When it comes to growing your Instagram account, you’re faced with 2 options:
- Spend a lot of your own time in creating content, engaging with your followers, reaching out to new account to gain more visibility, answering to DMs etc
- Spend still fair amount of time in creating content, but outsourcing these monotonous tasks to a service provider.
So we thought it might be interesting to run a small eperiment and try out different Instagram growth services.
This article gives you an overview of those Instagram growth service providers, so that you could choose the one that meets your expectations.
The main goal was to review and see how different Instagram growth companies work, what services they offer (followers, likes, comments etc), and what are the results we get and how is the price justified. Our main KPI was follower growth.
Sure it’s vanity metric, but still it gives an understanding how much quality exposure each of the services we worked got us.
That said, cue the music!
Meet Our Famous Lab Rat Account
The account on which we did this test was @one.small.loft. This is an Airbnb apartment listing in Tallinn, Estonia. The account was created when we started the test and each of the service provider took over from the last one left it.
- We targeted people who are passionate about travelling, and maybe also home decor;
- We posted about 1 to 2 times a week;
- At first, we didn’t have much of a schedule when we were posting – we started from scratch and had no idea when our potential followers would be on Instagram;
- We were not that active, we wanted to see how the services work without us doing much but only posting content. We didn’t follow people at first at all;
- We didn’t do Instagram Stories;
- We used 15 to 25 hashtags per post and tried to make them as relevant to the content as possible;
- We used few so-called fixed hashtags like #airbnb, #airbnbestonia, #airbnbhost and other Airbnb related hashtags;
- We created our own hashtag #onesmallloft and reposted people’s pics, who used it.
The content was mainly nice pictures of the apartment, but we later also included pretty pics of different parts of Tallinn, like Kadriorg and the Old Town of Tallinn. To make our profile look appealing, we mainly used gray colour palette and warmer filters.
We tested each service for about 1 month to 1.5 month. We have to keep in mind that one month is a very short time to get actual adequate results. So we knew that we would be getting indications whether the service providers delivers something or not. Usually you are starting to see the real impact on an account after at least 2 – 3 months (it also strongly depends on how the service works, but all about that in the review).
Another thing to keep in mind is that the project started when Instagram went berserk on “suspicious” growth activities and limiting hourly/daily activities (just as giving likes or comments).
This became challenging for our service providers who had to deliver on the same promise as usual, but in more organic and normal way as people would interact on Instagram.
That said, let’s go to the core of this article and reveal the results!
Review & Results1. Kicksta
- Testing time period: June – July 2019
- Service provided for us: Provided followers, likes, comments from real targeted accounts
- How the service functions: First you sign up, then give a list of target Instagram accounts that have followers that you’d like to attract. Kicksta will start “liking” each user following those target accounts you provided. The users will get a notification that you liked their photo and come check out your Instagram.
- Price: $99/month (The Professional trial)
- Customer Service: Excellent, answered in a few hours, detailed answers, provided information, also concerns. We felt important and appreciated.
- Bonus offers: They send a growth report each month and give you a dedicated customer success manager that you can reach out to at any time. Also, they provided growth plans, helpful articles, suggestions, strategies etc.
- Results → Followers: From 0 to 150 👍
- The service is great for: People who want to attract the right audience, who would stick around and care about what you’re doing. Growth is 100% organic, a bit slow start, but it is normal because we literally started with nothing. They guarantee real targeted followers. They’ll learn which targets bring you the most followers and which targets to drop. That way, moving forward they can adjust your targets for optimal growth.
- Our opinion: Collaboration worked very well, fast and effective communication, continuously provided information, even after the trial, got help and suggestions. The price for the amount of high quality work they put into growing your account and guiding is 100% justified!
- Our contribution: We didn’t use the full potential of Kicksta from the first trial (4 weeks of testing), we used only 4 targeted accounts – that could be also the reason why the growth was modest. Kicksta support team also contacted us and gave us some tips how to use the full potential.
- Pros: Great customer service, a lot of extras and suggestions on their behalf, deliver real targeted followers rather quickly.
- Cons: Growth is not super fast for the price. However they were the first test provider and the project started when Instagram did many new updates to engagement limits. They adapted quickly and still delivered.
- After the trial: gained followers stayed and continued to interact.
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- Time period: July – August 2019
- Service provided for us: Delivered likes, comments and followers
- How the service functions: You order what you want – likes, followers, views. Fill in the form and you’re all settled up.
- Price: 100 whatever you want for $4
- Customer service: Fast and straightforward.
- Results → Followers: From 170 to 1200 😲
- The service is great for: People who want to grow fast and get that boost. It’s a great start for little or new accounts. Also, for bigger accounts to create the illusion of fast growth that sparks even faster growth and ultimately reach more people!
