Let’s just be very honest, Instagram and their algorithm is causing the blogger/influencer community a world of pain at the moment so when a good friend on mine started rapidly growing, getting loads of engagement and collaborations, I couldn’t wait to pick her brain as to how the hell she managed it!
If you aren’t aware, follow loops are basically ways of taking the algorithm into your own hands but it is against Instagram guidelines. There are a number of different ways loops can work/rules etc. I am going to tell you the things you need to know about follow loops before giving them a try yourself.
1. Follow to un-follow is a thing!
People will follow you and then unfollow you moments after you have followed them back. This is such a ‘frowned upon’ thing on instagram yet over half the people I encountered over the 24 hours did this. I called a few people out on it and they got incredibly defensive and one girl got quite nasty which is a shame all for the sake of 1 extra follower – but just beware if you take part because you could end up following 100 people and only gain 50 odd followers.
2. Numbers… look at their numbers!
One method of follow loop is by a specific ‘gaining’ account posting a timed grid post and there are rules in the caption for everyone to follow such as follow all admin & temp admin (I will get on to these in a second), tag 5 people and then comment ‘IFB’ (I follow back). You then go through the comments and follow everyone who has commented ‘IFB’ and like their comment when done (there is a lot of rules!), when going through the comments and going to the person’s profile to follow them, check their numbers! if they have over 5000 followers and are only following a couple hundred people, I can almost guarantee you they either won’t follow back or will be one of the people to unfollow straight away!
3. It can essentially be buying followers!
All loops have admins, you will have main admins who are the same every time and then temp admins who actually pay real money to be a temp admin! I saw one specific page who charge around £4 for a few hours and then £20 for the whole week. Now to me, this is exactly the same as using a website or a dodgy company and paying for followers, that is exactly what it is like. I understand paying Instagram for promotions for images if you are a business or doing a sponsored post to get it seen a little more but to pay for followers is something else.
4. You will notice the same accounts in every loop!
Even if you have gone to different accounts, joined different loops, been added to a loop by someone else, you will find 9 time out of 10 they are filled with the same accounts over and over again. I joined over 8 loops in 24 hours and was able to pin point who I was already following, who had followed and then unfollowed and who just doesn’t follow back by looking at their names & this is how I was able to call out the few who didn’t follow back/unfollowed.
5. Admins have their own rules.
Every loop has admins which I mentioned before & every loop has rules which I also mentioned before. One of the rules is to follow all admin and temp admin & yes they check! I got called out a few times because I followed all the admins necessary and not a single one followed back which to me felt counter productive, your doing these loops to gain followers for everyone but if you pay or you create the loop you get followers without the obligation to follow back. So they have no problem checking everyone is following these rules and calling them out like teachers at school with chatty pupils – I also shared my findings with a gain account owner and they seemed genuinely bothered (I wouldn’t say upset) that so many people from their loops had unfollowed/not followed back which was essentially breaking the rules… they love their rules.
6. The genuine stats aren’t worth the agro!
Overall in 24 hours I followed 130 people, which for 8 loops is a small number! Of those 130, 66 followed me back and were still following me after 24 hours (not sure how many still are following me now after a few days) and 64 had unfollowed/not followed at all. The problem I have with this is A. I downloaded an app to track my unfollowers so I could get true numbers for this post but if I didn’t, I would have looked pretty damn silly following all these people thinking I was going to gain loads or was doing really well when actually no & B. it is so much effort! you have to send loops to your friend and I don’t have instagram friends who do these loops so had to almost ‘recruit’ people into joining the loops so I could be involved & I felt so incredibly guilty for messaging people being like ‘want to join a follow loop?’, to me it felt cringe and desperate. You also have to keep up with them all, you have to follow back straight away or you’ll get a comment saying ‘FB’ ‘FB please’ ‘You haven’t FB’ its infuriating! give me time!
Honestly my experience wasn’t awful but I wouldn’t say it was worth it. I know some people benefit greatly from these loops and doing things like this but it really isn’t all that, people will comment and like your pictures which is great but its hard to know when comments/likes are sincere or if they are just doing it so you’ll feel obligated to do it back. The rules annoyed me, I didn’t want to nag 5 people into constant loops so for a few I missed that step and was always called out for it, I got called out for not following admins because they didn’t follow back or interact so seemed pointless to me.
Also another ‘method’ is creating a chat group, the admin picks their temp admins, creates a group chat, adds people & shares a message saying ‘follow all admin and temp, add 5 friends to the chat and then share you @ in the chat in order for people to know you will follow back and are active’, I hated this method, I hate my inbox being taken up by people telling other people to follow back, people leaving who didn’t want to be added and also a very very common feature in these chats was a message from admins saying ‘you must talk in code to instagram doesn’t shadow ban us all’, now I have no idea what shadow banning is or why it happens but anything that requires me to talk in code is probably something I shouldn’t be doing so I was out!
I hope you found this helpful in some way!