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FAKE FOLLOWERS AND LIKES ON INSTAGRAM – why you’re attracting ghost followers

What is up, guys? Welcome back to the Social Media guru Blog. My name is Ortal Levitan, aka the @workout_unicorn on all social media platforms. So, today I want to talk to you guys about fake followers. No, no, I don’t want to talk to you about buying them. I already made a video about that. You can go check it out if you haven’t yet, but I want to talk to you guys about why you might be attracting fake followers.

How many of you have actually posted a picture, and then all of the sudden gotten a slew of followers, but they’re all fake? They’re spam accounts, they’re bot accounts. You can look at them and clearly tell, these are not actual accounts, these are not real people that saw your post and liked that, and decided to follow you.

Okay, so let’s start talking about fake followers. Obviously, as I’m sure you guys know, fake followers suck. They are an epidemic on Instagram. Instagram has really cracked down on them in the past couple years, and I think 2019 they’re going to make it even worse for the fake accounts, and the spam account, and the bot accounts. But they really, really suck.

Now, I know a lot of people will notice if you upload a picture, all of the sudden you get 10, 15, 20 depending on which picture you uploaded, of fake accounts. These accounts either have no profile picture, or if they do have a profile picture it’s some generic one. The name is not a name, it’s jfdk71z or whatever. You can tell these are bot accounts or spam accounts. They’re fake accounts.

Now, generally speaking, it doesn’t really matter for you if they follow you. The only downside to having these accounts follow you is that it messes your audience ratio. So, usually these accounts will be male, and so it’ll mess your audience ratio if you’re looking at your audience breakdown of 30% male and 70% women, usually these accounts will skew that and it’ll make it more like 60% men, 40% women, depending on how many followers you have. If you have a really large following, it probably won’t skew it that much unless you get a ton of these.

Now, a lot of people reach out to me and ask me, oh my gosh, what did I do? Am I going to get shadow-banned? Am I going to get flagged for this because Instagram might think that I actually bought these followers? So, no guys, don’t worry, you’re not going to get flagged, you’re not going to get shadow-banned. Instagram knows, they have an API that, the algorithm itself can also figure out when you actively went and purchased the followers versus when these followers just randomly started following you.

And I’ll explain in a minute how they probably found your page, but generally speaking, don’t worry. You will not get shadow-banned as long as you didn’t actively buy them, you didn’t go to a third-party service or app or anything like that, you’re not going to get flagged, you’re not going to get shadow-banned.

If they really, really annoy you, what you can do is just go ahead and remove them from your following. If you go into your following, there’s three little dots by each name. You can click on them and hit Remove. That’ll just remove them, so they’ll basically remove them from your page. Or, if they really, really annoy you, you can go into the fake account and report it, and report it as spam. Instagram is really good with that.

Sometimes if I’m having a crappy day I will do that, if I get the fake followers I will go ahead and report them. Or I’ll go ahead and block them, you can do that too, but it really, it doesn’t matter. If you don’t care and you’re just like oh, they’re there, whatever, I don’t care about my audience breakdown, you can leave them there.

Chances are that the Instagram algorithm will probably take care of them by itself. It’ll either remove them, because like I said, Instagram is constantly trying to find spam and fake accounts to remove them from the app, because they want to have as many active, authentic users as possible. So, chances are the algorithm is probably going to flag them themselves if they’re really, really bad, like if they’re really cheap or they come from farms, which is essentially where a bunch of bots are created. It’s just like a no profile picture or whatever, and just some fake name. Instagram will remove that automatically, or the account will get shut down, someone will report it, whatever.

