Yep i’m going there, today we’re talking about the practices which I’ve seen going on on social media recently: the spam comments, the mass following, suspended accounts and all around fakery. Its going to be a long one, I’ve got a lot to say.
Instagram fakery is on the rise and I’m starting to see bloggers i would’ve considered my internet friends using spam tactics to grow their follower numbers.
I want to bring light to the other side of social media, the side which i was ignorant to before becoming a blogger that has become increasingly relevant in the past weeks and months.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been paying particular attention to patterns on instagram to get to know the fakes..
Tactic 1: Buying followers:
I know we all pay attention to our own “likes” but have you ever taken a look at anyone elses’? I’ll get a follower notification and click on the account, i think wow this person has 200K followers and only follows 200 people! How have i not heard of this seemingly huge blogger before and why have they chosen to follow me??? Before starting my research into this i would’ve simply followed the account back and got on with my day but as my suspicions rose i decided to check the number of likes each post was averaging. With 200,000 followers you’d easily achieve thousands of likes per post however this person was getting around 100, when you go further in you’ll see that all of their recent followers are accounts who follow thousands of people but only have 1, 2 or no posts uploaded.
In the past this wouldn’t have bothered me but once i started to think into this i realised, this account may actually be thought of as a credible blogger.
For me this isn’t about follower numbers or who brands decide to work with, this is about the blogging community and supporting bloggers who you know are working as hard as you to create genuine content and engage with their following no matter how big or small. Nobody wins when buying followers except the scam you bought them from, you end up following thousands of inactive or irrelevant accounts who don’t engage with your content. What the point of having 200,000 followers if only 100 of them actually respond to what you do? Thats the same as having 100 followers, which in itself is an achievement when grown organically but not when bought.
FROM A PROFESSIONAL PERSPECTIVE:
Parental influence a blogger and brand networking database service told me:
“a lot of Influencers are doing it because they believe brands want big followers and this isn’t true. (c) They also think it goes undetected, when we will probably spot a bot followed account within about 30 secs to a minute” – Parental influence @PMGinfluence via twitter.
As a blogger i get these emails offering me instagram fame daily, but if you’ve never seen one before heres a typical example and an insight into how they work:
When i read these emails i always feel like I’m on the inside of the sordid bit of the internet, like you’re suddenly involved because you’re given information on how it all works.
Theres one line in these emails which always crops up “they’re not interested in your content”, the way I’ve interpreted how these sights work is using 1 of two ways: the followers are completely fake accounts created by a computer OR the followers are “real” but would’ve never followed you in the first place and therefore will never actually interact with anything you post and will probably unfollow you unless you follow them back. Just like the sites that offer completely fake followers its likely that once you gain the followers you’ll loose them again because Instagram is always working to suspend spam accounts.
Tactic 2: Spam commenting:
I tweeted about this recently and many seemed to agree, one of the most annoying things that has arisen on instagram lately is the spam commenting. This never used to be a problem but since instagram changed their algorithm (i know, we won’t go into that) where growth comes from the comment section i, like many others have been plagued with ridiculous comments from people trying to bag followers. This isn’t a few comments here and there, this is dedicated instagram groups called “comment pods” who aggressively copy and paste the same phrase and emoji under your posts. Yeah you know the ones. This is like spamming on another level; coordinated with groups and rules all laid out for you to follow with the aim of growing your following.
The best example i have is when i posted this picture of makeup on instagram…
To receive these comments…
Lovely outfit don’t you think? You’d be pretty cold though…
Tactic 3: Mass following & unfollowing.
Ever been followed by a group of people all of a sudden only to be unfollowed minutes later? I was once followed by around 15 people within seconds of each other, i had followed most of them back because these accounts were relevant to what i want to see and then noticed my follower count start dropping, i went over to the unfollowers app i use and watched them drop off my follower count one by one.
It seems like some people have a goal on Instagram just to follow and unfollow you as quickly as possible once they see you’ve followed back; I know the style of account so well now that i can almost predict whether they’re going to do it or not.
Thats it for my effort at exposing the bad part of the blogging community, by writing this i really wanted to reinforce the importance of blogging because you love it and love creating the content that you make, no matter if you’ve got 5 or 50,000 followers. – Maria x
While you’re at it why don’t you follow me on instagram so i don’t have to buy followers instead?
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