In the social media world today, having a large user following and engagement is what makes or breaks the success of an account. Popular influencers and businesses across several industries are partnering up to create niche products, campaigns, and advertising videos to elevate both players. Several retail brands and Internet personalities have found success within the past few years by tapping into this method like Saboskirt, Gymshark, Puma, and Pacsun to name a few. This is due in part by brands being willing to pay or sponsor highly popular “faces” to the world to share their products with their loyal community of social media users. Creating awareness with big celebrities like Kylie and Kendall Jenner, models like Gigi Hadid, musicians like Kanye West, and fitness gurus like Nikki Blackletter has drastically improved their marketing effectiveness. From having special collaboration lines to seasonal promotions, each brand is now extremely recognizable across Instagram and are growing exponentially.
While this digital marketing plan is ingenuous for growing organically, some businesses take the alternative route to find the short cut of gaining views, likes, and followers to seem more promoted on the app. To seek short cuts, some social media managers have been using “black-hat SEO” tactics, or online ways to boost their accounts without doing the work. This consists of purchasing fake engagement from mostly idle accounts to look more popular on the surface level in the platform. To take a stand against this tactic, Instagram is taking drastic measures on their software to temporarily and permanently block users who do this, so be sure to do your job as a marketer to avoid it.
How Does Buying Followers Work?
Several black hat SEO services exist on the web and the app store to allow someone to increase their likes, views, and followers on Instagram. These can be referred to as “bots” ask for a specific payment in advance to gain hundreds to tens of thousands of followers at a single time. They also repeatedly follow and unfollow the same accounts in hopes of getting the reciprocated follow in return. While it sounds effective in the short term, doing this repeatedly throughout time is against terms of service of Instagram and can cause turmoil with organic followers on your account. Another major way to get a large following is to connect to zombie social media accounts by paying a third party business to get 10, 100, or even as much as 10,000 likes on a single picture post. These zombie accounts are usually inactive, have very few followers, and contain either zero personal posts or solely spam content. A few Instagram influencers, Hollywood celebrities, and musicians out there have been caught with this tactic and have struggled with covering up the negative headlines it caused.
The Black Hat Impact
The reality with black hat SEO is that many social media users don’t realize that they are tarnishing their online reputation for the future. A more effective and realistic way to assess if your Instagram marketing campaign is actually working is by measuring the amount of people you’re engaging with, the amount of site visits and sales conversions trailed from your posts and the growth in organic comments you receive. By simply buying thousands of fake followers from an app, you will inevitably cause a growing number of uninterested customers, spread a highly negative and unprofessional name for your business, and anger your competitors and followers who are being more mindful to post only genuine content for true growth. Though online, the reality of social media still places honesty on a pedestal, and your integrity can take a hit as your real followers discover the scam like methods being used for your marketing.
Genuine Growth and Engagement
If you rather decide to grow your following on social media in an honest manner, avoid using black hat bots and applications. Instead of aiming to cheat the digital marketing system, wasting your time and energy, and ultimately risking your own online image, switch to aiming for active engagement with other businesses and perhaps gaining advice from a marketing consultant. Experts knowledgeable in social media can listen to your business aspirations and forma step by step plan to boost your engagement across your various social media platforms. Don’t wait to achieve a higher level of digital marketing and reap the rewards.