There are tons of hacks you can find on the internet regarding boosting engagement. Everything from Engagement Groups, Group Giveaways, Follow Trains, Bots, and Hashtags (#F4F/#L4L), and many more. My curiosity was sparked by a lot of these items and the last few weeks I have been experimenting with a few of them to see if they are worth it.
Engagement Groups can be found or created. I have been invited to engagement groups as well as joined them via Facebook Groups for Bloggers. An Engagement group is a group of Instagrammers who interact with each other’s content. Now there are different levels of engagement groups. Some can be super intense, for example, There was a group that I looked into that you had to log on at a specific time of day and post/engage with group members within a 30-minute timeframe. The reason for this is so your post pops up at the top of your followers feed as well as increases your chances of being on the trending page. Now if you are a full-time blogger or have a job that doesn’t mind you stopping in the middle of your day to get on Instagram for about 30 minutes to do engagement this may be a fit for you. The issue with this is even though you may be getting pushed to the top of your followers feeds it does not mean it is peak time for your Instagram. My peak posting times are scattered some days its 9am, others at 1pm, and sometimes it says 6pm.
Should You Do It?
I think engagement groups are one of the better options but it really can be hit or miss. It also depends on how much time you WANT to spend on Instagram each day and it is also about finding a group that either has a moderator or a group that stays active. I think its best to find the right level of engagement group for you. If there are people you follow who post the same amount as you and they are often active follower DM them and ask them if they are part of an engagement group or ask if they want to create one. Best to find a group who post the same amount as you so if you post once a day best not to be in a group who post multiple times a day.
Group Giveaways & Follow Trains
We all have seen these types of images when scrolling through our feeds. These tactics are more focused on gaining followers which “could” lead to higher engagement.
A Follow Train is a little bit like an engagement group except there is no certain way of boosting engagement just follower count by reposting the image to your feed and following others who have the same image posted on their feed.
A Group Giveaway is a group of Instagrammers who throw in a lump sum of money to join a giveaway group that helps you gain followers. The post’s caption will usually have a list of To Do’s like follower anywhere from 5 – 25 Instagrammers then tag so many friends to join, and possible gain bonus points by liking their past post or subscribing to their newsletter.
I personally have not joined a giveaway group or a follow train but instead was a creeper and tracked people who were. I checked their engagement rate and follower counts during and after for a few weeks. After the initial post, the user’s followers increased significantly while engagement went up a little. Once the giveaway/follow train was over there was a large dip in followers immediately then a slow dip for a week or two after. The engagement stayed even for about a week then it started to dip down. The end result did show a small increase in followers and engagement but it was nowhere near the amount during the actual giveaway/follow train.
Should You Do It?
Follow Train: These to me don’t seem to help engagement at all but is good for gaining followers. It seems people follow and then possibly mute all the people they followed or after a few weeks they just unfollow. Having a high follow count and a low amount of engagement isn’t helpful especially if you are wanting to be an influencer but if you just want a lot of followers and don’t mind your feed being clogged then this is a way to go.
Group Giveaways: To me, this is a lot like paying for followers because you pay $5 -$50 dollars to be part of a giveaway and then you may or may not keep the engagement/follow stats after the event. It is a fun thing to do for your followers ( I will admit I have entered into giveaways on Instagram before ) so if you are doing it for the enjoyment of your followers I say go ahead but I don’t think it is a solid way to gain engagement or followers.
Bots (Apps for Gaining Likes & Followers)
I think by now most people know this is not the way to go but I wanted to add this to the list. There are tons of Apps and Companies out there that let you buy Likes and Followers. Now I tested this out with Free Apps because I did not want to give my credit card to an app like this. The strange part of this was, at least with the App that I downloaded, there was a lot of “Celebrities”/High-Level Influencers post on this app. I debated showing a screenshot of some brands and celebrities I found using the app but decided against it.
How the Like App worked is for every like I gave I received a “coin” and you could use those coins to get likes. Now, this seems simple but Instagram does have a system to catch you using Apps like this and will block you from liking and commenting for a period of time if you like too much. The limit for likes on instagram is about 250 per hour so once you go past that they will block you. The block will last 24 hours to 3 weeks. After the intial block is lifted you have to slowly increase you engagement. I intintially got myself blocked and after 24 hours my ban was lifted and after liking 15 photos in 4 minutes I got banned again for another 24 hours (Sorry, to anyone I follow for the radio silence for a few days). Another thing about these Apps is you have to give them access to your account which is a little bit scary I was lucky with this app while testing it out but immediately changed my password after testing.
The Follower App I downloaded was a little different. The price for followers is much higher than likes. This apps exchange rate was +1 coin for a like and +4 coins for every person you followed. The price to gain 5 Followers was 50 coins. Now for REAL cash, you could get “Golden Followers” which a lot of these apps seem to have which usually means “They are guaranteed to follow you for at least a month”. This also means non-golden followers can basically unfollow you right after they get their +4 Coins. So I liked until I got to 50 and this is what I got.
As you can see these are all pretty obviously Bot Accounts but I did get a bonus 6th follower! These guys are not going to give me any type of additional engagement just following. Now if you haven’t heard of “Click Farms” basically people set up warehouses filled with phones hanging from chains and computers everywhere with people making fake accounts that like, follow, comment on people who have bought these things from Apps or websites. A really good and funny documentary on this is Channel 4’s Dispatch Celebs, Brands and Fake Fans. This is a link to the trailer, unfortunately, I could not find a link to a free version of the whole documentary but the trailer gives you an insight into Click Farms and the business of buying followers and likes.
Should You Do It?
If you are okay with the possibility of Instagram shutting down your account, your phone getting hacked, and paying with real money then sure why not but I personally don’t think its worth it. Especially, if you don’t pay because it took me a long time to get a few coins for a few likes and a lot of coins for a few followers (who were very fake) but hey I did get a bonus 6th follower.
Hashtags #L4L #F4F
I am a hashtag user. I will 100% admit sometimes I go a little #Hashtag crazy on my post. Hashtags are a good way for users to find you BUT hashtags don’t guarantee likes or followers. Yet there are tons of different versions of #L4L and #F4F aka Like for Like and Follow for Follow.
Tons of people use these hashtags yet if you like all 190,571,299 posts with this hashtag you would not get that many likes back. You would also be banned from Instagram and probably go insane. These hashtags may get you some additional likes but the issue is the Instagram algorithm may screw you over. Now I tried #L4L on a few of my post and it was VERY time consuming (if you play fair) every person who liked my photo I had to go and like theirs. Another issue is I never knew if the likes I was getting were from the #L4L hashtag or another one which made it so I had to like a photo of everyone who liked my photo. I was constantly losing track of where I was on the list and it overall was a hot mess. Now if everyone played fair you would get a decent amount of likes. I went through the #L4L feed and liked 50 peoples photos out of the 50 I liked 10 of them liked a photo back. I was too afraid to attempt the F4F in fear of my feed become monstrous.
Should You Do It?
Though this option won’t get your phone hacked it will take a lot of time and you may not get results for the work you put in. It also doesn’t guarantee constant engagement or followers. Another outcome from using these hashtags is you could get Shadow Banned since they are on the banned list.
If you want engagement be engaging. Find other people who post about the same things as you. Converse with them and like their post. They will do the same back. These are “Natural Engagement Groups”. These relationships can help boost both of your accounts in a natural way leading you to find new people you may want to follow and who will want to follow you. Follow people who’s content you enjoy. It’s not any harder to like or comment on their stuff instead of liking some weird images you find in a Like App. Overall just be a good follower and if you find good people they will be a good follower back.