Have you ever had an email or Direct Message (DM) drop into your inbox that praises you for your awesome content but also remarks on how that awesome content deserves to be getting much better reach and engagement than it currently is?

This usually leads to a pitch for some kind of “authentic Instagram growth service” that gives you the reach and engagement that your content deserves. There may also be the talk of attracting thousands of new followers to your account in a completely authentic and organic way. They’ll also tell you how much easier it will be for you to reach people once you hit the “magic number” of followers.

If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

There are people out there, myself included, who genuinely want to help you to grow your Instagram account and use it to grow your business. But we aren’t sending out those kinds of messages or promising to fast track your account because, the truth is, paying for a service that grows your account overnight is as far from authentic (and meaningful growth) as you can get.

Be clear on what you are buying into

I’ve noticed that these kind of messages are becoming more and more convincing and it could be so easy to be lured in by their offers and promises.

Hopefully, most of us now know that buying followers is a big no-no, so the people behind these growth services have simply stopped using the language that they know will raise red flags. Now, instead of talking about buying followers or paying for engagement, they’re using language like authenticity, outreach, organic growth, a team of strategists working on your behalf, and variations thereof.

In most cases, you are, ultimately, buying followers and/or paying for engagement… they just won’t tell you that.

Sometimes it’s possible to read between the lines, other times these growth services can sound legit, so my rule of thumb is this:

If you don’t know what a third-party is going to do on your account then do not give them access.

If you give anyone your Instagram account login details then they essentially have free reign to do whatever they want in the interest of achieving the growth they have promised.

If you don’t want your account to be put at risk of being disabled or deleted then you need to be 100% clear on what activity is taking place on your account. For example, if they blast out a ton of comments on your behalf then not only is your account at risk but those comments also reflect on you and your business. Are you prepared to trust them with your account and, even more importantly, with your reputation?

If you are thinking of signing up to any kind of social media growth service I strongly recommend checking out the terms and conditions before you go ahead. Again, it’s all about knowing what you are signing up to and investing it, and sometimes the small print reveals important details that the provider of the service may not have been all that vocal about. For example, one common condition is that should you ever cancel your subscription to the service the “growth” provided will be reversed – effectively, you were only ever renting those new followers.

Social media is not a numbers game

Let’s say you decide to go ahead with one of these services. The question then is; will it help you to achieve your business objectives?

Of course, it depends on what your objectives are, but I’m guessing they might include attracting more potential customers and generating more sales. Whether or not a “growth service” can help you to achieve such goals depends on how the growth will be achieved.

Let’s say they attract 1,000 new followers to your account by engaging with the most popular, generic Instagram hashtags. In that case, those 1,000 followers are unlikely to be within your target market and therefore highly unlikely to ever purchase from you. You have paid for that growth but you are going to see little if any return on your investment.

Not only is it money down the drain, but it can also make it harder for you to reach the followers who are genuinely interested in your offering, as it will likely lower your overall engagement rate.

I truly wish I didn’t have to write content like this as it does make me feel like the bearer of bad news but it is so important to me that you have clear information at your fingertips to enable you to make positive and well-informed decisions. At the end of the day, the last thing I want to see if anybody being ripped off or, worse still, for their business to be put in jeopardy.

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