Is buying Instagram followers for social proofing worth it? Here are my thoughts.
After reading the pros and cons about social proofing by purchasing followers for Instagram, I decided to go ahead and pull the trigger. I went and bought several hundred followers. In this article we’re going to discuss the pros and cons of social proofing, as well as what it actually is, the costs, and how to go about doing it.
First, here are the pros and cons of buying followers.
Help grow your Instagram, to a point.
If you are selling a product, they may help with credibility. However, this goes two ways.
A lot of money
Poor quality followers
As you can tell from my Quick pros-and-cons List, I think that there is more of a detriment than a benefit to purchasing large amounts of followers. But, before we get into my thought process, let’s discuss what social proofing is exactly, and how to do it.
Social proof is basically proof to your customer that you or your product is credible. Social proof can be done in many ways, through testimonials, following, reviews, and the list goes on. Think back to when you last purchased a product. Most likely, you went through reviews to see if the purchase was worth your money. That is what social proofing is for, it’s your peers letting you know whether the product or person is good or bad.
There are several levels to social proof.
Level 1 is following, level 2 are reviews, and level 3 are testimonies.
What do I mean by this? Well, I broke these levels down into how impactful this type of social proof is in the consumer. Following plays a big part in many businesses, but can also easily be manipulated (what we’re discussing in this post). Because of this, most consumers know that followings can be bought, and it doesn’t directly sway their opinion. Many businesses / and entities do this, and because of this “faking the social proof” is more ethical then faking a testimony or a review.
Reviews or Testimonies directly impact a customer’s decision to buy your product. Ethically (And probably legally), you can’t go about faking these. However, you may see on Amazon and other online shopping sites that a reviewer was ship this product for free by the manufacturer. This is why reviews are level 2, and testimonies are level 3. Reviews been somewhat be bought out, by manufacturer sending a consumer product for free in return for a review. Testimonies, however, are known to be the gold standard, and many people believe these more than reviews or how large a company’s following is.
This definition of social proofing is more of a larger, vaguer definition that doesn’t directly apply directly to this blog post.
This blog post is asking the question of, “if I buy followers for my Instagram when I start it, will it kickstart organic growth in my following?” In short, “if people see that my Instagram has a larger following, will they be more inclined to follow it?” That was the question that I wanted to answer.
After reading the pros and cons on this topic, I decided to go ahead and purchase followers to see if it actually worked. These were my findings.
In total, I purchased 500 followers for my Instagram @25millionaire when I had just started it. I didn’t buy these all in one shot, instead each day, for 5 days, I purchased 100.
By the end of the fifth day, I had 550 followers. This means that I had gained 50 followers organically in those 5 Days by posting several Instagram posts with hashtags. I think that this was a very good result on the organic following growth front. I know this, because I’ve started several other Instagram Pages without buying followers to give them a kick-start, and have noticed that gaining 50 followers is much harder to do without this quote-on-quote social proofing.
I then grew my following to about 4000 people, as of August 2018. Unfortunately, I don’t know if this growth was due to purchasing the 500 followers in the beginning of the accounts life, because I also engaged in aggressive “Instagram marketing tactics”, which I’ll be discussing it another blog post.
Was purchasing the 500 followers worth it?
I bought my followers through this website: https://instaboostgram.com. They promise active followers and 100 followers from this website cost $2.89, so the 500 followers cost about $15.
Unfortunately, these followers were not active, and while they boosted my following number, none of them liked any posts, commented, or acted like real followers. I expected this. But, were they worth the $15? I would say no.
While they did give me a small boost in the beginning, many of the bought accounts following me ended up unfollowing me in the coming months. They were not active followers, and only served to inflate my number of followers.
The reason I have an Instagram for this blog is to drive traffic to it, and these fake followers didn’t help me in that regard. Instagram definitely does drive traffic to my blog, but it comes from hashtags on posts, and organic searches from Instagram.
So the result of my experiment with buying fake followers to gain real followers worked, but not as well as I hoped it would. Because of that, I’d recommend you save your money, and instead invest it in Instagram advertising or Facebook advertising to drive traffic or sales that way.
Faking social proof doesn’t usually work, because consumers can see right through it. They know if you’re following is too large to be real and if testimonies or reviews sound scripted or bought. And, if they assume this, the consumer will lose trust in your product / company. Save your money, invest in legitimate advertisement, which is something that I also did which I found worked much better then buying followers.