- Our opinion: Although the followers look real, they are not super engaged. It’s a great start boost for new accounts to reach more people and to look bigger faster. Like it or not, but Instagram and numbers do go together. People will follow accounts more likely when they have a lot of followers. (I know we’re all disgusting creatures)
- Notes: We were not that active at posting content, so many times the service provider had to provide likes and comments to already existing posts.
- Pros: They do what they promise – deliver likes, comments and followers fast. Great boost for your account. Fast communication, cheap.
- Cons: Untargeted (and unengaged) followers, not sure if the followers we got were real active ones or just ghost accounts.
- After the trial: Followers count dropped to 1187 in 2 weeks, also engagement dropped.
- Testing time period: September – October 2019
- Service provided for us: Provided real users, likes, comments from targeted accounts.
- How the service functions: You provide information regarding your business goals, targeting information. After they have received the information their account managers start to work on your page daily, engaging with real users who are interacting and engaging with accounts similar to yours.
- Price: $99/month (EXECUTIVE)
- Customer Service: Very fast and immediate. Responded/replied quickly, very helpful and friendly. The support team runs 24/7. 🤩
- Bonus offers: They offer messaging services in all plans. You can customize your own unique message, and their team will send it to your new targeted Instagram followers for you. Also, they give their users an option to join their exclusive groups to learn new marketing tactics, social media tips, and to network.
- Results → Followers: From 1200 to 1400
- The service is great for: People who want to attract their ideal audience, who would stick around and care about what you’re doing. Targeted and real followers.
- Our opinion: Collaboration worked well, fast and effective communication. The prices are very good in what you get in return, 4 packages available, so you can first test them out for a rather small price and still get a lot of features. They did what was promised, and it worked very effectively. To get this many new real followers in a short period of time, while Instagram is doing some umpa-lumpa changes, is awesome.
- Notes: They have great FAQ on their page, that also answers questions like how to grow fast by yourself etc, good reviews online.
- Pros: Organic growth, your account engages with the accounts similar to yours or with people who are interested (they follow and engage) in the content we provide. Real people.
- Cons: Modest organic growth.
- After the trial: Gained followers stayed and continued to interact.
- Time period: November – December 2019
- What service we provide: Real users, likes, comments from targeted accounts, engagement groups participation and ads management.
- How the service functions: You will out a brief sent by our team with information regarding your business goals, targeting information, DM and comment templates and all the relevant information about your ideal followers. Once we got the information we start work with your account daily. We engage with new people who are likely become your followers and also interact with current followers to get engagement rate up which in return means higher chances getting featured in hashtag feeds where you will be getting a lot of new followers. In addition we do run advertisements if additional growth is needed.
- What we did with @onesmallloft: Almost everyday we took about 1 hour to find potential followers from the accounts similar to ours, and people who follow hashtags we use a lot. The main strategy was to follow-unfollow. We liked 3 to 5 latest posts of the potential accounts, also commented on one or two posts, and followed them. Usually the person came to our profile and did the same. We also reposted some posts, like nice pictures of Tallinn, and asked permission from the owners. We also followed the post owners and they did the same back to us.
- Results → Followers: 1400 to 1650
- Notes: Made new posts – 1-2 per week
- Pros: You are fully in control how the account is grown by us. In addition you get additional exposure from advertisements and engagement groups.
- Cons: It is a bit more pricey compared with other organic services.
- Aftermath: Almost all the accounts followed remained, few noticed we didn’t follow them anymore and unfollowed as well.
How to Grow Your Instagram Account (fast)?
Some of the most searched Instagram related topics are how to become famous on Instagram, or how to get more followers on Instagram. Before you’re starting to look for the answers, take a moment and think why do you want to get a lot of followers? Why do you want to be famous and for what do you want to be known for? After that you can start planning your growth strategy.
Remember the goal shouldn’t be get famous on Instagram, but to give as much value as possible on Instagram or outside of Instagram (this will result in a thriving and loyal fan base).
Essential there are 3 ways you can about getting followers:
- You can grow doing everything by yourself,
- You can use a professional help,
- and if the above two methods are not for you, then yea sure you can go ahead and buy followers.
If you decide to do everything by yourself, then I have listed some things that you can do, (you can also do these activities if you’re using professional help). One thing that helps a lot is to use smart tools and automate as much as possible, to make your life and account management easier.
Growing your Instagram account by yourself takes a lot of time, energy and effort, but if you’re constant, provide high value and engage a lot, it will be rewarding!
If you decide to do it yourself, then you should be ready to invest your time in it. Keep in mind – good things never happened overnight.
If you decide to use a professional Instagram Marketing Service, then the way they can help you depends on the contract – how much you want to do, and how much freedom do you want to give them.
What you usually should be getting from a service provider:
- ideas how to optimize the work, posting etc,
- account review/audit to improve the growth strategy,
- content ideas what to post (it may also include creating post for you or providing templates etc),
- finding new potential followers and engaging with them – it’s the most time consuming activity “dirty work” the service provider can do for you.
