Instagram followers. The be all and end all of the influencer age, it seems. With companies tripping over themselves to work with the ones with the biggest following on this visual platform, it literally is a numbers game.
When you’re in the social media field, it’s not hard to spot Instagram accounts with fake followers. Well, okay, it’s a little harder than spotting fake followers on Twitter, where you can use 3rd party sites to run the audit for you… But still, when you know the key points to check you soon become savvy to the world of the fake follower on Instagram.
The 3 key points you need to look out for:
Ratio of followers to engagement.
This is the biggest tell tale sign. If someone has 30k followers yet receiving less than 100 likes on each image, there’s something just not right. My own Instagram account currently has circa 3500 followers and hitting between 50 and 100 likes per image, depending on what the image is and what hashtags I use. For example, a picture of Stevie goes down a storm, one of my sweet selfies? Not so much… But hey, I can take it, Stevie is a lot cuter.
The type of followers on the account.
Simply click on the ‘followers’ on a suspect account and scroll down a little bit. Does the following consist of overseas accounts with no bio? Are a majority of these accounts private? Do they have 3 or less images on? If this is the case and this type of account appears in a cluster, then these followers have more than likely been bought.
Unlike likes on pictures and follows on the account, video views (to my knowledge) are a lot harder to buy and game. If an account posts videos, simply take a look at the amount of people who have viewed them. Usually the video views will be higher than post likes, so a really obvious sign if they sit well below the likes on the images.
Being curious by nature, I decided the spend the handsome sum of £5 to purchase 1000 instagram followers from the first website that came up on Google. Intrigue got the better of me I suppose and hey, I thought it would make for a good blog post too.
Before I continue let me just reassure you that all the followers on my account are now genuine and none have been bought.
How do I know this? Because the 1000 followers I did buy simply dropped off again after 3 or weeks. What a waste of a fiver! And of course, some dodgy site isn’t exactly going to give me a refund are they? Oh well.
Here’s what happened when I bought my Instagram followers though…
Firstly, I waited 48 hours for something to happen. I constantly refreshed the page awaiting my new, relevant and engaged (cough) followers to come to my account. At first I thought I’d been scammed, as the site promised to deliver the followers within 24 hours.
After night 2 I woke up in the morning to find that my last 3 images had gained an additional 100 likes on each one. This immediately looked dodgy as the ones previously to this had around 30-40 likes per image. Bear in mind this was a few months ago now, so if you’re scrolling my account right now I’ll reassure you again – all engagement and following currently on there is genuine, I’m just a hashtag queen rn.
Throughout the day of the 100 likes and false popularity, the followers quickly followed suit. By the end of the day I’d gone from circa 3100 followers up to around 4100 followers.
A quick scroll down the followers and the tell tale signs quickly emerged: overseas accounts, no bio, either private or with less than 3 images on each account.
I immediately regretted this £5 move, but couldn’t really do anything about it by this point. The likes on images went straight back to pretty much what it was before I bought any followers, which didn’t look too unnatural really, as we’re not talking huge numbers here. Interestingly engagement seemed slightly less for a small period, as I’m guessing the algorithm knew that my images were relevant to a larger percentage of my ‘followers’.
During the time the fake followers were on the account I didn’t see any prominent uplift on any level. New people weren’t more attracted due to the slightly higher number and engagement remained stagnant, as mentioned above.
So, would I recommend buying Instagram followers?
And to reiterate: All followers on my account currently are organic and not bought. I pinky promise you. Once again – I’m gutted about that fiver.