By Jillian Lavin a.k.a. Spritely -- spritelymusic.com
How many spammy "want more followers?" comments do you get on your Instagram posts? What about those random emoji or "beautiful!" comments by people with 21k followers?
Hate to burst your bubble, but those are automated comments done by services like Instagress, Instamacro, and RoboInsta. They claim to draw in new followers by liking, commenting, and following hundreds (if not thousands) of accounts per day.
At the end of February, I got a personal email from a company called Jumper Media. They claimed that their service would gain me 1-2k more followers over the course of a month for just $150. They caught me at just the right time: I recently had a social media reality check, realizing that though I loathe Instagram, social media traction is a necessity for the modern musician. What I didn't realize is that followers do not equal traction.
The service was a great ego boost -- at first, I saw my follower number rising by 50-75 people per day. Then the growth plateaued, and even dipped on a few days. Why? Instagram became polluted with these spammy tactics and people caught on. I would get notifications from people laughing at my automated "Stunning, love your page <3" comment, clearly irrelevant to the crass meme it was posted on. I noticed that my own posts each became subject to 5-6 of these empty comments, and started to realize how trasparent this tactic seemed. Moreover, despite the 1k follower boost I did achieve, my post engagement was pathetic in comparison; though my follower count tripled, the average number of likes per picture increased by a mere 50%. Thus, it was unsurprising that my Spotify and Facebook likes did not increase significantly either.
The worst part? At the end of my month with Jumper Media, a quick Google search pointed me to the other services mentioned above, which did the exact same thing as at dramatically lower prices.
Despite all I have said thus far, I am thankful to Jumper Media and I'm glad I did it. Follower count is an important indicator of a musician's legitimacy, and having 1,700 followers verses 600 followers could be the factor that makes a music blog actually pay attention to the song you send them. That said, from here on out, I'm putting my attention on the content, not b.s. growth hacking services.
TL;DR: Growth-hacking robots can increase your surface-level #cred (which is helpful!), but won't earn you new fans.
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