Table of contents
  1. 1. What is follow for follow?
  2. 2. History of the follow for follow tactic
  3. 3. Advantages
  4. 4. Disadvantages
  5. 5. Relevance to influencer marketing
  6. 6. How to use follow for follow tactic

What is follow for follow?

Follow for follow, also called follow/unfollow, is a tactic some people use on social media to gain a lot of followers without increasing their own following count. They accomplish this by following a hundred or more people in a day and then unfollowing them a few days later. Most of the people who followed back don't notice the unfollow. 

Companies that want to use influence marketing need to know how to tell when a prospective influencer uses this tactic. It's not a good idea to work with a person who uses those tactics because they aren't truly influencers. An influencer earns their audience through engaging content and has some level of influence over their opinions. In a sense, influencers are social media celebrities.

An Instagram channel using follow for follow tactic © InfluencerDB

 

History of the follow for follow tactic

The follow/unfollow method has been used for over seven years. Social media sites didn't like the tactic and took action to curb it. Instagram is known for shutting down apps that enable unfollowing or following with greater ease. Twitter, Instagram, and many other social media networks limit how many people one can follow and unfollow in a day. They ban users who exceed these limits or show unnatural signs of gaining followers. One must read the social media site's terms and conditions to know their policy on this issue. 

Many social media sites have prohibited the use of apps that automate the process of following and unfollowing too. Anyone caught using those apps is usually banned. Will people continue using follow/unfollow tactics? They probably will since they can fly under the radar by knowing the site's limits and avoiding the use of prohibited apps. Businesses that want to avoid mistaking these individuals as influencers should hire a reputable, trustworthy influencer management agency that verifies influencers. One could perform the checks in-house, but it takes time away that could be spent on other tasks. 

 

Advantages

  • Increase follower count: follow for follow is one of the fastest and organic ways to increase one's follower count. Some people have reached 30,000 followers within six months using this tactic. 
  • Avoid using follow robots: The followers are real social media users and if you have attractive and valuable content, some of them may turn into your true followers in the future  

 

Disadvantages

  • A few angry people: Some people will notice when they have been followed and unfollowed by someone looking to increase their followers through this method. And they will often be irked. One must be prepared for a few angry comments and being called out for the practice. 
  • Fake influencers: Companies are sometimes duped into paying fake influencers when they are unaware of the follow/unfollow method and how to tell if someone is using it. If a brand didn't achieve expected results from influence marketing, it may have hired someone who built their followers through follow/unfollow tactic. 
  • Being too aggressive can get one banned: Following or unfollowing large numbers of people too fast is a red flag to social media sites. One could have their account banned for being too aggressive using the follow/unfollow tactic. 

 

Relevance to influencer marketing

Marketers should know about follow/unfollow tactics to be able to spot genuine influencers as well as relevant influencers to their brands. Someone who uses follow/unfollow isn't necessarily an influencer. A key aspect of influencers is their audience are passionate fans who keep up with them and trust their recommendations within their niche. Although the method is an easy, free way of gaining followers, it tends to upset social media users when it's used on them because they feel it's inauthentic. 

 

How to use follow for follow tactic

This method is done by going to the profile of an influencer or company that one's target audience would follow, then start following all of the people following that account. Those who are interested in using follow for follow could consider keeping the accounts they favor as followed rather than unfollowing them. 

One should also interact with the accounts they follow through genuine likes and comments. This would be a more authentic way of using follow/unfollow tactics. Also, read the terms and conditions of the social media site to stay in compliance. One should never risk their account being banned since it's such an integral part of a social media or influencer marketing strategy. 

For those who don't want to use this strategy but want to gain followers fast, look into hiring influencers. As long as the influencer does not overuse or abuse the tactic and makes it clear to their followers that they receive compensation for a post, it's considered to be a safe and fast way to grow one's account. In this case, an influencer marketing platform to track down the follower growth would be handy not only for the influencer but also for the brands willing to collaborate with him/her.