The Instagram follow-unfollow strategy – is it dead?

Blog post about the instagram algorithm and follow unfollow tactics and follow unfollow bots and farms by Sketch Corp. 26 Jun, 2019

For years now, strategic Instagram users have adopted the good old follow-unfollow strategy to ‘organically’ boost their audiences for free. Cue a slew of follow-unfollow farms, bots, apps and other types of automation that do the hard work for you!

Not long ago, Instagram started cracking down on this type of thing. There are now tighter restrictions on the number of actions an account can perform in one day, and the number of people it can follow and unfollow.

There are many theories about why this has happened, and some are more credible than others. It is not yet known if these blocks are intentional (apparently it’s also happening to accounts that have never used automation before) or if it’s a new spam filter. It may be that Instagram is testing the waters to find a sweet spot.

Once upon a time, Instagram was incredibly permissive with its daily limits on the follow tool. Insta mavericks with bots used to be able to follow-unfollow 5000 accounts a day! Now it’s down to about 500 a day.

Whatever the reason, it’s clear that Instagram is serious about stopping certain types of activity. And we have to ask the question: is it favouring accounts that spend money on its ad platform?

Speculate all you want, but we’ll probably never know the real reason. All we can do is deal with the problem at hand using the tools we have at our disposal.

First of all, we need to understand that the days of following and unfollowing 1000+ people a day are gone. We need to focus on new strategies to grow our accounts.

For those who were using the follow-unfollow (automated) method, you may be finding it hard to see the bright side. ‘Now how will I get more followers (!!!)!’ Never fear, there is a silver lining:

* Many spammers will give up on Instagram automation, which means that targeted audiences will receive fewer notifications and yours will stand out.

* New strategies for building an audience are bound to come up. Until then, take this time to improve the content on your account and work on your other business channels, like Google My Business listing.

Why was everyone using the follow-unfollow method so much?

Because it really worked! Every Instagram ‘marketer’ read about that strategy first. Follow and unfollow enough people and sure enough your account would grow. From now on, you’ll have to create a strategy and do everything you can to get more targeted eyeballs on your account.

What now?

Fortunately, there are other ways to attract attention on Instagram:

  • Use the DM feature more: This doesn’t mean you should spam thousands of people with messages. Be smart, take it easy and be authentic. Take a genuine interest. Start slow and when you’re comfortable (remember, authenticity), build up. A good place to start is to DM people who have engaged with your posts.
  • Update your Stories regularly: Supplement quality posts on your main feed with frequent, creative uploads to Stories. This is a great way to encourage engagement with your account. Stories are a wonderful place to experiment and nurture a community.
  • Branch out from Insta: Social media platforms are nothing if not fickle. Who knows if Instagram will even exist in five years? Besides, it’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket. We recommend casting the net wide by structuring your social media marketing strategy in a way that incorporates a variety of platforms.

Remember, there’s no such thing as ‘the end’. It’s just a new beginning. Don’t give up on growing and changing. Do your best to adapt and you’ll do just fine! You might even end up better off because there’ll be less competition.

– Sketch Corp.