In the world of social media, where businesses often rely on Instagram to promote products, connect with shareholders and build their brand, the number of likes and followers on an organization’s page have become increasingly important. Instagram’s algorithm uses engagement as the most important metric to determine popularity, and as success and credibility increasingly become associated with numbers on Instagram, different apps have emerged that allow users to “buy” likes and followers for their page. These apps work either by selling bulk quantities of likes from fake accounts, or selling you a bot that will like and follow other accounts with the expectation that these accounts will follow you back and like your posts. While these methods may give you higher initial engagement, they pose long-term threats to your branding strategy.
The most “traditional” method of buying likes from fake accounts in bulk quantities allows users to choose how many likes they get on specific posts. While you may think that more likes = better engagement and more popularity on Instagram, these likes are a hollow effort to game Instagram’s system. If your goal is to engage with stakeholders, promote products and build a brand, organically acquired likes are the most valuable Instagram commodity. Buying fake likes runs the risk of alienating your existing followers by appearing as insincere, shady and unethical. A telltale sign of fake likes is a skewed like-to-comment ratio as well as profiles without profile photos or original posts of their own. As Instagram’s user base continues to become savvier, accounts buying fake likes are easy to spot.
Apps like Likegrowers and Instazood sell you a bot that will follow accounts and like posts based on certain hashtags that you feed it. With this bot, you are inadvertently paying for likes on your page due to the expectation that the accounts you like and follow will follow you back and like your posts. The danger with giving a bot control over what your account likes is that it cannot detect what is an inappropriate post to like. For example, certain hashtags could be misconstrued to mean things that do not align with your organization’s values or represent content that could be offensive to your followers. While it can be tempting to take a short cut to grow your Instagram presence, the best thing you can do for you organization is to be authentic and charismatic across all of your social media platforms.