You may have heard of this Instagram growth hack, and maybe even tried it: the follow/unfollow method. The method plays out by you following an account in hopes that they will return the favor and follow you back, and once they do, immediately unfollowing them.
It’s a bit of a scheming method of growing on Instagram, yet plenty of accounts still do it, to their own demise. There are two big reasons that this Instagram growth hack ends up killing accounts: it harms both the engagement rate and the reputation of your brand.
1. Follow/Unfollow Kills Your Instagram Growth & Engagement Rate
In some rationales, it seems logical that the more people you follow, the more people you’ll have following you back. However, you’re not growing organically if you are only getting people to follow you out of courtesy, then invalidating their courteous response by unfollowing them.
If you use the follow/unfollow method, your brand will not grow an audience of people who are actually interested in the content. An audience who is there for no good reason will not be likely to engage with your posts. A low engagement rate is the death of your account, as it signifies a low number of people being reached. Engagement is what generates leads, and without it, your business is not growing.
What can you do instead? To skyrocket your Instagram growth with a higher engagement rate, you can try many different things. Here are a couple tips:
- Make thoughtful conversation with your followers, and those in your niche. 46% of Google searches are related to local services, so try engaging with locally geotagged posts. You can also engage with industry leaders’ posts and make thoughtful conversation related to your niche. With your own followers, try some fun Instagram Stories stickers, like a poll or a quiz! Or, try reaching out to a broader audience by making Instagram Reels, which are similar to TikToks.
Try a fun Instagram Stories poll to increase engagement!
2. Follow/Unfollow Tanks the Reputation of Your Brand
Using the follow/unfollow method will ruin the legitimacy of your brand. No reliable brand would be using this method, so why should you? The Instagram growth hack is in manipulative nature. If you are constantly using this method, people will find out and digital word will spread.
60% of people say they no longer trust social media. It is more important than ever to communicate on a human level, and brands that use the follow/unfollow method are not demonstrating that. People are interested in brands that are more ethical in many aspects, including the aspect of their own Instagram growth. People also want to make real connections, so demonstrate that by behaving authentically on Instagram!
What can you do instead? To achieve Instagram growth, work on nurturing your brand’s reputation and improving your communication with your customers.
- 88% of consumers trust online testimonials from other people. It is super important to encourage your followers to give your brand feedback. That feedback will generate leads and encourage a healthy brand reputation of transparency. One creative way to do this on Instagram is through user-generated content.
- Don’t have a lot of reviews or user-generated content to work with? There are plenty of ways to encourage testimonials via Instagram. Working with influencers is one great way to skyrocket Instagram growth and increase trust in your brand! When you team up with influencers, word gets spread about your brand. This will encourage more reviews and more content to increase your transparency!
The follow/unfollow method is not the only Instagram growth hack to avoid. There are plenty of seedy ways to obtain followers, including buying them. Never trust an Instagram growth method that doesn’t feel right, or doesn’t feel like a good representation of your brand. Check out our Instagram for more tidbits on how to bring nothing but the best to your audience. 🐢