This post has been a long time coming… And waiting longer to post each time has made this content that much more relevant to all of us bloggers and brands out there. So let’s talk about the elephant in the room… You know that HUGE issue that everyone is complaining about but no one will openly talk about? The issue of influencers/bloggers buying their interaction (likes, comments, video views) and followers. This has become such a growing issue since the latest Instagram algorithm change which switched our feeds from chronological to a similar algorithm which Facebook uses. The change hurt almost every single blogger that I know, large and small, plus the introduction of Instagram Stories hurt our interaction even more. In response to this change we are now seeing countless influencers buying their way to the top now. Whether it be followers or likes, this issue is getting out of control.
We’ve now been attempting to embrace this Instagram change for what feels like an eternity… And not many of us are pleased. Actually, I don’t know one person that absolutely loves this change, including me. But there is always going to be change, whether we like it or not. We just have to find a way to implement that change the best we can and push through to find a happy medium.
I’m sure most of y’all are/were feeling like I was; super discouraged that our Instagram feeds were no longer chronological. For starters, I thought that was really the only change that was going to be made until they rolled the new algorithm out. I soon realized only a handful of my actual followers were seeing my content. I went from having almost over 2k likes on a post to barely getting 1,500, and I know I’m not the only one this is happening to. Unlike most, I am accepting this new change without cheating as I’ve noticed quite a few accounts are doing. Yes, there are ways to check. I have had multiple bloggers and influencers talk to me about how they are suspicious of other accounts and that their “practices” are not ethical. And I have to agree… So here are my two cents.
We all know how easy it is to purchase your interaction and even your following for mere dollars with the simple click of a button. Sadly, with this algo. change, the majority of our blogging population has succumbed to being cheaters to get ahead quicker than growing authentically. And let me say this now; HUGE props to the people who are actually growing at an authentic, steady pace.
For starters, this new algorithm change has completely changed the rate at which a photo gets likes. We used to be able to post a photo and the majority of our likes would come right at the start, trail off and if they hit a hashtag would take off from there. Currently, when someone posts the likes trickle in slower than before and by 24 hours you should have accumulated enough likes to have a successful photo, if it goes viral. The algorithm picks and chooses who to show your post to before others and that will, for the most part, determine how your photo does overall. And like most everyone else, I have to bust my ass for hours interacting to have my photo do remotely decent!!
It’s been quite suspicious to see some accounts I follow get 500-1000 likes in 5 minutes right off the bat and then they cap out at 1200 after 24 hours. Guys, this is not accurate nor is it real… Or if your account has 10k followers, yet you are getting 2k-5k likes on every single photo you post… I’ve been doing the Instagram thing long enough to know that not every single photo is going to perform well. Look at accounts with 50k-100k followers and you will see some of their photos still get under 1k likes yet some take off and get over 2k likes. This is authentic growth. Guys, why are you going overboard and spending money on a daily basis trying to look cool?? We all know you’re interaction is FAKE.
Buying followers is a whole different ball game… For those of us who have known the struggles of blogging and slow growth, we know exactly what slow, steady and fast growth looks like. Yes, you will grow a significant amount if you are shared on a large account or hit a hashtag, but not THAT much. Not you people jumping up 500-1000+ followers A DAY. And you know, Instagram caps your growth so there is literally no way your accounts would grow that much realistically. With that being said, all of y’all doing this look absolutely ridiculous and you’re pissing everyone off. Instagram is slowly rolling out spam clean outs and thankfully a lot of these accounts lost thousands of followers.
BUT, oddly enough, that didn’t stop quite a few of them from buying more followers! Once they saw the drop-off, they went back and purchased more so it didn’t look suspicious. FYI, brands do notice this and use multiple programs to track analytics on accounts. Check out socialblade.com. You can literally check everyone’s following count. Each influencer should be marginally the same, unless you get featured or hit a hashtag, of course. Take mine – I get a range of 100-300 each day, plus I lose, give or take, about 75-100 each day as well. You’ll notice that some people’s accounts will jump up 4k, 1500, 800 and then they get 50-100 normally and then there’s another spike. This would suggest the purchasing of followers. I don’t care to hear excuses of oh… They did loops that day blah blah. It’s not true. There are people who have started their accounts much much later than me, with shittier content that have somehow grown astronomically. I would name names but really don’t want to deal with the backlash. All I know is that if you’re buying anything to boost your account, the algorithm shows that as a wash… It shows that it’s not coming straight from the Instagram app and goes against that account’s algorithm. So when they quit buying, if they ever do, the account will be as if no one ever legitimately liked the photos or followed that account.
Some people probably don’t agree with my opinion on this issue or I’ve heard I watch people too closely. Well, I don’t really care if anyone disagrees with this post because you all know this is a MAJOR ongoing issue that needs to be resolved. And to the people that don’t think its a big issue… Are you trying to grow your brand; your blog; make this a business? I mean, why else would you be busting your asses to get a following, make sales and get brand collaborations?? No one ends up just doing this for fun after you hit a certain amount of followers. It becomes a job in itself; whether it started as a hobby or not. So the people who are buying likes and followers are screwing up your collaboration and pay structure; thinking we aren’t as valuable as we say we are because companies don’t see the ROI so they cut our rates and want more work from us in exchange. How fair is that? Oh wait, its not.
Now, that brings me to brand partnerships… Do you fakies really think you are actually getting these companies the ROI they expect?? You are not getting them sales, likes, followers, web hits, etc. because the followers you sold them on are FAKE and the likes you are getting on said photos are FAKE. Like I said above, this is ruining the genuine account’s partnerships because they expect all of our accounts to perform just as well as someone who is buying their interaction.
From the outside looking in, this is overall a popularity game. Buying likes falsifies who you are to look better to other bloggers, other brands, etc. But you can’t measure someone’s social success by Instagram likes or followers. You are NOT your likes. Instagram, and really any other social platform, has created this distorted view of people that isn’t remotely true! Seeing these people cheating is emotionally draining… We are trying to much harder to get our photos or accounts to do that much better and get discouraged when they don’t. This isn’t a competition people!!
Wouldn’t you want people who are actually going to interact with your photos buy what you’re selling? Or, almost more importantly, get the companies you’re representing the ROI that they are paying for? If you have a blog, web hits should be your overall goal. When all of these social platforms are done with, you will still have a successful blog with proven stats. It’s taken this stupid algorithm change to realize I had been putting way too much stress on Instagram, when in reality the blog is my baby and it is the founding source for all of my posts. Especially, after Instagram randomly deleted 500 of my photos! I realized that any social platform could be gone in an instant.
In the end, my sales and ROI are what matter and they’re honestly better than ever. Why?? Because the people who actually care about posts are seeing them and interacting. So, if you leave with anything from this post, let it be that you don’t measure someone’s social success by Instagram likes or followers.
If buying your interaction and followers weren’t bad enough, influencers are now turning to Loop Giveaways… Another HUGE form of cheating so I decided to write a post about it as well. CLICK HERE TO READ.
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