Instapods, giveaways? What’s the right and wrong way to build a following?

It’s all kicked off, this whole Instagram drama. Who has been buying followers? Who has been using bots? Who has been following loads of account…


It’s all kicked off, this whole Instagram drama. Who has been buying followers? Who has been using bots? Who has been following loads of account to unfollow a few days later.

It’s not a surprise that people are doing this. Anyone who has an Instagram account can see how quickly random accounts follow them and how quickly they unfollow. It’s hard to grow a following and get yourself out there.

It’s a tactic used by many and I’ve even read articles that give advice on how to grow Instagram suggesting to use bots or mass follow and unfollow. Brands do it. Bloggers do it. I’m sure many other people do it.

But I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about something else.

how to grow instagram orgaically

We all go on about how the right way to grow a following is to do it organically. But what does that mean?

Well, let’s look at what’s not organic.

Buying followers is the ultimate no-no, it seems. It’s not organic EVEN A LITTLE BIT. It’s lazy, it’s fake. Most of the accounts that follow you are fake, or porn, or selling weight loss wraps and other crap accounts like that.

Using bots is another way and it’s the one that seems to be the thing in the spotlight lately. Bots can do many things for you. They can comment for you. Really shitty comments like ‘great post!’ and ‘keep up the work’ or ‘I love this photo!’. You’ve probably seen it. They can also like photos and follow people. The idea is to get your attention and get these people to return the favour.

Another tactic is manually following people. Then unfollowing later to make your followers/following ratio to look better. I’ve seen this used many times, mostly because you start to see the same accounts follow you over and over again. Those people just look like a nob really.

Another way to get people to follow you is to hold a giveaway. You can do this on your own, by buying some makeup or something similar and asking people to either follow you, regram, comment or whatever. You can work with a brand and give away a prize they supply to a winner. Or you can hold the competition on your blog using a Rafflecopter then request people follow you on a whole host of social media platforms. There are people that enter 100’s of comps a day. Known as compers. If your giveaway gets posted in a comper Facebook group of forum then you can get 100’s of hits and followers! Winner, fake views and fake followers. Bingo!

Another tactic used is comment pods. This is where a group of bloggers start a chat, either in direct message or Whatsapp and then comment on each others posts and like them. This is an attempt to trick Instagram into thinking they’re more popular than they really are so they can appear higher in the searches and peoples timeline. This started happening when Instagram changed the algorithm and bloggers felt the need to do something about not being shown in peoples feeds as often.

You can also comment on peoples photos as a way to get them to come to your feed, follow and comment back. You can search through hashtags to find relevant accounts. You can interact with people manually – liking, commenting and following. All in hope for getting someone to to like you back. To follow you back.

Of you can grow organically. But posting a photo and hoping for the best.

I guess it all depends on where your moral compass is.

How many of these tactics have you used? Which do you see as okay, and which are a total nono for you?


  1. I have a grand total of 474 followers on Instagram! I was surprised to see how everyone reacted when the instagram drama went down.. Definitely made me think twice about certain people that I was following. Whenever I’m on the receiving end of the follow/unfollow tactic I just go and unfollow them. It’s annoying when people only follow you to unfollow you once you’ve followed them. Just doesn’t make sense to me! I’ve had a few accounts who continually would do it and I’m like you’re wasting your time!!!

    I have no interest in buying followers or getting a bot to do the work for me. Mainly because I’m too cheap and don’t want to spend money on something which could work against me! I’d much rather be honest and if someone wants to follow me, awesome! And if they don’t, I won’t take it too personally hahahaha Em xx

  2. I’m in a pod which helps a little bit, but doesn’t increase my followers too much, maybe 2-4 a day! Giveaways have helped a bit, but usually after getting 100 from it, only 10 or so remain following after the giveaway is over! I’ve found the best way is to be active and comment on people’s pictures and see what happens! 🙂 Tania Michele xx

  3. It’s such a shame what’s been going on – there’s just so much fakeness on there and it’s probably why I don’t go on Instagram all that much. I’ve had so many people doing the follow/unfollow thing and it’s just plain irritating x

  4. From everything you mentioned, I hosted giveaways and I liked/commented on photo using hashtags. For me, after the giveaway was over, I had a few people un-followed, but most of them stuck around and my engagement went up. So, for me, giveaways really work.
    When I use hashtags, I have a look to check if it’s ok and not filled with spam/scam sort of pictures. So I naturally like photos and I gain some followers after that. I don’t have a lot of time to spend liking pictures, so it’s not like I’m getting 10s of followers, just 1-2 (or none).

