The 4 Secrets to Avoid Being Scammed by an Instagram Growth Service

You're looking to get more Instagram followers and you think that Instagram growth services are the way to go. The problem is, that you're skeptical of what's out there. Am I right?

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It's crucial that you don't make a mistake, because if you do - you're putting the reputation of and the security of your brand in danger.

Making a mistake can lead to getting your account temporarily blocked or banned!

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Now, don't get me wrong - using a Instagram growth services is a great way to

  • Build your audience
  • Acquire new clients
  • Spread your brand
  • Make bigger profits

You just have to know which will be the right one to use.

I've got great news for you! For the past 4 months, I have tested most of the follower services out there. Now I am ready to share my experience and tell you what to look out for, so you don't get scammed.

Before I give you some insights into how to spot dodgy operators, let me quickly tell you about how I got to writing this blog.

 

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As part of my role as Creative Director at Konichigram--an Instagram ad-agency--, I'm always checking for new additions to the industry.

One of the biggest things to happen over the last two years was the boom then bust.

Let me explain: A new technology appears - everyone hops on it and uses it, but after a while, it crashes. People lose money, lose credibility etc.

Now I see a new rise of another "Boom". It's a boom of automated AI (artificial intelligence) "bots."

These bots are programs, which can be used on Instagram pages to go out and "Like & Follow" people's accounts. The goal is to have them return the interest with a Follow back.

The program is so simple that, most of the time it's created by opportunists who have nothing to lose but a lot to gain by creating a subscription system that offers no accountability to its clients.

You heard me right - no accountability

Let me show you an example:

One of the most popular automated services was called Instagress.

Last April, Instagram got serious about these bots and the fake engagement they were creating so they forced the closure of many of these service including Instagress.

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For the businesses, this meant, that their page growth stagnated or even stopped. Some accounts even got blocked and shadowbanned.

In simple terms, they were pushed out of Instagram marketing.

It's a year since closures happened but there's been a bunch of copycat services that have popped up. 

When an offer sounds good, the website looks pretty, and the reviews seem real it's easy to believe that there'll be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. This is where people get scammed.

The problem is, that for most of these growth services there's an AI bot that does the work, but no human to monitor it. (This is the problem)

Having an automated bot sounds easy, but:

  • There's NO accountability if something goes wrong

  • There's NO human that's able to read between the lines when making a decision, just an algorithm or formula

  • There's NO feedback mechanism. If the activity performed by the bot isn't exactly to your liking then you need to figure out how to change the parameters to get the results you want. You can't just tell someone "This X happened, but I need it differently. Please change your process."

I'm not saying that every Instagram growth service out there is a scam. I'm here to do is to show you how to look past the big claims and nicely designed websites and see whether it's safe, trustworthy, and will deliver results that you've been promised (...and have paid for!)


Here's my 4-minute step-by-step test when deciding whether an online service is legitimate or not. Starting from the bottom here are my 4 tips:

4) Are they active on social media themselves? And are they successful on Instagram?

It's pretty obvious. If someone is claiming to grow you thousands of followers but their account is wallowing with only 1623 followers, then the first alarm bell should ring. How can they bring results to you, if they don't have any themselves?

The next thing you want to look out for is their activity. Look for when was their most recent post?

If it's been more than a few weeks this is another alarm bell.

If a service that is all about Instagram doesn't have the time to at least a few times per month to create a post.

Usually, it's a signal of a lazy owner.

If the owner can't take care of themselves, how could they take care of you? 

And of course this 👇

 

 Broken links or dead pages should sound alarm bells

Broken links or dead pages should sound alarm bells

3) Are there real contacts for the business that you can contact if something goes wrong? 

Go to the contacts page of the service and check whether there's a phone number, an address, or a personal email.

If there's only a chat window, generic email, or a message box then this is a little concerning.  

This is crucial because who are you going to contact if something goes wrong? It's the same as buying equipment for your company from a sketchy alleyway - it might do more harm, than good.

But, it doesn't mean that the service is a scam, it just means that customer service might be a bit slow or unreliable.

For example, Google doesn't have phone numbers on their website, but have you ever tried to get them to answer a problem you have with Gmail?!

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Today, in 2018, it's a trend for people to work from all over the world. But it's still nice to see a real address for someone that you're going to work with.

But if they don't have any real contact information - that's a red flag. 

*TIP: If you can't find any contacts other than a generic email address be sure to read their Terms or Privacy Policy. Their contacts should definitely be here. And if they don't have either of these mentioned pages or they smell fishy then GET THE HELL OUTTA THERE!

2) Are there any real staff on their website?

 Faceless online companies with no obvious staff or contacts could leave you stranded if something goes wrong

Faceless online companies with no obvious staff or contacts could leave you stranded if something goes wrong

Similar to my earlier point, apart from generic stock photos are there staff members mentioned with their full names and contacts anywhere?

For any B2B website this sort of information always expected, so you should expect it of your online subscriptions too.

If they don't want to show their identity or contact numbers - they're hiding from accountability.

Maybe I'm a little paranoid but I like to know that if I give someone my Instagram password and my credit card details that there's a real person I can call that will be accountable for the safety of my account and the expenses placed upon my card.

>>>>And my number one tip to avoid being scammed and disappointed by an online service<<<<

1) Have you double-checked the references and accounts they've claimed to grow?

Many services make big claims and show huge results tallying the total followers they've gained for other accounts but there's not much fact checking going on.

 Reviews with little information about the customer should be discarded

Reviews with little information about the customer should be discarded

It's very normal to now see pull quotes from "happy clients" but here you need to look carefully.

Look out for fake testimonials - you can spot them by a mile away

Here are some symptoms for a fake testimonial:

  • They're super short
  • No real information is given about the service (no dates, numbers, just a plain sentence)
  • If you google the name or company nothing pops up
  • All of the pictures are in super high quality (this means it can be a stock picture)

You must google the info provided! Look at the names - search up their LinkedIn profiles to see if the account works for the same company as said in the testimonial. Look at their IG pages and see the growth. 

You can go to Social blade and see the page's growth. This will give you an indication of how the growth of the service works - how fast it is, how reliable etc.

And finally, go check the Instagram accounts yourself. Many services just provide a user name but don't show a screenshot of the account or they fail to link directly to the users page.

Do yourself a favor and check this yourself. Once there, evaluate whether the service you're considering works with brands that are in a similar tier or industry to you.

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Well, I hope that was helpful and that I've saved you from losing time and money. If you've got any special tricks to spot scams be sure to write it in a comment below.

One last thing, before you head off to start growing your Instagram followers you should make sure that your profile is set up to succeed.

Too many profiles see little success not because of the growth service what they're using, but because of the poor management. 

We've worked on many successful accounts and we spend chunks of our time each day analyzing the best of the best. We know all of the elements that make for a successful account. And we wanna help you out!

Before you start paying money for a service you must make sure your Instagram page is ready to grow! That's why I want to offer you a Free In-depth audit of your Instagram page!

👉 Click here and sign up for the free audit!

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If you want to make sure your account is optimized for success like the top 1% of accounts worldwide then we invite you to have our team of experts conduct a FREE audit of your Instagram account.

👉 Sign up in the form bellow to receive the audit!

We'll analyze 12 different elements of your account, rating each one out of 5, and make suggestions for easy ways to make your account sit inline with Industry best practices.

To get your Instagram account audited for FREE follow this link and fill out your details.

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Andrew Green