Buying followers – A man holding his chin as a sign of reflection. Next to him are two piles of money and several icons with drawings of people representing followers.

Digital Marketing

Why buying followers isn’t worth it

Buying followers will never bring the results one expects. Find out why!


12/09/2019 | By Hotmart

What will we see in this post

Online business owners are probably already aware of the importance of social media for the success of their brands. They have also probably noticed that the size of their audience and the number of followers makes all the difference in terms of their reach and consequently, their sales.

Precisely for this reason, it’s very easy to find offers promising thousands of followers for your social media profile, ensuring a large and fast audience growth.

It sounds tempting, doesn’t it? However, if you want more than merely having a large number on your business’ social media, you better not buy followers.

In this article, we’ll explain why this practice isn’t worthwhile and we provide you with practical tips so you can increase your audience organically. Check it out!

The importance of your audience on social media

The most used social media in the world is based on audience context. 

In other words, in order to reach more people, you need your profile to be followed by other profiles, making these people view your content more frequently.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, for example, work in a similar manner. 

Although it is possible to find profiles and have access to their posts without necessarily following them, these social networks operate based on the creation and development of follower audiences.

In other words, the largest profiles, usually belonging to brands and celebrities, have a large number of followers, which makes their posts reach more people, allowing greater influence (in the case of celebrities) and greater sales possibilities (for organizations).

A large audience is so important that Instagram, for example, only releases certain exclusive features is the profile reaches a certain number of followers.

You have probably seen stories with links to outside websites. The possibility of including them in the Instagram stories is only released after the profile reaches 10,000 followers, which makes many people anxious to reach this number.

Audience and relationship

Social media is faithful to its name; they are essentially social. More than a redundant concept, you need to understand that these networks are communities with the goal of facilitating relationships between people — and of course, businesses.

In this sense, the creation and nurturing of a large audience that relates to your profile is as important as the content you create. After all, creating good posts isn’t enough; you need to make them reach your audience.

From an entrepreneurial point of view, social media is an essential advertising tool that is often organic, in such a way that, when the audience itself is stimulated, it can multiply the content on your profile.

And it is precisely because of this need to increase audience size that some people consider buying followers and fast tracking this process.


What many people end up forgetting is that, more than follower numbers, social media values the audience’s engagement with their profile.

Good engagement helps organizations to sell much more, in addition to building customer loyalty and expanding your audience in an organic and functional manner.

Just to give you an idea, engagement is so important that Instagram’s algorithm rules privilege the display of posts on the feed according to relevance and no longer chronologically.

This means that the app takes into account the interactions between profiles, relationship, user preferences and even interaction frequency to show a certain post to the audience.

In other words, if you don’t engage with your audience and there’s no reciprocity, having an account with tens of thousands of followers won’t matter. People simply won’t have access to your content.

Therefore, in order to reach increasingly more people, it is critical that you get a large audience that is also engaged with your profile.

The 7 reasons why you shouldn’t buy followers

Now that you know how important it is to have a large and engaged audience, you might be wondering whether you should invest part of your marketing budget to buying followers.

As we explained earlier, more important than a large number of followers is their engagement with your profile. What we still haven’t told you is that the pitfalls are much greater.

You doubt it? Below, we’ve listed 7 reasons to convince you that buying followers isn’t good business.

1. Ghost audience

If you have a business on Instagram and other social media, your final goal is certainly to have more customers, isn’t it? And followers only become customers when they actually exist.

The problem with buying followers is that you’re actually paying just to change the number displayed on your profile. This number therefore corresponds to a bunch of fake profiles, created with the sole purpose of following those people who purchase a “follower package”.

Practically all follower package offers consist of fake and inactive accounts that are hosted on servers in other countries, which have nothing in common with your organization’s profile.

The result is that when you decide to send a message to your followers, sponsor an offer or simply seek for some kind of interaction, you’ll be talking to an empty crowd, filled with profiles that don’t actually exist.

2. Low or zero engagement

When we see a large profile with a huge and engaged audience, it is common to find tens of thousands of post likes and comments. This means that this profile has a real audience that follows the posts, creating an extremely strong engagement that is ready to be worked.

When you buy followers, you are only acquiring a profile number without actually obtaining any of the benefits provided by a large audience acquired organically.

