Have you ever bought fake followers for your Instagram account? Ever lived to regret it? Do you want to know how to get rid of fake followers fast, but have no idea how to do it?
We’ve discovered an efficient way for fashion bloggers and influencers to clear out fake followers (a.k.a. ‘bots and “ghost” followers) from their Instagram and Twitter accounts.
There are so many reasons why a fashion blogger or influencer would choose to buy fake followers for, say, their Instagram or Twitter accounts – not that it's okay. And while IFB would never recommend it, we think it’s important to understand the rationale behind it, before judging others.
So, let’s go back a few years.
In 2012, buying a few thousand fake followers to help your fashion blog appear “credible” and “established” to potential (real) followers (and brands) wasn’t as taboo as it is today.
Nobody was throwing around terms like “Instagram fraud” and “fakefluencer”, and this was well before #regulations were rolled out by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Back then social media was very much the wild, wild west and many of us in the fashion blogging industry were doing whatever it took to stay ahead of the curve.
Some of us were (wrongly) advised by others that each and every ghost follower was essential if we wanted to land brand sponsorships and collaborations. Others were simply curious or trying to get their “foot in the door” of the influencer world.
Now in 2021, we know that if you want to increase your following and rate of engagement on Instagram, a blogger or influencer needs to put in the time and effort themselves. There are no shortcuts. And with so many fashion bloggers opting to use Instagram as their main blogging platform, investing more resources in learning how to build a strong social media following is 100% worth it.
Translation: Buying fake followers just isn't worth it (not that it ever was!), even if many of us have done it in the past.
Also no, no such thing as “free Instagram followers” exists – despite the promotion by some third-party apps. If it was really that easy, we would all have 6 number figures in our follower counts.
Want to increase your rate of engagement on Instagram? And organically grow your following while you're at it? Check out IFB's Instagram Essentials: 10 Day Course For Fashion Bloggers!
If you've bought social media followers in the past and want to get rid of them, we can help you out. We've got all the tips and tricks on how to get rid of fake followers on Instagram and Twitter below.
Be sure to check them out below if your social media following could use a good “spring cleaning”, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy Fake Followers for Instagram and Twitter
It may seem enticing to simply buy a few thousand followers rather than letting it organically grow over time, but the reality is it may hurt your social media accounts – and your credibility – in the long run.
In a 2018 press release, Instagram stated that they will be deleting fake followers themselves, should suspicions be raised. Nowadays in 2021, it's no wonder that Instagram uses powerful machine learning tools to aid them in this pursuit.
This not-so-new approach to handling unauthentic activity will only impact you if you bought fake followers. Keep in mind that Instagram will only focus on exterminating the accounts they deem as fake followers and won't bother your real ones. This is especially dangerous to influencers that boast a large number of fake followers – if caught, they are likely to face a downfall, which can severely impact their business.
Today any Instagram influencer understands that buying followers in 2021 is a huge no-no – but that doesn't stop some from doing it. You can read more about why you shouldn't buy fake followers, but we've rounded up four key issues bloggers and influencers could face below, if they choose to buy their following instead of authentically growing it…
1. It Can Hurt Your Rates Of Engagement
“When you buy followers or fans, you aren’t getting people who are interested or willing to engage with you. You are merely buying numbers.” – Ian Anderson Gray
Fake Instagram followers don’t care about that cute photo of your dog you just posted and definitely won’t swoon over that cupcake recipe you just shared on your feed. Why you might ask? Well because they are just meaningless strings of data, sitting there in your follower count, not doing anything in particular.
So don’t expect any comments, likes, or other sorts of interaction from your newly acquired friends. The company that sold them to you most likely charges extra for that.
Keep in mind that the engagement/interaction vs. followers ratio is a big concern for brands and marketers in 2021. That is why when you partake in such transactional deals, you might risk a lot more than a decrease in engagement.
2. Get Ready For Insta-Spam
“Once you start to incorporate bought followers into your community, you become a platform for spam. Once those followers are inside your community they can target your genuine customers. They will target them with their own spam . . . If your brand becomes known for spamming followers with irrelevant nonsense, they are going to stop following you.” – AJ Agrawal, Huffington Post
Buying fake profiles to support your following is a recipe for disaster in many ways but what’s even worse is that it can damage your real Instagram followers as well.
The bots can march onto their accounts and start spamming them by creating big groups with random handles they pull out from your profile. Most often they try to push a suspicious-looking link on them, which in most cases is – you guessed it – a virus.
3. It's Pretty Obvious
“For Influencer accounts that have organic growth, there tends to be a fairly consistent trend line of follower growth. For accounts that have purchased followers, you can see the growth spikes very inconsistently and rapidly from day to day or week to week. Social Blade is a free tool that you can pump any Instagram, Twitter or YouTube URL into to check out their follower growth.” – Danielle Lewis, Scrunch
Any person with an ounce of common sense can call out your ghost followers with as much as a glance through your follower list. The typical fake account has very random-looking handles with plenty of random letters and numbers, and a quick look through their profiles shows us that they often have few random posts and almost never post stories.
And come on, who doesn’t post stories in 2021?
What’s more, nowadays PR reps and marketers have access to tools that can easily reveal the true amount of influence a blogger or influencer yields. So avoid yourself some serious embarrassment and don't bother approaching any brands unless you're certain your following is 100% authentic. Most likely, they will be able to see through your facade of ghost followers.
