Why Your Instagram Following Could Soon Take a Hit

Have you been working on building your presence on Instagram? Sharing carefully-selected photos that represent your brand and your products? Get ready, because that follower number you’ve worked so hard to build could soon be taking a hit.

Instagram announced this week that it’s cracking down on “fake” followers. These could simply be accounts that are inactive or spammy, or they could be followers you’ve purchased through a legitimate transaction. Confused? Read on.

If you weren’t aware you could purchase followers, consider yourself lucky. It might come as a surprise to you that some brands and bloggers have increased their follower counts by the thousands by paying third-party services that offer packaged numbers of followers. In most cases, these followers are “shell” accounts that are highly inactive, but follow hundreds or thousands of people.

Up until this point, buying followers has been fair game (although it’s a practice that’s frowned upon by many in the social media marketing community). But now, Instagram is flipping the script, citing more transparency for users and advertisers. In a statement to account holders, Instagram’s communications chief said follower counts should reflect “actual human beings” that are following you, rather than paid-for accounts. For brands and advertisers, it means a more accurate count of how many eyeballs are actually on their products.

What does this mean for you? If you’ve purchased followers in the past, it likely means they’re about to go out the door, despite any guarantee you may have received with your purchase. And the move could have future implications for platforms like Facebook and Twitter, where inflated follower counts are also a problem.

But from a marketing standpoint, we consider Instagram’s decision a good one. It means that quality content is more important than ever, and everyone has to work equally hard to achieve those all-important follower numbers. Sharing relevant content that your audience finds useful will continue to be a surefire way to grow your following.

Also effective? Social media advertising. Instagram doesn’t yet offer an advertising platform to the masses, but watch for one to debut in 2015. Twitter and Facebook already offer advertising options for businesses that are highly effective in increasing your following and engagement.

Need help getting started on social media? Want to build your existing social media presence? KAUFFs has you covered. Contact us today to get started.