Skip to content

Want to Buy TikTok Followers? Here’s What Happens When You Do

Is it worth it to buy TikTok followers? We did an experiment to find out. The results surprised us. And they might surprise you too.

Stacey McLachlan September 29, 2021
cover illustration

Thinking about buying TikTok followers? I get it. In this instant-gratification world, of course it’s tempting to buy the metrics you want.

If we as a society have developed the technology to order a pizza with an emoji on Twitter, why shouldn’t I be able to become TikTok famous with the click of a button?

Organic growth just takes so much time and you want a nice juicy follower list nowwwww!

Bonus: Download the free 10-Day Reels Challenge, a daily workbook of creative prompts that will help you get started with Instagram Reels, track your growth, and see results across your entire Instagram profile.

TikTok has been downloaded more than two billion times, and has 100 million active users in the U.S. This is the place to see and be seen, but it’s increasingly challenging to stand out from the crowd or cement yourself as a TikTok power user.

So it’s really no surprise that dozens of businesses have popped up to sell TikTok follows and likes — a shortcut to TikTok success would leave so many more hours in the day to watch wholesome families dancing to “Blinding Lights.”

The question is: does it actually work? Does buying TikTok followers really help your brand — or does it have the potential to do the opposite, and harm your social media reputation?

Based on dozens of episodes of Behind the Music, our previous experiment about buying Instagram followers and most of human history, we had a sneaking suspicion that money, even on TikTok, can’t buy happiness.

But, of course, there was only one way to find out for sure. So I whipped out the ol’ credit card and went shopping for some fresh TikTok followers. Let the grand experiment begin!

Here’s the video version, where we buy TikTok followers AND comments:

How to buy TikTok followers

It’s really not hard to buy TikTok followers. I didn’t have to go hang around by the docks at night, waiting to exchange a suitcase full of money to some guy on a yacht. (But if I had needed to do that, please let the record show that my alias would have been ‘Esmerelda Diamanté.’)

Instead, I just found a website that felt the least likely to steal my credit card information, picked the package that suited my needs and clicked “buy.”

Followers started to pour in within the hour.

fake tiktok followers on the author's account

Even though I knew it was fake, it still felt weirdly exciting watching my follower account skyrocket. Maybe Tatianna3838 would fall in love with my content and we’d become real friends! Anything was possible!

Author's TikTok account before and after buying TikTok followers

Where to buy TikTok followers

You can buy TikTok followers from a variety of websites. Some look like slick professional marketing resources; others are decidedly sketchy. But all offer a range of packages, usually that get cheaper by volume — the more followers you buy, the more affordable they are.

A few common options include TikFuel, TokMatik, StormLikes, Social-Viral and Social Wick, but there are dozens and dozens of websites out there all offering pretty much the same thing: an exchange of your cold hard cash for a fleeting feeling of popularity.

different website pages to buy TikTok followers from

For this experiment, I decided to “invest” in followers from two different sites, just in case one was a scam. I treated myself to 2,500 followers from Tokmatik for $39.99 USD, and 1,000 more followers from TikFuel for the bargain-bin price of $16.47 USD.

For all the math fiends in the house, that worked out to less than $0.02 per new follower. It’s basically like I couldn’t afford not to!

payment confirmation for "buy tiktok followers" from two different sites

How much does it cost to buy TikTok followers?

Prices vary by source, but just crunching the numbers from five random sites, it looks like you’ll pay around $3.50 on average for 100 TikTok followers, or about $21 for 1,000 TikTok followers.

WebsitePrice Per 100 FollowersPrice Per 1,000 Followers
Social Wick$1.32$13.19

There also are a couple of subscription plans out there if you want continued growth. With Managergram, for instance, you can spend $49 a month for 1,000 “real” followers. This package also promises you 200 views per video and 50-plus likes for each post.

But accumulating followers is one thing. Actually thriving on social media is another. And even 3,500 followers, purchased for pennies on the dollar, didn’t do anything at all to help me become a TikTok sensation. Rude, Tatianna3838!

Does buying TikTok followers work?

Buying 3,500 TikTok followers cost me $75 and was totally worthless.

