“Get 1000 followers in a day.”
“Track your followers with us.”
These are some ads and banners we often encounter in the social media marketing world. As an influencer or marketer beginning their journey on Instagram, it may be tempting to grab such offers on the way to expand your audience.
More often than not, these are ads endorsed by Instagram follower apps. These apps promise to enhance your followers count by just following a few steps or paying some moolah.
However, as simple as it sounds, it is necessary to understand the reality of diverting your efforts or spending from your pocket for something like this.
Whether such apps deliver what they promise, whether the followers are real, whether the engagement is genuine, and more importantly – is it legal?
In this blog, we will talk about Instagram followers apps and explore the truth about these followers apps.
What are Instagram Followers Apps?
Instagram followers apps are a niche category of apps aimed at boosting the Instagram following of brands. They are extensively used by marketers looking for some quick additions to their audience.
Do they provide genuine followers?
No. In fact, it is the opposite.
Instagram followers apps are infamous for their success in duping people. These apps have access to unimaginably large networks of inactive accounts and bots that make fake Instagram accounts, which are then pushed to marketers when they use the app. The apps also steal customer data to further expand their follower base and keep the vicious cycle running.
However, it’s not only the app creators who are to blame for this menace of fake followers. Marketers blinded by ‘success at any cost’ use such unethical means to grow their followers count.
A large number of brands and influencers are currently thriving on fake followers. In 2019, $255 million of the total $1.4 billion influencer marketing was spent on fake followers.
Around 45% of Instagram followers accounts are fake. Instagram mega-influencers and celebrities – those with more than one million followers – were the biggest culprits, with two-thirds of these accounts engaged in some form of fraudulent activity to inflate followers.
After reading all that, you might be thinking, ‘Why should I even read this blog further? I will never use these apps as fake followers are of no use to me.’
Well, if you are already convinced that fake followers should be an outright ‘NO’ for your marketing strategy, then you should be proud of yourself. Not many marketers understand this in the first shot, as you can infer from the statistics above.
However, if you want to know about these apps and their truth in greater detail, keep reading!
Types of Instagram Followers Apps
There are dozens of services in the form of apps that provide you with Instagram followers. The most popular types of Instagram followers apps follow these three business models:
- Offer followers in return for your engagement with other accounts
- Provide followers if you provide them your Instagram login information
- Sell followers for a fee
#1. Followers for Engagement apps
These apps work on the understanding that you have to follow and engage with other accounts to get followers for your Instagram account. It is one of the oldest tricks used on Instagram by both business and personal accounts, and now followers apps have adopted it on a large scale.
It is basically an arrangement where both the parties agree to follow each other. Sounds like a mutual benefit? It is not. A majority of people on this app don’t hold up to their promise. Although you can report these people on the app, there is nothing much that gets done about it as these apps do not have any authority regulating them.
It adds to your stress and leads to wastage of money for nothing.
#2. Phishing apps
A majority of these apps promise to increase your following through hashtags, which is not a bad strategy. However, what they do is take your password and vanish.
These are the worst kind of Instagram followers’ apps as your privacy is compromised when you disclose your login information to them. Additionally, there are high chances of your details being sold on the dark web to entities who may mirror your profile and indulge in illegal activities. Thus, giving your password to sketchy apps like these for “followers” is never a good idea.
Many of these apps also use your login details to build their database of followers and then sell your account to boost someone else’s followers. The cycle keeps running, and they continuously develop their database. So, in effect, you end up becoming a follower instead of getting followers.
Interesting Read: The Do’s and Don’ts of #Hashtags on Instagram
#3 ‘Get Fooled’ apps
As the name suggests, these apps do not deliver what they claim and are designed to fool you into downloading these apps. Apps like “Get more followers for free” often promise to increase your following right away, but they don’t have the means to do so. You end up getting inactive and bot-generated followers.
These apps mislead you with the sole aim to get more downloads of their app, but all they provide you with are hashtags or stickers you can use on your Instagram posts. Some of these apps don’t even function properly. The interface is so poor that people get stuck on the login screen for hours, and the issues don’t get solved.
#4. Follower Purchaser apps
One of the most popular types of apps ask you for money in return for followers. The apps promise you real followers, but that’s about it. Instead, what you get are fake or bot followers who do nothing in promoting your account and are mere numbers.
Uncovering the Truth About Instagram Followers Apps
In the long run, these fake followers turn out to be a waste of both time and effort. They have no value whatsoever. This means whatever you post might not even show up on your prospective audience’ feeds.
There are several more reasons why you should avoid giving your details on a followers app. Even if an app has positive reviews, do not fall for it. Even reviews can be bought.
Here are some top reasons to stay away from Instagram followers apps:
Hurts brand credibility
Building trust and goodwill is what matters the most on social media. One rumor can kill your business if not handled well. By using Instagram followers apps, you are talking about consciously indulging in unfair means.
Your genuine followers may or may not notice the sudden spike in your follower count, but they will definitely not keep it a secret if they do. They might just make a public post, and you can predict the chain of events that will follow: genuine followers down, sales down, credibility down, future growth down. Do you want to take that risk?
More importantly, the competition will beat you black and blue if they become aware of such activities. The online world is hyper-competitive, and you just cannot afford to let that happen.
Usually, the engagement rate is calculated as:
Number of likes + Number of comments/Number of Followers x 100
If you opt for ‘followers for engagement’ apps, the engagement is unlikely to increase consistently as no one can be forced to like a post or picture unless they genuinely want to do so. With other types of apps, you will be burdened with fake or bot followers who will anyway not interact with your profile.