In other words, your posts will probably continue with a low number of likes and comments. Besides, real followers might feel discouraged to interact with your profile, since they’ll see that your posts aren’t attractive, although it has a large number of followers.

Plus, a low engagement might be harmful for your profile regarding the Instagram’s algorithm. This is because social media regards a profile as relevant based on your audience’s engagement with your posts.

A relevant Instagram profile has the chance of being recommended to people interested in the same topics it posts. And if your “ghost audience” doesn’t interact, then the chances of being recommended to real followers are practically nil.

3. The risk of being banned

Very few things are as ignored as the famous “terms of use”. And it’s no different on Instagram. It’s very hard to find someone who has read the app’s terms before creating an account.

Among several guidelines and rules, Instagram’s document makes it clear that the platform is completely against all spam practices. In addition, the terms also make it clear that Mark Zuckerberg’s network is constantly working to eliminate all fake Instagram profiles.

What this means is that if you’ve ever bought followers on the network, your profile might be singled out on Instagram. Among the penalties, there’s the possibility of your account being banned, causing all work to be lost.

Do you know what the worst part is? You agreed to these terms, even if you didn’t read them. And therefore, you have no right to complain.

4. Fluctuation in follower numbers

As we’ve just explained, Instagram is in a constant crusade to ban fake profiles, especially those used to inflate follower numbers.

Therefore, if you’re buying followers, you might notice that your “audience” is constantly varying and dwindling in number.

This is because, as we’ve said earlier, the platform is constantly excluding and banning fake user profiles, which are the “filler” of follower packages.

More than seeing your profile’s follower number constantly dwindle, you also run the risk of falling into a vicious circle, where you buy new packages as a way of offsetting losses due to the deleted profiles.

In addition to becoming an endless endeavor, this makes you throw away money that could be used to win over an organic and real audience.

5. Damage to your image

Social media works based on a credibility filter, especially for businesses. And this sense goes far beyond follower numbers. In other words, as an organization on Instagram, you have an image to protect.

In this sense, if your real and engaged audience finds out that you have artificially inflated your follower number by buying packages, the image of your organization will be deeply shaken.

On social media, where everything almost literally revolves around image, losing your audience’s trust is something you might never get back.

If your real followers (and potential customers) merely suspect that you’re lying on your profile, with fake follower numbers, they will probably doubt any information you post.

The result is clear and tragic: followers who distrust a brand are unlikely to become customers.

6. Nonexistent sales

Let’s be clear: if you have a business on Instagram or any other social network, your intention is to get customers and increase sales, right? This is why it’s so important to focus your efforts on building an engaged and real audience to consume your products.

By purchasing follower packages, you are merely buying a number for your profile, which doesn’t correspond to your audience’s reality. The result is simple: none of these new “followers” will buy your product.

In this sense, having an audience of 5,000 engaged followers who interact with your brand is worth more than having an army of 100,000 “zombie” profiles that are only there for the sake of being a number.

7. Loss of metrics

Business profiles on Instagram have a major advantage if compared to personal profiles: the possibility of analyzing your audience’s engagement data.

With an artificially inflated number of followers, projections of likes, comments and other forms of audience engagement mean nothing, since they don’t translate reality.

Therefore, the mere fact of buying followers also affects the very use of Instagram and other networks as means of analysis and audience targeting.

7 practices that will help you obtain more followers

So far, we’ve only given you reasons why you shouldn’t buy followers. And if want to have a successful profile, you’ve probably noticed that this type of strategy can backfire, right?

While there’s no quick and easy formula for cultivating an audience of engaged followers likely to become your customers, there’s a series of good practices that will set your Instagram profile on this path.

With this in mind, to help you develop a good strategy for your social media, we’ve listed 7 practices that will increase your audience.

1. Know your audience

Instagram is a social network that prioritizes interaction among its users, creating communities and gathering people who have common interests.

In this sense, the first step to increasing your number of followers in an efficient and targeted manner — i.e., with the characteristics of your target-audience —, is know your audience.

Knowing your audience means understanding what their interests are, how they behave on Instagram, the basic demographic information (age, location, profession, etc.), who they follow, which hashtags they use most, among other aspects.

By knowing your audience well, you’ll be able, for example, to set up your persona that represents you and guides you when it comes to using social media. This way, you’ll always be acting according to what your audience expects from you, increasing the chances of making it grow naturally.