Yes, buying TikTok followers did get me more TikTok followers. Because that is literally what I paid for.

But that’s it.

Unsurprisingly, buying TikTok followers does not create a great audience, no matter how groundbreaking one’s content may be. My engagement was flat-out terrible.

It turns out paying strangers in Latvia or wherever to hit that subscribe button doesn’t actually build a strong and loyal fan base. And forget the “likes” or “shares” — it didn’t even translate to an increase in straight-up views.

For instance, how did this video of me juggling toilet paper to the song “Tequila” only get 151 views? What kind of cold-hearted monsters did I hire to be part of this experiment?! I want my money back!


♬ Tequila – The Champs

I didn’t have to deal with the sting of rejection long though. TikTok noticed pretty quickly that I was popular among the fake-accounts community and sent me a polite note that they would be culling my new followers post-haste.

two messages from TikTok to the author's TikTok account about "reducing inauthentic follows"
So what’s the big lesson here, besides the fact that Tatianna3838 will not be invited to my birthday party after all?

If your goal is to build a community, increase your reach to future customers, make conversions, drive traffic, go viral, or spread your message to an interested audience — a.k.a. the reason any brand starts a social account in the first place — don’t bother buying followers. Just cut out the middleman and light your money on fire.

3 reasons NOT to buy TikTok followers

1. They’ll ruin your engagement rate and your chances of getting on the ForYou page

Not only will your fake followers not give you any likes or comments (and they definitely won’t be doing any Duets), the massive discrepancy between your number of followers and your engagement will look particularly gruesome.

This will imply to the TikTok algorithm that your content is probably not worthy of sharing around in the For You feed, which will hurt your opportunities for organic growth.

Better to have a smaller number of real, honest-to-goodness fans who obsess over everything you do than a huge follower count who all just sit there silently. Quality over quantity!

2. They won’t last long

While it’s not technically against its terms of service, TikTok does not want you to buy followers.

All of the social media platforms want real people creating and interacting with real content. Bots and pay-to-play accounts are not helpful in building a fun, community-focused online ecosystem. So if your followers are flagged as being bots or fakes, they’ll eventually get removed… which means you may just find yourself shopping for friends again.

3. You’re not fooling anyone

Maybe you thought that having a big juicy number above “followers” would impress someone — your other fans, your competitors, brands you’re keen to work with — but the reality is, this ruse only works for a few seconds.

Any semi-experienced social user is going to quickly deduce that your popularity is a sham. I mean, just look at my list. Multiple people named “Tik Toker.” A suspicious lack of profile pictures. Notes from TikTok telling me they’ve been removed for suspicious activity.

All things that are going to be pretty hard to explain to a potential brand partner or prospective client. Busted.

fake TikTok account called "Tik Toker" with no profile picture

What to do instead of buying TikTok followers

There are so many better ways to build your TikTok following, and none of them involve shopping sprees.

Authentic, organic growth comes from great content, strategic posting schedules, and digging into the analytics to get to know your audience on every level.

Yeah, it’s gonna take time, and creativity, and probably a little bit of sweat (just me?), but the results are true-blue followers who like you for you, and not just your money. As a great philosopher (J.Lo) once said: “Love don’t cost a thing.”

Ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work? Here’s our complete guide to getting followers on TikTok the right way.

Bonus: Download the free 10-Day Reels Challenge, a daily workbook of creative prompts that will help you get started with Instagram Reels, track your growth, and see results across your entire Instagram profile.

Become a better social marketer.

Get expert social media advice delivered straight to your inbox.

By Stacey McLachlan

Stacey McLachlan is an award-winning writer and editor from Vancouver with more than a decade of experience working for print and digital publications.

She is editor-at-large for Western Living and Vancouver Magazine, author of the National Magazine Award-nominated 'City Informer' column, and a regular contributor to Dwell. Her previous work covers a wide range of topics, from SEO-focused thought-leadership to profiles of mushroom foragers, but her specialties include design, people, social media strategy, and humor.

You can usually find her at the beach, or cleaning sand out of her bag.

Read more by Stacey McLachlan

Related Articles