Sometimes the world of social media can feel a bit overwhelming, particularly when you are starting out and trying to gain exposure. As profiles are constantly being compared on their number of likes, comments and followers, it can be tempting to look for a little boost here and there.

But is it really worth it?

Paying for followers is dangerous territory. Paid follow sites may promise you popularity, but that’s not what you’re really getting. Yet sites like Twitter and Instagram are rife with fake accounts. So what’s it all about?

What are fake followers?

Fake accounts are made with fake email addresses and often lack profile pictures, have low engagement rates and are more than likely to have less followers than those they are following. Essentially, they’re nothing but a number to those who use them, and a nuisance to those who don’t.

You might even have a small number already (!) as they like to latch on to other accounts in order to look legitimate, but trust us – they’re not.

How much do they cost?

We did a little investigating and found that you can buy 100 followers from as little as £2.99, right up to 75,000 followers for £170.99, all delivered to you within 48 hours. The sites we visited made big promises, with one even saying that buying followers “is the smartest mean or way as well as it produces quick results”. But are ‘quick’ results really ‘good’ results?

Are they worth it?

In short, no. You might see an initial spike in numbers when you buy fake followers, but engagement levels will be low. Fake accounts also open up your real followers to a risk of spam, as they target them in attempt to acquire new customers.

For companies in particular, it is not good business as they can end up weakening your brand. You won’t see actual traffic from these accounts and as other users get savvier on social, spotting fake followers gets easier. For every ‘paid followers’ website, there’s another ‘find out who has fake followers’ one right behind it.

Another thing to remember is that Instagram is known for its regular ‘purges’ of fake accounts – wiping them off their platform completely. The great #Instapurge of 2014 saw millions of accounts vanish, so even if you do buy followers, they could be taken away from you without warning – leaving you out of pocket and your reputation exposed.

What else can you do?

Even with all the fakers out there, it is still possible to grow your followers organically. Great content speaks volumes and will always come out on top, so keep up your appearances. Regularly review what works well, and what doesn’t whilst keeping actively engaged with your own, real following.

If you’re outsourcing your social then make sure you take a look at analytics reports – they’ll show you genuine, steady growth and will demonstrate where website traffic has been directed from you social accounts.

Still looking to boost your following? Find out what we can do for you by contacting us here. We’re fake-free.