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Here’s my deep dark secret: I don’t like social media.
What kind of blogger doesn’t like social media?!
The truth of it is that I love blogging because I love writing and I love helping others – whether I’m helping them find a great deal or monetize their blogs, it’s all fun! I did not, however, get into blogging to put my personal life on display. I’m a private person and I live a fairly boring life so there’s really nothing I could share that anyone would be interested in seeing. As such, I’ve skipped Snapchat and Periscope and while I signed up for an Instagram account in 2011, I basically ignored it for a couple of years. Then, in the fall of 2015, I decided that I should finally get more serious about Instagram.
I stumbled upon a Facebook group that was forming at the time, Instagram Posse, and loved the sense of camaraderie and commitment everyone had to growing their Instagram accounts. I watched in awe as some people grew their accounts quite quickly and I used many of their tips to grow my own account. Over the past two years, I have grown my account from 350 to 29,000+, which I’m quite pleased with, although I was definitely one of the slowest growing accounts in the group. A couple of people grew their accounts to over 30k in just six months!
The Instagram Follow/Unfollow Strategy
The reason that many accounts grew so quickly is that the founder of the group is a firm believer in the “Follow/Unfollow Method” for gaining followers on Instagram.
If you’re not familiar with the follow/unfollow method, it basically involves following people on Instagram and then unfollowing them a few days later, all the while hoping that the other person won’t notice or won’t care and won’t unfollow you. They say it’s like giving someone a tap on the shoulder and saying, “hey, check out my account!”
The reason people follow and then unfollow on Instagram is that they’re trying to grow their accounts, but that can be tough to do on a platform that’s always changing. Short of sending everyone on Instagram a personal message, following someone is one way to guarantee that they will at least see that you’ve followed them, glance at your account, and maybe follow you back. This is a method solely used for growing one’s account, so the person doing the following is probably not actually interested in your content, but you won’t know that until they unfollow you a few days later. Generally speaking, if they unfollow you, it’s nothing personal, even though it may feel like it. Chances are, this person never even looked at your page.
Another reason why people may unfollow you on Instagram is that accounts can only follow 7,500 other accounts at one time. If someone gets close to that maximum number, they’re probably going to start unfollowing accounts.
Using the follow/unfollow technique on Instagram isn’t for everyone. All you have to do is look through the comments on this post to see that most people hate it! Many Instagram users get pissed when someone follows them, only to unfollow them… and then see that same person following and unfollowing them again a few days, weeks, or months later! It’s understandable, though – nobody wants to feel like they’re just being accumulated as part of a number. The reason the same people may keep popping up in your feed is that it can be difficult to keep track of who you’ve previously followed then unfollowed, so you’re bound to hit some of the same accounts multiple times.
BUT, If you have been looking for a way to grow your Instagram following quickly and you don’t mind that there’s a chance you could piss off a few people along the way, then the follow and unfollow method may be for you. If you want to know more about it, you may want to pick up the Instagram Decoded Guide, which goes through the ins-and-outs of using the follow/unfollow method and actually provides detailed hourly instructions for how to go about it. In addition to this Instagram technique, they also cover lots of other ways you can grow your following, but I mention this guide specifically because it talks about the Instagram follow/unfollow method, which many other people dare not mention. Some of the other topics covered in the guide include setting up your Instagram profile, hashtag research, tips for increasing your Instagram engagement, understanding the Instagram algorithm, and more.
How to tell if someone has unfollowed you on Instagram
Unless you’re an eagle eye, the easiest way to tell if someone has unfollowed you on Instagram is via an app. Unfortunately, Instagram is pretty strict about what apps can access their API, and they’ve shut down quite a few over the past couple of years.
One Instagram unfollow app that will still tell you who has unfollowed you (for a monthly fee), is Followers Pro. Two others are the Unfollowers and Followers App and Unfollowers on Instagram. Because Instagram doesn’t approve of these types of apps (or the follow and unfollow method), they frequently shut down these types of apps. I wouldn’t be surprised if any of these disappear at any time!
Alternatives to the Instagram Follow Unfollow Strategy
If you’re looking for alternatives to the Instagram follow unfollow strategy, check out 21 ways to increase your Instagram following!
Another Instagram guru that I really like, and who doesn’t believe in follow unfollow, is Alex Tooby. Alex made a name for herself by launching the popular Men and Coffee Instagram account, before deciding to share all of her secrets with us via her two Instagram courses.
Infamous to Influential will teach you everything you need to know to grow your Instagram account without resorting to any gimmicks, while Hashtag Hero will teach you how to utilize the right hashtags on your photos to increase your engagement and grow your followers.
Alex’s classes are in-depth and full of tips that will help you to grow your account and find success on Instagram. She doesn’t offer a grow your account overnight scheme, but instead, tried and true ways to increase your following and engagement.
What are your thoughts on the Instagram Follow/Unfollow Method? Have you tried it? Have you found another strategy that works better for you? I’d love to hear!
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