Stop Buying Instagram Followers. Use This Plan Instead.
Some say it’s part of human nature to be impatient. We see it often in diets — people want quick and easy ways to get the results they want. They’re not willing to put in the work. Unfortunately, the truth is you have to make small consistent adjustments to get and maintain your desired results. The same applies to social media.
As a social media manager, one of your top priorities should be to organically grow your followers. Much like fad diets that promise to make you lose 10 pounds in a week, there are services out there that promise to grow your followers by 10K. Though it may seem tempting, it’s simply not worth it. Almost all of these services leverage bot farms. Bot farms are just as the term describes — systems that specialize in creating fake accounts. Their sole purpose is to entice desperate customers into thinking they can buy their way to social relevance.
But the reality is, bot farms are more like those shakes that promise to make you lose weight, only to lead you back to the yo-yo effect. Though you may see results briefly, you can expect to go back to square one after only a couple of weeks. This is because social networks frown upon the use of bots to grow your social presence. Each month we see platforms like Twitter and Instagram purge these fake accounts from their platform.
Why Buying Followers is a Bad Idea
The issue with leveraging fake followers is deeper than just having a temporarily inflated follower growth. Here are a few ways it can negatively impact your social accounts.
It can lead to being shadowbanned.
Social networks frown upon the act of buying followers. In fact, they have been known to shadowban repeat offenders. Shadowbanning is the practice of blocking or partially blocking a user and their content in such a way that it will not be readily apparent to the user that they have been banned.
It will not improve your sales or engagement.
Just because a service promises to get you new followers it does not mean those accounts will be run by real people that will engage with your content or even make purchases.
It makes your account come across as illegitimate.
Ever stumble upon those accounts that have 100K followers but only get 10-15 likes? They come across as scammy, causing more harm than good for the account’s public image.
It makes it difficult to measure your marketing efforts.
Not only does it make it hard to measure your legitimate growth, but your engagement also takes a hit.
How to Grow the Right Way
If growing your social presence is your goal, below are some tips to help you achieve that organically.
Giveaways are a quick but legitimate way to grow your followers.
- Great way to build awareness for your account
- Helps build your existing community and brand loyalty
- Helps gauge interest in and awareness about a new product
- Has the potential to increase leads and sales
- You can collaborate with an influencer who has a strong following in your market and run a giveaway together
Spend time on community management.
Community management goes further than replying to comments and DMs. You should also spend some time interacting with accounts that don’t already follow you.
- Leverage and follow hashtags that relate to your business and interact with posts using those hashtags
- Helps raise brand awareness with audiences that are relevant to your brand
- Leads to an increase in traffic to your social page
Leverage social trends.
Social trends are a great opportunity to have your content show up for mainstream audiences that otherwise wouldn’t be aware of your brand. By leveraging social trends you’re inserting your brand into wider online conversations.
- Helps with brand awareness
- Can be combined with relevant hashtags that your brand normally wouldn’t leverage
Boost your organic content.
Boosting is similar to running social ads — the main difference is that with boosting you are putting ad spend behind a post that was published on your timeline.
- You can target specific audiences
- Helps you reach people who don’t follow your account but are likely interested in your product or service
- If awareness is your goal you can run a reach campaign; if you care more about engagement there is an option for that as well
Optimize your social media efforts.
By analyzing your content you can determine what kind of posts resonate with your followers and narrow down on trends to improve your social content.
- Allows you to not only post consistently but also with a purpose
- Helps you determine the right social media channels to focus on
- Great opportunity to A/B test concepts and make adjustments as needed
By implementing these efforts into your social marketing mix, you can expect to not only grow your account but also your overall engagement — because, when done correctly, both go hand in hand. The key is to stay consistent and be patient. Organic growth takes time and effort, but in the end, the results are there to stay.