The engagement rate is a critical metric in determining the success of your marketing campaign. With no increase in engagement in the form of likes and comments with an apparent rise in followers, your engagement rate metric will decrease, and the ROI of spending on these apps will be negative.
Your money gets wasted
The most important reason why using a followers app is pointless is that your money will get wasted. Most of the followers provided by these apps are fake and add no quantifiable value to your account.
The prime reason for which you bought followers – to increase brand value and promote sales – will not be met. Fake followers are just numbers on your screen; they cannot buy or engage.
No information security
Apps know that marketers approaching them are desperate to increase their followers quickly. So, they use your vulnerability to their advantage and ask for your Instagram login details knowing you will readily give it. You will also be asked to provide payment details so that the apps can auto-debit their ‘service’ fee.
Giving your Instagram and bank account details to a third party is always a risky option. More so to an app with no established presence or authenticity. Your information can be sold anywhere globally without your permission, and your online identity can be stolen.
All this can happen without you even realizing it. Food for thought?
Bought followers bring spam
While the majority of the followers you buy are inactive, others are spam. This means the engagement you get is mismatched compared to genuine accounts. These account users may trouble you and your followers with messages that are not related to your business. Such anomalies on your Instagram page adversely impact user experience and lead to your genuine followers unfollowing your account.
Infringes Instagram’s guidelines
Instagram is one of the leading social media platforms worldwide. It places a lot of importance on the quality and authenticity of customer engagement. This becomes difficult when fake followers plague them with their spam.
In fact, increasing followers through inauthentic means, such as the Instagram followers app, goes against Instagram’s policies and can lead to the suspension of your account.
THEN, Why Use These Apps?
By now, you must be scratching your head thinking that if the lack of authenticity and accountability of Instagram followers apps is so evident, then why on Earth do marketers use it?
The dominating factor which drives marketers to use these apps to increase followers is the flawed belief that more followers will help them achieve more sales and engagement.
Only increasing followers is not essential. Increasing real followers is essential; they are the ones who drive meaningful engagement to your brand.
Followers apps provide only fake followers who barely engage or interact. But, marketers ignore this simple logic and blindly jump into the race to make their followers count higher than the competition without considering the quality of followers.
By the time they realize that such apps are a sham and contribute nothing to enhance their brand value or sales, they have already wasted too much of their time and resources, or worse- have their Instagram account suspended.
Alternatives to Using Instagram Followers Apps
Incorporating organic marketing processes is the only way to achieve successful, long-term growth. Instagram’s new algorithm rewards engagement more than the number of followers, and thus effective content marketing strategies are crucial to cracking the algorithm.
By creating evergreen content and incorporating good Instagram marketing practices, one can take their brand to the next level and ensure its marketing success.
Here are some alternatives to using Instagram followers apps for increasing followers:
Use Instagram Stories
In 2016, Instagram came up with Instagram Stories. As of 2021, 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day. It is one of the most effective Instagram marketing features, with 58% of people saying they have become more interested in a product or service after seeing it in stories.
That’s the power of Instagram Stories. With unbeatable features like polls, quizzes, and music, stories hold great ability to create interactive content and grab attention in the Instagram world.
Make your account public
One of the first steps to increase organic following is to make your account public. Public accounts have better viewership. It helps your target audience discover your business and interact with your content organically.
You can make your account public by following these easy steps:
Step 1: Click on the hamburger menu icon.
Step 2: Click on Settings> Privacy.
Step 3: Switch the toggle button besides Private account to left. You will get a pop-up as shown in the image below. Click on ‘Switch to Public.’ Your account will now be public and visible to everyone.
Use strategic hashtags
Over 50% of account users browse the Explore section at least once per month.
Hashtags are the best way to discover new audiences. Users track hashtags pertaining to topics of their interests. Using those hashtags strategically in your captions will help increase the visibility of your posts and expose your content to a broader audience.
In the above image, Dwayne ’Johnson (aka The Rock), the second most popular instagram celebrity with 251 million followers, is promoting his upcoming movie’s trailer using hashtags relevant to his movie title. You can see that the post has 2+ million views. Hashtags are used by everyone, even if they are already popular as it helps increase the reach.
Interesting Read: 10 Useful Tips For Getting More Engagement On Instagram
Engage with your audience
It is essential to understand that social media is not a one-way street. It requires efforts from both parties to initiate conversations and maintain existing ones. You can’t just expect people to interact with your posts every time you upload something. It requires effort from your end too.
As a brand/influencer, you need to give reasons to your audience to engage with you. Be it witty captions, polls, extra goodies, or interesting quizzes – a strong content strategy will solve nearly half of your Instagram challenges.
In the above image, Disney Plus is offering its followers to ask questions to Tom Hiddleston, aka Loki (of the Marvel fame.) and get answers directly from him. However, such sessions have nothing to do directly with Disney’s business but Disney knows that offering a chance to ask questions to a famous actor is something that followers will truly like. Such steps keep the customer engaged and build loyalty towards the brand.
Triumph with The Power of Truth
Getting the first 10,000 followers is the most challenging and time-consuming part for any Instagram marketer. It’s the truth. But, it would not be wise to use Instagram followers apps and put your brand credibility and future growth on the line to navigate this challenging phase quicker.
The most sustainable way of gaining Instagram followers is by posting quality content and posting Instagram ads. It’s all about strategically engaging with your customers. Growing your Instagram audience can often get tricky, but no one can stop you from succeeding if you are determined and ready with a plan.
Creating evergreen content is the best way to grow organic reach and attract followers. You can use SocialPilot to curate impactful content and plan Instagram posts that engage followers!