Are fake followers worth it?

I've been trying to hack the Instagram algorithm again.

Building a business or a brand on Instagram is HARD, and when you're desperate to get your content seen by people it's easy to slip into using hacks and tips to boost your engagement and get the results you want.

I have tried one such hack.

The algorithm is currently geared towards accounts with lots of followers - the more you have the more your content is seen - but getting 1000's of content takes years. Introducing...the fake follower.

Bot accounts (automated accounts) are on hand to serve and can provide your account with thousands of followers at the drop of the hat. You can purchase these at various rates, but many websites offer these as incentives too in exchange for services. So I signed up. I wanted to see what would change for me if I did.

The moment I entered my details into the website my Instagram went crazy. 8000 followers (all bot accounts) immediately joined my community and I couldn't keep up with my notifications. The rush was exhilarating, and as I settled at a cool 8864 followers I felt a sense of achievement.

My Instagram engagement didn't change though. I gained maybe 100 new authentic followers over the next month, but my posts continued to get the same amount of likes and comments as when I had just a few hundred followers. It didn't do what it promised, and instead LOOKED like I had a fake following.

Every now and again the system would glitch and I'd be sent into the 15000 follower mark which, I'm not going to lie, was an absolute joy because it meant I could use the swipe up feature on instastories, but sure enough it would disappear after a day and I was left in the same situation - thousands of followers but little real engagement.

My account has settled a little now and I'm sat at around 5500 followers. A LOT of these are fake bot accounts and it's frustrating. Once they're on there you can't get them off so I'm stuck with them. Every now again, when I have a spare 30 minutes, I go through and manually delete a handful, but it's time consuming and tedious.

In short, I don't recommend. Short cuts don't pay and it's obvious to your real followers (and most importantly brands!). Instagram is a long game for sure, and it can be tempting to cheat the system for results, but it's so much better to be in it for the long haul and grow a genuine, interested audience and community. You might never make the 100k followers mark that way, but the followers you DO have will be genuine and your integrity will still be intact. That makes it all worth it. 


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