Organic Followers vs Click Farms
Jacob Reeleder | Content Coordinator
Blue Moth Creative Inc.
June 1st, 2018

Imagine that you have 20,000 followers on Instagram. How many of those followers engage with your post? How long do these followers spend viewing your post? Or, does it really matter? If you have 20,000 or more followers, you’re doing something right. Right? Well, the answer might be no.

There has been a recent surge in the number of businesses and individuals hiring out “click farms” or “bots” in an effort to attract more followers to their social media accounts. These bots or click farms work in one of two ways: they either like your social media posts and follow you using fake accounts, or they automatically like and comment on other accounts using specified and automated responses you personally set. People who are not social media savvy tend to turn to these click farms and bots in an effort to gain as many followers as possible. Unfortunately, using this method does almost nothing to promote your social media feed to new followers and potential clients.

In this article we are going to focus on Instagram as it is one of the most easily understood platforms when it comes to grasping the process of gaining a customer base through social media. Instagram uses algorithms to decide how often, and how widely, they will share your posts. In other words, this is how Instagram decides how many people will see your posts. Believe it or not, how many followers you have has very little to do with this algorithm.

The first piece of information Instagram uses is the percentage of followers that engage with your posts (like, comment, share, etc), and how quickly these people engage. Something becomes “trending” on Instagram when the majority of your followers are engaged, or when people are sharing your content or hashtag within a short amount of time. Although, the percentage of followers who engage is much more important than the speed at which they do so. So, if you have used a “bot” or “click farm”, you’re actually hurting your future cause. You might see a spike in followers, but your engagement percentage is going to plummet. Having 800 followers with 40% engagement is much more effective, as far as new people seeing your content, than having 100,000 with 2% engagement. This is the basics of how Instagram’s algorithms decide who should see your post.

Next up is how long people spend viewing your posts. If you don’t think your captions are important, you should think again. A well-crafted caption, or a longer caption, will encourage people to spend a little bit more time looking at your post. All those milliseconds count as Instagram uses them to gauge your importance and boost your “popularity”. Again, if you have a higher engagement percentage, with a higher average time spent per post, then Instagram is sending your posts to more people. If you have a lot of “space filler” followers, they are not spending any time reading your posts, so your overall time spent on posts drops.

Finally, the most important reason for building good organic content is the fact that the more people come back to your page, the more they are going to see from you on your feed. Building a base of customers and clients that actively seek out your posts while reading your captions and comments themselves, ensures that Instagram will keep putting your posts on clients’ feeds. Think of it this way, your mom might only have 20 posts in total, with only 40 followers, but every time she posts, it pops up on your feed. This is because you visit her feed often while liking her pictures and commenting. Building that kind of organic interaction and engagement with your followers is the best way to continue growing your base. A base that is going to promote you, buy from you, and support your ideas.

So, stop worrying about how many followers you have. In fact, having more fake followers is actually hurting your algorithm and your ability to attract new, legitimate interest in your cause or product. Start with a small base of dedicated followers. Build organic and interesting content and posts that these followers want to engage with. Interact with their comments and follow them back. It’s slow, but effective.

Jacob Reeleder is a writer, teacher, and social media expert, as well as Content Coordinator at Blue Moth Creative.