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My Instagram isn’t growing and why I’m OK with that
Instagram is a weird place to be at the moment.
The only real way to grow it seems is to buy fake followers and have high numbers but zero engagement.
Working with big brands, it seems that while they know this practice happens, they’re not too bothered about it.
The only one who seems to have taken a stand against the practice is Procter and Gamble.
Smaller brands cannot afford to be that blind, and many that I work with and buy from as a consumer have privately expressed their distaste and wariness of bigger bloggers who just take the items and run, never featuring them on their accounts or promoting the brand.
For a small business, I can totally understand that even sending one free product out and not getting any reimbursement in terms of sales or brand awareness from the blogger’s followers can be frustrating and ensure that they never work with a blogger again.
Enter the world of micro-bloggers.
Basically, anyone under 10k is deemed a micro-blogger as their audience is more likely to trust them and they are likely to have higher engagement from their followers.
But even these smaller bloggers are wising up and demanding payment in exchange for good provided, and rightly so as putting together a successful advertising campaign on social media that converts takes time and effort.
It’s not just taking a picture and captioning it to make their followers buy.
My Instagram Strategy
Since I changed direction from Money Savvy Muslim to Simply Humaira I’ve cut down my posting schedule MASSIVELY.
I don’t post for the sake of posting and I have a theme now which although hard to stick to will hopefully pay dividends In Shaa Allah.
Posting a lot may guarantee followers, but it also doesn’t mean quality content.
I like to go in-depth with my captions and reviews and the primary reason people follow me is for my honesty.
Being honest means I can tell you if a product is worth the money or not and since I am aiming at Muslim Women who are 30+, most of the time they’re willing to pay more for a product if it actually works.
We’re all fatigued by the claims of the high street, and now trust Bloggers and Instagrammers before making a purchase, but we’re also now hyper-aware of the lies big and small bloggers are claiming to win those coveted brand partnerships.
Having a big account doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not being paid to promote the product.
My New Strategy To Prevent Fake Followers and Unengaging Accounts
Simply put, I can tell a bot or Like for Like account immediately now.
The biggest culprits seem to be Cosmetic Enhancement companies who just crawl the hashtags people use in their captions or comments to follow people expecting a follow back, and when they don’t follow back, they unfollow and the game continues.
The problem with this strategy is that it may inflate your numbers as a blogger for about 24 hours but when they unfollow you then your numbers will go down.
Personally, I delete these accounts immediately because they just show up as a follower and don’t bother engaging with my account so I don’t need the numbers if they take away from my actual followers seeing my content.
This might not be the right strategy, but it’s one that works for me, and I’ve noticed my numbers do go up and down if I have a surge of these fake bot accounts before I had time to get rid of them.
Why Do Fake Followers Harm Your Engagement?
I could very easily have got to 1k if I let all these fake followers on my account, but in actuality, since they won’t engage with my account when I post a picture, my actual followers may not see my post.
If your followers don’t engage with your posts in that time, then the rest of them won’t ever see it.
I see a lot of people complaining about not getting engagement on their posts and one of the reasons may be the fake followers who will never engage with your account and therefore stops your actual followers seeing your content.
How Do I Know if Someone is a Fake Follower?
First of all, they’ll just follow your account with zero interaction whatsoever.
Second, they’ll follow hundreds of accounts but have either zero posts themselves or have 1 or 2 posts and hundreds of followers.
Third, their bio will say they can get you loads of followers free and fast.
Fourth, they will have absolutely nothing to do with what you blog about and are basically a bot or person who doesn’t care about engagement following a picture or account you’ve liked’s followers.
Lastly, if they do engage, they’ll leave a generic emoji as a comment.
EMOJIS ARE NOT COMMENTS PEOPLE!
I get into so many arguments with people about why I delete emoji comments but the simple reason is they look spammy.
That’s the kind of comment a spam bot leaves.
If you have time to leave an emoji, you have time to leave a short comment.
Or don’t bother and just like the picture.
How to get rid of fake accounts on your profile
This only works if you’re a personal account and can switch back and forth to Private.
If you’re a business account, you can only block.
And trust me, brands are now so sophisticated they can put your username through a website that checks exactly how many spam accounts and fake followers you have (only works for accounts over 1k on Instagram and is free to use to check your own statistics).
In my opinion, it’s for your own good to get rid of fake or spam accounts.
It only hurts your own Engagement.
To get rid of Fake Accounts, you need to put your profile on Private:
Click the 3 dots at the end of the profile and select, “Remove Follower”
And then go back to your main profile, go back into privacy settings and make you profile public again.
I end up doing this a few times a day now.
Does this strategy work?
Numbers are nice but are in essence a vanity metric.
The number of Instagram followers you have doesn’t mean anything really, it’s not what defines you as a person.
For me, having a small but engaged number of followers helps keep my Instagram tidy and in a way allows me to control who is accessing and consuming the content I put out there.
And when I do work with brands, they know my followers are engaged, real and valuable and therefore makes me a more attractive option.
I might be small, but Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) I am mighty!
UPDATED 25/08/2018 – You now don’t even have to go on private on a personal account to remove followers. You just click the 3 dots on their name and you can do this as part of the latest update. If you don’t have the update yet, then feel free to use the above method.