The Truth About Your Instagram Account’s Follower Count
You may have upped your game when it comes to your and your business’ Instagram posts, but if you only have 200 people following you, you will feel like all your posts and up-skilling is all for nothing. Now imagine, if you will if you have 50,000 people following your account. Even if only 5% of that following liking your post, that would already be 2,500 sets of eyeballs, which should be great already, especially if one of your goals in establishing your account on Instagram is to raise awareness of your brand. But then, whether you’re an individual trying your hand at being an influencer or someone running your business’ social media platforms, it surely gives you the thrill to see your follower count increasing or just have a significant number of followers. On that note, it is tempting to resort to shortcuts and instantly have a huge audience for your account in a snap. An example of this shortcut includes buying followers.
The practice of buying followers in social media to make it appear that an account has a bigger audience than it actually has been done for other platforms, particularly on Facebook and Twitter. Thus, these services are easy to take advantage already when it comes to boosting your Instagram fanbase. For as low as $10, you may get as many as 1,000 additional followers to your account. However, you must realize that these additional “accounts” are not actual, living accounts but are rather inactive accounts or bots. This means that you may have a large following that looks good in your profile for anyone who sees it (builds confidence in your account because of the substantial numbers) but you will have to lower your expectations when it comes to how engaged these accounts are with your posts.
Instagram reported in 2018 that of its entire user population, close to 10% of it are bots. Bots are automated “accounts” that may assume the identities of real people, including the use of stolen names and photos. Some services that sell these fake followers make it appear that their bots appear organic or real, but as their interactions are automated and limited, whatever engagement they conduct ends up not really helping your account. Then there are those accounts that are real but are not active. These inactive accounts were only built up to do exactly that – conduct follow-for-follow activities (you’ll follow the account in exchange for that account following you) and you also end up with useless engagements. So, let’s delve further into the ethics of this practice to see whether you should indeed consider or practice IG account buying.
Buying followers: Good to go or no bueno?
Simply put, buying Instagram followers is not good at all. The followers you buy are inactive accounts or bots or inactive accounts, so as much as they may make your follower count attractive, your engagement numbers will be questionable as your huge following will not regularly like and comment on your posts. Your posts will not be suggested by the platform on Explore Pages, or on the newsfeeds of your audience with authentic accounts. Thus, measuring metrics will be a pain. Not to mention that when Instagram cracks down on fake account (which it has done in the past), your follower count may mysteriously shrink.
Instagram has a vested interest in making their platform a place where people want to spend time. But an army of fraudulent accounts doesn’t make anyone feel human, let alone connected. Accordingly, Instagram’s been taking a lot of steps towards reducing unwelcome behaviour on the platform.
Roll out quality content and the followers may start pouring in
So, what’s your alternative? Though this will require more work, doing things the “legit” way rather than relying on shortcuts is always a good idea. Be more daring and discriminating in the posts that you publish. Have more variety in them – not just photos, but you may also want to try GIFs, videos, quizzes, quotes, and a lot more formats. Feature content from your followers. Nothing makes social media users more competitive than seeing other users get featured in the accounts they follow. The bottom line is to make sure you have a strategy on your Instagram content. Plan and execute it expertly and the followers will surely come to you.
When beginning the daunting task of writing an Instagram content marketing strategy, think about what the ideal business outcomes would be from the photos, videos, Stories and ads you’re planning to post. Often people come up with cool ideas for Instagram content, but struggle to apply a reason for them. They become attached to the idea and end up going ahead with it, hoping their audience find it as cool as they do (sound familiar?).
Maximize the platform
Instagram has grown no just in the various formats it has allowed on its platform but also with the various channels it has introduced. So, when you open the app, you just don’t get a feed of photos the accounts that you follow have published. You also have IGTV, Instagram shopping, and Instagram Live, among others. Try to see how you can use these platforms to your business’ advantage.
Focus on the solution you provide, not the products you sell. On Instagram, it’s essential to add value to your customers and look pretty while you do it. Never underestimate the fact that your most important asset (and downfall) on this social media network is visual content.
For more ideas on digital marketing, read more here.