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4 Reasons Why You Should Not Buy Followers

This blog post contains affiliate links.

In a hurry and want to find out the right way to grow your social media followers?
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Looking to buy Twitter Followers? Or maybe followers onFacebook, Instagram or another social network?
Let me ask you…
What’s more important, 10,000 fans or followers, or 100 who will actually engage with you?

It seems this question isn’t asked too often by a number of people running social media channels who opt to buy their followers in order to boost their numbers.

Let’s be honest for minute, who hasn’t wanted to boost the number of followers or fans they have? Silicon Valley marketing executive, Guy Kawasaki, famously said

Guy Kawasaki - Social Media Quote

I’d love to disagree with him, but I honestly believe he’s right. Who doesn’t want to have more followers?

I remember taking the decision to create a new Twitter account solely for my business, and having to start from scratch. It was easy to try and compare the number of followers I had with others in my field and get depressed.

Numbers Aren’t Everything.

But… not all metrics are the same.

In the social media/marketing/IT world we are very fond of data. I’ve said numbers aren’t everything, but more true to the point is that some numbers are important and some numbers are not. While I do agree having a large number of followers looks good (and I’d be lying if I wasn’t proud by the fact that I’ve grown my following to over 50,000 on Twitter), there are other metrics that I feel are more useful and important. How about…

  • How many people engage with you on a regular basis
  • How many Twitter lists people have added you to
  • Shock horror- how many leads and sales social media is driving!
  • How much traffic to your website your social efforts are driving

Let’s stop looking at the number of fans and followers and look at the things that matter!

However, you’ve stumbled across this article, so you are curious aren’t you?

How to Buy your Followers

There are plenty of services out there which claim to boost your numbers. Many say they can boost your numbers quickly. Some services offer to do this for free and some require payment.  There are a number of different methods that they can employ.

  1. Aggressive Following Technique. (Twitter Only) By following a large number of people each day, waiting for them to follow you, then unfollow those who don’t follow you back it is possible to artificially increase your followers very quickly. This goes against Twitter’s terms and conditions and so is definitely to be avoided. There is nothing wrong with following or unfollowing a large number of people every now and again, but if Twitter think you are aggressively trying to increase your followers by follower/unfollower churn methods, you are likely to get your account suspended. Note- a service will need you to give permission for it to access your Twitter account in order to follow Twitter accounts
  2. Zombie Account Following. (Facebook & Twitter) By paying a 3rd party you can get 100s, 1000s of even 10,000s of followers or likes. Generally each supplier has a database of twitter or Facebook “zombie” accounts that they can use to follow or like you. These are usually completely inactive accounts, sometimes with random names with jumbled up letters and numbers.

Why is Buying Followers so Bad?

#1  Low Engagement / Low Edgerank Score.

When you buy followers or fans, you aren’t getting people who are interested or willing to engage with you. You are merely buying numbers. After paying for followers/fans or engaging in aggressive follower churn, you are likely to get a large number of fake accounts amongst your number. Blogger, Zach Bussey, decided to do an experiment and create a new Twitter account and buy some followers. Over night the number of followers of his new Twitter account increased to a whopping 26,000! It got interesting when he analysed the results and looked at the Twitter accounts that these fake accounts followed. Doing this enabled him to have a good guess on other people who had paid for followers!

Why you should NOT buy Followers. Reason #1 Low Engagement & Edgerank ScoreClick To Tweet

#2 You end up spamming your followers.

This isn’t always the case, but some even more evil Twitter Follower services ask to access your Twitter account to send out multiple messages advertising their way of increasing people’s followers. This is just going to annoy your followers and give you a bad name, which brings me on to…

Why you should NOT buy Followers. Reason #2: You end up spamming your followersClick To Tweet

#3 Loss of Integrity and Reputation.

In this post-modern (or post-post-modern!) world we live in, morality is perhaps more difficult to define since everyone has a different view of what morality is. However, it is fair to say that people see buying followers as a rather immoral thing to do. People view it as you trying to appear more popular than you are and doing it by dodgy means. People may not know that you’ve bought followers, but going from 30 followers or likes to 30,000 in the space of a couple of days is bound to get people suspicious, and then your integrity and reputation could well be in tatters.

Why you should NOT buy Followers. Reason #3: Loss of Reputation & IntegrityClick To Tweet

#4 You’ll get found out!

