Instagram Hacks Are Slowing You Down

While you think you’re beating the system, you’re killing your growth.


Charles Tumiotto Jackson

3 years ago | 5 min read

What’s common to every single Instagram growth hack you’ll come across online? They’re all slowing you down.

Wait, that doesn’t make any sense.

Aren’t growth hacks supposed to make you grow fast?

Well, not really.

They’re here to please you. They’re an instant gratifications.

What’s a hack? It’s a shortcut. Something that can bring in quick, measurable results, with very little effort on your end.

That’s why they’re attractive. They seem to deliver a lot, with no effort.

Did you notice that I said “seem?”

That’s because the results that they bring aren’t that impactful. They’re simply better than the results you’re used to.

Are Instagram Hacks Really that Bad?

Have you ever heard of the follow-unfollow method?

To put it simply: you follow lots of accounts within a niche, hoping that a small portion of these accounts will follow you back.

After a couple of days, you unfollow all these people you followed, and you start over. Unfollowing them will help you keep a healthy looking number of following.

Does this hurt your account?

It does. I tried it, out of curiosity, and it was a disaster. The followers you get through this method aren’t qualified. You’re being spammy, and Instagram doesn’t like that. After using this method for a while, you risk getting banned, or your content may become invisible.

Sure, you can get a couple hundred followers a week with close to no effort. Especially if you use a bot or program to take care of all the follow-unfollow actions.

But in the end, your account won’t be doing better, you won’t be getting extra business, and you risk getting banned from the platform.

So is it really worth it? Not really.

All growth hacks are relatively similar:

  • Instagram reels do great in terms of reach but they don’t convert that well into followers.
  • Replying to your comments with a question every time isn’t going to make your account blow up.
  • Going back to your previous post and like all the comments right after you’ve made a new post isn’t going to bring in hundreds of followers a day.
  • Engagement groups will get you shadowbanned, and even banned.
  • Buying followers is just plain stupid.

All of these methods bring in short term results. They make you feel good. But they’re not helping you grow long term.

Instagram Hacks are Keeping you Poor.

My problem with Instagram hacks is that they’re distracting you from the big picture, they’re distracting you from what truly works.

Let’s take a money analogy from Ramit Sethi.

Ramit talks a lot about personal finance and saving money, and his whole thing is: let’s forget about the $4 questions, and let’s start asking the $40,000 questions.

When you want to save money, you will hear all sorts of advice.

Some will keep you poor, others will make you rich.

Here is some advice that keeps you poor:

Skip on the $5 latte. $5 a day is nearly $1,500 a year! That’s what’s keeping you poor.

Is it really? What can you do with $1,500 that’s going to really impact your wealth?

Is it really the $5 latte that’s preventing you from being rich, or the fact that you’re $20,000 in debt?

Is the $5 latte the problem, or is it your credit score that’s making you pay thousands of dollars extra in interests on the car you just bought?

But here is the thing: skipping on the $5 latte in the morning seems easy, actionnable, and it seems to be efficient: $5 a day every day is $1,500 in a year.

On the other hand, paying off your debt is boring, hard, and it needs a long-term plan. Working on your credit score seems confusing, long, and out of your control.

So which of these two advice most people tend to follow? You guessed it, skipping on the lattes.

But which of these two advice seem to make you save more money? The one that focuses on the big numbers. The one that’s boring. The one that seems to be a lot more work.

It’s the same thing with Instagram hacks.

Instagram Hacks are Distracting You From What Truly Works

Here is what you need to grow on Instagram:

  • You need a converting profile.
  • You need good, engaging content that brings value to an audience.
  • You need a way to promote that content.

Now let’s talk about promotion.

There aren’t tens of ways you can promote your content on Instagram. Sure you can make a post or reel, share it to your story, and send it via DMs to your biggest fans. You can also use hashtags and spend hours trying to find out which hashtags will be best, despite having any sort of hashtag analytics on Instagram.

But here is another promotion tool that a lot less people use: guest posting.

Basically, a bigger account than yours publishes some of your content, and they credit you in the caption. Why would they do that? When you have a big following, you need content to post on the regular. And bringing in new content, new ideas, and new approaches is a lot of work. Having someone providing this content for you is valuable.

Depending on the size of the account that publishes your content, and how engaged their community is, you can get from a few hundreds to a couple thousand followers in less than 24 hours.

How many other hacks deliver results like this?

Now you may say that landing such post is tough, while executing the simplistic follow-unfollow method is easy.

And you’re right.

Getting a guest post is hard. You need to reach out, prove your worth, find a topic their audience would get value from, create the content, follow-up and make sure the account publishes it.

It sometimes takes a couple of week to get a guest post up.

And it also requires you to make good content that’s valuable. No one wants to publish something that’s not valuable to their audience.

But here is the deal: you can learn to create better content, build a relationship with a big creator, and grow your Instagram this way. Or you can keep looking for the next shortcut that’s trendy, be a spammer, and only get a few extra followers that won’t even purchase anything from you.

By focusing on the shortcuts, you’re distracting yourself from what truly works.

People have built big followings using guest posting. Close to no one has built a big following long-term using the follow-unfollow method.

Think Outside of the Instagram Growth Hacks

Growth hacks are popular because they’re actionable, as we’ve seen. They leave the people that use them with a great feeling of control and success.

But they’re keeping you poor.

They’re keeping you from trying what’s hard, what works.

Mass liking pictures on Instagram is easy and can even be automated. While building a relationship with another creator takes time, energy, and certainly can’t be delegated to some software you got on a sketchy looking website.

If growing on Instagram was easy, it wouldn’t be valuable. So focus on the non-easy tasks if you want to get your share of value from the platform.

Get away from hacks. Don’t even try them anymore. And instead, work on making better content, building relationships, making guest posts, getting yourself out there, and doing the tasks that will pay off, for real.

It’s not as easy, it’s not as sexy, but it’s the only way to grow on Instagram.


Created by

Charles Tumiotto Jackson

Content Marketer, willing to put the “social” back in Social Media. Forget about “Hacks” and obscure secrets to grow on social media →







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