Even though Instagram can be a great marketing platform, there’s no need for anyone to resort to annoying methods to make it (i.e. follow-unfollow method). It doesn’t even boost your engagement – it actually pushes it down. Also, it’s kind of a dick move.
What’s the Follow-Unfollow method?
The follow-unfollow method is when a would-be influencer follows you and a lot of other people, hoping that you’ll follow back. After some time, they’ll unfollow your content, you being none-the-wiser of their actions. It’s not as petty as it would initially come off as, as they’ve essentially just manipulated users and other content creators for free and undeserved reputation.
Follower count is known to be how IG separates “weight classes” of influencers: nano (less than 1k), micro (1-100k), macro (100k-1M), and mega (1M+). It’s commonly believed to be a popular model to increase IG presence if done right, but most users tire of seeing it done to them. Not only is the method ineffectual, a violation of terms and services, and annoying, but it also hinders their own engagement rating. Engagement is what determines your actual community activity, and more followers are actually counterproductive to your own credibility and attractiveness to sponsors.
Who Does This Sort Of Thing?
For the most part, it’s done by people who take IG growth to its illogical conclusion, using every means available to do it. It doesn’t work, of course. Users who do this can (and tend to) get flagged, discredited, and have their influence lowered. That’s because doing this is a violation of not only IG terms and services but community guidelines. Your influencer status won’t be taking off when people realize you’ve been manipulating their interests, and bad press spreads fast.
For others, bots are used. These tend to be the ones sold by most shady follower providers. If the accounts are badly done, their synthetic status will really stick out. Lack of follower count and post history coupled with strangely inflated following numbers are the kind of accounts to look out for.
Some users hit the middle ground and automate their process with third-party applications. These type of followers probably haven’t even seen your accounts.
All three can get pretty darn irritating to deal with over time.
What Makes This Different From Follower Buying?
First off, you get what you pay for. Social media marketing providers are dedicated to providing the follower count padding you’d want. There’s no disruption or manipulation involved: it’s just a business transaction to get your account of the ground.
It also doesn’t drop your credibility. People will notice and tag you as one of the follow-unfollow accounts, with IG deleting (bots) or flagging (users) accordingly.
Finding a good source to buy followers from (i.e. BuySocialMediaMarketing) minimizes this issue. Good follower inflation providers deliver accounts that act credibly and dynamically. It’s basically the difference between asking for handouts manipulatively and paying a fixer to help get your network off the ground.
How To Actually Deal With These Accounts?
One of the easiest ways you have to avoid these types of users is simply making your account harder to find. The algorithm lets you develop and control your feed and interactions organically. If you want specific content or communities you’ve got to nudge your account in the right direction. Use their many features to increase the likelihood of your feeds and your following’s feeds to more likely be available for both of you. Interacting with people who you already follow or follow you is good for your credibility and great for avoiding unfollowers and bots. Specify your interests to limit the number of follower trolls you’ll be likely to encounter.
Use your hashtags, likes, mentions, and comments selectively, or you might find your feed saturated with irrelevant content or spam accounts. The algorithm tailors itself to how you use it and who you want to be connected with, so you’ll have to be careful in how you develop it. If you don’t want your account to feel limited by this just make an alternate non-commercial profile for personal use – Instagram account making is free anyway!
Hashtags in particular are pretty important in account growth. You’ll want one that’s somewhat specific – two-word tags are golden – and free from bots. Popular (read: competitive) hashtags on general things don’t allow you to stick out. Plus, bots and follow-unfollow accounts just love working with those overused tags. Modestly successful tags are better suited to carve out your IG niche. Just search for your hashtags. It’s better if they’re in the 250k-500k mention range to maximize your reach without being overshadowed by other users.
That’s all that can be done for avoiding it. If you want to dispose of any bots and unfollowers already in your follower base, you’re gonna have to get a bit more proactive. You could always do it manually, but for accounts numbering in four-figures and above, that’s just tedious. Sometimes, you’re gonna have to resort to similar methods to deal. In this case, that’d be third-party applications. We’ll be using Combin as an example for this, but there are plenty of outsider software available for use as well. We’ll walk you through how it’d go here.
Step 1: Access their site. Input your email account and download Combin (free).
Step 2: Type your IG account name and password (just for the IG access token).
Step 3: Open the “Users” option to access your followers.
Step 4: Open the “Not followers” tab on the upper right.
Step 5: Unfollow people accordingly. Use “Select All” if you want to totally purge people who don’t follow you back. Keep in mind doing so will likely remove celebrities and influencers from your feed.
Please don’t ever forget that Instagram was built to connect people with one another using images, videos, and other kinds of content. The main point of it is carving out a place in your own little shared community. Profit and presence is secondary to this (though welcome). Some people try to justify the follow-unfollow trend to a lot of criticism from other people sick and tired of that crap.
If you want to turn it into something you can benefit from, that’s fine. More than fine, in fact. IG has morphed into a very profitably platform over the years. Just avoid resorting to shady and unscrupulous ways to do that. People can tell when you do, IG admins would single you out eventually, and there will be consequences from both groups.
Good luck, have fun, play by the rules, and remember that followers aren’t everything.