In fact a lot of people are currently getting found out. It is fairly easy to find out the names of people who are being followed by fake accounts as I mentioned in the first point. However, a new tool on the block is making it even easier. The Fake Followers Check check from Status people analyses your followers to see how many are fake. The interesting thing is you can do the analysis on other accounts too.
Fake Follower Checker

 

Why you should NOT buy Followers. Reason #4: You will get found out!Click To Tweet

There are some Victims…

It is an important point that not everyone who has a large number of fake followers has paid for them. Ryan Tracey commented on a post I wrote last year called “Do you know the Twitter Limits” to say that he was the victim of 24,000 fake accounts following him. To read more on the subject you can read his blog post about him “being bot-bombed“. Unfortunately there isn’t a huge amount you can do about this apart from blocking or reporting each account individually or using a 3rd party tool such as TwitBlock. TwitBlock analyses your account for spam, zombie or bot accounts and lets you block or report them. Unfortunately it doesn’t let you do this in bulk, but this is rather unsurprising since I am pretty sure it goes against Twitter’s terms and conditions. There are tools that allow you to bulk unfollow, such as Manage Flitter*, but none that I know of that allow you to bulk block. If you know of any, please let me know in the comments.

How about Facebook?

Although I have mentioned Facebook, I have mainly being referring to Twitter throughout this post. The issue of fake followers is still an issue on Facebook, it is just a little more difficult to analyse. To be fair, Facebook came clean recently and claimed that over 83 million Facebook accounts are fake which confirmed what a lot of people were already thinking. At the end of August on the Facebook Security blog, Facebook announced they were going to remove fake likes from pages.

Measure Engagement Not Follower Count

So what is the moral of this story? Well apart from it not being moral to buy your followers and having the possibility of having your account suspended or deleted, the number of followers you have really isn’t that important. Let’s make an effort not to play the numbers game and be impressed with the number of followers or likes some business has. Work on building a community of people who are interested in you or your product/service. You will most certainly reap the benefits if you do. There are lots of ways to help you do this, including tools such as Commun.it*.


How to Grow your Followers the Right Way

I’ve explained why buying followers is bad (unless you are paying for Facebook or Twitter advertising to boost your followers), so how can you grow your followers the right way?

By providing value to people, that’s how! And… by finding relevant people to follow or are likely to follow you back and engage with you.

There are a number of tools that are going to help us in this quest.

manage flitter ManageFlitter* (Free or from $12/mth)

ManageFlitter allows you to manage your Twitter followers and community in a very powerful way. They have a free version, but if you are going to get the most out of this tool, you’ll have to pay. It’s very reasonably priced (from $12 per month) and it’s going to help you grow your Twitter followers very effectively. I use their power mode to find relevant people to follow- ones that are likely to engage with me and hopefully follow me back. Remember, as well as growing your followers, wouldn’t it also be good to build strong relationships with relevant people, or get more leads?

With the power mode, I can follow the Twitter accounts that an influential and relevant person in my niche follows. I can then filter this list to only include accounts…

  • that I’m not following
  • who don’t currently follow me
  • who are active (i.e. they’ve Tweeted at least once in the past 30 days)
  • who have bothered to create a profile picture on their Twitter profile
  • who don’t have a protected (i.e. private) account
  • who are not in my “never unfollow” or “never follow” lists
  • who I’ve never followed before
  • who are unlikely to be spam accounts
  • who have over a certain number of followers themselves
  • and more!

You can then go through and quickly follow Twitter accounts that look promising. In many cases they’ll follow you back.

Every so often, I’d advise to do another search using ManageFlitter to see who hasn’t followed you back in the past 30 days. Don’t just unfollow them all though! Go through and add accounts that really add value to your “never unfollow” account so you never unfollow them, but do unfollow accounts who have never bothered to engage with you or follow you back- if it makes sense to do so.

For more information, visit ManageFlitter.


agora pulse Agora Pulse* (from $29/mth, free trial available)

Agora Pulse is a powerful social media management tool that helps with posting and scheduling your content, reporting and segmenting your audience to show you the most important people- the ones who support and engage with you the most. Agora Pulse integrates with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The reason I am recommending it here is because it will help you be much more productive and effective with your social engagements. Agora Pulse is kind of like a social inbox. You can quickly and easily go through all your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram mentions and comments and get down to inbox zero. If you want to grow your audience, then engagement is key. Don’t be a social media guru and be a one-way communication machine!

