Instagram’s latest move may mean they jig is up…finally. Fake it til you make it is no longer a viable strategy on Instagram (assuming it ever was).

Does it feel like your competitor is killing it on Instagram while you fight for every last follow and like? You may be on to something. Many people – or their social media firms– buy followers to fake influence a.ka. fakefluence. This is fool’s gold, and it’s game finally over.

Insta announced that it will begin banning such paid-for likes and followers. “Recently, we’ve seen accounts use third-party apps to artificially grow their audience,” the platform noted in a blog. “People come to Instagram to have real experiences, including genuine interactions. It is our responsibility to ensure these experiences aren’t disrupted by inauthentic activity.”

Thanks to artificial intelligence, Insta is cracking down on third-party apps that increase follower count. The platform can tell who or what is authentic and will begin removing inauthentic likes, follows, and comments. Old posts will continue to show “purchased” likes and comments, but not new ones. Accounts that use such third-party apps will receive a message notifying them inauthentic likes, follows and comments have been removed from their posts. Instagram is really just jumping on a bandwagon as parent company Facebook and Twitter have taken similar steps to weed out fakefluence.

This sweep shouldn’t change anything about your social media strategy.

To really leverage the power of social media, build your following organically. Follow and engage with:

  • Users who know you
  • Users with a bigger following than yours
  • Local businesses
  • Vendors your work with
  • Professional organizations and institutions.

Make sure your posts are diverse and include eye-catching images, and appealing videos and gifs. A mix between educational and entertaining and not wholly self-promotional content is best.

This may take more time than say buying a ton of likes, but they more connected your followers are to you, the greater they engagement – which is true social media gold.

It’ s quality not quantity when it comes to likes and follows. A single true influencer can generate more leads and exposure for your practice than 10,000 fake ones.

Looking for more social media marketing tips? Check out Wendy Lewis’ best-selling book, Aesthetic Clinic Marketing in the Digital Age (CRC Press 2018).