My Instagram Social Experiment Results – How To Get Followers Without Being Shady

If you missed part one of this post, describing what my experiment was and why I did it check it out here. Tl;dr it: I noticed I had literally hundreds of accounts following and then unfollowing me quickly so I identified some red flags for accounts that do it and I decided to try it myself.

Does follow unfollow really get you lots of instagram followers?

I was curious after 200+ accounts followed/unfollowed me, most following and unfollowing within 24 hours, does this shady practice actually get you lots of followers? Are people that dumb because I caught on pretty quickly..? So I gave it a try. I followed ten accounts a day for a week using specific criteria on ones that I thought would be most likely to follow back. As I stated in my last post, I have removed the name and username of the example accounts that follow/unfollow because it is not my intention to call anyone specific out.

Most of the people I talk with on instagram, my followers and those I consider friends, seem to agree that follow/unfollow is rude, shady, or downright evil! So why do so many accounts do it? Does it really get you tons of new followers?

I followed accounts on instagram to get more followers

Boring white generic instagram feed exampleUnlike the follow/unfollow accounts I did not unfollow people immediately. However I wasn’t interested in all 70 of the accounts I followed so I will be unfollowing some of them. No disrespect to any of those accounts – not every account produces quality photos and as our feeds become clogged we do have to pick and choose who we want to see. I don’t follow accounts that only post giveaways for example, because I like to see photos of what people makeup are using and the looks they are creating with it! It’s also my personal preference but I’m not a fan of the super white, generic, lifestyle type accounts – they all look the same and it this point that look is pretty boring and overdone. I know you know the ones I mean! I like personality, not feeds where I can’t tell one photo from another user’s and where it looks like you’re just trying to appeal to the most number of people. No judgment that is just my preference, to me makeup = COLOR!

I am not unfollowing anyone who followed me back however! 🙂

how can you get more instagram followers

Here is the result of my follow/unfollow experiment.

I followed 70 accounts and 15 followed back. That is a lot of work for not much payoff! I think it could be that people don’t automatically follow back anymore because we are so used to people unfollowing and following just to get the follow. It’s possible some people looked at my feed and weren’t interested and decided not to follow back. Probably some don’t use instagram daily. Overall the time it took to follow and unfollow didn’t seem worth it to me, of course I made an effort to see who had actually followed back and didn’t unfollow them – it is probably quicker for people that don’t care about following anyone and just batch follow and unfollow. That to me still just feels shady and douchey, even with a low payoff I guess it would work to get followers if you are doing it with hundreds of accounts but I can’t see doing that myself.

Unfortunately the best way to get followers is a slow way – to create great content and to slowly build a REAL base of engaged followers over time. I will be sharing the results of my giveaway experiment in the future so stay tuned for those stats!

 

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How To Get More Instagram Followers Without Being a Douchebag

I recently did a giveaway on my Instagram. I had heard from friends that people will unfollow you after they don’t win and I had seen on other accounts that people say they track that so people can’t enter future giveaways if they unfollow. I decided it would make sense to do that, so I downloaded a couple “follower tracker” apps. Since my account is small and I don’t make money doing this I wanted only free apps and after using a couple I liked “Followers for Instagram – Followers And Likes” by Social Mana LLC so I kept it and uninstalled the rest.

Follow and unfollow trying to get more instagram followers

Getting more instagram followers app that tracks followersIt was once I started monitoring that I realized how many accounts follow and then unfollow 12-24 hours later. It seemed like the vast majority of instagram followers were unfollowing soon after following. I am sure you have noticed this yourself but what I didn’t realize before I started using the app was the huge number of instagram accounts that do this! I have 326 followers right now and incredibly, over 200  have followed and unfollowed!

Since the app tracks everything, I can see the vast majority unfollow soon after following so it’s not an engagement thing – the accounts and people that actually care about following me keep following so it’s not a content issue.

 

You can spot who is going to unfollow and just not follow back

Follow unfollow instagram app accounts with thousands of followers tend to unfollow quicklyAs far as I can tell, everyone thinks follow/unfollow is uncool and not a good way to try to get followers, yet plenty of accounts do it. I actually have three instagram accounts and beginning to track unfollows and engagement I can easily tell who is going to unfollow me quickly and I’ve started just not following back unless the account actually interests me. I do unfollow when someone unfollows me, it seems only fair.

Red flags for accounts that are likely going to do the evil follow/unfollow are having thousands of followers but only following a few accounts. I want to show examples but I’m not trying to call out accounts so I have removed names and usernames. The picture to the right (ironically calls herself “genuine” but followed unfollowed within 24 hours) has 15,000+ followers but doesn’t follow many so I did not follow it back. I was not surprised to notice they unfollowed me soon after following.

Red flags for accounts that will unfollow you

Business accounts nearly always unfollow. Unless it is a brand that you have heard of before and been interacting with (i.e. you followed them first and are familiar with the brand, they have shared your content, they have commented on a post, etc.) they will likely unfollow you. I never follow back a brand that isn’t one I know and use such as Tarte, Covergirl, Maybelline, BH Cosmetics, etc.

The “brand” in the photo of the left doesn’t actually seem to be a real brand and may actually be a spam account. They have over 4,000 followers and are only following 3 and only have 2 posts which is another red flag! I did not follow this account because it did not interest me. It unfollowed me within a day.

Accounts that cover Different SUbjects than you will likely unfollow you

Another red flag is a large account that is not about what your account is about. My accounts cover makeup, fitness and health, and psychology mental health, respectively. If a predominantly fitness account follows my makeup account, that’s a red flag to me that they will be unfollowing me because my subject matter is different than theirs. I have also had really random genres such as sports cars follow my makeup account and again that was a red flag that they would unfollow. I have lots of “lifestyle” accounts and fashion accounts follow me and every single one unfollows.

Does follow unfollow get you more instagram followers?

Follow unfollow on instagram red flags to help get followers and avoid unfollowsI was curious after watching hundreds of people unfollow me. Does follow/unfollow REALLY get you a bunch of followers? So I decided to try it myself. Nothing outlandish, for one week I followed ten accounts that I found through hashtags I have used or on the “explore” page of Instagram.

I wanted to make sure to keep it to accounts that were similar to mine so I had the following criteria for those I would follow with no other reason than for them to follow me back:

  1. They had to be makeup focused
  2. They had to have around the same number of followers as me. The reasoning for this is that accounts with thousands of followers are unlikely to follow back in general.
  3. They had to have recent instagram photos, within the last 24-28 hours. If someone doesn’t post regularly they may not get on instagram daily so they wouldn’t have the opportunity to follow back during the experiment.

Those were my only criteria, follow accounts like mine, with a similar number of followers, who were posting similar content. I followed ten accounts a day for a week.

Stay tuned for my results!