As well as helping with engagement, Agora Pulse can show you the top people in your community-

  • Engaged (people who have mentioned and commented in the past 30 days)
  • Ambassador (people who have retweeted or linked to your website in the past 30 days)
  • Influencer (someone who is retweeted more than 20 times in the past 30 days)

Building relationships with these people will expand your reach and help to grow your followers.

For more information, visit Agora Pulse.


More Tools to Help with Growing your Community.

For more tools and tips on how to grow your followers, come back soon. I’m adding new tools frequently. In particular I’d recommend:

  • Commun.it* – A social relationship manager, Commun.it shows you who are you supports and influencers and suggests accounts you should follow. Integrates with Twitter and Facebook.
  • Feedly – A news feed reader that integrates with a plethora of social networks. Great for discovering high quality content that you can share with your followers.
  • Buffer – A posting and scheduling tools that integrates with a huge number of social networks.
  • IFTTT – Connects multiple tools and services together.

What the * means above…

If a link has an asterisk by it, it means it is an affiliate link and generates a little income for the site. If you end up signing up for the service and paying it may result in a small proportion going towards the upkeep of this site. You shouldn’t notice any difference in the sign up process.

The editorial line is NEVER impacted by these links. I will only ever recommend a product or service if I think it is worth recommending! If a product or service does not have an affiliate scheme, then we will still include it in the same way.

In the interests of transparency, here are the non-affiliate links which will not help iag.me:

192 Comments
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[…] Avoid shady stuff like paying for followers. It’s not worth it. […]

Peter

A old friend of mine, earns his money on Instagram as a photographer.
He get’s free trips all around the world, but he clearly buys followers.
Should i warn these companies or not.

Caroline Edward

I can’t agree with your suggestions about the paid followers are futile. Is your saying true? that means every people don’t attempt the task can be very easier. I strictly objected to the loss of reputation within a couple of days. It has many options to buy the followers with partial or semi-partial followers, likes from the targeted count. Then you purchase the considerable amount and not buying a whole. In addition to, nobody gets suspicious and no one has to fall down your follower’s belief within a short span.

Christine

So if I buy followers I’ll end up spamming my real followers you’re saying ? Yiiiiikes!!! Please send me an answer friend ? and follow me on Instagram if u want (just kidding… not really LOL christine_90sbaby) lol

SmmBuz

I think Mostly all popular profile buy followers because very hard work to gain real 500k-millions followers on any profile this reason people not focus on real or fake only focus on followers quantity

SmmGrowth

Your reasons are valid but. It’s Depend on your mind. if you have time and interest then you can get real followers with some effort. but if you have no time then you can buy followers and likes from a trusted person. you

Reynolds

I did my own case study with few of my brand new Instagram accounts and found out the hard way. Even with same quality contents the accounts with no outside boosts (engagement and followers), they struggled a lot to compete with the ones I did use outside boosts. It’s just human nature, we see a bigger following and engagement, we tend to follow them. Later on, even when I dropped quality on my account with boosts and increased content quality for the real account, the difference still stayed. Of course, engagement increased for the real account. Now you may ask with all the fake followers and no engagement how did I cope, you simply use auto-likes service. The way to handle unbalanced followers and engagement gets solved that way. And eventually, when your account takes off, you can stop investing in these services. After the whole experiment I realized initial boost helped the other account took off, but to really keep it going you would still have to have a solid product or content after all said and done that part is important. Used gramcart for this experiment, they have likes, followers and auto-likes services with fairly good support. So… Read more »

Alee

The best article… I review IG profiles for brands, and most are fake, they now DRIP FEED followers in a few hundred a day to just make it look legit, but then all the accounts are fake ones. Literally scroll through them and almost all accounts are hispanic teens with up to 15-20 posts. I hope people start picking up on this when they book influencers. All I can say is we just give out all the things we now and tell them to use socialblade.com to look at the growth and they’ll see most buy 90% of their following and that’s why products aren’t selling for these brands that pay IG influencers to post. Eventually those that buy fake get caught one way or another.

mary

Initially, I’d used hashtags and follow for follow, like for like… But I passed to promotion bots several months ago. First it was instagress.com unfortunately it was closed. Then I found instanobel.com . I got more than 200 followers per day. It’s satisfies me))))))))

Extremegrowth

I bought 5k Followers on Instagram but after few days these followers lost. then I try real strategies after reading your post now I have real and active followers. Can you suggest me best Instagram tool that I could increase my followers.

