The Follow/Unfollow trick, or mass following, is commonly used by micro and middle influencers and shops to find new followers and clients. It has very simple mechanics:
An influencer’s account follows you, or likes, or posts a comment on Instagram
You get a notification and follow them back
They unfollow you after a couple of days.
Instagrammers use special tools and apps for automatic Follow/Unfollow that starts following other users based on the filter criteria.
They can base it on location (geotags) or hashtags, and search for users following specific accounts and etc.
According to HypeAuditor’s internal research, up to 28% of influencers with less than 100K followers used the follow/unfollow trick to grow their number of followers.
Why Follow/Unfollow is a bad practice?
It is a direct violation of Instagram’s Terms and Conditions and Community Guidelines
Your credibility is at risk. Follow/Unfollow is spam in the worst sense, and Instagrammers who use this trick manipulate users’ attention.
The follow/unfollow method is becoming an epidemic on Instagram as users are increasingly doing it. These days, over 50% of the new followers that an account gets will unfollow them automatically a day or a week later.
Since the 5th of June 2019, Instagram began to massively action block accounts that use third-party apps for automatic following and unfollowing.