2. Post constantly

The Tailwind marketing automation tool conducted a study in 2017 to understand how posting frequency influences in an audience’s growth and engagement. Over 10,000 Instagram profiles were analyzed.

The result is that the more you post, the more followers and likes you’ll gain. This might seem obvious to you, but many people don’t pay attention to this aspect of social networking.

According to Tailwind, profiles that maintain a frequency of at least 7 posts per week (at least one per day) grow at a faster pace than those who post less frequently.

Even with the changes to Instagram’s algorithm, posting consistency is one of the factors that changes very little. Therefore, remember to always post at least once a day.

3. Produce quality content

There’s no point in posting frequently if your content doesn’t have good quality. Thus, having information about your audience available, you just need to analyze their interests and find out what attracts your followers the most.

Always remember that your profile is on Instagram so you can engage with your audience and make them consume your products and services. Therefore, your posts should have a professional quality, both in terms of image as well as text.

Few things are more unpleasant on social media than seeing posts from brands with poor images and captions with grammatical mistakes. This type of problem can lead not only to a reduced audience growth, but also to a loss of followers you already had.

4. Use Stories

Stories are posts with a maximum duration of 15 seconds and that are available for only 24 hours. Since its launch, the stories feature has been responsible for a major boost in Instagram use, supplanting Snapchat, the app that launched this format.

If you aren’t using this feature, you should know that you’re missing out on a great opportunity. A major part of Instagram’s current audience uses Stories more than the feed itself, which helps you have even more engagement options.

Stories have gained so much importance on Instagram that many say that its algorithm works separately from it. So, don’t neglect this feature, which can help in your engagement and also, bring more followers to your profile!

5. Don’t forget to use hashtags

Hashtags are tags that work as a filter for your photo; i.e., they serve to specify the subject of your post. In other words, they serve to specify your post’s topic, helping people who don’t follow you to find your profile.

Instagram hashtags are often left out, with most people neglecting their main function of finding new profiles.

Hashtags aren’t added to be seen, but so that people can find profiles that interest them. Therefore, the tip here is to use them on the first comment on your post and not on the caption itself.

This way, your post looks organized and, at the same time, maintains all hashtag features, since they work normally when inserted in a comment.

Another important point is using good hashtags that translates your post and profile’s main topic to your audience. Don’t use generic tags, such as #love, #happy, etc.

Search the app for a generic hashtag that you imagine your audience might use. Instagram will then suggest a list of similar hashtags, which you can now use in your posts.

By making good use of this feature, you will quickly begin to start attracting new followers to your profile, making your audience grow in an organic and targeted manner.

6. Make videos

Over time, Instagram has evolved to a more video-friendly platform. If in the past, it was impossible to include them in your feed; nowadays, video is one of the main formats on social media.

A well-produced video has the power of holding your followers’ attention, as well as allowing the insertion of more content and of course, more direct calls to your website.

Besides the feed videos, investing in the Stories format always pays off. There, you can record videos that are more informal, like showing the “backstage” of your business and humanizing your brand.

From this strategy, the possibilities of increasing your audience’s engagement and the number of followers increase, because you are combining attractive media format with quality content.

7. Keep an eye on your competitors

Another way of obtaining real followers that relate to your business is to observe your competitors’ audience. One of the oldest tactics to increase the number of followers in a targeted manner is to check out your competitors’ profiles and start following those who follow them.

This type of action piques the interest of people who are likely to visit your profile and, if they’re interested, will start following you. By frequently repeating this process, you will quickly increase your audience.

Also part of this strategy is to stop following people you started to follow, thus avoiding reaching Instagram’s “following” limit. No one really knows what this limit is, but it seems to be approximately 7,500 profiles.

One option for this manual tactic is to search for automation tools, which automatically follow and unfollow profiles. However, remember to feed this type of feature with the profiles that make up your competition.

Success on Instagram

We hope that you realize that buying Instagram followers is bad news. There are several ways of creating and nurturing a successful profile, capable of transforming followers into potential customers. And all of them are done organically without any type of external and purchased intervention.

Did you enjoy our content? Would you like to learn more about Instagram and how to have a successful profile on the platform? So make sure you check out our article on how to use Instagram to sell more!