Buying Likes, Followers, Engagement and Ads on Instagram
I Bought Bots…
Okay guys, confession time. In 2012 I was just discovering the concept of using Instagram to share a passion/hobby similar to a blog, vs. just sharing random moments from my life like most people were doing.
I was sharing about fitness and nutrition at the time and naturally my brain went to the thought, “If I had a lot of followers and people saw that, they’d probably be more likely to follow me”. After being tempted by websites advertising buying followers I decided to buy 3,000 followers.
Huge. Regret. Here’s why..
First of all buying bots WILL get you a nice big number on your profile and EVEN the swipe up link if you break over 10K. Sounds tempting I know. But there’s a catch, I knew you knew it was coming. Let’s say we buy followers and go from 1,000 to 10,000. At 1,000 followers your photos were getting 100 likes which means 10% engagement. Now, you have 10,000 followers but since they are bot accounts and not real people you will still only get 100 likes, which means you now have a 1% engagement. A huge and fast drop! The Instagram algorithm goes, “wow whatever this account is posting must suck because their engagement rate is LOW”. And then it hides you from being seen. Not good. Even if you buy both likes and followers it just becomes a vicious cycle, your numbers look good but no real humans are seeing your content and people definitely aren’t buying from you.
When I caught on to this concept 3 years ago I realized the damage I had done 4 years before and I had to manually block ALL of the bot accounts that had followed me one-by-one in order to get them off my profile, it took over 8 hours… plus I was so embarrassed that my follower number and had now dropped by almost 3000. Ugh. But it had to be done.
What about the DMs with people saying they will help me grow organically with real accounts following and liking?
We’ve all had the messages in our DMs with someone saying they will help us “grow organically”. But here’s what happens. They log into your account, spend hours following and unfollowing, and liking tons of content which may or may not be content you actually like (which will totally mess up your feed). You will end up with a jump in followers but there is no guarantee they will actually engage with you and there is a VERY LOW CHANCE they will ever turn into a client. So is it worth it? To me, no.
What about someone who says they will engage for me?
Engagement is a HUGE part of success on Instagram. It’s very time consuming but it is the only true way to organically grow. You should be spending the majority of your energy on Instagram in two ways;
Number 1, CREATING beautiful, informative and educational content for your audience
And Number 2, ENGAGING by answering your own comments and DMs in order to nurture your own audience, and leaving thoughtful comments and participating in conversation with other accounts.
That means the least amount of your time should be spent mindless scrolling, that’s the fun part I know. But consider all the time you spend scrolling and make sure you are spending double that engaging...It’s a challenge. I can honestly say I don’t follow that rule, but I should.
That being said, paying someone to engage for you might actually be a good option! This is something a Social Media Account Manager might offer for you. Just MAKE SURE their “engagement strategy” is not follow-unfollow, batch liking or spammy comments. They should be engaging normally just like you so make sure you have that discussion.
Will the algorithm penalize me for buying ads?
Why does the word penalize sound so cringey? Oh right because it sounds like penis. But I really don’t have another word to use..Moving on..
I think ads are the best way to spend money on Instagram. But make sure they are done right! Your ads should be driving traffic to a post with good value and information in order to turn viewers into followers. This isn’t spammy, it’s what Instagram wants you to do! Is it more expensive ‘per follow’ than buying bots would be? Absolutely, but when done right you are then attracting real followers that will continue to support your page through liking and comments and hopefully purchases down the road!
If you don’t have you account set to a business page you won’t see the ‘boost post’ or ‘promote’ button in order to run an ad so if you want to run ads you’ll have to go through the ads manager in Facebook but the good news is you can totally do it whether you have a business or personal page!
In summary, don’t buy followers and likes. No matter what offer slides into your DMs. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Buying bots and likes etc. can hurt your page so don’t risk it!
If you are going to spend money on Instagram running well structured ads is your best bet. That or hiring someone who is manually engaging for you by hand by leaving genuine comments. Anything else is NOT organic.
At the end of the day it’s better to have a small but engaged audience that you actually connect with!
Just keep focusing on putting out good content and you’ll be great!