The Follow/Unfollow, or mass following, is a technique that is commonly used by micro/medium influencers and brands to find new followers and customers. It has very simple mechanics:
- An influencer’s account follows you, or puts a like, or posts a comment on your Instagram account.
- You will be notified and will follow them.
- They stop following you after a couple of days.
Instagram users use special tools and automatic apps to use this Follow/Unfollow technique.
The filters they use can be based on your location (geotags) or certain hashtags and look for users who follow specific accounts. Today, we’ll have a look at the question of ‘Does Follow/Unfollow Work on Instagram?’, but before, let me warn you about the technique.
Why Should You Immediately Stop Using This Technique on Instagram?
This is a direct violation of Instagram’s Terms and Conditions and Community Guidelines.
Violation of these terms may result in the deletion of content, deletion of accounts, and other restrictions. When it is first detected, your account will be temporarily blocked, but your account may be permanently deleted in some cases.
Your Credibility is at Risk
Mass following is considered spam in the worst sense, and the Instagrammers who use this technique manipulate users’ attention.
Using this practice is very annoying for people who use Instagram to connect and share. When you start following someone, you commit to them; it is irritating if you stop following them after a few days.
The Follow/Unfollow Technique no Longer Works
The follow/unfollow technique is becoming an epidemic on Instagram, and the users who use it are increasing more and more. Nowadays, over 50% of the new followers that an account receives will automatically lose them one day or after a week. This tactic then becomes ineffective and a huge problem.
Using the follow/unfollow method, you can grow Instagram followers, but you definitely won’t increase your engagement (number of people engaged with your activities). Many of the followers you have with this method will not engage with your content. Would you like followers who do not interact with your posts?
The more passive users you have, the lower your engagement will be. Instagram tends to show users posts they liked and commented on more than other posts. If most of the public is not involved, the Instagram algorithm realizes that you are no longer interesting and therefore decreases your engagement accordingly.
Follow/Unfollow is not a successful strategy for growing your audience. Users now recognize when this happens. They often feel annoyed if they follow someone and realize they are no longer followed. Instagram has also taken action. There is indeed a risk of being penalized (your content will not be shown to the public) for suspicious activity when using the follow/unfollow method.
How to Identify Influencers Who Use Follow/Unfollow?
It is not difficult to locate accounts that use the follow/unfollow method on Instagram. Their number of followers is much higher than the number of people they follow, which usually exceeds 1500 followers.
How to Protect Yourself From These Techniques?
Users who follow you through the follow/unfollow technique do not automatically interact with your content. Having inactive followers negatively affects your engagement rate, quality, and audience reach.
Two types of users use this method:
- The bots. People pay to have bots that auto-like, auto-comment, and follow other users to get as many followers as possible.
- People who want to grow their follower counts on their Instagram account fast.
To protect your Instagram account from these low-quality users, use these tips:
Use Well-Defined Hashtags
As previously mentioned, the accounts that use this technique set the application with filter criteria, and the most popular filter is hashtags.
For example, influencers posting content about fashion and beauty would use popular hashtags in this niche: #beauty #fashion #style, and so on. Each of these hashtags has over a million Instagram posts and hundreds of thousands of accounts using them.
If you want to defend your account from users who follow/unfollow, use more niche hashtags.
Focus Your Attention on Quality and Not Quantity
Constantly clean up your followers. If your follower count is less than 10,000, you can also do it manually. Just check the new followers; if they have more than 1500 followed users and their content is not relevant to you, just simply block them.
FAQs About Follow/Unfollow Method
Instagram limits the daily follow/unfollow actions to a maximum of 200, or 60 for an hour, but that’s still a huge number because even in smaller numbers, many follows and unfollows happening can draw Instagram’s attention to your account to see if it’s a spam activity.
If you didn’t accidentally follow someone, you should wait at least a week before unfollowing them to avoid looking like a spam account on Instagram.
Unfollowing right after the following can be done because of several different causes, but the recipient user will always anticipate it, whatever the reason. Suppose you’ve followed someone accidentally and unfollowed right after. In that case, they won’t probably even get a notification about it, but if you’ve unfollowed after they noticed, they may get confused about its reason.
Following and unfollowing users too many times in short times can get your account a temporary block, and if you do it again afterward, Instagram can apply some stronger penalties.
Although Instagram does not support an easy way of having a report of the people who unfollowed you, you can check it on your follower/following lists if you have fewer followers. There are 3rd party apps for bigger accounts to who blocked or unfollowed you recently, but you should be careful about the apps because they will ask for your account information.
To Conclude Follow/Unfollow
In conclusion, it can be said that all the artificial methods of growth used on Instagram are damaging the credibility, reputation, and reach of the audience. The follow/unfollow method is not good in the long run; and while today it brings you some new followers, tomorrow it can take away a contract with a major and well-known brand.