  5. I get random comments on my feed that don’t have much relevance to what I post and I’ve been so confused! Now I know why! I also have the unfollowing tactic happen to me EVERY SINGLE DAY. I swear, its the most frustrating thing in the world! I don’t believe in buying followers or whatever, I think its so wrong 🙁

  6. I’ve always liked the idea of growing a following organically, but I wonder if that’s possible anymore when it seems people won’t follow you unless you already have a lot of followers.

  7. Ah nothing pissed me off more the. People follow and unfollow you and buying followers seriously?? Pr brands are also to blame for this because they wants number sand stats nevermind that these people are buying followers… I might have a far less follower count but atleast I can be proud that these people actually do want to follow me and are interested in the photos I post. Thanks a lot for this post…

    Beauty Candy Loves

  8. Ive noticed random following and unfollowing on my IG. I’ve been on it for about a year now and my number of followers goes up and down constantly. It was 550 then went down to 537 in a week. I follow someone if I like what they are posting and I do like liking posts but I find it hard to get through my feed before it updates and I never reach some posts ! The whole fake followers thing I haven’t heard about and it doesn’t surprise me. I just wonder who all those shallow people are!!

  9. Mainly, I grow organically. Also by searching manually using hashtags etc to find accounts I’m interested in and following them. A lot don’t follow back, but some do. And I gain new pictures to enjoy whenever I open IG. I do include following me on IG as an option in all my giveaways; but I wouldn’t ever do a giveaway just for the followers. And I’m well aware that mostly, they unfollow you as soon as the comp ends anyway! Interesting post, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this! 🙂

  10. Really interesting read! I can see why more people are turning to bots.. it seems very hard to grow atm.. but I never could do it.. it would never sit right with me.. so i’m gonna continue to grow slowly as it’s genuine and I get genuine engagement


  11. I think pods are ok to an extent and how far you go with them, there’s bloggers who support each other as friends and then there’s people who do it in desperation to get noticed. I mean I like a little support here and there but I don’t see it as being all about having the likes and being at the top of someones feed. It’s a hobby for me. I like writing, I don’t like being fake about it.

  12. This is such an interesting post because Instagram is so hard to gain followers on so it is leading to people doing silly things for a few more numbers!

  13. My growth is all organic, it’s slow going but I prefer to be followed by people that are genuinely interested in my posts rather than bots etc. Bots are the bane of my Instagram life, my followers go up and down like a yo-yo due to bots. I use an app to keep an eye on who follows and unfollows me. Any account that is blatantly a bot (the ones that have 20 thousand followers but are only following 100 accounts) I don’t follow back. It’s all a bit frustrating but Instagram is still my favourite social media channel xx

  14. Hi Corrinne, I used to wonder how some people grew their following so fast and then I learned about buying followers and couldn’t believe there was such a thing. The other shocker was being followed just to be unfollowed a few days later, what’s that all about? I have linked up with an Instagram link up in the past, which was something I enjoyed when I had time, other than that I would say I have an organic following as is obvious by the number!


  15. Honestly, I haven’t used any of these tactics. Yes I’ve followed people then unfollowed but only a month or so later when I realise they’re content is not right for me. The new pod idea I actually don’t hate! It’s just another way of bloggers helping bloggers and if it means by commenting on someone’s photo, I see more from them myself, I’ll be happy with that! The only downfall of this though is it’s not going to help the smaller accounts; big accounts are going to group together to boost themselves even further and forget about us little ‘uns. I can see it becoming a bit cliquey which has it’s downfalls. 🙂
    Sarah x

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