In 2018, Instagram has reported it has over 800 million active accounts. The last few years we’ve experienced an explosion of macro and micro influencers in the social media scene. This means that there are more and more aspiring bloggers and influencers out there competing for the same attention spans.
This explosion of Instagram users and influencers has also been paralleled with an explosion of Instagram growth tools – like Instagress or Mass Planner (which have been shut down by Instagram by the way), apps to buy likes and followers, and comment pods to help beat the Instagram algorithm and grow your Instagram following.
You’ve probably heard how blogging/influencer market has become over saturated over the years. And you’ve probably felt the stress to grow as quickly as possible. And at some point, you’ve probably contemplated and even invested in likes, comment pods, and maybe even bought Instagram followers. Wherever you’re at in your Instagram, blogging, or side hustle journey, I’m here today to tell you that it actually doesn’t matter how you choose to invest your time in comment pods or buy Instagram followers…
What actually matters is whether or not you can deliver value to your readers/followers and you can bring a return on investment to brand campaigns.
1. Delivering value to your Instagram followers and blog readers
How many of you actually know all 1,000 or 10,000 of your followers? Do you know what they’re looking for this spring season? How many of you engage with your readers to figure out what they want to see next? Delivering value can be as simple as answering their questions they leave on your comments or writing a whole blog post on a topic they requested and asked for.
This takes time, patience, and commitment. And I’m with you on being busy – I’m juggling a full time job, blogging, and grad school in the evenings and still trying to maintain friendships and see my family. I do my best to respond to all the direct messages and comments, but I know I can still do better.
Advice: Focus on what value means to your followers and readers.
You can use Instagram polls and stories to ask them what want to see next. You can also get on Google Analytics and see what blog posts have done well for you in the past – and deliver more blog posts around those topics!
2. Deliver a return on investment to your brand partnerships
What is a return on investment (ROI)? Well in the blogging/Instagram world, it means a company pays you or gifts you a product, you feature it on your social channels, and the brand experiences either sales, followers, or engagement after you feature the product.
A return on investment is not always monetary (previously mentioned in 4 Things Brands Look for in Blogger Collaborations). However the photos and the videos you produce for those campaigns and collaborations MUST generate a lift – even if it’s just traffic to the brand’s Instagram page.
Advice: So how do you generate lift and convert on those brand partnerships?
With a strong, engaged following on your blog and Instagram. And guess what? Those thousands of bots who like photos and pose as fake followers are NOT a strong, engaged audience. They are not going to go out and buy the products of the brands you’re working with.
If you truly want to deliver on those brand campaigns, focus on cultivating a strong audience/Instagram followers/blog readers by delivering them value every time they visit your blog and Instagram.
So to buy or not buy Instagram followers?….
So if you can convert those thousands of instagram followers to purchase products, drive engagement, and create followers for your brand partnerships AND if you can continue to influence and engage with your readers by giving them valuable content – then you go ahead and you keep buying those followers, likes, and comment pods (if that’s been your strategy all along). But if you can’t – I advise you take a step back before you decide to invest in Instagram growth tools or buy Instagram followers.
4 Questions to Reflect On –
If you’re feeling lost, if you’re wanting to grow your Instagram following and blog traffic, and if you’re feeling the comparison game, ask yourself these questions – before you think about buying Instagram followers or investing in bots:
- Why have I created an Instagram/blog in the first place?
- What brings me joy in this space? Is it writing? Is it connecting with others? Etc.
- How am I delivering value to my followers/readers? What are they getting from visiting my blog and Instagram?
- How am I delivering value to brands? What are brands getting from me by working with me on my blog and Instagram?
I urge you to answer these questions before you turn to another Instagram growth app. Take the time to understand your audience and the brands you want to work for and identify how you deliver them value because this will help you in the long run.
For those of you working towards the 10,000 follower mark, you probably want to swipe up feature in your Instagram stories and maybe even more brand campaigns. You will hit that mark – especially if you invest in building an engaged following and deliver on your current brand collaborations.
As someone who started taking blogging seriously as a side hustle these last two years, I seen people be successful at both growing organically and using bots/automation. I’ve never bought followers but I’ve invested plenty of time in comment pods. At this point of my life – between school, a full time job, and blogging, I don’t have time to respond to 5 different comment pods. I’ve realigned my focus to continue to deliver value to readers/followers so I can deliver a return on investment to the brands I work with.
What’s your stance on buying followers, using automation tools, and comment pods? Have they helped you grow your Instagram account? Would you recommend Instagram growth tools to others?
Thank you to Just Fab for gifting these mules!
They’re the perfect heel height and I feel super comfortable walking around the city in them (and Seattle’s pretty hilly). They’re on sale right now for $19.99 and you can purchase them here!
Thank you for reading!
Photos: Holly Phan