Why I Don’t Buy My Instagram Followers

Let me just start off by saying that I have absolutely nothing against people who buy their Instagram followers or acquire them from third-party apps. I don’t agree with it, but it’s definitely a simpler way to attract people to your account and encourage them to organically follow you, and that’s really everyone’s goal in the end.

I don’t buy followers on Instagram for a variety of reasons, and I thought it’d be interesting to share to see if anyone else had similar or different thoughts.

READ ALSO: 13 Ways to Significantly Boost Engagement on Instagram Photos

1. I don’t want to trick potential sponsors

It’s a well-known thing that influencers get free products and get paid to promote products. When you start having a larger follower count, sponsors will start pouring in (as I’ve witnessed from others on Instagram). I personally don’t think it’s fair for sponsors to think they’re reaching an audience of 10,000 people when they’re really only reaching 1,000.


2. I want to learn how to do it on my own

I work in digital and social media, and all the companies I’ve worked for want organic followers who are actually engaging with their content. This means I have to learn how to gain genuine followers. It’s different for every kind of Instagram account, but a lot of methods are generally the same, which I talk about here.


3. It’s obvious when you don’t have real followers

It’s not very convincing if you get an average of 100 likes per photo and have over 10,000 followers, or if you get 20 likes in the first hour of posting a photo when you have a large following. I personally think 10% is a good like ratio, so if you’re going to buy followers, I recommend making sure your follower count is around 10 times your average number of likes.


4. It’s something to be proud of

It’s not easy to gain tons of Instagram followers, hence why there are so many guides and courses online. I may not have tens of thousands of followers, but knowing I’ve gained every single one of my followers from my own efforts makes me feel a lot more proud of it.


Have you ever bought followers? Are you against it? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments!

Why I Don't Buy My Instagram Followers

Jessica Lam

Jessica Lam

21-year-old media student, lifestyle blogger, and social media addict. Follow me + keep updated with my latest posts on Bloglovin & Facebook.
Jessica Lam

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  • Nat

    I agree with you about buying followers. It’s Instagram fraud.
    I don’t entirely agree with engagement being the full representation of organic accounts. I have built a solid IG profile with a relatively large following, all organic, but sometimes the likes on each of my posts don’t add up to the 10% or whatever the magic number is. Unfortunately with my day job, I can’t engage as much as others, so my likes aren’t always up there. But if anyone tells me that my following is not organic because my likes aren’t within range then that’s their issue not mine.

  • These are all so true! It’s definitely an accomplishment if you can do it on your own!

  • Marie Ernst

    I wish everyone felt like you 🙁 it’s so hard to compete with people when they aren’t playing fair!!

  • Sydney Power

    I don’t really a see a point to buying followers it is kind of just stupid!

    • I think it’s actually smart if done well, but I do think it’s lazy!

  • Boss Money
  • joshmdmd

    +1 to engaging real people. Instagram isn’t hard if you’re doing it right, and I’d appreciate if more solid content creators knew how to push their work out there. It takes lots of grinding (haha superheating) but it pulls through in the end (lol 99 magic get rekt). As a photography page, now that I’ve passed that ‘I’m new to Instagram’ mark, if I ever need a model or someone to work with, it is so so easy to get. I never knew how valuable Instagram was before, but now I see it! People DM me to collaborate, and if I ever need someone, I can contact them directly.

    Bottom line is Instagram loses all its power if your followers aren’t genuine, and genuine followers can be had if you give them a little nudge.

    Starting out getting followers is challenging, but the growth rate can be 30 new followers a day on a small account if you follow and unfollow people. As an example, I do it once a day and I was at 1070. I followed a stack of people and when I woke up I was at 1110 early yesterday morning throughout the day it climbed to near 1.2k. I did my cycle one more time in the night, hit 1.2k, and woke up to 1.3k in the afternoon today. If you have 9 strong posts and you post great content you should be fine. I’m sure the number will gradually decrease but as long as I am actively pushing it out there it should be climbing much much faster than it is falling. I don’t unfollow people who follow me back so my following is much higher than followers.

    PS: Is ~300 likes in a week good for a 1k account? 🤔

    • Wow lol, I’ve been too lazy to be active on Instagram the last few days and you’ve inspired me to get back into it 😂

      • joshmdmd

        About to hit 1.4k :’D

  • Totally agree! No clue who would buy followers! It seems counter productive! With that said though – i know a lot of people who assume others buy followers or likes when it’s not true so i think people have gotten a little over sensitive to this too

  • Ashley Mason

    YES to this! As a social media consultant, I can’t help but stress the importance to all of my clients of NOT buying their followers. It’s totally obvious when they do.

