Follow/Unfollow is a common growth tactic on both Instagram and Twitter. The method’s aim is to gain highly-targeted followers and it’s essentially as simple as it sounds; you bulk-follow a large number of people from your target audience, before unfollowing them a number of days later. While this used to be a highly successful social growth technique a few years ago, Instagram and Twitter have gotten wise to this approach in recent times. These days, mass following and unfollowing can have serious consequences for your account, as well as simply not being all that effective.
Both Instagram and Twitter now use algorithms to monitor users’ behaviour on their platforms. This should come as no surprise – both of these social media giants’ algorithms are utilised on a daily, continual basis to curate our feeds and show us what they think we’ll like. If either sees too much Follow/Unfollow tendencies, they will take some kind of action. Beware of using a bot to instigate your Follow/Unfollow strategy; this can easily lead to your account being completely struck off. Twitter has a limit of new followers per day and deals in secret ratios, i.e. you can only follow a certain number of accounts if you have a certain amount of followers. Officially, this is 400 per day for regular accounts and 1000 per day for verified accounts and you have a 5000 maximum follow limit unless you also have thousands of followers – but these ratios can change on Twitter’s whim and no amount of complaining will do you much good if their overlords decide to penalise your account.
Instagram also keeps their algorithms secret, so it’s especially difficult to know in 2019 just where the limits lie. To top it off, the days of an automatic follow-backs are long gone. Social media users these days are much more savvy, and will actively prune their accounts from the ground-up. So all in all, the Follow/Unfollow method is largely dead and buried, save for a potentially useful kickstart for a new account. The question thus remains: how exactly do you expand your reach and acquire new social followers?
There are essentially two ways. The first is with targeted, paid promotion (though be sure to avoid click farms as these are just as likely to get you banned!). The other option, and definitely the best strategy for the long-term, is to pour resources into quality, well-written, and well-researched content. People will always respond positively to accounts that post interesting, engaging and entertaining content, and although it can be a slower option than the immediacy of targeted promotion, it is a cumulative strategy that pays off dividends over time. Content can take the form of a consistent blog; this will help you appear knowledgeable in your chosen field, while also providing a reason for people to keep coming back to your website.
Sharing quality content across all channels consistently is the key to hooking your audience in. Once you’ve got them, they are more likely to stay for the long-term. With bulk following and unfollowing largely a thing of the past, a more robust growth strategy will yield better results for both you and your audience.