and you don’t actually have any interest in what they are promoting. They are just interested in the engagement you provide for them in return.

Bought followers also destroy your engagement.

Instagram has set out your home feed in order of who you stalk the most and who has the most loyal followers. Which means no one is going to see your post unless they’re hard core stalking your profile, OR your followers are quick to like and comment on your post.
So if you have bought your followers, that means no legitimate follower will see your post because none of the bought followers are engaging with you. You can buy all the fake likes in the world, but unless the fake accounts liking your posts are the same fake accounts you bought to follow you, it won’t work.

How do I know all this? First of all, research…….Second of all, experience.

MY EXPERIENCE:

Yup, I’ve had fake followers, but I didn’t buy them for myself.
About 5 months ago, I was generously (sarcasm) gifted around 6,000 followers from a very thoughtful (rude) human. To this day I do not know why, was it in good faith by someone who didn’t know any better? Or was it from a fellow Instagramer who was trying to discredit me?

At first I thought a photo I recently posted had gained some momentum overnight and I had missed a repost. Followers rolled in for about 24 hours, I was super excited! I went from 25K to 31K practically overnight…awesome! Not awesome. So so SO not awesome. None of these followers had liked or engaged with any of my content. When I posted another photo, it didn’t get anywhere near the engagement I usually got. I got kicked off TRIBE (an influencer app), I never heard from a couple of PR companies again and the respect I had on social media was quickly disappearing. After looking into my followers, I noticed none of them were real and quickly after that, I had a message from an incredibly talented photographer James Day (@jamesdayweddings) who I had recently worked with, asking if I had bought followers. No, I hadn’t, but someone out there was determined to destroy my social media reputation.

I was devastated.

I turned my profile on private, I even contemplated deleting all my social media, and becoming non existent to the internet.
I went through and deleted every fake follower, and used an app to determine who wasn’t engaging with my content and deleted them too.
I went from 25K to 31K, now I’m back down to 15K.
At 31K, I was LUCKY to get 150 likes on a photo of me. I was lucky to get 20-30 likes on a photo that didn’t have me in it at all, and I was posting at “prime times”.
Now, at 15K I get anywhere between 100 to over 200 likes on a photo of myself and about 80 to 100 likes on a photo that doesn’t have me in it all…and I cant remember the last time I posted at “prime time”.
This is because all my followers are now legitimate.
Now, I’m slowly building up my reputation again (I feel like Taylor Swift.. oh dear), I can hopefully join back with TRIBE, and hopefully start getting the same amount of work and events that I did before.

If you have fake followers, save yourself the trouble later when you get caught out (because the truth comes out eventually), and start going through and deleting them now or if 98% of your following is fake, maybe just delete your profile and start fresh.

Here is my graph of my follower journey.
As you can see, I had a slow and steady growth, then a spike where I was gifted followers and the decline of where I deleted the followers and further deleted “ghost followers”.

Hopefully by this time next year, my graph will be back to looking like a slow and steady growth!

Leave a Reply