  • Ash Neverson

    I agree with this post! its so easy to want to have high numbers but if it doesn’t match your engagement rate then its weird, and to me I feel like the engagement matters more, sorta

    Ash | http://www.theashtreejournal.com

  • I’m a social media manager and when someone buys followers or acquires them through a third-party app, I can spot it from a mile away. Some people think it’s a good idea, but it can be obvious to a brand who is looking to partner with bloggers or influencers – photo engagement is a key indicator like you said. People think they’re helping themselves, but they don’t stop and think that they may actually be hurting themselves/their brand. Great post!
    Katie | Millennial on the Move

    • Thanks Katie! It seems to work though, because I see plenty of bloggers with the same average number of likes as me and 4-5x the amount of followers getting tons of sponsorships!

  • mckenna bleu

    I think it is good not to buy! It doesnt add up on social media if you buy followers!

  • Hannah Palamara

    I totally agree with all of your reasons. It feels dishonest!

    • It is pretty dishonest, but at the same time it’s pretty obvious haha. Thanks for reading Hannah!

  • Greta Hollar

    I met a girl once who spent a ton of money buying followers and her engagement was SO BAD. It’s one of my pet peeves as a blogger when people cheat or buy their way to the top!

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

    • At least those of us who work for our followers have a more engaged audience – that’s really the most important thing, IMO!

  • Sarah Camille Hipp

    I so agree with your thoughts on this topic. To me, buying followers would be like buying friends in real life. I’d rather have friends and followers who are genuinely interested in me!
    -SC
    SCsScoop.com

  • Riva Corso Muehlbauer

    Totally agree. I want honest, true followers. Otherwise, what’s the point?

    • Haha, I think some people just want the sponsorships!

  • sofieyah l

    I’m dying to meet you…

    http://thesofieyahdiaries.com/

  • I can’t imagine buying followers on any platform! It’s such a lazy way to do things, and it’s so obvious. If you have 10k followers but only get 100 likes on a photo, something is up.

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

  • Anna Hubbard

    I totally agree with this! I want to have followers that genuinely want to follow me!
    -Anna | http://www.fivefootandfabulous.com

  • Great post, I totally agree! Even though growing on your own can seem to take forever, it’s totally worth the authenticity you build in the end.

    • Haha it’s definitely a timely process, but it’s worth it! Thanks for reading, Denisse!

  • Completely agreed. Slow and steady may require some patience but there’s nothing like hitting a milestone and knowing that you accomplished it with great quality content!

  • Sarah Jean

    #2 is so important for me too. I want to learn how to gain REAL followers!

  • Emma

    I agree 👍🏻 I feel as though I’m just starting to figure Instagram out now & it feels like a proper achievement! Wouldn’t be the same if follwers were bought.

    • It definitely feels like an achievement when you reach milestones on your own haha! Thanks for reading Emma 🙂

  • Wife Sense

    I didn’t even know you COULD buy followers. So glad there’s women who know what integrity means – good for you!

    • A few years ago it wasn’t a thing, but it’s becoming more and more popular! Thank you for the kind words!

  • Janel Berchielli

    I completely agree with you! And people can totally tell when a user bought followers.

    • That’s so true! I think people should try to match their followers with their likes, so they don’t have 60k followers with 200 likes on their photos. Thanks for reading Janel!

  • Sara Holt

    First off, this was new to me. But what gets me is the Loop giveaways. Sure you’ve gained followers but you don’t really gain intentional ones!

  • I feel the same way! In fact, I’m even more extreme in my opinion, because I’m totally against loop giveaways, too.

    • Haha I tend to steer away from following people who do loop giveaways as well!

  • Kimberly Hsieh

    Number 3 and 4 for sure!! This is definitely controversial in the world of social media. I think hosting a giveaway on your blog/Instagram is a good way to thank your readers and followers but I personally would not do a loop giveaway on Instagram to gain followers. Great post!
    https://lovekimber.com/

    • Thanks Kimberly! I agree with the loop giveaway thing, to me it looks a bit spammy and it steers me away from wanting to follow people!

  • Victoria Stacey

    So true – and there are ways you can find out how much of someone’s account are bots/fakes. So why risk it?

    • I had no idea you could do that haha, that’s interesting to know!