I cannot remember since when social media became really big, and some people could make a living from it. I am not a professional Instagrammer or anything close to it, but I do have my enthusiasm in it.
I am always fascinated about how people could engage with their audience, or even just some random people on the internet. Of course, there are a lot of professionals out there and spending time on it all day, because they need to do it in order to build up their business portfolio.
Some of us could get really excited when their "fav" instagrammers double tapped their image, or even a couple of images in roll. Woohoo, I fucking need to throw a party to celebrate this!
However, is it true? Did they really like your photos? Were they engaged with your image themselves? Probably not:
First Kind of Fake engagement:
Have you received any of these kind of emails in your mailbox? I recently received at least 5 similar emails from different companies that claim they could provide you genuine engagement with your potential audience, and help you grow your Instagram while do not have conflict with the community guide line.
How do they work?
Well, quite simple. Instagram does open part of their API to the third party. Therefore, these companies could simply analyse what sort of hashtags do you use, and they will spam other people who are using the same hashtag like you do, potentially they will follow others on behalf of yourself. Does this sound familiar to you? If you have seen this, be aware.
"WOW, someone just spammed my feed and followed me! I will definitely have a look at his account! "Then, you clicked his account, and realised you guys might have similar category, and you followed back. Few days later, he unfollowed you. you got annoyed.
Does this story above sound familiar to you? That might be the sign of that person is using this kind of fake engagement tool(or he is just an annoying dickhead?)
Second Kind of fake(engagement?)
When it comes to social media marketing, it is still part of the marketing, hence I do believe everything has its own pattern.
For instance, the amount of likes you receive on Instagram.
Your growth rate of "likes" that you receive from others will reach the peak at some point. This depends on how many followers do you have, and what time of the day do you normally post, etc. Generally speaking, the first two hours might be critical ( It could be extended to 3 or 4 depends on your account size). After that, the likes that you receive will gradually decrease, unless some huge accounts liked or featured your photo somewhere else.
However, there are some accounts out there, their growth rate is abnormal. Their likes will grow significantly in the first 3-5 minutes, for instance, reached 200 likes in the first 3 minutes, and then the final likes he or she receive would be 300 in total. This means he is cheating. Smart way of cheating like this is to use some scheduled posting tools to post during while your audience are sleeping or working( yes those unpopular hours for social media) However, there are some dumb people there still post during popular hours.
Why do people do this shit?!
It is undeniable that social media nowadays is lucrative yet competitive. So many people are trying to be the popular one.
Sometimes it does not matter how many follower you get eventually, if you want to get some attentions from the PR agent or Brands, some of them merely care about the "engagement rate". It is not impossible to have a better rate, but it is time consuming. so some people think it would be a great idea to Fake it and make it at the same time.
You might think it is stupid, but some company buy this shit, and some people get their 30 minutes of fame.
Trust me, it is not only on Instagram, these sorts of fake engagement is happening everywhere. When I did this cross marketing campaign with one of our business partners, he purchased several advertisements from this emerging WeChat account. $800 dollars to be the featured story of the week, and guaranteed 10,000 views and clicks. Sounds like a huge deal. But something fishy came out after I did the observation: The first half an hour, the views was only 70, and at the point of 50 minutes, the views started to grow insanely fast.
I did some online research, and it was really easy to find some service for WeChat that could bring the fake traffic to your account. Guess how much was it? Less than $20, and it could bring you more than 10K Page views. Bam! They charge $800, and the cost for the post plus overhead would be less than $100. $700 quick cash!
I did not tell our business partner it was a scam, and we had 0 conversion rate from the post. He was quite happy about the 12K page views at the end.
So whose fault is this?
The so called Social Media Influencers?
The service providers?
The irresponsible Social Media Marketing Team?
The flaws of Instagram?
Or is all of this Social Media thing just a joke?
=.= Thumb up for the ugly hand drawn chart?