We’ll say it right here, right now: You should NEVER buy Instagram likes.

With over 2 billion monthly active users, Instagram offers a huge opportunity for advertisers.

At the same time, there are over 200 million businesses marketing their products on the platform. To stand out from the competition, it can be tempting to buy Instagram likes.

You might think it’s easy—spend some money, immediately boost your profile, and potentially get new customers and sales. However, buying Instagram likes will not get you real clicks and conversions, as the results aren’t going to drive genuine value or meaningful audience engagement for your business.

In this article, you’ll learn how buying Instagram likes negatively impacts the growth of your social profile, interactions, and the audience’s perception of your brand. But most importantly, you’ll learn why resorting to this tactic is ineffective for marketing on Instagram and what you should do instead of buying likes.

How buying Instagram likes works

When you buy Instagram likes, you pay a company selling likes and you’ll see the number of likes without your account artificially increase. All they need is your Instagram profile, email address and the posts you want the likes on.

So, why do experts strongly discourage resorting to this tactic?

We’ll get there. But first, let’s go through some common questions about how buying Instagram likes works.

Can you buy Instagram likes?

Yes. You can purchase likes for posts on your Instagram. However, most successful Instagram accounts don’t rely on this method.

What does it mean to buy Instagram likes?

Instagram likes are a simple yet powerful way to demonstrate social media engagement. A large number of likes on a post usually indicates high engagement or success.

But consistently achieving likes is hard work. Buying Instagram likes only creates the illusion of a strong Instagram presence.

Keep in mind that these artificial “likes” typically come from bot accounts, not real people.

Does buying Instagram likes work?

No. It never works.

While the number of likes does go up, it doesn’t necessarily contribute towards the growth of your business.

Fake Instagram likes can look spammy and anyone can check if the likes are coming from phony Instagram accounts. This can significantly harm the credibility of not only your Instagram profile, but your brand as a whole.

5 reasons why you shouldn’t buy Instagram likes

Buying fake Instagram likes is never a good idea.  When you buy likes you risk losing social media credibility and growth.

Let’s dive into five more specific reasons why you should avoid buying Instagram likes:

1. It distorts your engagement metrics

Fake likes might artificially boost your engagement rate, but they don’t provide real social media engagement from the audience you’re trying to reach. You might end up with a high like count but no meaningful interactions in the comments.

It’s not hard to tell when an account has a skewed ratio of followers/likes to engagement. This can make it difficult to monitor your social media growth.

Having genuine likes and comments gives you a clearer picture of which posts are performing well and how you can improve your Instagram strategy.

2. Sends a poor signal to the Instagram algorithm

Instagram shows posts with high engagement more frequently on users’ feeds and Explore pages. But the algorithm is becoming increasingly smarter at analyzing user activity.

The number of likes on a post is not the only factor Instagram’s algorithm considers to gauge engagement levels. If you buy fake likes but have no comments or other follower activity, the algorithm can easily detect the mismatch in metrics.

Over time, buying fake likes can backfire and work against the algorithm, making your content less visible to relevant audiences.

3. Influencers may hesitate to partner with you

Instagram influencer marketing works best when both parties benefit from the partnership, and no creator wants to work with brands that have no real engagement to show.

Plus, partnering with questionable brands can negatively affect their own credibility. This is also why most influencers avoid promoting or working with accounts that buy Instagram likes.

4. You could permanently lose your entire Instagram account

Instagram discourages its users from buying fake likes and fabricating these numbers. In 2018, the company started taking strict action against accounts involved in this phony tactic.

The social media platform is built for “real experiences, including genuine interactions” and any inauthentic activity can easily be detected by their fast-evolving algorithm.

Instagram wants users to grow organically. If caught, your account can get permanently banned and those extra likes won’t even matter.

5. Fake likes won’t increase sales

There are millions of businesses on Instagram marketing and selling products on the platform. But fake likes won’t do anything for your sales—a solid Instagram strategy would.

Why? Because buying likes is not an indicator of authentic engagement. Without high-quality content that attracts the right people, you won’t be able to generate leads, build relationships or convert followers into customers.

What to do instead of buying Instagram likes

Instagram knows how to distinguish fake likes from real likes—and so does your audience. That’s why you should strive for real, organic engagement on your content.

Here are alternative ways to get more likes on Instagram instead of purchasing them.

Create quality content

Pressing ‘like’ is an instinct when you come across content that truly resonates with you. This is exactly what you want from your Instagram followers.

Aim to produce consistent, high-quality content tailored to your audience and niche. While there’s no magic formula to help you do that, here are some best practices you can follow:

  • Be authentic and creative. Post original, unique content that’s aligned with your brand voice. Write catchy captions, share behind-the-scenes footage, and educate and inspire your audience with expert insights.
  • Establish a cohesive aesthetic. Use colors and visuals that are not just high-quality but also consistent with your brand to attract followers to your Instagram profile.
  • Use data to guide your strategy. Successful Instagram brands make data-driven decisions, especially when it comes to creating content. Use Instagram analytics to understand your audience’s behavior, demographics and interests, and use that to craft engaging posts that click with them.
instagram audience insights

Stay active on Instagram

Consistently and actively posting on your Instagram account is the best way to get organic followers, likes and engagement.

Here are some tips for improving your presence on the platform:

  • Post at the best times. Use Insights to find out when your audience is most active, and post during peak hours to boost visibility and engagement. The best time to post for your brand can vary, but here are the global averages we found at Sprout Social:
Best times to post on Instagram Global 2022
  • Engage with your followers. Respond timely to comments and direct messages, comment on other posts and build connections to emphasize your presence on the platform.
  • Stick to a consistent posting schedule. Post frequently and consistently without gaps to maintain your presence and keep your followers interested. Use Sprout’s Instagram scheduling tool to plan posts in advance and stick to a predictable schedule.
Sprout publishing platform

Create an Instagram hashtag strategy

Hashtags are key players in finding success on Instagram.

They’re not just great tools for exposure and engagement, but they can also help you increase brand awareness and go viral on the platform.

Here are some ways to create a solid Instagram hashtag strategy:

  • Use hashtags to improve searchability. Instagram users search for and follow hashtags to find relevant content. Using specific hashtags can help your posts show up in front of the right people, even if they’re not following your account.
  • Create and encourage branded hashtags. Use branded hashtags to promote your business in unique ways, such as through a hashtag campaign or challenge.
  • Follow hashtags to keep track of trends. Find out what’s currently trending by following popular hashtags in your niche, and align your content accordingly.

Grow organically without buying Instagram likes

Buying Instagram likes may offer instant gratification. But fake likes can never replace a powerful, organic Instagram marketing strategy.

Our advice? Take your time and grow organically.

Instead of wasting hundreds of dollars on fake Instagram likes, invest in quality content and authentic engagement that will translate into higher ROI, sales and growth for your business.

One way you can invest is by checking out our Instagram management tools. See how you can work smarter and gain powerful insights with Sprout.