Few weeks ago, I wrote an article and talked about "Fake engagement" on Instagram. I was very surprised that so many people responded to my post on Instagram. After these feedbacks, I believe it might be more convincing to try those tools myself first, and have a follow up post like this.
So I was offered by a website(I am not going to tell you which website it is) a "Management package". Essentially, the idea is you pick the hashtags that you want to engage with, and there will be a team of people running your account for you. I did 3 experiments:
Sadly, I have to say, it worked really well. It started from this photo:
Normally, if I post things like this, I have to admit there is not going to be a lot of likes in comparison to the drone photos, but as you can see, this one did really well(Especially after the algorithm)! Also, if you have spare time, do have a look at those photos after this post, they all have quite great engagement. I will explain how did it work later.
So they provide two different sorts of services. After my free trial of the first tool expired, I wanted to go a little bit further. Hence I purchased their engagement service to compare the differences between these two.
Based on the website, the difference between is that the management package do the whole thing by a "team", all you need to do is set up the hashtags. However, for the Engagement package, you need to set up the hashtags, and tick the "select all" box, and "like"button yourself, then your account will be scheduled to like these photos for you.
In this case, by not break the rule of spamming on Instagram, you can like up to 350 photos per hour, if the team or you manage this well, you can like 350*24=8400 in one day. Imagine how much attention that could bring to your account.
However, the engagement package that I tried did not work as well as the management package, it might due to the time I spent on it was limited, and didn't like as many photos as it could.
3.Can I just fake it myself?
I thought the concept behind this is quite simple: Just go to different hashtags, and spam the shit out of it, and bring attention from other people. Therefore, I did it myself. Did it work? It does, almost as efficient as the engagement package, yet not affective as the management package.
1. I also posted a video when I was doing the experiments, and it was during the management package period of time. As a result, I got extremely low views(I admit, it is not a well-made video because I was not expecting the rain when I wanted a sunset). However, the likes reached 1175, potentially the highest likes among all my videos. so are this people real?
2. Could you tell who are using this? Ab-fucking-solutely! If someone could manage to like other people's photo 24/7, and the quality of those photos are various, guess what? Or if you are curious AF, you totally should get up at 3 a.m.for few days, and have a look who are liking photos still(I kind of did it) *wink*
3. Is this cheating? I think after these experiments, I will stop calling it fake engagement, instead I will call it paid engagement. To be honest, this mechanism has been existing in social media industry forever, merely think about all those celebrities. Are they really taking care of their social media accounts? Absolutely no! There is a PR team behind it for sure.
Like I said, it is social media, it's not a simple photography platform, at least not anymore. Of course, we want to see beautiful images, but a compliment from the people that we admire is even better. Engaging with your audience could be the essential part of your whole account.
People always say:"Oh look at him, he is only 18 years old, and has got so many likes on Instagram!" Well, I always think, what the fuck do you mean he is only bloody 18 or 19, it is social media, young kids have much more time to take photos and engage with other people! The right way to express you appreciation to an account should be:" Farrrrrk, he works full time, and has 3 kids to take care of, and he still got a huge account on Instagram!"
In one word, I still will not be on the board of this paid engagement. Firstly, the ROI of my account is not high enough for me to make further investment on this. Secondly, I still want to keep Instagram as authentic as it could be. However, I probably will not criticise on those people who do this if they are strategically do it as part of their business plan. After all, don't blame the player, blame the game, right?
(I think I spent way too much time on doing research and shit, haven't finished editing my photos and videos hahahahah)