[MUST READ] Why [BUYING] Fake Engagement is a Bad Idea

You ever considered buying likes, follows, & other forms of engagement?

You ever do it?

You ever see someone else do it?

You ever suggest someone else do it?

Here’s the tl;dr version of everything that will follow these words:
Considered it? It’s a bad idea. Leave it at that.
Did it? & Regret it? Find a way to undo it (see threads on removing inactive followers)
You see someone else do it? Have them check this post out.
You ever suggest someone else do it? Apologize to them & have them read this.
(unless you were pointing them to your service. Then you read the words I have for SM Panels :wink: )

The Algorithm
Here’s a simple way to think about this, without going into all of the nuances of Instagram’s algorithm (which may relate to [insert your favorite SMP]'s algorithm)

Human Engagement = Reach
High Engagement = High Reach
Less Engagement = Less Reach

High Engagement & Low Engagement are relative to the account size & reach of the posts they share.

If you get the above, you don’t need to read any further.
But it’s worth reading further to really drill this in understanding, since we will highlight the problem, then show why Fake Engagement is Bad.

Many believe the platform is as simple as Engagement = Reach.
Believing this, they see “low engagement” as a problem, given IG (or whatever network) will limit your views.

This is not wrong, since at the end of it, low engagement typically correlates to low reach.
However, the way many think about this is

Oversimplifying “the problem” creates neglect for an important detail missed.

Humans are not Engagement.
Humans are not Likes.
Humans are not Followers.

Humans engage & do these things.
Humans are not these things.

Very evident. It almost shouldn’t need to be said.
However, many do utilize Fakes, ask about it on this platform, & (even worse) suggest it.
Because many fundamentally forget that users on the platform, the users of these accounts, are Humans.

It shows in such questions:

“How do i get more likes?”
“What’s a good Followers provider?” [Proceeds to admit, "my follower count is kinda low, need to get that up. Preferably drip-fed]
“I just bought likes & followers, but my engagement got worse after the few days of growth. What gives?”

The Fundamental Answer [Which also answers the above questions in order]:
Post stuff that inspires humans to like your content.
The best follower provider is your audience, your niche, & your expertise; whatever way you package that to inspire people to want to follow you.

Doing all this & getting to that point where you want to buy engagement to “fix the problem?”

Mistaking humans for engagement metrics is a great start to going down this road & getting to that last question I left unanswered [What gives?].

Face the first & most critical problem:
Humans didn’t want to engage. Humans didn’t want to follow.

Buying your engagement only magnifies this problem.
Because buying engagement will create a new problem to 100x the original problem:

Humans won’t see your content. [This is What gives :slight_smile: ]

Let’s revisit the Algorithm to now understand why this happens, to those who bravely discovered fakes damage accounts. Here’s how the IG algorithm generally works for the content creator/poster [this is not new information]:
You post a piece of content.
The content gets pushed out to a portion of your audience.
The content gets pushed to more of your audience if the original group engages enough with the post.
If you used hashtags or location tags, these will open up the pool to a wider audience & follow the same logic as the humans who follow your page.

Thus, more engagement = more exposure until the post reaches its shelf life.

The algorithm was designed this way & is generally a good system because it gives human users more of what they want to see on the platform so they stay on longer (& gain more opportunities to collect data).

The algorithm assumes this model on the premise that the accounts represents human users. It becomes obvious how destructive getting engagement from such a spam/bot account is to your account once you understand the algorithm expects engagement to come from human users.

Once you think of “followers,” “likes,” and “comments” as something that comes from living humans & instagram builds its algorithm from human-motivated inputs (from views to engagement, from the home feed to the explore feed) you would begin to see why putting non-human engagement on your account in any way will gradually destroy the account.

Instagram won’t fundamentally distinguish between human & non-human followers. So the non-human users will impact how Instagram gradually exposes your posts to the accounts who follow you. The more non-human accounts exist in that pool, the fewer the real human pool is; If these non-human followers don’t interact [whether its voluntary or involuntary…like lockouts] from that pool, or any subsequent pool, it will algorithmically kill the reach cycle of your posts.

Now that is solely with just engagement on posts correlating with reach. Imagine that with your other metrics, like saves, comments, views, etc. Your posts reach will live and die on these accounts by inviting them into your pool. You want to leave this to a group of non-human users, most of which you don’t control either? All this ignores how Instagram deals with bot/spam accounts who serve no benefit to the ecosystem. So you would also have to factor in Instagram’s ability to detect these accounts & remove them from the platform. And let’s not forget to mention instagram potentially removing public like counts [while it seems optional for now from the latest we’ve seen].

