For the sake of honesty, I will have to start by admitting that I have bought followers in the past, used commenting bots and all other sorts of “growth hacks”.
Back when Instagram first changed the feed from chronological to “whatever we think you wanna see” and the apocalypse started, my following went down. Not only that I wasn’t getting new followers anymore, I was losing approximately 10-15 a week. My likes and engagement dropped dramatically and just stayed there since. So, during the apocalypse, I tried buying followers, in total I bought around 200. (I say around because you purchase a 100 but a 120 come, or 80.) This obviously didn’t help anything. My following and engagement kept declining, even though the quality of my content improved.
Back in the days, with under 1000 people following me, I used to get around 300-500 likes per photo taken with my iPhone. Today, a year later with 3000 followers and a DSLR, I barely make it to 200. Not ranting, just sharing what my situation is.
The platform got completely flooded, the algorithms are impossible to understand, and there is no communication between Instagram & creators. Quality, engagement and consistency don’t seem to be working anymore. Instagram is a great hobby and a really fun way to make some extra money, but it seems like it’s getting more and more difficult for creators.
But still, buying followers and likes is not the way to go, and there are no excuses for it. It’s unfair, uncool, it screws up the whole environment of the platform and just should not be done. Aaanywho, moving on to the fun part, which is figuring out who buys followers *insert evil laugh here* .
Socialblade – moment of truth
Socialblade is by far one of my favourite tools to spot cheaters on Instagram. I use it to track my own growth but you can actually put anyone’s username and get some statistics about their growth. And this is where it gets good. You can see a history of the growth in followers and get an idea of if their growth is organic. If there are big spikes in followings that happen over very short periods of time, like overnight, there is a chance that the followers are bought.
Sometimes, of course, it can occur naturally when for example there is a Giveaway, your photo gets reposted by an account with a broader audience, you get a shoutout, or actually create something viral.
I always get a spike when I do giveaways, or have big brands repost one of my photos ( like HERE or HERE ). The good thing about Socialblade is that you can see the dates where the spike happened. So in case you really feel like digging deeper you can go back into the account and try figure out if there is anything that could have organically grown their followings.
That was it from me for today! Do you enjoy this Socialblade? Do you think it’s fair to buy followers? Let me know what you think and talk to you later!