An Instagram growth service gives brands and businesses leverage over their counterparts. But how can you find an Instagram service that works for your business? At Ampfluence we’re pretty familiar with this landscape. After all, we’ve been around for quite some time and some would say we are the original human-powered growth agency. We know all too well this space is filled with some really great people and also some shady providers. So if you’re looking for an Instagram growth service to help you grow your account this article is definitely for you.
Disclaimer: Of course we are an Instagram growth service, but our service is not for everyone. This guide is not meant to be entirely promotional. Instead, we wanted to breakdown the types of growth agencies you’ll come across and arm you with the information you need to make the right decision. Sound fair? If so, read on friend 🙂 this is a good one.
Types of Instagram Growth Services
The first thing you need to know about Instagram growth services is every service provider will fall into 1 of 3 categories.
- Bot or Automation Driven
- Niche Services
- Traditional Agency
Understanding the difference between these 3 models is essential when making a sound decision. Let’s address each model in further detail below.
Bot Driven Instagram Growth Agency
A bot-driven agency is an agency that operates on software or scripts. Generally, you’ll find these models fall into the lower pricing tier. There are literally hundreds of these types of growth agencies. Their key characteristics include:
- Generic presence (no face behind the company)
- Generally priced between $15 – $50 USD
- Little to no branding
- Poor customer service experience
Most bot-driven agencies avoid the topic of bots/automation in their website copy or FAQs. The downside when working with these types of agencies is you essentially don’t understand the tactics they are using to grow your account. With bot-driven agencies, you don’t know what tactics they are using or if these followers are real. Therefore, if you’re running a business or brand account you actually care about, a bot-driven agency can impose huge riskS on your account.
Note: To be clear we do not endorse any bot or software-driven agencies. Instagram has not approved any such software on their platform and therefore using bots are not Instagram compliant.
Niche Service-Based Model
The niche service-based model is essentially the Ampfluence model. While we do offer Instagram growth services we also offer other a la carte services including Social Media Posts Creation, Content Scheduling, and Pinterest Growth. For example, we specialize in 100% Human-Powered Instagram and Pinterest growth. To be clear we haven’t come across many companies like us. Characteristics of niche service-based models include:
- Experts in a specific niche
- Visible brand presence
- Publically viewable pricing
- Available team page
- Transparent process
- Customer service focused
Typically, productized agencies are all about transparency and process. This allows them to offer services at an affordable price point. You’ll find agencies like us specialize in specific service offerings. For example, at Ampfluence we’re all about human-powered growth. Other agencies may have different unique propositions.
Traditional Agency Model
A traditional agency model is your standard marketing agency whether local or international. Characteristics of these agencies include:
- Visible brand presence
- Quote pricing
- Social media is usually an add-on service
- Top tier pricing
Typically these agencies do not specialize in Instagram growth or social media growth. Instead, they likely manage social media scheduling, websites, or content production, and are able to integrate social media management or growth into the marketing mix.
Note: Social media managers are not growth agencies. However, reputable managers may have the skill set necessary to grow accounts. If you choose to work with a social media manager or 1099 contractor be sure to understand their process from end to end as some managers rely on automated platforms to execute these tasks. Only approve platforms that are authorized by Instagram.
Benefits of an Instagram Growth Service
This might sound like common sense but the truth is not many people understand why they need Instagram growth services. The primary benefits of a growth service typically focus on specific KPIs. For example, a growth service may work to grow your audience at a specific rate or increase engagement by a specific percentage.
Other benefits of Instagram Growth services include:
- Consistent managed audience growth – One of the biggest problems with social media is having the time to be consistent. Instagram like many other social media platforms, rewards users who actively spend time in their applications. In fact, this is one of the many reasons larger brands choose to work with us as they don’t have time to remain consistent on the app.
- Saves your business time and energy – Make no mistake an Instagram growth agency saves businesses and brands time and energy. Many companies do not have the time to sit on Instagram liking, following, and commenting on platforms. It’s simply not a good time spend for their full-time employees.
- Provides an expert knowledge base at minimal cost – Instead of paying employees to be experts on Instagram a growth agency focuses on Instagram changes and best practices.
- Enhances your online brand presence – There’s nothing quite as unappealing as landing on an Instagram account with 10 followers. Growing your Instagram account increases your brand’s presence and reputability online. It’s simply something that cannot be ignored.
- Grows your marketing channels – Gives you an opportunity to expand your marketing channels and acquire more customers.
Now that we are clear on the primary benefits of an Instagram growth agency let’s discuss the things you should actually be looking for when you searching for an agency to work with.
Instagram Growth Services You Should Avoid
Before you understand what Instagram growth service works best you should know exactly what type of services you should avoid. Let’s address this elephant in the room.
