Fake Instagram followers are an epidemic. They’re typically blank accounts with no posts (or spam posts). They might leave long spam comments on your photos, or not engage at all. And no matter where they come from or what they look like, they aren’t going to benefit your account.
You may not realize that fake Instagram followers come with a lot of risks. There are many ways these followers can affect your account — and it’s all negative. If you have fake followers, you’re going to want to remove these from your account right away and make sure they don’t come back.
Here, we discuss how to spot fake Instagram followers, the risks they pose to your account, and how to remove them for good.
What Are Fake Instagram Followers?
There are several websites online that sell Instagram followers to anyone who wants to boost their account. These services might seem attractive — who wouldn’t want to add thousands of followers to your profile with the click of a button? But more often than not, when you buy Instagram followers, the followers you receive will be fake.
Fake Instagram accounts are not actually run by individual humans. Some are mass created by people. Others are mass created by bots. In some cases, these fake accounts might leave spam comments or send sketchy automated messages. Other accounts just sit there, not doing anything except taking up a username.
Instagram has an estimated 95 million total fake accounts. With a total user base of around 1 billion accounts, that means roughly one in 10 Instagram accounts are fake!
How can you spot a fake account? Most fake profiles follow an enormous number of profiles, but have very few followers themselves. If the account has any pictures, check to see what kind of engagement those posts got — low engagement rate is another sign of a fake account.
Spam comments are a sure sign of a fake account. These might be short generic comments like “great post” or “nice job.” Or they may be a long account of how the commenter was magically cured of herpes, diabetes, or cancer.
A generic profile photo (such as something that’s clearly a stock photo), a blank bio, and a username with several random numbers are additional indicators of a fake account.
At the end of the day, the important thing to remember is that fake Instagram followers are not real people. And they aren’t going to do anything good for your account.
Risks Of Getting Fake Instagram Followers
It might seem like there’s nothing wrong with fake Instagram followers. After all, if they’re not doing anything except sitting there, what’s the harm in having them on your account? But these fake followers can actually hurt your profile in several different ways.
Hurts Your Credibility
Fake Instagram followers hurt your credibility and your visibility. Instagram users — that is, the ones who are real people — aren’t dumb. If you have a huge number of followers but you’re only getting a few likes per post, they’re going to smell that something is off. They won’t trust your brand quite as much.
What’s more, if these fake accounts are leaving spam comments on your posts, this might deter real people who would have otherwise been interested in following.
On the other hand, if the fake accounts don’t engage with your posts (which is more common), your engagement rate will be lower — which means Instagram will not promote your account as much in the algorithm. You won’t be able to reach as wide of an audience.
Against Instagram ToS
Did you know fake followers actually are illegal on Instagram? They go against the platform’s Terms of Service. Instagram moderates accounts and removes fake accounts when they find them.
If you have a lot of fake followers, your account might be limited, suspended, or even banned! Instagram is especially aggressive with accounts that buy Instagram followers. Remember, when you buy Instagram followers, you’re going to be largely getting fake accounts.
Fake Instagram accounts send lots of spammy messages and DMs, and nobody wants to deal with that. It can be hard enough staying on top of direct messages from real people. Don’t add bots or spam accounts into the mix, too. You want your inbox to stay clean and organized so you don’t miss any customer service responses.
If you have a lot of fake followers on Instagram, your content isn’t going to get engagement, which is the most important thing. Sure, having a large number of followers is fun to see. But it’s the engagement that’s the lifeblood of your business. Engaged followers are the ones who will buy into whatever you’re selling. And fake followers just aren’t going to do that.
You Won’t Earn Money
Fake followers won’t buy what you’re selling. They aren’t real people. They don’t have money. And they won’t find their way to your website and convert like real followers hopefully will. With fake followers, you have no chance. There’s nothing you can do.
How To Offset Fake Instagram Followers
It’s clear that fake Instagram followers are a big no for any brand that’s serious about succeeding on Instagram. How can you get rid of any fake followers you have, and prevent fake accounts from following you in the future? Here are the best methods you can use to offset fake Instagram followers.
Use an Organic Instagram Growth Service
The best way to get real Instagram followers is to use an organic Instagram growth service. This kind of platform is very different from the websites that sell fake followers. An organic growth service focuses on attracting users to your account who are part of your target audience and interested in what you have to sell.
Kicksta is a popular Instagram growth service that works using a proprietary artificial intelligence technology. When you sign up with Kicksta, you’ll provide the service with a list of target Instagram accounts whose followers you’d like to attract (such as your competitors). Then Kicksta will use your account to like a few photos from each of those followers.
The likes will act as a subtle nudge, encouraging those users to come check out your profile when they see the notification pop up. Your only job is to keep posting high-quality content so those people will follow you and then stick around.
Kicksta works with influencers, brands, and agencies in every industry. And it’s completely safe and within Instagram’s terms of service (unlike purchasing fake followers).
Clean Your Account
It’s fairly easy to go through your followers and identify and remove fake accounts. There are a few different ways you can do this. The first is simply to do it yourself. Scroll through your followers list and use the criteria we discussed above to spot fake accounts. Once you get started, you’ll be able to identify fake accounts pretty quickly. Just tap “Remove” for any accounts you want to remove. Do this slowly over time — Instagram could block you if you start removing too many accounts too quickly.
Another method of cleaning your account is to use a third-party app that removes inactive followers. However, keep in mind that not all of these apps are safe. Some are phishing scams. In other cases, if you’re setting the app to clean your follower list, you’ll need to adjust the settings so they only remove a few accounts per hour.
An alternative method is to remove followers manually, but to let somebody else do it — such as a virtual assistant, or the intern at your company.
Post Quality Content
Make sure you’re attracting real followers in your target audience by posting high-quality content that appeals to them. Do you have a content strategy for your Instagram account, and is it tailored to the audience you want to reach? Every piece of content you post should speak directly to them, providing entertainment or solving a pain point or problem.
Mix things up by posting several different types of content, such as in-feed posts, Instagram Stories, and Instagram Reels. These are all part of a healthy, well-rounded Instagram marketing strategy that’ll reach as many people as possible.
Increase engagement by writing captions that provide value and ask a question. Encourage your followers to comment with their thoughts. Stories are also a great place to interact using polls, questions, or chat boxes. Make sure to promptly respond to any messages or comments you receive. Use the customer’s first name if possible to make the message more personal.
Finally, remember to track metrics and analytics so you can see how your posts are performing. This will help you get insight into your audience and what they want to see. Use Instagram Insights or a third-party analytics tool. Then take the information you receive and use it to make smart decisions about what, when, and how much to post moving forward.
Fight Fake Instagram Followers
Chances are, you probably have more fake Instagram followers than you realize — and these fake accounts hanging out on your profile aren’t doing you any good. Follow these steps to identify fake accounts, remove them from your followers, and prevent them from coming back.