Fake followers are all the rage these days…and for very awful reasons.

With a rise in social media marketing and the ability to make money through platforms such as Instagram, more and more people and businesses are turning towards buying fake followers instead of authentically earning them.

I mean, won’t buying followers get you a larger following, allow you to charge more in your services, and land you those big business deals you’ve been waiting for?

Well, I’ve got news for you. It won’t.

Why Buying Followers Is A Bad Idea

Having fake followers not only does your business a disservice, but it’s detrimental to the health of your Instagram account.

That’s because Instagram is smart - like really, really smart. It knows when an account is authentically engaged with their following. It also knows when an account has bots and fake followers attached to it.

The robotic tendencies of getting 500 likes in 2 seconds or the plethora of emoji comments sends a trigger to the Instagram algorithm. This signals that your post isn’t authentic, so Instagram won’t help it perform (i.e. show it to new people, put it on the search tab, etc).

With more and more people using social media to market their business and more and more businesses using influencer marketing to grow their brand, it’s imperative that you keep an eye out for which accounts are authentically engaged with their communities and which accounts are only focused on the numbers.

How to Spot Fake Followers

By paying special attention to the tips below, you’ll easily be able to spot an account with fake followers and save yourself the headache and FOMO.

Low Engagement

Engagement is the number one factor that plays into how well your posts and profile performs. If an account has 20K+ followers, yet receives 2 comments on every post, chances are the account doesn’t have a real following.

Crazy Growth Spurt

Of course, overnight success does happen in Instagram-Land, but the chances of an account going viral and getting 10K followers in a matter of hours is very slim. If you notice an account that has a huge spike in followers over the course of a couple days, there might be something else going on. Tread lightly.

Followers With Weird Names

One of the easiest ways to spot an account with fake followers is by looking at their followers (who would have thought?). Take a peak at their follower list and notice any large groups with weird handles such as @andrea019274528 or @george_34343456. These accounts will usually have no profile picture, no bio, and 1 photo posted in the past 2 years. This is a surefire way to spot a fake following.

Growth Is Stagnant

Ever noticed an account that has been at 10.5K followers…for the past year?! This stagnant growth is usually due to the fact that they bought followers, and we all know how much Instagram adores that.

Check It

There are a few websites out there that can actually audit an account for you. The one I have used before and really love is called Hype Auditor; a third-party app that analyzes ANY Instagram account for fake followers and likes. This is also quite addicting – don’t say I didn’t warn you.

What to do if you’ve bought followers

Hey, you. Don’t get down on yourself.

I think the idea of growing your following in such a short amount of time would appeal to anyone. So if you’ve fallen trap to buying followers or linking a bot to your account, there is a way out.

You can download the “Cleaner” app, which will go through your Instagram account and unfollow/delete all of the fake accounts. Although this doesn’t erase the damage completely, it does create a better community for you and your true people.

As you can see, buying followers doesn’t get your far. So whether you’re someone wanting to grow your social media account or a brand wanting to work with influencers, be sure to keep an eye out for fake followers.

Authenticity is key.

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