When it comes to building a successful social media following for your brand, it's not uncommon for business owners and savvy marketers to be on the lookout for the latest tips and tricks that will help to grow their audiences faster. Some have even resorted to purchasing fake Instagram followers in hopes that the inflated follower count will encourage real accounts to follow suit. 

At first glance, this practice may seem like a quick and easy growth hack that can trigger an influx of genuine followers, but it comes with many consequences that prove the method simply isn't worth it in the long run.

Why You Shouldn't Buy Instagram Followers

If the idea of buying followers for your account has ever crossed your mind — don't do it! While it can be tempting to instantly boost your following by the thousands, purchasing fake followers has many adverse effects that will end up doing a lot more harm than good.

These are the top 3 ways that buying Instagram followers can harm your page's performance:

1. You Lose Credibility

Buying fake followers only increases the number associated with your following, and it doesn't boost your post engagement in the same way. While you may get a few real accounts to follow you simply because it looks like you have a big following, people will inevitably begin to notice the low engagement on your posts despite your high follower count, and they'll see right through the ruse.

If you're caught with fake followers on your account, it looks dishonest on your part, and it can destroy your credibility with the people who matter — your true audience and potential customers.

2. Instagram Removes Fake Accounts

Even if your account receives a temporary boost after purchasing fake followers, that number can drop back down just as easily. Instagram has measures in place to identify and remove inauthentic accounts from their platform, so any artificial followers that were bought for your account will likely wind up being an unnecessary and wasted expense.

3. You Damage Your Performance Metrics

Mixing in fake followers with your genuine followers complicates things for your analytics. If a certain portion of your audience is made up of fake, inactive, or bot accounts, you're not going to receive accurate performance metrics. Not only is this less than ideal for analyzing your data, but it can make it nearly impossible to track whether your current Instagram marketing strategy is actually working or not.

What You Should Do Instead

The bottom line is that buying fake followers will hurt your brand. Rather than making a risky investment by purchasing artificial followers and facing the consequences, here are some good practices you can implement to grow your Instagram audience the right way:

Use All of Instagram's Capabilities

Instagram has many different features that open up new avenues for you to reach your ideal audience. Make use of stories, Instagram Live, and IGTV, as well as your regular posts. Vary your content and see what types of posts your followers enjoy and interact with the most. 

Research effective hashtags that will earn your content more visibility. Attract new followers from every possible angle, and you'll begin to boost your following authentically.

Create Quality Content

One of the most powerful and effective ways to build a more significant following online is by creating quality content. Create entertaining posts that will pique your audience's interest; make valuable content that they actually want to see and engage with organically. When you consistently put out good content that people find interesting, and that has value to them, you'll start to see more people following your account for the right reasons — because they'll genuinely want to see more from your brand.

Are you curious about what quality, engaging content looks like? Check out De Novo Digital on Instagram for content inspiration!