Curious about the Instagram Follow/Unfollow Method?

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How do you feel about the Instagram follow/unfollow method?

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 for 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 31,000, 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, this is what you need to know.

How to Follow and Unfollow on Instagram

1. Follow people on Instagram

OK, this sounds pretty basic, but ideally, you want to follow people who are in the same niche to increase the odds that they will follow you back.

So, how do you find people to follow who are interested in your niche?

Start following the people who are already following popular influencers in your niche.

For instance, if you want to have an Instagram account dedicated to all of the yummy things you cook and you’re looking for followers, maybe you’d start following the people who follow Smitten Kitchen. Just go through her list of followers and follow people. Of course, you can’t follow too many people at a time or you risk getting your account shut down by Instagram. Set up a schedule and stick to it.

Currently, Instagram only lets you follow 7,500 other users at a time.


2. Interact with the people you follow

There are two things you can do as you follow people: Nothing, or you can interact with them a bit. Since ultimately your goal is to get people to follow you, I recommend interacting a bit. Liking a few posts and leaving a few comments will increase the odds that people will follow you back.


3. Post compelling content

OK, this isn’t exactly part of the whole follow/unfollow method, but if you want people to follow you, you should post genuinely compelling content. Ultimately, the reason you’re doing this is that you want followers. People aren’t going to want to follow you if you’re not posting regularly and/or are posting crappy content. In addition to focusing on creating good content, don’t forget to interact with the people who comment on your posts!


4. Start unfollowing people on Instagram

After a few days, start going back through the list of people you follow and unfollow them. You might choose to unfollow everyone except the accounts you really love, or you might choose to just unfollow the people who never followed you back.


Apps for Following and Unfollowing on Instagram

If you are interested in using the follow and unfollow method to grow your Instagram account, you should know that it can be a time-consuming process. Putting aside time daily – likely multiple times a day – to follow, like, comment, and unfollow, all while keeping track of who you’re liking and unliking while also posting your own content, can be exhausting. Luckily, there are apps for following and unfollowing. Unfortunately, they’re not exactly sanctioned by Instagram so use them at your own peril.

A while ago, Instagram shut down all of the apps that people were using to follow and unfollow, but recently I’ve heard people recommending Jarvee. Jarvee is a social media automation tool that works on a bunch of different sites, including Instagram.

You need to have a Windows computer (it’s a program you download, not an online app), and then for $19.95 per month you can use it to manage and automate up to 10 social media accounts. For Instagram, that means you can auto-follow, auto-like, auto-unfollow, like comments, leave comments, and so much more.

I have not used Jarvee and cannot provide any support. I am not recommending it because I haven’t used it. But if you want to automate your Instagram growth, this is a tool you might want to investigate.

Click here to get a free five-day trial of Jarvee. (Again, you must have a Windows computer to use this program.)

I’ve learned about another tool that you can use for following and unfollowing, but they’ve asked that people not mention them publicly because Instagram goes after companies that aid in automation. I haven’t used this program, but it’s cheaper than Jarvee and you don’t need to own a Windows computer. If you’d like the name of the program, send me a message via the chat box in the lower right corner of this site and I’ll get you the link asap.



Why do people follow and unfollow on Instagram?

Generally speaking, someone engaging in the follow and unfollow method isn’t doing it because they do or do not like your content. They are doing it simply to try to grow their own list of followers. In the Instagram Posse Facebook group, 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. 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. Because of the aforementioned Instagram lockdown on follow and unfollow apps, finding a reliable app can be tough.

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.

An Instagram guru I really like, 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.

Alex Tooby 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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Lisa Koivu

Founder at Oh, She Blogs!
Lisa Koivu is the founder of Oh, She Blogs! A seven year blogging veteran, Lisa can also be found posting shopping deals and steals at . In her free time (ha!) she is also a freelance writer who has written for and U.S. News.
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  • I don’t think this blog post emphasized enough how inauthentic this method is. It’s like showing up at someone’s party, taking a picture with everyone to look cool, then leaving because you didn’t care about the people in the first place. Not to mention, since you never used Jarvee, it’s a little shady that you used an affiliate link for it. All in all, this method shouldn’t be encouraged. Talked about sure, but not encouraged and getting commission off of it. Social media needs to be cleaned up from unethical strategies like these.

  • Follow/Unfollow is tacky. I can sorta see why grasping people might start using the tactic to quickly grow a follower base. But the method is like that “one friend” that only comes around when they want something from you, usually to get you to join their latest multi-level marketing scheme.