I intensely remorse buying followers for Instagram. Nowhere am I with 10k followers and half a dozen likes on each new post. It is very trying and I wish there was a way to. Opposite that.

LELA

Hello Ian,
i bought 2000 followers, but I think Instagram people found it out and removed it from my account (busines profile for selling handmade product), I ended up with around 302 followers but every time the number goes down and down especially when I am getting new real followers. Every time I get like 4-5 new followers the number goes down by 20-30 followers. Now i only have 178 real followers, do you think they do penalize me? Thank you

Mr. Twlab

Most of the times users know they are buying fake followers but they still do. At the end of the day atleast numbers is all that matters. Increase followers means more popularity, that’s what younger generation seems to be chasing now.

boostlikes

You described all the cons of buying followers for any social media profile.
You should also make a post where you could tell people about the pros of buying twitter followers.
Buying some followers can help people to get more followers through all over the social networks.

Irfan Razzaq

I’ve lost work because I don’t have 10k followers, so it’s tempting. I work in fashion industry and now social media followers is vital to success.

Lara alcantara

I have an idea! Why don’t we all
Just follow each other? Maybe at least we can get a good number of all real followers who understand the urge to do so. I am afraid of buying followers but I am not afraid of asking to work together in gaining followers! @laraalcantara what do you say guys?

stephen

I have personally seen clients benefit from using a few select pay for twitter services. So I disagree with some points in your article. For instance numbers are almost everything with twitter since the average lifespan of a tweet is 18 minutes. You need relevancy and consistency in order to stay on top of your game with twitter. Some pay for services help you accomplish this since most of us do not have the extra time to give twitter the attention it deserves on a daily basis.

Ryan Burchey

What about if your a real customer and before buying from the business you decide to check out their social media accounts. You then notice that they have 5 likes or less, would this not turn people away?
Perhaps in this scenario having a bunch of fake ‘likes’ is not necessarily a bad idea as it would give the impression that you are established/ large and therefore trustworthy?
Thank you for the the post,
Ryan

Ryan Burchey

Thanks for the reply Ian, I agree, in the end, honesty is the best policy.

Thats very true i am also not in favour of selling or buying any social media services but one should learn how to use it , one should take youtube training that how to make money from it.

Wendy

I sometimes get frustrated that those who bought followers are getting better collaborations than I am…how can companies not see it?!? The followers lists are 90% made out of accounts without profile photos… So are the likes list… But I feel I am the only one checking this and when I tell the other bloggers about it. They just think I care too much about what the others are doing… That’s all…

Emma

But if it’s just faster and finds real followers like zen-promo.com? I say that because I bought followers on instagram but it’s fine as I think. I don’t need to spend hours following back, liking and other stuff to get them. It’s my opinion but it’s up to you to agree with me

R.c

I deeply regret buying followers for ig. Now.here I am with 25k followers and half a dozen likes on each new post. It is very embarrassing and I wish there was a way to.reverse that.

Robert

I’ve lost work because I don’t have 10k followers, so it’s tempting. I work in fashion industry and now social media followers is vital to success.

Nothing I have tried increases followers so far

vizyu

thanks for share useful tricks

Manish Pandey

Thanks. Very useful.

Arash

Great post

Babak

Thank you so much, it was really useful

John

Haha I thought U were genuine at the start
When U talked about other tools helping that when I knew this is fake

Andy

I know what he means, I was hoping for a strategy at the end there, not a list of tools or vague advice; more specifics about HOW to provide value or HOW to engage with those relevant people. Everyone “knows” you are supposed to provide value but HOW to do it is the hard part. Those tools can’t really answer the question either, unless you know how to use them for your specific strategy.

Jane

Great article. I came across this article by searching “what is the point of buying followers?” as I’m being followed on twitter by these brokers(sellers?). As informative as this article was cautioning against it.Still not sure what buying followings achieves.

Mike R.

Thank for article! Why and for what purposes need more followers everyone decides for himself! I think that in a small number of followers required for beginners.

Anonymous

Hiya,

I’ve recently had a social media PR company start working for me, and I wanted to know how I could secretly find out if they are doing the whole ‘buying fake followers’ etc..
What’s the best way to go about it?!
I’ve tried doing audits but don’t know if they are okay to use?

Thanks!

