Paying for Followers | The Instagram Game


My Inspiration for Writing this Article

In 2017 I helped organize a fashion show during Miami Fashion Week.  I was needed to sort out some issues in the fitting room where models prepared for the runway. 

It was then that I spotted what would change my take on the modeling world. On a table at the corner of the room lay headshots of the show’s models.  Atop the model’s faces were notes that listed the amount of followers each model had.

The head shots were clearly organized in order of those who had the most followers to those who had the least.

It was then I realized that modeling was not predominantly based on one’s  experience or even one’s look, it was based on how much they were paying for followers!


Instagram. The Marketing Mecca.

It’s the social media era and Instagram continues to define it.  The number of people following your profile matters and users are desperate for more.  It has come to the point where people taking a serious shortcut and multiplying their audience by the dollar.  

In other words, people are paying for followers on Instagram.  

Many users today find themselves at a moral crossroads.  Do they continue to grow their Instagram audience organically, or do they whip out the wallet and succumb to the growing trend?

Instagram, Instant Cash

Instagram serves many purposes.  Years ago, it was all about taking photos and making them cooler with filters only Instagram offered.  Today, your profile is your marketing tool and when you are marketable, businesses want a piece of the action. 

The more followers you have, the more marketable you are. Companies will even pay-up to have you take photos or videos with their items.  


Instagram Profiling

Instagram doesn’t just affect your status among social media, it might affect your ability to get a job.  In the world of fashion, Insta profiling is notably prevalent.

If your a designer looking for an assistant, wouldn’t it be in your best interest to hire someone with a large following?  Odds are you would because now your new employee can show off your designs to all their followers.

There you have it. Your audience and potential buyers just multiplied exponentially. 


A Moral Crosswords and an Interview with Jenna Westenberger (@jennawestofficial).

I asked fashion model @jennawestofficial how she felt about the buying of fake followers.  This is what she had to say.  

Q: Firstly, what sort of modeling experience do you have?

A: I have modeled for Nars makeup, Paul MItchell, Custo Barcelona, Carmen Steffens and more.  But those are the biggest ones. I’ve also been published in magazines. I do campaigns, editorials and runway.  

Q: Certainly you are aware of the vast amount of people who are buying followers.  How do you feel about that. Is it fair or unfair?

A: I think it’s unfair because a lot of models get work dependant upon how many followers they have, and they might not even be looking at a number that’s real. 

It isn’t about talent. There have been times where they ask me to write the amount of followers at a casting and typically they choose the girls that have the most. 

I know personally a lot of models buy their own followers. Meanwhile, many of my followers’ likes and views on stories are from high profile people in the fashion industry, but people don’t take the time to look at that.  

Q: You have tons of experience modeling for well-known designers, has this paid off when it comes to campaigning for Instagram or booking jobs via instagram?

A: In a way it’s paid off, but still, I always feel I have to have that higher number of followers despite my experience.  I know I’d make more money if I had more followers.

Some brands won’t work with me because I don’t have the amount of followers they are looking for.  The big designers typically don’t care as much because they’re almost beyond social media marketing, so it’s usually the start up companies that want the numbers. 

But even still, the number of followers in the modeling world is almost equal your worth in some sense. Some sense, not completely.  

I mean, I’ve gotten booked for bigger jobs and brands verses models who have more followers but get more jobs. 

Q: Have you bought or are you interested in buying followers? 

A: I’ve been told by many people in the industry, including photographers that I should buy followers because it’d help me get booked more.  At one point I bought a small amount and I instantly regretted it because I didn’t feel authentic. They all pretty much disappeared after a while anyway which now I’m kind of happy about.  

I still feel the pressure from people and sometimes I’m conflicted.  For now I refuse to buy followers, but the temptation is always there.  


Followers are Affordable

According to Jenna, the competition for more followers is fierce.  Often the pressure leads Instagrammers to invest. Afterall, iit doesn’t cost much. 

If you type in Buy Instagram Followers in a google search, the first website that pops up is BUZZOID.   The least expensive package is 100 followers for $2.97.  The most expensive package is 5,000 followers for $39.99.  These prices just barely waver among the many other ‘buy followers’ sites.

According to SEMrush, the key phrase ‘buy Instagram followers’ comes up with an average search volume of 74,000, and the trend continues to grow. 


What Is Instagram Doing About It?

Instagram does not offer the buying of followers, but it does offer sponsored ads, which means that your post will be viewed by more people according to the demographic you choose.  

As far as buying these followers from external sites, Instagram has long been trying to weed out these fake followers. What might happen is that a buyer’s amount of fake followers begins to diminish.  This means Instagram has most likely audited your account and found some shady looking profiles following you.

TIP: You can often spot fake followers yourself.  Their profiles might have no pictures at all, or it may only have two or three.  


You’ve Been Instagram Audited

Instagram auditing programs are becoming more prevalent.  These programs will show you the number of fake Instagram followers versus the number of real Instagram followers. 

Businesses that are particularly savvy about the trend of buying followers might ask you for an Instagram audit report.  One company offers these results pertaining to social media influencers. 

Side Note: To be deemed an influencer, one must have thousands upon thousands of followers.   

These companies that pay the Instagrammers to do their campaigns might be wasting their time and money. Who they thought had a mass following may have actually bought most of their followers.

With these auditing programs, brands can become aware of which influencers will pay off. Furlough takes it to another level where the brand can not only see how many true followers the influencer has, their true fans, meaning those who are consistently viewing their posts, what categories they rank for and more.  

Still, most of us are completely unaware such an audit exists.  According to Semrush, the key phrase Instagram auditing comes up with a search volume 5903.6, far less than the search volume for the key phrase ‘buy Instagram followers.’ 


How to Grow Instagram Followers Organically

The key to gaining followers organically is to post quality content.  Post photos and edit them. Utilize Instagram’s filter feature.

You can tailor these filters based on what style the photo might inspire.  Do you want the picture to appear old or full of contrast and vibrancy? It all depends on your preference.

Try and get to a point when you are posting daily so your audience can get to know you.   

Remember to use hashtags and tags!  For more information about growing your amount of followers, here are some sites that’ll give you plenty of tips.  

10 Ways to Improve Your Instagram

Instagram Aesthetics Article


Edit With Your Photo Apps

There is no shortage of apps you can use to further enhance your photos and videos.  

Some examples of FREE photo editing apps are

  • Canva 
  • Spark Post 
  • Adobe Post
  • SnapSeed 
  • Layout
  • Pitch Stitch

You can check out more free and paid apps at 100 best Apps or Best Photo-Editing Apps


Edit Your Video Apps

Some examples of FREE video editing apps are

  • VideoLab 
  • Ripl
  • iMovie
  • Blender
  • Lightworks

For more information on paid and free video editing apps visit

6 Great Video Editing Apps for Mobile

Mobile Video Editing Apps


Smile for the Insta-Cam

Whether or not you choose to buy followers is up to you.  It is undeniably tempting to go for the instant gratification and make the purchase. 

However, if you choose not to buy followers, there are plenty of ways to organically attract more.  Either way, try and make your Instagram experience fun as it was meant to be. Get creative and tell your story!