One of the perks of my job is that I sometimes get offered new products or apps or services to try before they are rolled out to the general public.
The idea is, I get to try them, hopefully like them, and write about them, encouraging others to check them out.
Sometimes this is great. Most of the time, though, it’s less than. There are a lot of people out there trying to create and jump on the next big wave, and most of them end up just fading away without much fanfare.
I have been testing, for the last few months, but really seriously for the last month, a new Instagram tool called Ignition.
Now, there are many kinds of Instagram tools out there. There are the bots (you can read what I think about those here), for example, which automate your feed, liking accounts that have specific keywords, and then liking or commenting on posts with specific hashtags (which you program in). I am, in general, against automation, but I had some interesting results when I tried out one of these services.
Ignition is an Instagram growth tool. And there’s no automation on this one.
On January 1, I set out with a daily goal. I would use the program every day for about 10 minutes, and I’d see what happened to my follower count at the end of that time. I started with 2,580 followers. That’s the baseline.
I don’t know the exact number that I was following back, but it was pretty close, though slightly less. I think somewhere in the realm of 2300. I wanted to pare that back to at least 2000, as I’ve been on Instagram for 5 years and I needed to get rid of some of the dead wood.
So, my daily 10 minutes included:
- Using Ignition to unfollow non-followers I was no longer interested in following
- Using Ignition’s suggestion feature to find new people to follow that I was interested in following
- Scrolling through Instagram (not on Ignition) and liking/commenting on posts and finding new accounts to follow
One of Ignition’s main features is that it shows you who is not following you back. Now, let me be clear: I am not a fan of the follow/unfollow game that a lot of people play on Instagram. The idea is, you follow someone, if they don’t follow you back within a few days, you unfollow them. I don’t like this because it’s disingenuous, and I want my Instagram feed to be filled with pretty pictures. I only want to follow people who are going to show me pretty pictures of food, travel destinations and the like. So I will only follow people whose feeds I find attractive.
But I’ve been on Insta a long time, and my tastes have changed over the years. I also followed a lot of brands just because… so I was able, through Ignition, to go back and find people I’d been following for years, who never followed me back, and unfollow them if I wasn’t sure why I started following them in the first place. There are plenty accounts that never followed me back (and are unlikely t0), but who supply me with great content, and I’m able to “whitelist” those accounts so they are not to be unfollowed.
Ignition also has this “Grow” feature. It shows you the most engaged followers of other Instagrammers. So, for example, I could plug in the Insta handle of ‘Grammers I really admired, and it would show me their top followers that comment and like the most. I could then, inside the tool, follow those engagers.
Weirdly, what I found was that often, even though I’d follow a bunch of people, not always would the same people follow me back, but I would get a flurry of followers.
Following people is karmic; you follow folks, you’ll get followers.
I also spent time in the app (something I’ve been doing for ages), scrolling through Instagram’s suggestions for me, or searching on a hashtag (#vegan #whatveganseat #veganfoodporn) and finding new people to follow and liking and commenting on posts.
As of this morning, my follower count (@rebeccacoleman) sits at 2686–I have managed to grow my following by 100 in less than a month using this method.
I realize 100 new followers in a month doesn’t really seem like a lot, but it’s much higher than my average, and these are real followers, not bots.
Ignition is a good little tool. It’s been great for me to use it steadily this month to clean up my account. BTW, the advantage of using this over something like, say CrowdFire, is that it allows you to follow and unfollow right inside the app.
You can check it out at getignition.net, and it’ll run you about $20/month for the subscription. By the way, it also has an “inbox” feature where you can manage all your comments, and it’s supposed to have a feature where you can find accounts based on two hashtags, like for example #YVR and #vegan, but I couldn’t figure out how to make that one work.
Check it out!