If you decide to buy followers, then make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into. Yes it’s a great way to start and make your account look bigger. However you’re mostly lying to yourself and it would be hard to motivate yourself working on things that give you actual organic reach.
It gives your account a boost and can help to create the illusion of growing fast like you’re on fire, but it’s only as long as you keep buying the followers. Like it or not, but Instagram and numbers do go together. People will follow accounts more likely when they have more followers – human psychology.
You need to understand that buying followers may actually hurt your account in the long run and the short term benefits of doing that might not be justified.
And you’ll always be at risk that Instagram may notice abnormal activity on your account and delete all the followers you have bought. If you’re not that lucky you might earn yourself a slap in the face and account ban.
While the professionals are working on growing your account or you’re doing it all by yourself then it is crucial to take additional steps to maximize your success. Here are some things you should do to get the best results:
1. Post quality content
By quality content I mean of course visually engaging and high resolution. Your content must provide some kind of value to your followers – it should meet at least one of the criteria: inspire, entertain, or educate. Also, I can’t stress it enough, be passionate. This is the most sincere way to be transparent with your followers and actually succeed!
2. Post Frequently & Consistently
The fact is that the more you post, the more people see and find you content.
Frequency is important because when you post multiple times a week or even a day, different people in different time zones around the world will more likely see your posts.
Also, it’s always good to remind yourself and be present. Consistency is as important as frequency – it’s not just good insurance for your followers, but also Instagram algorithm prefers it. When there’s always some kind of a buzz on your profile, then Instagram notices it and starts to push your account into hashtag feeds more often.
3. Get the Captions Right and Use Tags
We often put a lot of time and energy into taking photos and editing them, but forget the captions which are a huge part of the post.
Yes, I agree there’s not much to say when you’re unashamedly posting a bathroom mirror selfie.
But, when you’re actually posting something of (higher) value, then it’s important to provide that value in the caption section as well.
So, what to write there? There are so many options depending on the topic – write for example a full recipe, tips, your thoughts on the topic, maybe inspiration or motivation behind the post, explain your tutorial, what products did you use etc.
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Waiting for you to come and visit! ?? How's life btw? . . . . . #onesmallloft #kitchendesign #kitchenremodel #kitchen #kitchendecor #kitchensofinstagram #home #homedecor #superhostairbnb #superhost #airbnbapartment #airbnb #airbnbexperience #airbnbestonia #airbnbhost #airbnbphoto #estonia #visittallinn #visitestonia
Also, don’t forget the different tags!
You can use up to 30 hashtags – if you’re a newbie, I suggest using all of them.
Do your research, what works best for you and test different ones all the time. It’s very important that the tags are relevant to your post because then people who are searching for this hashtag will see your post. Using an irrelevant hashtag causes you loss of clicks (or rather taps) and Instagram replaces your post in the explore feed with another post that is more relevant to the hashtag.
I feel like I could create a full article about hashtags…
4. Craft a Visually Nice Post Feed & Profile
Instagram is a visual platform. Make sure your profile feed is crafted beautifully. You have nice profile picture, interesting bio description, captions are just right, you have similar themed high quality photos and videos, which tell a story.
5. Create a Good Bio and Profile Picture
Your bio consists of five main components:
- Avatar/profile pic,
- a short description of the account,
- link (your YouTube channel, website etc → available for Business Accounts),
Make sure you have all of them. Now, there are many ways to make your bio more attractive – use emojis, create nice story highlight covers, and add useful information to a bio (e.g. for a business or brand, insert valuable information for your customer like location, opening hours, maybe shipping information, email etc).
Your profile picture should differ from others, preferably use colours and take a picture of your face. For a brand I suggest your logo or whatever you feel identifies most the brand.
6. Messages, Likes & Comments
It’s the obvious one – social media stands for socializing.
Be active on your account and engage with others. Give answer to comments you get, be thankful for them and show your kindness on their account too by liking them and leaving meaningful comments. It’s not only being nice to them, but showing up on different post comments section also attracts their followers to your profile.
The main goal was to test different Instagram growth services and give an overview for you, so that you could choose the one that meets your expectations.
The idea was to review and see how different Instagram growth companies work, what services they offer (followers, likes, comments etc), and what are the results we get and how is the price justified. Our main KPI was followers growth, and what is the impact to an account using any of these services.
Instagram is constantly changing and being more strict to any “forced growth” activity, so always take caution when you go about growing your account with methods beyond just active content creation.
If you’re looking to take your Instagram knowledge to the next level and you don’t want to hire anyone, but still would like to utilize the absolute best growth strategies that are relevant today then check out our Instagram growth courses.
The strategies we used for our testing account are described in these courses. You’ll get useful templates, new insights and resources to make your posts shine. You’ll learn how to start making money with Instagram and how to grow your account faster then anyone else.
Let us know, what has been the best insight for you from this article and give us suggestions what growth service we should test next!
See ya! 🙂