There are literally hundreds of automated social media systems out there (tools that post on social media) including those that trigger other actions (e.g. IFTTT) and those that do your following and unfollowing for you. And the list isn't getting any smaller…
But what works for one person won’t necessary work for someone else. I recently came across a platform called Like Growers (previously known as Likestagram) and thought I'd try a little social media experiment for my Instagram account.
Little old me
So just to give you a bit of background; I currently use a mix of Buffer and Social Jukebox to help promote my evergreen blog posts on both Facebook and Twitter.
I think I’ve got Twitter sussed, but sadly I can’t say the same for Facebook. In fact, I’m surprised I crossed the 100-plus likes on Facebook; I think my mum convinced her friends to follow me – thanks mum if you did! (she proofs my posts).
Anyway, going back a few months, if you think my Facebook account is looking a bit worse for wear, you should have seen my Instagram account.
I have to confess…I just didn’t understand how it all worked. But when I finally ‘got’ Instagram, I realised that I actually really liked it.
You see, I’m quite a visual person by nature and I enjoy looking at nice pictures. Especially if they feature holidays, cakes or interiors – but not necessarily in that order.
I especially like Instagram accounts that say something about the pictures that are featured. After all, there’s a story behind every picture isn’t there?
The problem I had with Instagram was lack of time – and the fact that my finger was starting to ache with all that double tapping on the screen to ‘like' posts!
What I needed was a finger to tap for me – and pronto!
Enter Like Growers (Likestagram)
So one day, while browsing the web I read a blog post about something called Likestagram (now Like Growers).
And the more I read about it, the more I liked the sound of it.
As I was fed up procrastinating over what to do with Instagram, I decided to take the bull by the horns and try it out.
After all, it would make a great review piece for the blog, right? A social media experiment…what could possibly go wrong?!
The system describes itself as:
“Professional Instagram bot that generates attention to your Instagram profile by automating the liking process.”
It goes on to say…
“This powerful web-based tool helps you get likes and followers on Instagram on autopilot.”
Now before you get me wrong, I don’t agree with using any sort of bots in general.
You have no control over them, any comments are fake and who knows – they could be ‘liking’ things that you don’t actually like – heaven forbid!
But I have done my homework – thoroughly! And detective Lauretta has deduced that Like Growers:
- Only likes accounts that you tell it to.
- Doesn’t ‘like' certain posts if they have ‘stop’ words in them (you set up the ‘stop ‘words – and by that I mean naughty words you wouldn’t want your children using).
- Doesn’t leave comments – ever, so no fake pretending to be a friend.
- Doesn’t follow or unfollow people, meaning you have full control on who you follow or unfollow.
- Doesn’t post – or remind you to post.
Put simply, Like Growers looked like the spare finger that I was looking for.
So let’s do this!
On January 14th I purchased 250,000 Instagram ‘likes’ for $49.99 which, at the exchange rate at the time, was £41.42.
There were other pricing plans available, but this had been recommended and looked like the best deal.
At this point I am following 127 people and I have 287 followers.
For the experiment to be fair I made sure that I didn’t follow any new people who did not follow me first as this might have influenced their decision to follow me.
First things first, when you sign up you have to link your account to Instagram, which is straightforward enough.
A box then appears which shows some details about the linked account.
You then use the drop down menu to choose what Like Growers should, well, like. You can do this by either a hashtag, by location or by username.
If you opt for the hashtag, the system automatically likes posts that use that hashtag. For location, you should choose which posts to like in a certain area.
And if you put in username, it likes the posts of those following that username (in the hope that they too start following you).
So the top tip here is to put either hashtags you are likely to use or usernames that appear to offer something similar to what you do.
At first I chose to go with usernames – as this meant that I knew exactly who was following similar Instagrammers to me – and I could try and entice them to like or follow me too – if I liked their posts.
What I also noticed about the platform is that you can blacklist tags, users, descriptions or comments.