AND ALL THE ABOVE ignores the challenges of finding good providers for these services, at a rate you deem affordable. All that time & energy & MONEY, put in could have gone into… a more effective, efficient, & cost friendly way of growing your page(s).

Fundamentally, its a bad idea to use fake engagement if you care the slightest about the account you are thinking of using them on. Practically, its a terrible idea to use fake engagement if you care about the account for some purpose beyond the platform. The engagement contributes little to your account given who its coming from. At best the benefits are minimal, but imagine how high the cost can be in time, energy, & money spent in trying to grow it (then recover it once you see how shit it is).

Last thing I will mention to save any repetitive replies to this post [lets see how this goes]: If you still believe using Fake Engagement is a good idea, or something worth pursuing, feel free to find out for yourself. I purposely didn’t exhaust this thought out because it’s not worth doing so as a complete freebie when I have projects to attend, complete honesty.

Sure, you can buy/create as many accounts as needed to keep up the engagement so you become your own provider, but once the algo notices the pattern, it will start blocking & banning those accounts to kill that. But now your role/job description (in reference to growing your account) is account management. See how much time & energy you’ll have left to actually focus on the page. It’s not as easy as some believe it looks.

You can also do the dress up technique to make sure these accounts look “authentic.” However, you are only playing yourself & using energy trying to prolong something unsustainable. [See also: m/s challenges that most people who engage the method will face. No knock on this method. Major props to everyone who still makes this work]

I’ll repeat this as the closing statement:

You could put all that time, energy & MONEY into…a different way of approaching your account’s growth.

[Last End Note: I respect SM Panels for providing the services they do. Even if their services notably downgraded in quality as a niche, they are helping customers’ ego feel better about their page. Vanity is evergreen for many. It is what it is. However, if you have a heart as a provider, point them to this thread. If they still buy from you, you know you got a good one :wink: ]

I agree with most of it, but do not forget the fact that quite a few people buy engagement or followers for the “social proof” aspect of it. And there a quite a few scenarios where this actually makes sense (it is not many tho). It’s not always black and white :smiley:


Absolutely. Definitely not black and white. With you on that. This is actually one of the few scenarios where it makes sense. Obviously with the tone of the thread, this wasn’t the focus given very few will know how to strategically make use of this for Long Term Success right off the bat. (I think of the breakout news story a long while back of a fashion brand who was exposed for using fakes, the headline being how they invested $1000 into their brand to make 6 figures in a short few months… & defrauded media buyers [lol]. They were already in the IG game for a while though).

With the sufficient savvy, any tool including fakes can prove useful.
I can conceive of several that could work well, just at what cost (immediate or down the road).

Even still, I “argue” if we care even a little bit for the account, not a good idea.
If we care about it any more than that, terrible idea.

It exposes the account to an high level of risk in terms of time energy & money, for relatively little benefit.
I think the amount of questions that come up about it, whether its where to buy them, or if buying them will help, leaves enough ambiguity for many to burn themselves (unnecessarily) simply because it’s discussed as if its a reliable method for Growth, Reach, & Brand Recognition.

I’ve seen it. I’m sure you have to.

I don’t knock the use of them, since at this time, there’s someone who’s impatient who will say “I don’t care, I just want the ‘Social Proof.’” They will point to someone else saying they got their deals or sales because of their follower count & jump right into buying them. But then what do these folks do with it?

Hence, the bad idea.

However, if anyone wanted to test, just do it elsewhere in a testing space.
I leave that as a wise suggestion, as I’m sure you would if asked.
Even though there’s better uses of time energy & money to test with IF there’s not something specific planned with using them.

Many will break their own hearts trying to figure that out.

I respect that choice. It’s our free choice to do what we want.

Definitely not black and white. But the grey (or whatever color blurs those extremes) definitely lean towards one of them. I think if its stated clearly why this is so, people get a clearer sense of how to value using fake engagement before deciding if its worth it.

I appreciate you sharing that. While I steered the discussion to avoiding their usage, it is important to recognize that its all what we make of it. Cheers! :smile:

Also, if you find yourself in the position where you bought likes & don’t want them anymore, or you feel it didn’t add any value, check out this thread from another user about how to fix this: [Dead Instagram Account] How to improve Trust Score

Will add this in to the OP soon because it’s relevant enough & echos a similar message with practical advice.