The Dark Side Of Instagram

I made another post about my Instagram pet peeves Instagram: A Love/Hate Relationship” , so you can think of this post as a more in depth addition to that one. This post is going to give an inside look at what really goes on with your favorite Instagrammers, and believe me, it’s not as pretty as it looks from the outside.

For your average Instagram user, you would have no idea the lengths that bloggers, influencers, or wannabe famous people go to in order to gain followers, engagement, or recognition. Actually, you may have heard of at least one of the things I’m going to talk about.

There are a couple different options people use in order to gain followers and likes, which in turn then leads to recognition from bigger accounts and brands.

Gaining Followers

  • Buying Followers

  • Follow/Unfollow Method

  • Hiring social media mangers/bots

  • Participating in Facebook groups

Gaining Likes

  • Buying likes

  • Participating in DM groups

  • Participating in Facebook groups

Now I want to talk a little about each of the things I listed above.

Buying Followers: Self explanatory. You buy followers (usually by the thousands) to increase your “popularity”. Of course these fake followers don’t actually engage with your content.

Follow/Unfollow Method: You follow someone with the hope that they follow you back. Once they do follow back, you then unfollow them. The funny thing about this method is that most people use apps to track their unfollowers. So, it’s still pretty dumb to me why people still do this. Personally, I’ve had big accounts follow me and I think they actually like what I post. Then a couple days later, they unfollow me and I unfollow them in return.

Hiring Social Media Managers/Bots: You can hire a real person who can then follow, like, and comment on other similar accounts on your behalf. They do this with the hope that the person will then take an interest in your account and follow. If it’s not a real person, they use bots to do these actions automatically.

Buying Likes: Once again, pretty self explanatory. You can buy likes to fake your engagement. It can be easy to tell if someone buys likes. For example, say someone has 300 followers and has 1,000 likes. Unless you’re some famous person (and by that point, you would have way more than 300 followers), you really shouldn’t be having tons more likes than the amount of followers. The likes are either bought or that person is engaging in DM groups.

DM Groups (Direct Message): These are groups that are usually organized on Facebook and are moderated by a leader. There are different types of groups: like all, follow all, comment, etc. Basically whenever anyone posts something new, they alert the DM group and the group then likes, comments, etc on their post. These were made to fake engagement (aka seem more popular).

Facebook Groups: This is where you can connect with similar accounts. You can then participate in follow trains (where you follow everyone), like alls (like everyones post), and comment trains (comment at least 4 words on everyones post). These are both a gift and a curse and I plan on writing a separate post on this topic really soon.

Why are people going through all this trouble you may be asking? To be able to get brand deals is the answer. In order to even be considered you need certain engagement rates and follower counts. Brands are becoming smarter to the tactics that are being used and instead of going only off of follower count, they’re now more interested in engagement rate (the amount of likes and comments a post gets). The average Instagram user engagement rate is between 2-3 percent. Anything over 5 percent is considered good to brands.

There’s something else I wanted to mention. You may have heard of something called Presets. It’s basically a special filter that you can customize and apply to your photos to have a cohesive feed theme. Personally, I don’t like these as it makes every blogger, influencer, etc look exactly the same. There’s no individuality and it sucks how everyone thinks they need to use these. There’s so much thought put into having a beautiful feed that it ruins the authentic Instagram experience. People won’t post a photo if it “doesn’t match” the rest of their photos.

Why am I posting all of this? To show how exhausting Instagram can be when you’re no longer a casual everyday user but instead have to focus on these “standards”. I plan on making a post dedicated to the behind the scenes of these Facebook groups that are used for growth and how they benefit your account in the short term but can actually harm your account in the long run. While I’ve used these Facebook groups to help grow my account, I’ve come to see how selfish the other users can be. I’ve also participated in a DM group for a few days and ended up leaving because of how fake it felt. So whenever I see a fellow blogger/influencer with above average likes and comments, I know they’re using a DM engagement group. The next time you come across your favorite Instagrammer, just know that not everything may be authentic.

For my fellow bloggers, have you used any of the tricks I talked about? For my non bloggers, are you surprised to know that these types of things exist? Feel free to let me know your opinion below!

P.S- Check me out on Instagram @chonie07