You may be wondering what on Earth possessed me to write this post. I might be committing blogger suicide here, but buying followers is such a taboo in the blogging world. So, I felt the need to talk to you about my experience, and perhaps offer a different perspective.
I think it was around 2011/2012 that I bought some followers. I was fairly new to Instagram and the whole concept of being an Instagrammer or ‘insta-famous’ didn’t really exist yet. I’ve never been one for deferred gratification, being a typical Aries I’m stubborn and very impatient. I just couldn’t figure out why I didn’t have thousands of followers compared to other girls. Even now I still have a nasty, detrimental habit of comparing myself to others in every aspect of my life. And when I don’t feel like I measure up, it does get me down. I’m better at not doing this now, but it does still creep up from time to time.
So, when I saw an ad for a company selling “real” followers, it intrigued me. Being young and naive, I took things at face value. It didn’t even occur to me that it might turn out to be a big deal later on. At the time I was in quite an emotionally abusive relationship. Over time my partner managed to manipulate me into alienating myself from everyone around me. The only friend I had lived a few hours away so I felt completely alone. I was at a point in my life where I needed validation.
My self-worth was measured by my follower count.
All I wanted was some engagement and to feel better about myself. And as blogging wasn’t as popular then as it is now, there were no “how to” guides on how to grow your followers the organic way. I can’t remember exactly how much I paid, I think it was around a fiver for around 500 followers.
One thing I found out very quickly was that although it made my follower count go up, it did absolutely nothing for engagement. Nada. Squat. I didn’t get any more likes, any more comments, so I quickly realised that the whole thing was completely pointless. It was clear they definitely weren’t anything close to “real followers”. I’d unintentionally turned into one of those poor fools that had been duped. I figured “oh well, I’ve only lost a fiver out of it – lesson learned”. But now it’s a very different story.
Everyone who has been “caught out” for buying followers tend to all get tarred with the same brush. It’s generally assumed that they did it purely for deceptive purposes. Granted, in a lot of cases it probably is. But in my case, I guess the only person I was trying to deceive was myself. If you get caught buying followers you’re immediately branded with a scarlet letter. You’re labelled as untrustworthy, fake, a cheat, and “one of those people who bought followers”, regardless of your reasons.
Why am I telling you this?
There are a few reasons. As my blog and social media accounts grow, obviously I have goals to work with different brands and people. I like to pride myself on being honest, so keeping it quiet didn’t feel right. Now, it’s quite easy to find out if someone has purchased followers. So, I don’t want to give anyone else the satisfaction of “outing” me further down the line. I’m holding my hands up and admitting that I made a mistake, an error in judgement. Because, like you, I’m only human.
Also, while there are many different reasons people purchase followers, (none of which make it alright, just to clarify), I feel like a lot of it may just come down to not feeling good enough. That was certainly the case for me. There is so much competition in the blogosphere it’s unreal, and it’s become an actual problem. Bloggers are being pitted against each other and so many people feel like they can’t measure up to the ‘bigger’ bloggers out there. And personally I do get the vibe that there’s a bit of a divide in the blogging world, which is such a shame because everyone deserves to be celebrated for the content they create. It’s almost as though there’s some sort of V.I.P Blogger Club, and by putting yourself out there you’re being judged as to whether or not you’re worthy of a place in the club.
I genuinely believe that women together, who support and champion each other, can heal the world and we can move mountains.
Just to clarify here, it was only Instagram which I purchased followers for. All my Twitter and Blog followers have been completely genuine from Day one. I’d assumed that as it’d been a while since I made my purchase, all the fake accounts had been deleted and weeded out. But recently I went through my followers to see how many were still there, and I was shocked to find that there were still a good couple hundred there. Then I went through and blocked all the accounts I’d bought, so now my follower count is actually accurate. (Even though the algorithm is still shite!)
Also, this was a long time before I’d even started blogging. So I can assure you, it wasn’t done to try and cheat my way ahead in the blogging world. I’m not that kind of person. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing I was in a position I didn’t deserve to be in. Sure I’d love loads of followers, but the difference between the Kimberley who’s speaking to you today and the one 5 years ago, is that I no longer hang every thought on what other people think of me.
If someone doesn’t like me now, I’m absolutely fine with that – have a nice life.
I’m really hoping that you understand why I’ve published this post. I wouldn’t want it to ruin any future opportunities or taint my reputation in any way. (You never know, if it does I could do a Taylor Swift in a few years time). I just wanted to give a perspective from “one of those bloggers who’s bought followers” and to hopefully dispel a bit of the stigma.
Believe me when I say I wish I’d never wasted my money. It’s taught me that when it comes to blogging, or anything else for that matter, there are no shortcuts to get to the top. Only hard work and determination will get you where you want to be. The only way to receive real engagement is to give real engagement. I’ve found that the more I take the time to comment on other people’s blog posts and Instagram photos etc, the more I get in return. And honestly, it’s a thousand times more rewarding to earn it organically than to buy it.
Finally, I’m not religious at all, but there is a quote from the Bible that I’m going to leave you with that I feel is quite appropriate here.
“Let him who is without sin cast the first stone”.