  • Hmm… I debated on commenting on this as I read all of the hate being spread. When I first started using the f/uf method, I felt like a scam. I felt like I was using people for numbers and just followers to sell them something. I grew that particular account above 1k and then stopped because I just didn’t get it and felt ashamed. A few years went by and I got back into Insta and thought this would be a way to grow my following. This time, I had an agenda and a point.

    I personally endorse the f/uf method, but if it’s done right and with good intention. I agree with Lisa when she says it’s like a tap on the shoulder to potential fans. People have the option to not follow back if they don’t click with your content, it doesn’t mean your content is shit or bad, it just means that those are not part of your target market….and that’s OK!

    To do this right, I feel that engagement is a must. Reach out to those who follow you back, whether it be via DM or engage on their posts. If they engage back, keep the convo going. The feed on Insta is just like the feed on Facebook, it’s made up of those whom you follow/like. So, if they are not following you back, it makes no sense to continue following them as they are either dead accounts, old accounts, scam accounts or just people who don’t gel with your content. No biggie!

    You should be happy you lost followers, they obviously were not part of your target market, which, in turn, hurts you more than it helps. So why get upset when those who are using the method unfollow you, you should see it as a good thing that they are not clogging up your follower limit and putting things in your explore feed that you don’t care for.

    Personally, like I said, I endorse this method if done right. I think knowing your Target Market is a MUST in order to do this so you are attracting organically by letting others know you exist because it’s something they would be interested in any way. You are going to lose followers, that’s OK. Just keep doing you and your tribe will follow.

    I’ll be more than happy to debate on this with anyone that will logically have a convo instead of just getting upset because they got hopefull over a few followers and then lost them a few days later.

    • I don’t mind people following and unfollowing. I mean heck what can I say… but what I don’t like is if someone follows me and I follow them back because I actually like them..and then a day later they unfollow me? What? That’s wrong. I never do this… if I want to tap on people’s shoulders I look for people that interest me too and I like and sometimes genuinely make comments on their feeds. Follow and unfollow all you want, but as time goes on more and more people are catching on …and as you can see …we DON”T like it.

      • I agree with all of your points.It also hurts the IG community as a whole because now I am very leery of anyone that tries to follow me if I do not know them.IG should be a place where you do not have to worry about drama, but I guess that is not the case any longer.

  • If someone follows then unfollows after I have followed them back, I unfollow, block them and report them fir spamming, which is exactly what they are doing.

  • People don’t realize the kind of impact we put subconsciously on the young person especially. Have you noticed? It’s all about how many followers you have, likes and so on. It’s all about popularity and who is cool ..etc. Seriously it reminds me of high school on a world wide level. It’s sad that we even need to know how many followers a person has or how many likes? Really…why does it matter? Think about if for one moment. If we could just absolutely remove the numbers behind every picture …I think it would promote more genuine kindness…because then…you would not know really how popular a person was…and you would treat them nicely and accordingly. It’s like this. Imagine that you met two people …but you had no idea who they are. One was Michael Jackson and the other was the guy down the road… but you had no idea anyways. Don’t you think that Michael would appreciate being treated like a normal person with just plain simple kindness? Do I make sense? The point is…we really need a social media app that has NO numbers…where numbers are not the cause of negative actions.

  • Using people for your own gain makes you a shitty person. I don’t care what your excuse is. It’s sleazy! I have an app that shows me who unfollows me and I promptly unfollow the jerks who pull that crap right back! I wish everyone used those apps so these sleazeballs would have to find another way to get rich or famous or whatever it is they want.

  • I don’t have many followers anyway, but I look for the “user has started following you” notification to disappear and I unfollow accordingly. An eye for an eye they say ha! Not playing your numbers game.

    • Great point! I’ve noticed that I’d see a notification, usually for an account that had thousands of followers, then the notification disappeared when I looked at my account. I think this follow/unfollow is beyond sleazy.

  • Follow/unfollow is so lame and dishonest. I am on Instagram for art. There is nothing artistic about doing this. Thirsty and creepy.

  • Not a fan of this method or of people who use it. I’m a lowly artist on instagram, so to me it seems predatory and extremely rude. It’s frustrating having artists with 100k+ followers do this to my little account. So I just report them for spam if I’m going to be honest. Not sure if it does anything but it makes me feel good.

  • If you follow me without liking something in my content, then I know what your game is and I will usually block you. If you follow me and I follow you back, it’s usually because I’ve liked some of your content. But if you unfollow me soon after, not only do I unfollow you, I remove my likes and block you. Taking my toys and going home, perhaps, but I am trying to start a movement to put an end to this silly and annoying game.

