Although you might think having those 50,000 Instagram followers will help grow your business, fake followers mean nothing.

Do NOT buy Instagram followers. Seriously though, don’t do it. It’s not worth the money and it’s only going to hurt your business. Instagram is not about a certain number of followers, but rather you should focus on building genuine connections with real people and potential customers. Plus, buying followers is one of the key ways to get your Instagram account banned.

Some companies say they have ‘cracked the codes’ to increase engagement and presence on the platform when truthfully, the only thing they have done is put a crack in your brand’s appearance.

The only way to truly grow on Instagram is to methodically implement a thoughtful and organized strategy. That means welcoming new followers, commenting on the posts and stories of others, and replying to comments and messages, i.e. making personal connections. Not to mention bringing value to the platform through your content.

Just in case you need a little more convincing, here are 5 reasons why you shouldn’t buy followers:

1. Bought followers do not equal potential clients or customers.

On an IG account, when you are engaging with other users and accounts, those individuals equal current and potential clients or supporters of your brand. When you buy followers, the accounts that flood your follower inbox are bots.

They are lines of code with no emotional or personal connection to your brand. The real, genuine connections that you make through organic growth will have more of an impact than the thousands of bot accounts.

2. Instagram is cracking down on fake accounts and followers.

Instagram is not stupid, and neither are your real followers. After detecting suspicious, and bot-like activity, Instagram digs deeper as to who is behind the account. Instagram has been purging fake accounts, including those purchased, quarterly. That means that every three months, that money you spent on fake followers goes right down the drain and you are back to ground zero. Save your money and gain followers organically.

Don’t you think your real followers will also be suspicious when your follower count jumps from 1k to 50k in just minutes? Your real followers -- your paying customers -- they will start questioning your brand’s authenticity, and these days, authenticity is everything.

3. Fake followers don’t engage.

Why spend all that time creating your perfectly curated Instagram page if no one is going to be interacting with your content? And while some bot accounts are programmed to “like” posts, most just stay in your follower bank. Here is where the suspicion arises for your real customers, clients, and supporters.

When you have 35,000 followers and only thirty-five likes, people notice that something doesn’t add up. Pretty quickly they come to the conclusion that you and your brand purchased followers to seem more popular. Well if Instagram was a popularity contest, you just lost. You have lost the trust of potential and current followers and the credibility of your brand within the industry.

4. Your account can be flagged by the algorithm.

The primary reason that accounts are flagged for fraudulent activity is mass-following and mass-liking. Oh, you gained 20,000 followers overnight? Red flag. When your account is flagged, your content is pushed behind a curtain and an “action block” is put on your account. You will not be able to post, follow, or interact with your community. This means not being able to reach followers and clients that you already have, and it also blocks you from expanding your community, from reaching new followers and clients as well.

5. Instagram can ban your account.

After multiple action blocks and continuous fraudulent activity, Instagram will permanently ban the account and the username associated with the account. Talk about starting from ground zero. No one wants to see the brand and business that they have built from the group up to be demolished, all for the sake of Instagram clout.

In conclusion, do not buy Instagram followers. We have said it before and we’ll say it again: make genuine connections with real people to grow your Instagram presence.

Remember, slow and steady wins the race.