Your first reaction to my post title could be two thumbs down or just a loud ‘Boo!’ You might not even want to read this post after reading the title as you might think what a faker I am to do this but if you are not that judgmental and if you are open minded (this is not networking though) you might want to read this until the end.
If you have been following my Instagram account before July, you might have noticed the sudden change. Firstly, I started posting images on a daily basis and I posted travel photos even though I am not a travel blogger. Also you might have noticed, or maybe not, from July to August, I had a steady follower increase, around 15 to 20 followers per day and it went on for weeks. And suddenly by September, I had a sudden increase in followers. I bought 5000 followers for 37 Dollars.
My followers on the 24th of July vs 28th of July
In July, I have read an article from an online influencer that I met, on how to increase your instagram followers manually. Looking at the number of her followers, I was so curious if she really gained those 65k followers manually. So I thought, why not give it a try since no human being will be harmed in the process anyway.
I followed her steps religiously, everyday for about 3 to 4 weeks. I followed around 25 accounts each day and got around 15 to 20 follow backs. I posted images daily. I liked photos of other accounts and I got the likes back. I even gained new IG friends whom I exchange sincere likes and comments.
I tried this procedure on my own IG account as well as the three business accounts that I handle and while I found this helpful on my personal account, it wasn’t the same for business accounts.
By the end of August, I came to about 800++ organic followers on instagram and each photo I’ve posted got about 120 to 170 likes.
So my experiment was a success (on my personal account only) and I thought, I’d like to do another experiment.
I wanted to know if more people will follow or follow back if I have thousands of followers. Also, I would like to know if these USERs, will stop following me. (These users are those accounts who will follow you, like all your posts religiously for a while and you, an idiot newbie on instagram will follow back and like all their photos as a gratitude for liking yours until you’ll realize that you are the only one liking their posts because they have unfollowed you already. And that’s how they get their followers, they follow you and unfollow once you have followed them already).
So you might ask now, what is the end result of my 2nd experiment?
It’s a fail.
I still see these USERs following me. But as soon as I realize they are USERs, I don’t follow back anymore. How do you spot USERs? They have like thousands of followers (or more) but they only follow like several hundreds, that’s because they unfollow you after you followed back.
When I just had 800++ legit followers, each photo I posted got more than hundred likes but ever since I bought followers, I never reached a hundred likes anymore. I don’t know if I have been flagged by Instagram or my real followers lost interest after noticing what I did. Or maybe I was just in time with the issue that all influencers experienced recently. They are also not getting as much likes and reach as before, because maybe (they thought) instagram wants everyone to pay for sponsored posts to get more reach. (See, instagram is much more complicated than just posting great images).
Also, I kept losing all these fake followers (which are all from Turkey and Indonesia). I lose about 30 to 80 followers each day and I am only waiting for the time that they will all vanish into thin air, then I can just say, there goes my 37 dollars.
However, if the buying of followers didn’t work well for my personal account, it seemed ok (not really successful but just ok) for business accounts, which I will not further discuss here, since most of us here are personal bloggers, and if needed, I might write a separate post for it.
- I am not really a travel blogger but I posted travel photos for my experiment because I thought that Travel and Fashion are easier niches when it comes to instagram growth. However, I am not fashionable so I just chose the first. I posted travel photos and followed travel bloggers. You will more likely to get a follow back if you follow grammers of the same niche. I tried following instagram accounts of campers and I never got even one follow back.
- Manual instagram growth is really not that easy and as well time consuming but it is rewarding (for those who use this platform as part of their blogging or business). It’s not like you post a great photo today and tomorrow you’ll see people rushing in to hit the follow button. You have to spend two to three hours per day for this.
- Great images and tagging won’t guarantee likes and follows (unless you are extremely popular). You have to like other images so you’ll get a like back too.
- They said, giveaways can also help increase your followers. This is not true for all. You might just end up getting the followers that you don’t really want, and in the end you’ll get cursed if they don’t get the giveaway.
How would you know if an instagram account has legit followers?
As per my observation, 10% or a bit more of your followers would like your photos. So if an account has 10k followers and you see only 200 likes on the photos, most probably, they just bought their followers.
However, this may not be true for those who have millions of followers. Like I said, something is going on with instagram reach lately. I can only learn this once I have a million followers already, and that’s nearly impossible.
- I saw some eyebrows raised when I start being active on instagram. I didn’t want to compete with my fellow bloggers on the travel / lifestyle niche. I was just doing an experiment. I saw some friends laugh at me too. But that’s ok. They could laugh all they want.
- I am handling all the social media accounts of our three properties. This was dumped (dumped because its more like work to me than fun, but sometimes its really fun) on my desk because the previous handler was lazy and lame. Or just lazier and lamer than me. I’m not a trained digital marketeer so I had to learn even at my own expense.
Thanks for reading and hope this post is helpful. Now, you can judge me.