So, how do these pages, these fake spam bot pages actually find you? The number one culprit is hashtags. I know, I know, this sounds weird, but it is. It’s hashtags. For me, I tested this out on my own page. And so, generally speaking, this’ll usually happen. It does happen for some smaller hashtag, but usually this will happen with the really big hashtags. So, if you use hashtags like #gym, #fitspo, #instagram, #followers, anything that has an insane amount of posts on it, so I think Instagram has 200 million posts? I don’t know, don’t quote me on that, I don’t remember. But any hashtag that has a lot of posts on it, like two, three million and above is likely a hashtag that attracts spam bots.And so, what these bots will do, anybody that uses that hashtag, they will go into the hashtag, and I say they like it’s a thing. It’s not a thing. It’s not a person, a thing, it’s an algorithm.

So, what it’ll do, it’ll go into that hashtag and it will literally follow. It won’t even like, it won’t comment, it won’t engage, nothing. It’ll just follow all the posts on that hashtag for from whatever period until it gets blocked.

Like you guys know, you can’t follow more than, I think, 20 accounts in a span of two, three minutes, because Instagram put that in place to prevent these spam and fake accounts from following a bunch of accounts. Another limitation is that you can’t, as an account, any account can’t follow more than 7,000 or 7,500 accounts. Instagram will stop them from that, because again, they want to prevent these bot accounts from following millions and millions of pages.

Now, the reason the bot accounts do this, the follow, is twofold. One, they hope that if you’re a small page, and you don’t really watch my videos, and you don’t know this little thing, that you’re going to go and you’re like, oh, that person followed me. I’m going to follow them back. So, when you follow, when you, an authentic account, follows a bot account, it looks more authentic. The bot account looks realistic because it has actual accounts following it. Doesn’t have any posts, doesn’t even have a bio. There’s nothing there, but you’re still going to follow it because you’re like oh, they followed me, I’ll follow them back. That’s one reason.

The second thing is that the bot will try to follow a bunch of accounts in an attempt to appear more real. Now, a lot of time these bots are created for services, so people that are buying followers are probably going to be buying these bots. And so, you buy 100 followers, you’re going to get 100 of these bots, and that’s why they usually have very, very high number of following, very small number, if any, of followers, and there’s nothing on the page. No profile picture, no content, nothing.

So, the main way that you’re attracting these are by hashtags. This is another reason why hashtag strategy is so, so important, and if you haven’t checked out my YouTube video about my breakdown of a hashtag strategy, you should definitely go check it out. It will help you understand how you should structure your hashtags, and which ones you should use and which ones you shouldn’t use. And so, that would probably be the main thing.

The second thing is, if you are actively following a lot of big accounts, like if you follow Kim Kardashian, or any of the Kardashians, or Instagram, or bigger accounts that are really, really big on Instagram. What these bots will do, they will go into that account’s followers and just follow all of the recent follows. So, let’s say you followed Kim Kardashian at 10:00 a.m., and then the bot was activated at 10:00 a.m. and two seconds, it’s going to follow you and all the other accounts on that page, again in an attempt to appear more realistic and just to have more people on its page following so that it looks more realistic so it’s less likely to get flagged by Instagram.

So, those are the two main ways. Wrong hashtags or really, really big hashtags. And if you’re following a lot of the bigger popular accounts, those are two main ways that you’re attracting these fake accounts.

Now, like I said, it’s not really a big deal. I follow Kim Kardashian, and I follow Instagram, so it’s not that big a deal. I’m not telling you to unfollow these accounts and only follow small accounts, but keep in mind you probably will attract some fake accounts and some spam. It’s not a big deal unless they really bother you or they’re messing with your ratios. For me they did, and so I made sure to block them, even though I still get them. But if you don’t care, just leave them there. I promise you the algorithm will handle it by itself.

As always, I really appreciate you guys for tuning in. If you enjoy this blog a thumbs-up, and if you have any questions, make sure to comment them below or shoot me a DM @workout_unicorn on Instagram. I would be more than happy to answer your questions and help you guys out. And if there are any videos that you would like to see, make sure to let me know. I love writing blogs for you guys that you find helpful. That is what I’m here for. So, thanks again for tuning in and I will see you all next week.