4. Say Goodbye To Your Reputation
“It’s very easy to see through. Let’s say you come across a profile with 100,000 followers. You go through their photos and find that every post has less than 50 likes. Red flag! The Followers to Likes ratio is a dead giveaway – and this lack of authenticity can easily put a bad taste in your real followers and potential customers’ mouths.” – Kaley Halliburton, katiewagnersocialmedia.com
The influencer marketing world can be pretty small, and word travels fast when it's been revealed that a blogger's following is inauthentic. If you are a fake influencer, there is a big chance that brands could even blacklist you, as they have been known to do that with accounts that support unauthentic activity.
Keep in mind that figuring out a profile is swarming with Instagram bots isn’t rocket science – there are plenty of tools and plugins that do the job in seconds.
Buying followers is also against Instagram’s terms of service, so you just might have your account suspended as well.
The bottom line is buying fake followers is dishonest and not worth the professional risk. Remember – one genuine Instagram follower is worth 100 ghost accounts.
How To Get Rid Of Fake Followers on Instagram
So you have decided to get rid of all your ghost Instagram followers? Wise choice. Probably the best (and most secure) way to make this happen is by going manually through your follower list and single-handedly cleansing it. Sure, it sounds like a lot of work but it will give you the peace of mind that you got every single one.
Here is a checklist you can follow as an aid to do the best possible job:
Step 1: Open a new doc on your computer. This will help you keep track of your progress, especially if you have a lot of followers. Distractions are all around us and shouldn’t be underestimated.
Step 2: Start scrolling through your followers. Instagram introduced “Categories”, which can help filter out people faster. To make things easier, you can start with “Accounts You Don’t Follow Back”. Here’s a quick reminder of things to keep an eye out for:
- Instagram handles with lots of numbers or gibberish.
- Accounts with low follower count but high following count.
- Random, seemingly spammy content.
- Low engagement – low comment and likes count on their posts.
Step 3: Get deleting. Trust your gut feeling when deciding whether or not an account is fake and keep in mind that quality is above quantity.
If you are cleansing straight from your followers list, just hit the “remove” button and confirm your choice. If you want to remove a follower from their profile instead, hit the 3 top right dots and choose the “remove follower” option.
Sheesh, this was exhausting! The good news is there are tons of apps out there that can help an Instagram user “clean out” their fake followers.
So, if you're struggling and want to know how to get rid of fake followers on a mass scale, consider checking them out.*
Spam Guard is the first intelligent cleaning and monitoring service that works against spam activity on Instagram. It will save you once and for all from ghosts, annoying shops, unmutual follows and inactive accounts in just a couple of clicks. The software allows for a free trial and if you choose to continue your subscription, the price depends on the number of bots in your audience.
The great thing about Spam Guard is that you can also add 2,3 or even 4 accounts to your profile, to make sure everything with them is in check. You don’t even have to download an app in order to use it – Spam Guard still works even if you close your browser. The handy daily reports that you get from the software helps you further keep track of any ongoing activity with your precious IG account. Spam Guard can also lend you a hand in clearing out fake likes, suspicious accounts, or anything else that seems like fake engagement.
So, if you're signed up to a platform like Fohr (and want to keep a strong follower health score), Spam Guard will become your best friend. It allows you to efficiently remove “lurker” accounts from following you Instagram, something which could help improve your rate of engagement.
Overall, Spam Guard is a very useful app for any blogger or influencer that wants to “clean out” their Instagram following, and we highly recommend it.
What to do Instead of Buying Instagram Followers
Hardly anything worthwhile is achieved overnight. If you are serious about increasing your Instagram following, be prepared to do this the hard way. Trust us – if you do the work, it will be much more rewarding in the long term.
Trust your passion and don’t get discouraged easily. Building a following takes time and plenty of patience, so just go with the process. Get to know your target audience and align your content with their wants and needs. And don’t forget to be consistent.
How To Get Rid Of Fake Followers on Twitter
When it comes to removing fake, ghost, or ‘bot followers from Twitter, the process isn’t straightforward.
Unlike Spam Guard, there are no third party app that act as a one-stop-shop for deleting spam followers. If you’re serious about cleaning out your Twitter account, you’ll need to use two or three together in order to achieve the best results.
First, you need to take a hard look at your followers and figure out who is fake. We recommend using a combination of Fakers from Status People, Twitter Audit, and Bot or Not to analyze your following. All three tools are free to access and give some solid insight into your audience. Once you’ve determined which accounts are fake, block these “followers” from your account. Doing this will force the fake accounts to unfollow your Twitter account. It may take some time, as you will need to individually block each fake follower. The good news is Twitter does not cap the number of users you can block in a day.
So, what if you’ve purchased thousands of fake Twitter followers, and don’t have the time to individually delete and block them all?
You really have limited options. The best thing to do, if you want to be honest going forward, is to delete your Twitter account and start over from scratch.
Annoying? Yep. But it's always better to be honest than get caught down the line for buying fake followers.
When In Doubt, Disclose It
If you have purchased fake followers in the past and don't have a chance to remove them from your social media accounts, the best thing to do is be honest about it.
If a brand or marketer approaches you with a collaboration or paid sponsorship, disclose it before signing on to the campaign. Tell a brand upfront that you've purchased, say, a few hundred fake followers years ago when everyone was doing it, and it may not affect your relationship. Nowadays, most brands are looking to tap into more than just a high follower count, so having the odd few “ghost” followers might not be a deal breaker.
Have you bought fake followers in the past? Has it affected you? Let us know in the comments below.
*Please note that some of these apps maybe considered third-party apps by Instagram (which is technically against Instagram’s Terms of Service), but they can be very useful in unfollowing and blocking a large amount of accounts in a short period of time. Use them at your discretion.