Buying ghost followers has become a common practice among those trying to grow their social media accounts. (Public Domain Pictures)
Almost everyone wants more followers on Instagram. In today’s digitalized world, online popularity can have a direct correspondence to real life popularity, and the more followers you have, the more important you can seem. However, some people are willing to do more than simply letting their account grow over time. Instead, they turn to numerous companies that provide customers with thousands of ghost followers for a fee.
Ghost followers are accounts who have been following you for awhile, but have never engaged in any activity with your content. They have never liked a picture, commented, and rarely view stories. They contribute to the follower amount, but not to the follower engagement.
Purchasing ghost followers is easy and surprisingly cheap, with 10,000 followers going for only $59.99 on InstaBoostGram, a drop in the bucket when looking at what influencers can make.
In fact, buying followers has become commonplace not just for your average user with influencer dreams, but for C List celebrities trying to gain a larger fan base.
A sure sign of ghost followers is the follower to like ratio. Take the amount of followers someone has, and divide it by the amount of likes on their posts. For an average person with 1,000 followers or under, the ratio hovers at around a third. For celebrities, the number is much lower, with only around one to five percent of followers liking a typical post.
Even one of the most famous women in the world, Kim Kardashian, is not immune to the draw of easy followers. Back in 2015, after Instagram purged almost all fake accounts, she lost 1.3 million followers overnight. Only a few months later, Kim had somehow managed to increase her follower account by 3 million in one week, coincidentally just after her half sister Kendall Jenner broke the record for most liked Instagram picture. After all, as I mentioned in my “The Rise of the Nanoinfluencers” article, the more followers you have, the more money you can command from companies, leading even household names to try to increase their follower accounts by unnatural means.
More recently, Paul Hollywood, known and beloved by many as one of the judges on The Great British Bake-Off, was caught having purchased ghost followers on Twitter using the company Devumi, according to the New York Times. When asked to comment on the findings by the Times, he vehemently denied it. Then discovered his account was mysteriously deleted, when his representative sent back the message, “Account does not exist.”
And Kim Kardashian and Paul Hollywood are just a few of the household names that have been caught with fake followers.
Akbar Gbajabiamila, one of the hosts of the popular show American Ninja Warrior, also has been caught up in the scandal. With 125,000 followers on Instagram, most would guess he typically brings in 10,000 likes and up on his posts. It seems like a logical, even conservative number when comparing it to the whopping 125,000.
Akbars percentage is 0.00792%.
Of course, likes fluctuate depending on the post, and no one is ever going toalways hit a certain ratio. But, if a person’s ratio is exceedingly smaller than these, it’s almost a sure sign of ghost followers.
However, this strategy can often backfire for a normal user trying to create a wider following base, as well as for celebrities with established fans. Companies, aware of this new phenomenon, have begun checking the follower engagement and not just the follower count, leaving anyone purchasing ghost followers to jump start a career as an influencer out of luck.
The best way to grow your account isn’t through buying ghost followers. The best way is to create real content to connect with the people you are trying to reach, and in our social-media obsessed world, being genuine is a skill we all need to focus on a little more.