It is hard to get noticed online with everyone catching the Blogging Bug. A bug which is mostly positive with a few downfalls. One of those downfalls is the lack of self-confidence in one’s ability to “succeed” in blogging. Many see being a big blogger as someone with hundreds of thousands of followers. Someone who is receiving free luxury items. A person who is able to pay for their home with money made from blogging. Bloggers who get sent to the most expensive and luxurious destinations on the planet simply to Instagram them. Well, that is what I define as a big blogger. Not necessarily successful. Alas, this doesn’t mean much to many bloggers. Sadly, stats are important to brands and PR agencies. Without the stats, you are an empty space on the web. And that is why so many people buy their followers.
When I got my first ever Instagram (one dedicated to Marilyn Monroe back in 2011), I was obsessed with getting followers. I gained about 6,000 followers through Tumblr but at the time, that was not enough for me. For no reason whatsoever, numbers meant a lot to me. So, I purchased 1,000 followers for about £5. Utterly pointless. And soon I realised that.
Why is it pointless (especially with blogging)? More and more are able to see what is a fake follower and who isn’t. It’s so easy to spot when someone has purchased fake followers because boom, that Instagram with 1.5k fans has now gone up to 2.8k in a day. Not realistic at all.
Without real followers, you are still a blank space.
I definitely have a tonne of fake followers on my Instagram. Not all of them are my fault but I will be honest when I say some are my own stupid fault. Again, in my more naive days of Instagramming and blogging, I would promote on stupid apps, where you can follow for follow, promote your account etc. Yes, another waste of time.
The followers – or should I say fake accounts – tend to be “sexbot1969” or “fit.inspo.babe” because I have used certain hashtags. Those accounts tend to set up their own bots to like and follow Instagram accounts with a particular word or Hashtag.
GET RID OF THE BOTS
Although not one hundred percent accurate (just like with the Twitter Fake Follower Removal System), there is an app called Cleaner for Instagram which allows you to mass select and remove inactive and ghost accounts. I had a few hundred. For three years I had hundreds of inactive followers. I’m sure there are more than that, and I’m sure the app may have deleted those who aren’t inactive. But that is how Instagram works. I have no idea why the bots exist but they do.
INVEST YOUR MONEY AND TIME ELSEWHERE
Spending a few quid and getting a few hundred followers is stupid. I’ve done it, I know. It gets you nowhere and makes you untrustworthy as a blogger.
It is time to invest your time and money elsewhere if you want to promote your posts, blog and social media. And some of these things don’t cost a damn thing!
ADVERTISE ON BLOGS
Support your fellow blogger by paying them to advertise on your blog. Not only are you helping them but they can also get you some new real readers. I found this was the best way to advertise my blog as it was a great way to promoted by someone with a viewership and following. It doesn’t have to be a large blogger, because even if you pay £7 and get discovered by ten new readers, then it’s paid for itself. You may not get discovered any other way, so this is always a good way to get your name out there.
SUBMIT TO STUMBLEUPON
Add your posts to StumbleUpon promoting each post to those who search particular interests.
UTILISE YOUR PINTEREST ACCOUNT
Pin any and every image from your blog and Instagram. This way photos are linked directly to another platform. You can read more on how to promote your blog via Pinterest here.
PROMOTE ON INSTAGRAM
If you want to promote a particular post, then consider advertising the post on Instagram. I tested this method and it didn’t work so well for me. And I think that’s because I wasn’t offering a service. Instead, I was promoting a post linking it to my website. I gained around two hundred impressions within the first day, which was not too bad but no clicks. I found that the original caption was pretty basic and not enticing and didn’t give anything back to the audience.
This method is perhaps not perfect for everyday posts but something to mention to brands if they want you to promote their products. It’s an additional service you can offer! It does, however, give the opportunity to reach out to more people depending on how much you pay. Otherwise, you can do it the good old fashion way of posting the corresponding image on your account and telling people to head to your blog via the link in your bio.
As with the above, you can pay to advertise a post in the Facebook sidebars of a particular age and gender group in various parts of the world. For these sort of promotions, you need to know your target audience and be sure the post is worth promoting i.e. a discount code, giveaway etc.
IS IT WORTH IT? IS IT IMPORTANT?
If followers are that important to you, then invest your time and money in the above methods. Not only are the free ones well, free but they are also simple and quick ways to promote your posts. Whereas buying followers is a money pit where numbers change but engagement doesn’t.
Ever since the algorithm change on Instagram my follower growth has not only decreased but my engagement jumps up and down like a kangaroo. Even with over 11k followers, I may only get 60-150 likes on a post. The followers may exist but if they can’t see a post then why would the engagement exist? It wouldn’t. So before pointing fingers at bloggers and influencers remember there was a time where people could see everything as and when it was posted.
In addition, other social platforms are more popular and easy to grow than others. I have a lot of followers on Insta in comparison to Twitter but that is because I have promoted my Insta account a lot more on Tumblr (52k over four years) than Twitter. And let’s face it, many of us prefer visual images and aesthetic to rants on Twitter!
I constantly see bloggers complaining about others buying followers and how you can tell. But the only way you can tell for sure is by looking at the accounts that followed and by time scale (five thousand followers in ten minutes for example!)
But the main thing to remember is that it is your content which will help you grow, not just the numbers. Focus primarily on what you are creating and if you promote it properly, the followers and views will rise naturally.
As I repeatedly say, enjoy blogging and sharing on social media. Try not to focus too much on the numbers. If you post genuine content and promote authentically then the followers will follow!