Avoid Instagram Bot Driven Services At Any Cost
If it’s still unclear by now, Ampfluence is 100% against bot activity. But most people who don’t specialize in Instagram growth don’t understand what bot activity is. Instagram Bot activity is defined as any program, script, or app that automates organic growth activities. These activities include:
- Liking Posts
In fact, we believe that the only 3rd party apps that should ever be connected to your Instagram account are apps that have legitimate Instagram API permissions which can typically be verified via Facebook Partners Directory. Note some platforms have limited API access in which case they should be able to publicly validate their permissions. Any other connections put your account at risk.
Note: If you can’t trust a provider or validate their process, don’t take the risk as there are many bot services or platforms out there that 100% do not and will never have Instagram permissions because bot related growth activities are not Instagram compliant.
Avoid Instagram Follower Guarantees or Preloaded Accounts
Fake accounts are a real thing. You can search for terms like “buy Instagram accounts” on Google and you’ll find marketplaces that actually specialize in selling fake accounts.
This means some random person is literally sitting in a cold dark basement creating hundreds of fake Instagram accounts and some of these scammers are good at what they do. Scammers even go as far as swiping posts from real accounts to make their accounts appear real. The reason this is important to you is, some of these so-called growth agencies will use fake or preloaded accounts to grow your follower base. Typically, these services will provide a spurt of 1,000 accounts or so. Then over the next few months, Instagram will slowly purge your account and remove those followers. This means at the end of the day you will have purchased zero followers plus and earned a shadowban.
Let’s be honest there’s a real dark side on the internet. But you don’t have to fall victim to it.
If a company is promising you a guaranteed number of followers in 2020 or beyond that one statement should immediately raise a red flag. If they appear reputable at first glance ask the agency rep to explain how they can guarantee a specific number of followers every month? Chances are they will provide some vague response that shares nothing about their process.
Types of Instagram Growth Services You Should Be Looking For
Now that you understand what types of services to avoid let’s dig deep into what Instagram growth services you should be looking for and why.
Understanding the Instagram Growth Process
At Ampfluence we know there are only a few methods to grow your follower base. These methods include:
- Organic Growth
- Paid Advertising
- Influencer Marketing
- Existing Influence
Organic Growth Methods
Understanding the different methods an account can actually grow is essential. Most Instagram growth services will focus on Organic growth. Organic growth is growth related to being active on the platform itself. This the growth service will actively use your account to help increase your account’s visibility. These growth services should be able to articulate what types of activities they are doing and at what rate.
Note: If a Growth Service claims they are doing organic activities but do not need access to your account you should ask them exactly how they plan on promoting your account without any access. Some of these reasons may include: they have a network of accounts or they are using pods to grow your account.
Paid advertising uses Instagram ads to help grow your account. Note, Instagram does not have a paid ad feature that allows you to actually pay per follower. Instead, the platform will showcase your content to its users based on the marketing channels you select. Typically, an ad will appear in stories or in the Instagram feed. Then a user is directed to your profile and can choose to follow you.
Note: There is nothing wrong with paid advertising if you have the budget to do it consistently and the skillset to optimize this marketing medium over time. For example, an Instagram advertising agency can help you launch campaigns with the goal of growing Instagram followers.
Influencer marketing is the practice of leveraging another Influencer’s audience to market your product, service, or account growth. There are many different forms of Instagram marketing. These include:
- Instagram shoutouts
- Instagram sponsored posts
- External promotion (blog posts, other social profiles, etc.)
- Ambassador programs
In general, these tactics use the influence of others to promote their account’s visibility. To execute influencer marketing effectively marketing managers should be concerned with KPI’s like engagement rates, consistent copy, and brand governance.
Note: Influencer marketing is not an easy task, it’s definitely one that goes beyond just hiring an influencer.
Finally, growing your account by simply leveraging your existing audience might seem like common sense but it’s definitely a strategy worth using if you have an existing audience. For example, Instagram users can promote their accounts on different social profiles, websites, groups you own, or email lists you own. The key is to increase your profile’s visibility using your existing audience.
For example, you may be a media influencer (e.g. News anchor or Podcaster). A simple pique at the beginning or end of your shows can help you garner more followers. You don’t need an agency to do this for you, it’s something you or your internal marketing team should execute.
Organic Growth Using Instagram Growth Services
Now that you understand the different methods for growing your Instagram account let’s focus on organic growth. Primarily because most Instagram growth services will focus on this specific method.
Following is, of course, the most effective method for growing a follower base quickly. Keep in mind even account’s with millions of followers will follow someone. However, following alone is not the ideal method, especially for accounts with a higher touchpoint. The problem with just following is there is a limit to the number of people any account can follow. Instagram limits following to 7,500 per account. More importantly, you don’t necessarily want to get into the practice of the following anyone randomly or simply because they use the same hashtags you use.
When looking for an Instagram growth service always ask how they define who you should follow. More importantly, you should ask if there are other activities included in the scope of the services and whether these activities are flexible.
