Why is the mass follow/unfollow bad?
And why shall I stop doing it for all my clients and my own accounts?
How many videos on Youtube recommend using the follow/unfollow Instagram trick with Captivate? I used the syphoning method to gain about 50-100+ new followers a day. It consist of following people who are following our followed by XYZ. Although I always try to give 3 likes to each new followers; at some point, it became impossible with the 30+ accounts that I manage. And, I recently received a DM informing me that it was the second time that day that I followed someone. Oops!
What is Mass Following?
The Follow/Unfollow trick, or mass following, is commonly used by micro and middle influencers and shops to find new followers and clients. It has very simple technique:
- An influencer's account follows you, or likes, or posts a comment on Instagram.
- You get a notification and follow them back
- They unfollow you after a couple of days.
Instagrammers use special tools and apps for automatic Follow/Unfollow that starts following other users based on the #, following, follower, location or even a specific post. I can ask to follow only those who like or comment because to syphon a highly reactive audience.
Why you should stop using the follow/unfollow Instagram trick immediately
1. It is against Instagram rules to use automated software of any kind - even an app.
The risk you take with automation is that it is against Instagram's Terms of Service as stated here:
You must not create accounts with the Service through unauthorized means, including but not limited to, by using an automated device, script, bot, spider, crawler or scraper.
And Community Guidelines:
Help us stay spam-free by not artificially collecting likes, followers, or shares, posting repetitive comments or content, or repeatedly contacting people for commercial purposes without their consent.
Overstepping these terms may result in deleted content, disabled accounts, or other restrictions. When detected the first time, your account will usually be temporarily blocked, but in some cases, you may get a permanent ban.
2. Your credibility is at risk
Mass following is spam in the worst sense, and Instagrammers who use this trick manipulate users' attention.
Follow/Unfollow practice is very annoying for people who are using Instagram to connect and share. When an influencer follows you, engages with you, and then in several days or a week later unfollows you, this is irritating.
Besides, the follow/unfollow method is easy exposed. Look at the graph below, if you see these kinds of spikes that means that this influencer is using the mass following to gain new followers.
3. It doesn't work anymore
The follow/unfollow method is becoming an epidemic on Instagram as users are increasingly doing it. These days, over 50% of the new followers that an account get will unfollow them automatically a day or a week later. This tactic becomes ineffective and simply a massive annoyance.
Using the follow/unfollow method you can grow your Instagram followers, but you're definitely not growing your engaged audience. A lot of the followers you've gained with this method won't engage in your content if they were brought here by manipulation. And would you want ghost followers who won't respond to any of your posts?
According to our internal research, accounts who practice follow/unfollow have in average 23.77% of followers who don't see their posts. Just for comparison: accounts who don't use mass following have only 12.25% of ghost followers.
The more passive users you have, the increasingly lower reach you have. Instagram tends to show people posts that are liked and commented more than the others. If most of your audience is not engaged, the Instagram algorithm realizes you're not interesting anymore, and so it drops your reach.
Most Instagram users and even influencers themselves are negative about mass following.
"Follow/unfollow isn't a successful strategy for growing your audience heading into 2019. Users now recognise when this is happening and often feel annoyed if they follow someone & realise they've been unfollowed. Instagram has also caught on and there is a risk of being penalised (not having your content shown to your audience) for suspicious activity when using a follow/unfollow method." said Sara Mils @saraontheinternet, a popular blogger from Loss Angeles.
How to Detect Influencers who use Follow/Unfollow?
It's not difficult to spot accounts that are using the follow/unfollow method on Instagram. The main red flag - their follower count is much higher than their following count because this gives the status of micro-influencers.
How to protect your account from mass followers?
Users who follow you via a tool for an automatic follow/unfollow are not engaged in your content. A bunch of mass followers among your audience affects your engagement rate, audience quality and reach.
There are two types of users who use this method:
- Bots. People pay for bots to auto-comment, like or follow others with the intention of getting as many followers as they can.
- People who want to grow their Instagram account fast.
To protect your Instagram account from these low-quality users use these tips:
1. Use less popular hashtags
As we said earlier, accounts that use the mass following tune the application on the filter criteria and the most popular filter is hashtags.
For instance, influencers who post about Art would use popular hashtags: #art #contemporaryart #artcollector #artgallery and so on. Each of these hashtags has over a million posts on Instagram and hundreds of thousands of accounts who use them. That's why mass followers use them extensively. The life of your post will be 2 sec. if you use those kinds of hashtags.
If you want to protect your account from users who practice follow/unfollow, use smaller counts hashtags - anyway, I would never go over 50,000 to 120,000 for #
People don't search for new posts or interesting accounts under broad hashtags like #contemporaryart, #artstagram #instaart and so on. They use more specific tags like #artinthestudio #artsoldbyartist ...
2. Focus on the quality not the number of followers
Сonstantly clean your followers and remove the ghost ones. If your follower count is less than 10,000 you can do it manually with a "Follower" app on your phone. Then, check every new follower, if they have above 1,500 followings and their content is not relevant to you, just block them.
Eventually, you can look at IconoSquare to help you track that the number of mass followers decreased.
To conclude, all artificial actions may be sanctioned, today Instagram removes the fake comments and like, and one day by closing your account even if you have 120k followers. So be cautious when you play with fire!