Is Follow/Unfollow a cheap tactic on Instagram?

You upload a picture to Instagram. And you are pretty damn proud of it to. It’s a good photo and you are sure when the world sees it, they will feel the same way.

You place your phone down.

Kettle – Cup – Teabag – Stir

Pick up your phone and what’s this? 13 likes already! And 2 follows!

Your Instagram game is fire man!

It’s a good feeling isn’t it? That a stranger somewhere in the world liked your picture so much that they want to follow you for future updates. Your picture’s are that good?


So what is your next action? Well you are flattered now so you go and visit their page. And chances are, you like and follow them too. Reciprocation is at work.


Social Media is a very emotional form of communicating. It works in a similar way to face to face communication. Our brains react to a ‘like’ or ‘share’, in a very similar way it would to a compliment in person. And in the same way we crave approval from our peers, we value the engagement from a stranger on Instagram.


But are your pictures really that good?


Oh I’m sure they are!


But did anyone actually see it? That’s the real question.


With technology comes automation. And with automation comes, ‘Sorry Bob, that wasn’t a real person liking your Instagram post.’


Now before your dunk your phone into that boiling hot cup of tea, consider that you can use this to your advantage.

A fork in the road:


Join them or get left behind? There are two minds about automation. Initially it seems like a cheap tactic to blindly ‘like’ thousands of pictures purely based on the #hashtags. But who actually has the time to build a following on Instagram organically?


Automation tools allow you to mimic human engagement on social media, without lifting a finger. Whether it’s likes, comments, or follows, automation tools can do a lot to relieve you of hours of social media grind. So you can spend more time on your business, as hundreds of people click on your website link or enter a sales process on your website.


But are these automation tools cheap tactics? Do they take away from the spirit of ‘Social’?


Take the Follow/Unfollow strategy. Which basically consists of following a few dozen profiles an hour, waiting for 10 to 15 mins, and then unfollowing everyone who didn’t follow you. After a month, have a spring clean and unfollow anyone you don’t want to see on your feed.


Does this strategy work? Yes, it works very well. The law of reciprocation is very powerful and because users are not notified when they lose a follower, it persists as a strategy. People can grow their accounts by the thousands each month using this tactic. And if they are willing to pay a bit of money each month, they can get a software to do all the work for them.


The same process applies to automating likes and comments. Personally, automating comments is not a good strategy. If you have ever received a generic response like ‘Nice one!’ or the comment doesn’t relate to the picture, then you are witnessing automation. It is very obvious and makes that profile look insincere in their interactions. Does it work though? Yes, it still works. But people do start to catch on, so be careful if you choose this strategy.




Ultimately the question is an emotional one. We can get romantic about how the world should be, but when the benefits are so great, any tactic will be used. The issue is that the purpose of the social network becomes lost if abused. It becomes a computer game where the most followers wins. If you don’t receive genuine interaction from your posts, then what is the point? If your posts generate 100s of Likes and Comments but you generate no business from your account, then there is no point?


Will using automation tools help you in your efforts to build business through Instagram?
Yes. But it is up to you to decide how much you wish to automate and what you want to keep real. Eventually robot versions of CEOs will attending networking events and malfunction as a glass of wine is spilt down their top. But until that brave/hilarious/psychotic new world arrives, we can use human psychology to our advantage. Whether you choose to automate your interactions is for you to decide.

‘We should do lunch sometime’ Robot Dale Carnegie

Share this Post

About the Author


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *