Why your Follow-Unfollow Strategy is Damaging your Image

Since day one, Instagram is a popular marketing platform. Even before Facebook officially opened it to advertisers.

So, from very early on, the first brands and businesses started to use a “follow-unfollow” strategy. Combined with the continuous liking of random Instagram posts, the spam was perfect.

Follow-Unfollow describes the continuous following of random Instagram profiles just to unfollow it later on. It is used because of the importance for brands and businesses to gain attention in highly popular market spaces – like Instagram. And to be honest, before Facebook officially opened Instagram to advertisers these “follow-unfollow” and “abundant-liking” strategies were the only possibilities for brands to gain attention on Instagram.

Today, however, times have changed. With Facebook, you can now advertise officially on Instagram. Furthermore, businesses can use direct messages and specialized profiles which make it easier than ever for a customer to get in touch with brands and businesses (and the other way around).

So how does it come that some brands and businesses still pursue to randomly follow and subsequently unfollow random Instagram users? And how is it perceived by their target audience?

Whom are you competing with? Fraudsters!

I am sure that I speak for the majority of all Instagram users when I say that this “follow-unfollow” and “abundant like” strategy – when not combined with extremely valuable content – is counterproductive. Every single day – if not hour – I see several brands and businesses like some of my photos out of context. And even if you are offering a great product or highly valuable content – the problem is not what you are offering but whom you are competing with.

Look: A brand for girly coffee mugs is liking my photo of the Atlantic Ocean – but why? Then there are skin care businesses from China (without a single English word in their IG description) who randomly follow and unfollow me. Then there are several frauds- and fake profiles of hot women who try to show me nude pictures on some dubious links. And now imagine there are thousands or millions of fraudster companies out there who try to sell me their shit by following or liking my photos. After I blocked every single profile of them there is suddenly a new like and a new follow from your company. Now, even if you have the greatest product or the most beautiful photos – you are standing there in a bad light.

What I would like to express with this short blog post is that brands and businesses need to pay attention on how they try to gain attention in Instagram. For sure, liking and following are for free but for which cost? You need to make sure that you are actually able to provide value to your target audience. If you are a newcomer photographer it might well work to simply like and follow other people’s photos and profiles – who are actually interested in photography. But if you do, do it on your own. Select the most beautiful photo and leave an honest comment. You absolutely need to do it as all other fraudsters are automating their following, liking, and commenting with dubious online services.

The Honest Way

Facebook is already offering great possibilities to advertise on Instagram. If your goal is rather to sell than to build a brand – why not simply spend some money on Facebook Adverts and you’ll most likely see much better results without spamming other people’s Instagram profiles.

Keep in Mind

Every Instagram spam business is immediately blocked by myself. If only 10% of all people act like me, and you are following and liking 100 photos and profiles per hour, you antagonized 10 customers which will never in their life buy products from you – and by the way: they blocked you.

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