Weston

Nice post. The only reason I would buy followers is to avoid the headache and hassle of the 10% follower/follow rule. If you fill up your Twitter accounts in the first week, and buy (let’s say 2,000 followers) using a drip feed method to make it look more natural so that you get a faster follow back ratio in the beginning, what is so unethical about this? Sure, 2,000 people may not be interested in your content, but there are still ways to buy real followers. And plus, the people you target after you buy the followers are what matter. And I would say it’s safe to start off in the beginning with no more than 1,000 followers to buy. But these are just my thoughts 🙂 I may test this method out for myself and see how it goes with a new account. I know the 10% follower/follow ratio is such a headache though to deal with in the beginning of a new twitter account, and I would only buy Twitter followers for this reason. Not to make myself look more popular or any other unethical reasons.

Ben Coyle

I understand that but for example, I use program like zen-promo.com that finds real people in my own city who are interested in things like I do in my account. I think it’s absolutely fine

James

I really like the engagement Part i feel like egagement is the only way you can really gain Followers and likes

Johnny Siracuse

Lot of different ways to grow twitter following, buying is just one of them. I guess few thousands won’t hurt that much and would ignite others.

Jerry Lee

Captions and hashtag go hand in hand when it comes to popularity on Instagram. Thinking of a caption for a picture is a difficult task and everybody has come across this problem. So the first thing is while writing a caption for the picture make it relevant and cool. First think which types of caption you need for example – general, love, funny, meaningful etc. Some of the amazing captions which I have seen on Instagram I myself never feel that I’m sexy. If people call me cute, I am happier/ if we could only turn back time/ With You, I forget all my problems. With You, Time Stands Still (love).

Zohaib

These facts are right but there are some reasons due to which people buy Twitter followers or other social followers. These are
1- Short time to use social media
2-Do not have big community at the start
3-Do not have unique content
4-Desire of more followers in short time etc.

Muhammadbilal

Very well explained and was very helpful.Thanks;

Amy

I agree that the real 100ins fans better than 1000 false ins fans for marketing effect, but instagram fans much to increase popularity, make your content easier to see, so buy some ins fans is good, I also bought through the ins followers, such as Forever Social Marketing

Evan

But you can buy services that will find followers that interested in your art or business. For example zen-promo.com attracts users, but only interested ones will follow you. So you can get many active users this way.

Steve

Hi Ian, I totally agree with you on this one, I rather have 100 real followers than 1000 fake ones. It is risky for your account and you can lose them at any time if Instagram bans those follower accounts. There is only one way of buying followers and it is via shoutouts. But that’s only my 2 cents

varoon gurjar

great advice

Darth Vader

There is actually some service that provides folowers that will comment and like your stuff. They’re authomatic, but they look very real (they comment things like “nice” or “love it!” so they never say the wrong thing, haha) . I don’t remember its name, look it up on Google. I hope this helps someone. But make sure it’s legal and everything 😉
Sorry for my English,
Darth Vader

Sarah J

Hmmmm interesting article Ian… I actually recently bought some followers from here. I’m still undecided whether they’re worth the investment, I’m just hoping they won’t do me any harm now… Lol but I guess we’ll see.

Hanuman

Interesting post. I like the way in which you are writing. My best way to increase followers is to create killer profile, bio, asking questions and mentioning other followers 🙂

Andie

Hello Ian, I really like your article, sorry if my English is not perfect, I hope that you can understand. I have a question, I’m working in my followers on Instagram, if I follow and unfollow people, they are going to block my account? For me that is an organic way but I didn’t know that Twitter for example can give you a penalty for this. Thank you

Mechell

Great article. What app do you recommend to schedule postings for Instagram?

Andie suu

Hello Ian! I really like your article! Sorry if my English is not perfect, I hope you can understand. I have a question, I’m working in my Instagram account, but for me follow and unfollow is a organic way too win followers, do you now if Instagram can block me for this? Thank you!

Melissa

To be honest I am thinking of buying followers I have organically 1350 followers but it seems that I stuck there, I haven’t been getting more followers in months so as a blogger it doesn’t look good. However I would not buy 20.000 as is not realistic but I would consider buying 500-800 as it seems more realistic.

Manolis

Hi Ian, cheers for this great article. You gave so many great reasons why one should avoid buying followers but also nice tools to grow their fans and their engagement. Very valuable stuff, I have bookmarked this post so that I share it with clients who ask me how to buy followers…

Rijina Minj

I really wonder is it not known to twitter that this kind of purchase is going on. Is it not bad for twitter..

redanline

I agree with the article fully, though many things are good.