Black Hat Instagram Tactics

Since Instagram exploded on our radars a few years ago, finding the difference between genuinely organic and “bought out” influence” grew to be a giant problem for marketing teams.  Popular Instagram influencers are paid to regularly work with a variety of brands to boost their digital marketing effectiveness. This is with hopes that their influence can leave a genuine impact on their audience to promote the brand and likewise with fans of the brand for the influencer. Yet, not all Instagram influencers can be trusted anymore as finding corners around the face value of likes, followers, and engagement is more common than ever. Some of the biggest names on Instagram like Justin Bieber, Madison Beer, Sommer Rey, Jen Selter, and many more have been found by to buy followers and even outright purchase accounts that already had millions of followers to shorten their road to online fame. What’s worse is that some brands may be paying these types of influencers to become ambassadors or even sponsored “athletes” or “reps” for their products or service through a complete facade.

So how are black hat tactics finding their way into the world of social media marketing? To find short cuts, some social media users have been using “black-hat SEO” tactics, or online methods to pay their way to the top. This is made up of buying comments or views on videos, paying for shout outs, purchasing fake followers and overall “faking it” until a profile hopefully makes it in the organic way. Some people are paying for auto bots to directly comment and like on stranger’s profiles in hopes to grow their own feed. To work against profiles that are abusing the system and blocking other genuine users from possible success, marketing teams and Instagram itself have been taking drastic measures to understand the process of auditing Instagram influencers around the world. Buying followers for your business or associating with fake accounts is the quickest way to look like a fraud, so avoid it by all means!

Use Instagram to your leverage.

Black Hat SEO And Buying Followers

There are many black hat SEO services on the web to allow people to purchase “fake” engagement on their stories, pictures, videos, and even IGTV movies at this point. Some services can easily range from a couple of dollars for a batch of likes, to hundreds of dollars a month for an automated delivery. Some of the biggest accounts we know can be doing this behind closed doors, and it’s often not talked about between Instagram influencers for the sake of maintaining reputation. Any user on Twitter or Instagram could also follow large number of accounts, and then unfollow those who don’t follow them back within a few days. They may have bots that are leaving cookie cutter comments on a stream of posts aligned to a specific hashtag so their accounts are seen more often. While this method isn’t as fabricated, it still can make a professional looking account appear desperate or uncertain to some. Some of the inactive accounts that are added to the account also hurt the user’s engagement rate and overall reach. It also makes their reputation appear a bit off when a million follower account may only get a couple thousand likes per post. Other users can easily spot the facade over time so it’s best to stay away from any shortcuts that seem like an easy path in the present.

The Risks Of Black Hat Tactics

For some users having as many followers and likes as possible looks more reputable and sought after. Why would a brand work with someone else with five thousand followers when you have five hundred thousand? While social media marketing campaigns do consider working with influencers with large followings, they also look at how well the account is engaging with its audience and if it will actually convert into leads or purchases. Most social media users don’t realize that participating with black hat methods brings only trouble to their account and standing with the Instagram platform itself. Abusing the system and using too many third party services that drop in thousands of fake profiles can mark a flag for the software to possibly deactivate the account. For marketers who are partnering with influencers in ongoing campaigns, the only true way to figure out if your Twitter or Instagram campaign is working is by asking for a screenshot of their engagement insights or looking at their comments. Sometimes posts with even tens of thousands of likes will only have up to fifty comments, which mark a sign that the influencer may be purchasing likes. An account that is getting hundreds of organic comments and shares marks that the account is genuine and is doing a good job to reach new audiences across the platform. Instagram influencers understand the new importance of genuinely connecting with their followers as well, so the practice of buying followers is luckily being done less than before. Add in the routine “purges” of fake followers that Instagram does each year and the amount of accounts that resort to buying engagement becomes even less. It’s better to be safe and grow accounts the right way than fake a ruined reputation and thousands of lost followers overnight. The world of social media still highly values honesty, and your integrity can take a hit as your real followers catch on and discover the methods being used for social media marketing.

Organic Digital Marketing

In order to grow your following on social media the right way, work on creating honest, high quality, and consistent content. Think about what posts and videos will actually benefit your following rather than stroke your own ego. You’ll quickly learn what types of captions and posts will connect to people better over time, so practice is key! No one is perfect in social media and we all have a unique voice to share as individuals. Instead of wasting money on fake followers or likes, switch to aiming for active engagement with other businesses and perhaps gaining advice from a marketing consultant. Marketing focused firms like Eminent SEO leverage experts who are experienced in organic growth and know exactly how to create a business from scratch. Don’t hesitate and get on the road to achieve a better degree of digital marketing!

Black Hat tactics are taking over Instagram.

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