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We Bought 1,000 Instagram Followers – This is What Happened Next

February 26, 2021
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Sitting at my computer, I sift between numbers and dollar amounts. Which number of users and likes should I buy? I can get up to 25,000 followers, wouldn’t that be nice. Only $168 for 25k followers!

The website promises 100% real users – no bots. Amazing. For just 168 dollars, I can get 25,000 real accounts following along with my content. But will it work?

We wanted to try it, so you don’t have to. 

The Temptation

I think everyone has wondered if you could increase your social presence dramatically with a few bucks and a single click. It seems like a no-brainer – spend a relatively low amount and get new engagement on Instagram. Even if nothing extraordinary happens, my account will look more credible. Right?

Maybe you created social accounts, only to have them languish. No one comes to like the posts you create, so you stop making them at all. We all have felt that pull to the easy promise of quick fixes – even if you didn’t know that you could buy followers and likes on the gram. 

The Purchase

I finally land on buying 1,000 followers and 1,000 likes. That is the right number to test how this works. The website promises that these real users will gradually come as they see the ad and follow organically. But they guarantee that you will receive every last follow and like and maintain that number for 30 days (they since removed the guarantee).

With the cart loaded up, I review all the details again. It’s time to buy. I am not about to throw my real Instagram under the bus with an experiment. Luckily, we have a little test account we created and populated with some posts and one follower (https://www.instagram.com/notreallyinspiring/).

The Results

Immediately following purchase, 1,000 followers flow in – a tidal wave of activity. Within 10 minutes, all 1,000 followers were on the account. So much for gradual! Time to investigate; who are these real followers? 

Clicking through the accounts, I find a few that look pretty real, nice. But I love to dig, so dig I must. Besides a handful of users with stories and some other markers of real users, most look contrived. There are hundreds of accounts with only nine posts each. Exactly nine posts – kind of a warning sign. Each of those accounts has all followed the same other accounts within seconds of each other. 

Maybe these are real people, but real people who create finstas (fake Instagram accounts) to make a couple of pennies off of fake follows. I don’t know, but I know these don’t seem like the real people I know. You know, the ones with only 9 photo memories each.

What About the 1,000 Likes?

It takes another full day for the 1,000 likes to come in on our photos – but they eventually do. These come slower; maybe they are more organic? There is no way to know. 

Now the Real Test

With 1,000 fresh followers, it’s time for some new content. I create three new posts to put up post-paid followers and likes. Even if the content isn’t mind-blowing, some of my real followers will surely like my latest posts, after all they have three to choose from.

Crickets. Absolute crickets. Not a single new like across all three posts besides the one person we know is real – Alan.

Why Does Anyone Do It?

People still are buying these services because:

  1. They are hoping it will work and don’t know yet that it is a sham.
  2. They think they can game other parts of the Instagram algorithm.
  3. They may think it works because they start with some real followers, and it isn’t easy to distinguish what is real.

In the end, our follows have started to disappear. Interestingly, the likes are disappearing too. My theory is Instagram removes these accounts because they are spammy. 

Our test proves that you get what you pay for – a very cheap way to get many meaningless followers and likes. Your money, and attention, are best spent elsewhere. 

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