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is it effective to buy "real" followers on Instagram?

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For anyone who uses social media as a personal brand or as a way to advertise their business, followers, likes and interactions are invaluable. While it would be ideal for an account to grow spontaneously and without intervention, the reality is that because so many people use Instagram for their business, tools have been developed to help push that follower growth.

The unrealistic followers

This growth is not always real in terms of the identity of the people behind it. As a first solution to increase the reach of the account, it was decided to focus only on the act of follower growth. This was done in a mechanical way, reducing the people behind the accounts to simple numbers. Ignoring what is the true nature of social networks and their most natural and human side. This would respond in some way to the difference between a real follower and not real. Because, to what extent is it true that the rise of one more number in the followers section translates, truly, into a follower?

The first step, as we said, was to create fake accounts whose sole purpose on the social network was to follow other accounts and interact with them. These are the so-called bots, accounts that do not correspond to a single person and that do not make any real use of the social network. The creation of these accounts, of course, is against the rules of Instagram, which understands that each user corresponds to a single person (and vice versa). By default, it also admits the possibility that a person can have several accounts if they are professional or if they are businesses.

For this reason, Instagram blocks these users, deletes their accounts and also penalises the profiles that benefit from them, as it considers that using them is also a breach of the rules. It is not a question of economic sanctions, but of blocking the account for a period of time or permanently. In short, although momentarily it may be efficient to have bots, as they give likes and increase the traffic of interactions on a profile, over time they will eventually disappear. It should also be noted that they are easily identifiable accounts and that the image they project of whoever buys them is negative and counterproductive.

The first people to be harmed by the use of bots are the buyers themselves, as brands completely reject this type of traffic and content. Regardless of the rules, on an ethical and moral level, it is also inappropriate to grow a profile with unreal followers. The key to real followers is that they are people who really like the profile they follow, that they are human behind a screen and not a number that is added to a number of others on a profile

Finally, time has been creating a path whose foundations germinate from the desire to grow organically, in a real way and without cheating. That is why the economic and personal efforts that were previously invested in buying bots are now dedicated to real accounts. However, they have not stopped being bought. Can followers be considered bought if what is paid for is the mechanics of reaching them?

The new strategies are based on forcing the actual act of discovering a profile and starting to follow it. Instead of waiting for a user to get to know a profile, it puts this profile in the user's application to capture their attention. All this using Instagram's own tools and understanding its algorithm. We are, therefore, dealing with an Artificial Intelligence strategy that knows the gears of the application and exploits them to increase the speed and quantity with which followers are gained.

It has not taken long for companies such as Pathsocial or HypeAuditor to be created, offering personalised, monthly plans to increase followers. Their methodology consists, first of all, of asking the client what kind of audience they want to reach, having to specify the target, age, location, etc. Once the objectives have been determined, these companies, which promise centenary results in a week, guide the user in terms of schedules, hashtags, types of publications and promote the content among compatible profiles. It is this target audience that makes this mechanism effective, as it generates real followers who really like the content of the account they follow.

According to these businesses, it would take an average of four or five hours a day to achieve the results they offer. So, in terms of time savings alone, this practice is profitable. It increases interaction rates, the number of followers and improves the position of the account that carries it out without violating the terms and conditions of the application. It is, in short, an acceleration of the process that is bought, not the followers as such. We must also take into account the large number of accounts on Instagram, and how difficult it is to get noticed among them even if there is a target audience to be addressed.

Other strategies such as automation and spam, other than bots, are not efficient either, as they generate rejection among those who receive the notifications. It is important to always keep in mind that those who carry out all these strategies are exporting their own image, and this can be counterproductive. It is essential to always keep in mind that social media monitoring should not be forced. It is about generating a relationship between two people telematically and, just as in real life, receiving stimuli requesting this contact constantly generates the opposite effect.

Brands, for their part, value very positively the quality of the followers. Therefore, if the objective for which you want to grow your followers is to attract them, it is clear that it is a very good tactic. As we said, the process is bought, the segmentation of the accounts in the profile of the objectives, but the reality is that finally those achieved are in accordance with their findings.

It is essential that the person who governs an account, especially if it is a professional account, is concerned about the nature of their followers, as they are an extension of the company itself. They could be understood as the part for the whole, a metonymy. Of course, not only to avoid sanctions, but to create a quality profile that translates into a quality business.

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