If an account is not following you back, inactive, not valuable to your industry, or not valuable to your company you’ll probably want to free up your following space for accounts that actually add value. When looking for an Instagram growth service they should have an unfollowing process and be able to articulate that process to you.
Note: You’ll want to avoid Instagram growth services that unfollow people immediately. This practice appears spammy and may result in other accounts reporting activity that violates community standards. Keep in mind that many bot services set hourly intervals to unfollow people.
When searching for an Instagram growth service always ask how commenting is actually executed. For example, at Ampfluence, commenting is only executed when approved by the client. Additionally, our analysts will individually evaluate each post and account before commenting. We ask ourselves questions you would ask, including:
- Is this post valuable?
- Does the content align with my niche?
- Is the posting account legitimate/reputable?
This process is important because the last thing a brand or business wants is to comment on a post inappropriately or engage with an account that goes against their brand’s philosophy. Let’s face it, we’ve all seen bot accounts leave comments on posts instantaneously. Most of the time the comments don’t actually match the user’s content. Bot programs use details like hashtags or number of likes to identify what posts to comment on. Bots cannot see what the image actually is nor can they make empathetic decisions about how to comment. This is one of the reasons we believe services that use bot commenting are a huge risk for clients.
Likes are a social practice. If a post is valuable to you, you should like it. However, an Instagram growth service should be aware of like limitations and should definitely not use this practice aggressively. Ask the service how they determine what content to like. For example, at Ampfluence we use our initial research and your previous likes activity to determine what a likable post actually is. This process is different for every account.
We also have a standard set of content types that we avoid including:
- Inappropriate Content
- Content from Fake Accounts
- Content Outside of Target Areas
- Content with Foreign Characters
The point is you don’t want to like for the sake of liking. Instead, the agency should be liking content to help support your overall growth goal. Again, every goal is different which is why it’s essential to find an Instagram growth agency that considers these small but very important details.
Direct messaging is certainly an organic strategy worth evaluating. If you’re searching an Instagram growth service specifically for the purpose of directing traffic to a website, offer, or product sometimes direct messaging may be the answer. However, you should definitely ask the agency to outline the process for you. Some strategic questions you should ask include:
- For example, are they baking in A/B messaging testing?
- How are they tracking clicks?
- How are they identifying who messages should be sent to?
- Are they monitoring messaging touchpoints?
- Will they follow up?
Understanding the process end to end is not only a practical request but also necessary to protect your business or brand.
Story Views & Reactions
Most Instagram agencies haven’t adapted to story views and reactions simply because most of them operate using bots or automation. At Ampfluence we believe story views and reactions are fundamental because it shows the platform that you are actually using the account natively. If you’re interested in increasing account awareness you should definitely ask the agency to articulate their process. Ask them questions like:
- How do you find stories to view?
- Are you viewing stories within my existing feed?
- What type of reactions do you send?
Again understanding the process end to end is essential.
Things To Consider When Hiring an Instagram Growth Service
Apart from organic activities, there are also other considerations you should be looking for in an Instagram growth agency. Let’s go over these considerations in further detail below.
Look for Quality Growth Not Vanity Metrics
It’s true, data never lies. However, on Instagram vanity metrics (e.g. your follower count) don’t tell the full story. Growing your follower count with random followers is less effective than growing an audience. Quality growth focuses on building an audience that actually resonates with your content. A quality audience usually includes:
- Existing customers
- Potential customers
- Influencers in your niche
- Influencers in crossover industries
One method to ensure the Instagram growth agency is working towards account growth is by simply asking them how they identify your target audience. Targeting is essential to growing an audience in the longterm.
Ask About Reporting
Typically bot-driven Instagram growth services will share reports about follower growth or have a dashboard related to tracking growth progress. If this is the company’s only form of reporting it’s likely the growth service is automated. Instead, ask what type of reporting is done. Some questions you can ask the company include:
- Does the company offer qualitative suggestions/recommendations?
- Do they offer solutions to help you improve the content you post?
- Do they provide hashtag research?
The key takeaway here is that you want to know if the company is invested in your account performance. If the growth service can’t provide valuable reporting then it’s really not a feature and very likely they are not doing anything beyond pushing buttons which is not a good approach to growth.
Ask About Customer Support
When you hire an Instagram growth service customer support is essential. You want to be able to actually speak to someone who can provide clarity on your account growth and strategy. At minimum customer support via email should be responsive. For example, at Ampfluence we offer call consultations for all customers and email support. For our growth X2 customers we offer priority support, this means we’ll actually jump on a call to discuss your concerns. It’s not uncommon for us to spend hours on a call with a client to go over strategy adjustments or even opportunities to improve content.
Have more questions about Instagram Growth Services?
We understand that Instagram is constantly changing. That’s why we do what we do. If you have more questions about Instagram growth services you should definitely join our Instagram Marketing Group. This group is filled with experts who share strategies and experiences about Instagram growth for free. Looking forward to seeing you there!
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