Avoid the Follow/Unfollow Method

As I become more comfy with the Instagram platform I’m beginning to notice that there are some really random people who begin to follow me.  I get all excited that my numbers are jumping up only to see them fall away again over the next day or so.

After some investigation I stumbled across the “Follow/Unfollow Method”, which is apparently used with reasonable success to grow Instagram accounts massively over a short period of time.

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.

Remember its far more beneficial to have an invested and interested audience rather than a high follower count.  200 people interested in you and your products are worth more than 100,000 indifferent strangers.

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 legitimate 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, it certainly isn’t for me.  It smacks of black hat practices… not really sporting old chap 😉

Many Instagram users get hacked off 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 irritate a few people along the way, then the follow and unfollow method may be for you.

Proceed with Caution if you opt for this method  it is NOT recommended.

The follow/unfollow method really irks me, you may have spotted this from my earlier comments.

However I do use a modified method  – if someone unfollows me after I follow them back, I unfollow them if I spot it.  I don’t automate the process I want to make a personal decision not have an app choose who I follow.

I just don’t put up with that nonsense.

I don’t think most of the uber successful accounts do the follow/unfollow thing TBH.

To be truly successful on IG, you have to offer something worth value, and so you don’t need to resort to being a jerk.

I’m getting really good at figuring out the chances that someone is going to follow me and then unfollow me right away.

Tip-offs that this is likely to happen:

  • is if they have a fairly high follower count but don’t follow a lot of people
  • they post a random, meaningless comment
  • aren’t even in my niche
  • and then they follow me

I always look at every account which follows me, I resist the siren call of the follow back button.  It would be rude not to right?

And that is why so many people use this technique.  We are conditioned to politely return the follow, out of good manners.

I usually don’t even bother following these people back since I know they’ll unfollow me right away. And of course they unfollow me the next day… no surprise there. I find that most legit bloggers (in the yarn world anyway, which is of course our niche) don’t do this.

If I have followed you on Instagram, you know I have looked at your feed and found it interesting.  I haven’t followed you due to a knee jerk reaction, it’s because I really am interested in what you have to share.

I think that burning bridges is a bad idea. You never know who you will irritate. I’m more OK with another modification on the follow/unfollow method where you follow someone but unfollow them in a week or so if they don’t follow you back.

Let me know your thoughts on this method in the comments and if you have tried it what was the outcome for you?

About the Author

The Founder of Yarn Academy Babs is all about inspiring others to find their creative juices. Babs finds it exhilarating to learn as many new techniques and skills as humanly possible and explore the entire world of yarn. Babs is always looking for the win win solution to any situation so we can all grow together in the wonderful world of fibre and colour.

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