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 In the age of "influence", practices such as promoting posts on Instagram are more harmful than good

Recently, I posted a pithy observation about people who promote or boost posts on Instagram. The amount of content I see that shouldn't be "promoted" are countless; even on my private account, I'm constantly seeing people's posts that were boosted.  The circumstances under which Facebook, which owns IG, prompts you to promote your content is usually when they see your audience engaging. The times when audiences trump the algorithm is when we post personal posts. These are the posts on which people, myself included, tend to feel most inclined to leave a comment; no matter how short. Instead of just a quick like or scrolling past.

The company just sees dollar signs and immediately prompts you to boost that post which is "performing better than 80% of your posts!" to get more attention. And I see people do it. But because of the personal nature of the post, it just reads as tacky to see the content promoted. At least I find it tacky.

Bloggers boost for similar reasons and another one: To appear more impactful. I have noticed that a lot of South African bloggers and content creators (people who have medium-to-big Instagram audiences) also promote their paid-for Instagram content. This not only creates a weird imbalance on their profile, but it's not a true reflection of their audience and reach.

I don't know what the logic of this model is. Your Instagram account with over 5, 000 followers gets an average of 60 likes but when the content is paid for, you boost it so it gets over 500 likes.  Who are all those people? How are these statistics affecting your channel overall? 

Perhaps these promoted Instagram posts are how they justify their fees. The catch, however, when it comes to this method, is that even with hundreds of likes, the posts are still getting only a few comments.

One blogger/vlogger I follow even promoted her birthday giveaway, which seemed so strange to me. I believe giveaways are a great way to thank loyal readers and supporters, inviting outsiders who will only stay while they stand a chance to win a freebie is the opposite of that. You find bloggers complaining that people unfollowed them on Instagram after not winning a competition. But what did you expect?

One interesting observation for me is that it's mostly local bloggers and creators doing this. What are we promising brands? How are we pricing our promotions? What is the long game? I don't see it paying off. Yes, I'm trying to grow my Instagram (and the rest of my socials) to a number that will get me a foot in the door to working with more brands. But other than "over 1k followers" I'm offering them my sometimes 45 sometimes 100+ likes. I'm offering them the comments that are sometimes just fire emojis or a paragraph. But that's just me.

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What are your thoughts on promoting posts on Instagram?