    • I am with you Greg! It is annoying and discouraging for individuals that are trying to authentically grow their audience.I have started a movement by outing them directly.Of course they block me but at least they know that one person was on to their game.

  • This is just the worst, phoniest, way to be on social media. If your business model is based on being… well.. a total jerk, then cool. People and businesses that use this method, or pay someone to do it, have no scruples.

  • It’s a slap in the face. I’ve noticed this for years and I’m not with that. I get wanting to get a high follower account, but then you should work on your own content, not manipulate others. I post my makeup pictures and that’s my form of self-expression so it’s annoying and I do check it… I’ll notice after posting a picture and gaining a few followers the next few days I’ll lose some… and I check that and unfollow right back because frankly, I find it rude, manipulative, and stupid.

  • I share the same sentiment as the rest of the commenters, which I’m glad to see, but that makes me curious why so many still find this practice acceptable.
    It’s completely unauthentic, and stepping on the backs of other to build yourself up. That’s just shitty. What is the harm in following a lot of people as well as being followed by a lot of people? I understand building brand awareness, but this is a shitty practice used by shitty people. I also have the followers app and check everyday to see who has unfollowed me. I’ve gone as far as to write companies and tell them that I will never use their products or services because of their decisions to use this method.

  • Has anyone else with an F/UF app noticed that some accounts are able to unfollow without it showing up? Just today there were two accounts that I had followed back this week that obviously unfollowed me but only showed up as “AREN’T FOLLOWING BACK”. How are they doing this unless they happen to magically unfollow me the same second I follow them back. Yes, sometimes I like the content but I will still unfollow because I loathe the “me” game.
    I will block anyone who unfollows right away and I never follow back accounts where the ratio of followers to following is disproportionately in their favour even if they have great content.

  • Follow/unfollow is rude, tasteless and should not be encouraged. To deter such a method, I tend to out the person’s antics by commenting something like ‘follow/unfollow is uncool’ on a recent post, then blocking them. I’d rather not give useless people only looking out for their own success and personal gain communicating with me again, so blocking is must.

  • I didn’t realise it was a ‘thing’ to do this to people. I got a personal account that’s private and of my children so only for family and friends…but I recently set up a pets account for all my animal pictures so as not to bore my family/friends.
    I am not bothered about how many followers I have for my pet pictures, but it does annoy me when people follow me so I politely follow them back and then I’m left sifting through hundreds of names and having to spend a long time searching each accounts followers to see who the multiple people are who unfollowed me a day later. I feel it’s important for me to do that to try and show them that it’s not a kind thing to do and that I won’t roll over and accept it and help grow their followers when they’ve just used me.
    I wish Instagram had it so when you click on who you follow there’s a symbol or something represent those who follow you back…would save me a long time!

  • Honestly I don’t mind, how is it any skin off my back if someone that’s searching for people that might be interested in their product or service follows me for a follow? If I don’t want what they have to offer I don’t follow them or I watch them for a while and then unfollow them. It’s seriously no big deal. I appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit and I think social media has put the ball back into the court of the small
    businesses. What if it’s a single mom wanting to sell her hand made jelwery online? Someone looking or people to support a legit local charity for at risk youth? We should be supporting each other’s ambitions and responding kindly when we aren’t interested in what they are promoting. It is people “getting a life” and they are working really hard to do so.

  • As an Instagram user, I would say that some of the apps that act as a tool could steal your account’s privacy and information. Instead of having numerous likes and followers, it might harm you in a worst-case scenario. Just a friendly reminder, make sure to ensure your account’s safety for this should be your top priority. You might as well check BuyRealMarketing for trusted Instagram Services that they offer.

  • Oh that’s what it was. I post wellness and positive scripture content for my natural health business page. Get about 10 followers daily and follow them right back. Next day they are gone. I have the unfollower app, so I unfollow them back. But the sad part it I get follows from pastors and church pages. It’s kinda low for them to use these kind of childish tactics just to grow followers. The focus should be on spreading the good message.

  • I think the follow/ unfollow method is really uncool. I had to look into l this up to see if this was a real practice. To my dismay, I learned that it is. I agree with other commenters who noted how inauthentic this approach is. I believe cultivating followers in a respectful, honest way is the best way to build a following. Yesterday, someone who seemed to be aligned with my message, followed me and once I followed them and sent them an engaging complimentary message commenting on their feed, the person dropped me. I feel used and completely uninterested in following them. It is a terrible practice. Why would anyone want to engage with and follow someone like this? I sure don’t want to. While I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt, I am about to unfollow if I don’t hear back soon.