In the past years, Instagram started fighting back against apps that generate inauthentically follows Likes and comments. Instagram also began to delete fake followers from Brands, Influencers, and Celebrities’ accounts.

With Instagram’s strict policy against inauthentic ways to grow audiences, people started to run contests and giveaways, with specific Entry Criteria. Usually, the person who runs giveaways ask people to follow their account, and the account of the brand they partnered with, and either reposts the giveaway post or mention several friends. Some even put the condition of liking previous and upcoming posts to increase the chances of winning.

The main objective of giveaways is never to boost sales but to gain exposure, increase engagement of a specific post, and grow the Instagram following.

Influencers and Giveaways

Nowadays, there is a trending contest or giveaway concept. This concept is more common in Egypt and some Arab countries. Famous influencers publish pictures of themselves holding a lot of iPhones, and even money, and tell you that these gifts can be yours, all you need to do is participating.
These influencers create another Instagram account and follow a large number of people. Then they put a condition of checking this new account and following all the people that exist in the following list. This list can have from 100 to 500 people.

What’s the story behind these contests?

Influencers, with many followers, started a new business. This business is guaranteeing to their clients; they will have many followers.

To launch a contest, they sign a contract with at least 100 brands, famous people, and businesses. The average amount they take from each client is 5000 EGP. Some influencers make more than this number. In one contest they can earn from 500.000 EGP to 2.000.000 EGP. With just the quarter or even half this amount, they can buy the gifts, or it can be just a fake contest and a scam because they can make their friends win, or show empty iPhone boxes or empty gift boxes.

The influencers’ clients can have their followers increase by 200.000 followers or more. For them, it’s a good deal because a 5.000 EGP investment in ads will never bring you that many followers. It’s a number that people work years to achieve. But they are not building a real community, and they buy what we call ghost followers. These followers bring zero benefits for Instagram accounts. These contests are a new way to buy followers and also insulting people’s intelligence, and also using the human nature of loving free things.

Fake Followers Impact

But do these people know that buying followers do them more harm than good? It may make you look like you have a considerable following, but you will have a low rate of engagement.
When you buy followers, you are purchasing people who are not interested or willing to engage with you. The difference between fake followers and followers that come from the contest is that Instagram deletes the fake accounts that are created by bots. People who follow you to win will unfollow you when they see that they didn’t win, or when they see that your posts aren’t relevant to them. What’s saddening is seeing big brands, celebrities, and big names that appear on tv pay to get followers.

A piece of advice to influencers and their clients from a marketing perspective: Even if this kind of contests are unethical, but at least try to do it right. The list of accounts that people will have to follow should at least be from the same field. For example, the list of accounts should all be makeup accounts, and the people who should participate are just girls.

A piece of advice to people who participate: Don’t make yourself merchandise, these influencers sell us, and they sell our profiles. Our data is already being sold and used by big social media platforms. However, you say that I benefit somehow from these platforms, either for entertainment or business. But what do I earn from these influencers? Just fake gifts.

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