Organic Followers vs. Paid Followers

Organic Followers vs. Paid Followers

Being a social media manager, I sometimes get the question of buying followers from potential new clients. Most of the time, they’re just starting out and don’t really know the ins & outs of social media. This is a great opportunity for me because I can educate them and hopefully get them off on the right foot from the beginning.

In a nutshell: NO! You don’t ever want to go down that road. I get the attraction. Way back when it was easy to get noticed on social media. There was so much less noise! These days, everyone and their dog (literally. And I can’t really complain because, yes, my dog does have an Instagram account!) has an account on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. It’s hard to stand out and it takes A LOT of work to be noticed.

So here’s my take: fake followers are the bane of our existence. Fake followers may give your account a high follower number, but that is a vanity metric. No matter how much a seller promises ‘high quality’ followers, fake followers won’t like, comment, or share your content, which will keep that engagement score low.

Engagement is the name of the game and is based on likes, comments, saves, tags, shares and DM’s, all of which signal to Instagram that your account is important to that user. The algorithm uses these signals to prioritize the content it displays.

That means that the account owner, user or manager has to get in there and get busy. It means using relevant hashtags for your content and then engaging with those people by liking their content, commenting, saving and following. An organic following doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time and it takes dedication. That’s why I do what I do. Because most businesses need to run their business, not spend hours on social media.

How can you tell if your favorite Instagram account has fake followers? Check out their posts. If they have 10,000 followers but only get 25 or even 100 likes per post, they probably bought their followers.

And another word about fake followers: buying followers goes against Instagram’s community guidelines and terms. So when Instagram finds an account that uses or has used (even in the past) fake followers, the account is likely to be purged. Removed.

Fake followers are not the way to go.