This one factor alone helped convince me it was worth giving the platform a go (the fear being that I didn’t want to entrust ‘likes’ being made on behalf of my blog if they were for dodgy accounts).
After all, it wouldn’t look good for my followers to see that I had liked a sordid pornographic image…not very homely!
Oh and my son follows me on the platform too – so I had to be extra careful!
Looking at the other data, it tells you the number of likes given (used) and how many likes I’d be giving per hour (the default is 70 ‘likes’ per hour), but I set mine at 40.
Once you start using the system it will then tell you the average number of likes you receive per picture and the average number of comments per picture.
After one week I had increased my followers by 120 followers, taking the total to 407. I decided to follow a few of these back (14 to be exact).
In the one week since starting the Like Growers programme I had posted three pictures.
What’s interesting is that ordinarily I would never have done this.
It was almost as if seeing all these new people following me had guilted me in to making sure I was offering them a reason for following me – and the only way I could do this was by posting new images.
After a month
One month later and I’ve got some amazing results. My followers have been boosted by 556, taking the total amount to 843.
As a result of people following me, I was checking out their profiles and, if I liked what I saw, I would follow them back.
So one month after signing up I’m now following 189 people (62 more accounts than I was when I started!)
It’s important for me to mention that at no stage throughout this social media experiment did I start following anyone first.
I wanted to see exactly how the system would work to influence people to follow me.
Like Growers revealed that the average ‘like’ per image that I received when I posted something was 130.06 – up by 99.06%.
I also received an average of 7.89 comments per picture – an increase of three more comments per post.
This wasn’t as much as I thought it would be, but I suspect that this had a lot to do with my lack of comments on other people’s posts as well.
After one month I had 200,263 ‘likes’ left in my account. So, doing the maths (and bear with me here!) – the system had ‘liked’ 49,737 posts to gain me 556 new followers.
So, let’s round this up and call it 50,000 likes for 556 new followers.
Again, if my maths is correct, by the time I use up all my likes I should have gained an additional 2,224 on top of this, taking my new follower count to 3,067 (which includes the followers I already had before I started this experiment)
Worth a shot?
I have now made a mental note to engage, engage, engage – it’s one thing getting followers and people who like my posts, but it’s another kettle of fish keeping them as loyal followers.
Judging by the data, I’d say signing up to Like Growers is worth a shot if you’re looking to grow your Instagram follower numbers fairly rapidly.
The programme essentially acted as my finger – liking posts that I would have liked myself had I had the time. So really – it was great at saving me time.
Every day I was receiving notifications saying that someone had either liked one of my pictures or had followed me.
But what’s interesting is that this then prompted me to go onto the platform to check out who they were – I would then either make the decision to follow them back or then ‘like’ someone else’s posts who had liked mine – and comment!
I found that when I went back and liked pictures on someone else’s feed, most of the time they would then start to follow me.
If that didn’t work, leaving a comment often would.
The second way the platform helped me is that when I received notifications on my phone, it acted as a reminder service to upload more images – a win-win situation.
All in all, it’s a thumbs up for Like Growers. Goodness knows how many hours the system has saved me.
And it has also saved my right index finger from stiffening up!
HOWEVER – and it’s a HUGE ‘however’, I’d advise anyone using this system that you don’t just sit back and watch.
It’s still REALLY important to post pictures regularly and it’s just as important to engage and comment on people’s posts.
The good news is that because you’ll suddenly start getting more followers and people commenting, it should hopefully make you want to get on the system, upload more posts and comment on others.
And there’s nothing like sincere human interaction is there? Remember – if you’re not following others or engaging with them, then you’re not exactly being sociable now are you?
So if someone has been kind enough to leave you a lovely comment, make sure you acknowledge and thank them – just make sure you’re not thanking a bot!
A few things to note: - This is not an affiliate/sponsored post - I paid for Likestagram (Like Growers) with my hard-earned cash! - Since starting the experiment, the system hasn't (yet) accidentally 'liked' anything dodgy
What systems do you favour when using social media?
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