It's tempting, but you shouldn't use an Instagram growth service
Making your mark on Instagram – or anywhere online – can be tough. The world of blogging and social media is extremely competitive, especially going into 2018.
The platform is over saturated with influencers of all levels. Scoring authentic followers is hard. And with the new algorithm, getting engagement from your audience is more challenging than ever.
It’s understandable that many bloggers and influencers might want to make life easier for themselves, by seeking out a helping hand. It could be in the form of comment pods and a virtual assistant. Or it could be with the help of a third-party Instagram growth service.
Our advice? Don’t do it.
But more importantly, they don’t generate authentic interaction between a target audience and an influencer’s content – even if the interaction gained from them is “real”.
There are also some other things to take into account such as:
- A smart brand might dig a little deeper into your account and find some discrepancies, you may not be able to deliver what you promise to them if your following is fake. Say, for example, a brand wants you to get 50 people to sign up for a contest you advertise on your Instagram. If you claim you have 20,000 followers, this seems very doable. But if you're following is mostly fake, you may not have people sign up, and therefore disappoint the brand.
- It's not exactly cheap to buy all these followers, you may even end up losing money, especially since you it's likely to have to repeatedly buy more over and over.
- Original organic followers might take notice of your influx of spammers, and may even become disgruntled by your “unethical” practices.
- Instagram, so far, has been slightly better at self-policing spammers (compared to other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook). However, it seems like lately, many more spam accounts are popping up even on small, organically created accounts. “We have a team that works really hard to identify spam through community flags, and we stop it as soon as it starts,” Instagram's Community Evangelist Jessica Zollman said in a thread on Quora — which means Instagram is paying attention. Furthermore, new features on recently updated versions of the app, such as flagging individual comments as spam, help the community as whole fight spam. It wouldn't be surprising if some day there will be something similar to the “Fake Follower Check” that already exists for Twitter.
Furthermore, all of the above also applies to brands. Before signing on to do a project (especially if the project isn't paid) it may be to your benefit to do a once over of their social media growth to see who you are really reaching.
Sounds confusing? We’ll break it down.
Here's how an Instagram growth service works: these growth “services” are third-party apps that work on a user's behalf. They are automation platforms (consisting of computer robots a.k.a. ‘bots) that complete certain actions (i.e. commenting, liking and following/unfollowing other accounts) in place of a physical user.
When you sign up to use one of these services, you are letting a bot interact on your behalf. While some growth services claim that they can target a specific niche market or demographic using one is still risky.
Because a ‘bot can’t make judgement calls the way a human brain can slip-ups, like commenting or liking an inappropriate photo, can happen. And that's the least of it.
While an Instagram growth service may attract some followers and likes for other users, a blogger or an influencer can’t build a community surrounding their content if the use one.
Why should bloggers, influencers and creators care about building a community?
Building a community (i.e. authentic following) on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. is key to an influencer’s success.
It means there is a level of trust between the influencer and his/her following. For example, if an average Instagram user wants a recommendation for a new shampoo, she might seek out content from a beauty influencer that (she believes) will provide her with an honest shampoo review. It’s the same way she would ask a friend for a recommendation.
A level of trust cannot be created unless an influencer is engaging and interaction with their audience themselves. It’s this trust that brands are dying to tap into, in order to get their products out there by “word-of-mouth” influencer marketing.
Therefore. an Instagram growth service is completely counter-productive in building a sense of community surrounding a blogger's or influencer’s account and content. It also gives a brands and companies a false impression, when it comes to the blogger or influencer's authenticity. It's also worth noting many companies are getting very good at spotting in authentic influencers.
If you're an blogger, influencer or creator…
Interact with your followers on Instagram without any help.
And avoid using Socially Rich, The Millennial Marketers, and any platforms you come across, that promise quick Insta growth. It just isn't worth it.
Have you tried and Instagram growth service?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.