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Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Why I will NEVER Pay For A Shoutout - And why you shouldn't, either: A Rant.

As you've guessed from the title, this is going to be a slightly controversial post. And if you've been growing a steady following on Instagram (or on any social platform, for that matter), you've probably faced this conundrum already, or you're about to.

The second my Instagram account crossed about 700 followers, I began getting regular DMs or e-mails from all these big accounts asking if I'd like to pay for a feature, and that I'd get a hundred or so "genuine" followers instantly, and every day after the feature. They've all claimed these are actual, real people, who are totally not going to follow every featured account for clickbank dollars, and that they'd genuinely be into my content, even though the featuring account has no niche whatsoever.

So just to set the record straight, here's

Why I will NEVER Pay For A Shoutout - And why you shouldn't, either.

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Alright, let me begin by saying I'm in no position to take a moral high ground. I don't consider myself pure and 100% altruistic, I'm not. So in this post, I'm not going to try and convince you of the moral reasons why it is "wrong" to pay for a whole bunch of followers.

What I will do, is try to logic you out of wasting your money.

Alright, when I get a message from one of these feature accounts, it's usually something to the tune of:

"we're @XYZ and we love your clicks, for $$ we can shout you out. Immediately, new followers will swarm to your account and like every one of your photo and cry because they're so happy to discover your account so let us know how much you want to pay thanks."

Let's first break this type of message down (warning for some serious shade!).

First off, I know nothing about you. I know nothing about your account. You have literally never engaged with any of my posts, and only rarely will you ever even have followed me. So how on Earth can you claim to 'love my clicks'?

Secondly, if you do like my posts so much and feel like your followers will actually, genuinely enjoy them, how come you've literally never posted a single photo relevant to my niche?

(Bear in mind, I'm not talking about feature accounts who share photos from your niche, those might be a bit more genuine, but they're a whole different ball-game. I'm talking about "lifestyle" accounts whose feed is a jumble of photos of different subjects, different themes, totally unco-ordinated photo quality - you get the picture.)

Here's what irks me about such "offers": if I wanted to pay for a bigger audience, why wouldn't I just run an Instagram ad which is far more targeted to people who might actually love my content? What good is it to me, to pay you ten times the amount, and get exposed to an audience that literally doesn't care whom they follow?!

Alright I was a little bit naughty and did reply to one of these e-mails. In my defense, it was PMS week and we were out of chocolate. Here's what I got back:

Here's what I sent:

Annnnd here's what I got back:

Now if that ain't a generic response to something they've probably had to answer a thousand times, I don't even know e-mail marketing.

No shade to the nice person who wrote this e-mail, I'm sure you're excellent at what you do, and given your prices, I'm sure you make far more money out of it than I ever have.

That being said, here's the big, logic-based reason why I can't get behind this scheme:

The way the Instagram algorithm works, as a user, accounts that Instagram suggests for me to follow are based on other accounts I'm already following.

Conversely, for you as a follower, Instagram will suggest my account to those of you who follow other accounts in my genre, and based on the activity other people who follow me, who also follow similar accounts to yours. (Re-read that, it's a bit of a head-rush...)

In other words, if I'm being followed by random accounts who couldn't give two hoots about my work, my work will be suggested to more random accounts who equally don't care! Not only does this dilute my follower base and get rid of any engagement I may have had, thanks to Instagram's non-chronological feed algorithm, it also reduces my chances of being seen by other people in my genre.

Think about it, if Instagram decides it will suggest my account to a hundred people today, based on my existing follower base, and my existing follower base is 80% irrelevant (possibly spam/bot) accounts, most of those suggestions will be sent out to similar irrelevant/spam/bot accounts.

Sure I might instantly get a flood of new followers, and if I only cared about numbers, that'd totally work. But what about the next day, when I'm trying to poll my audience, or get their feedback on something, and all I have in response is a "good one!" comment with a thousand fire emojis? What the hell do I do with that!?

And here's the kicker: if the feature account is associated with a click-bank, regardless of whether they admit it, these "genuine" followers are probably making a few cents off of double tapping on my photos. Not to mention that the feature account itself gains a new follower-base because my niche has been added to their jumbled mess of a feed. And then, they approach a new target audience, using my example, and get paid to feature yet another account.

Literally everyone is making money off my content in this equation. Everyone except me.

So no, I don't want your 100% genuine followers the second my Paypal payment goes through, because my follower count means nothing to me without there being actual people behind them.

And in the words of TLC:

I don't want your number, no, and I don't wanna give you mine.

Image result for no scrubs gif

So there we go, there's my rant which I'd hoped wouldn't be a rant but turned out to be a rant. I realize a lot of my posts feel non-committal and too vanilla, so here's a bit of personality for ya!

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What do you think of opinion posts like this one? More? Tell me in the comments below, or over on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or via e-mail (but if you're going to e-mail me about buying pageviews for this post, please don't expect a reply this post!). I love hearing from you non-spammy, non-bot peeps!

As always, thank you so much for reading this post, and for more opinionated chat, remember to check out my awesome podcast at the banner below!

I love you guys, and I'll see you again soon!

All my love,

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Why I will NEVER Pay For A Shoutout - And why you shouldn't, either.

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