With the misconception that numbers of followers equal Instagram and business success, many brands and influencers resort to buying followers. What they may not know is that having an unauthentic, disengaged following will actually hurt a business and could ruin an account. After all, while you can block a few people, you can’t get rid of thousands of people who follow you.
Not to mention most followers people can buy are accounts created with identity theft, which they would then be supporting (and that’s a crime, you guys!).
So here are ways to see if an account has fake followers:
1) Check their engagement. If they have a lot of followers but very low engagement, that could be a sign. But don’t be too quick to judge. They could also be an older account that grew fast years ago, but hasn’t kept up with new strategies.
2) Scroll through their list of followers. If they have low engagement, check some of their followers’ profiles. If you see a lot of followers that are private accounts and have very few followers but are following thousands of people like the examples below, that is a safe bet they were bought. Another sign is if they have many followers that are foreigners, but they are not a global personality or brand.
3) Check Social Blade. This is an older tool, but it does still show the growth of any account’s follower count. If their graphics have big spikes, that’s your sign they bought followers.
As you can see, it’s not that hard to find out which accounts buy followers, and people are catching on. While we don’t recommend you waste your time checking every account you follow for fake followers, we do recommend that you take a peak before working with other brands or influencers. It’s your right to verify if your time or budget investments are worth it.
As for your own account, stay away from any miracle tools or companies that promise thousands of new followers and increased engagement. When it comes to Instagram, there are no shortcuts that will actually grow your business and won’t hurt your reputation.
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