Bots, Ghosts, and Organic Followers on IG

IG, You Know You Love It!

IG, You Know You Love It!

This week I learned how to avoid bots and how to boost organic followers via other accounts. The main way to do this is to see if there is an “igers” account for your area. I live in Tampa Bay so there are “igers_tampa” and “igersstpete” accounts that I will hashtag (not tag) when I post event photogs.

Bots: Fake accounts generated out in cyberspace

Organic Followers: Real followers

Ghost Followers: Real followers but don’t engage, like or post much.

Avoiding Bots:

Stay away from any of the following tags and you will have a better chance of avoid fake accounts and fake likes:

#love #TagsForLikes #TFLers #tweegram #photooftheday #20likes #amazing #smile #follow4follow #like4like #look #instalike #igers #picoftheday #food #instadaily #instafollow #followme #girl #iphoneonly #instagood #bestoftheday #instacool #instago #all_shots #follow #webstagram #colorful #style #swag

If you use these you will attract fake accounts.  You can’t get rid of them all the time but the following measures will help eliminate much of the junk traffic.


To attract real people(organic) find “igers” that relate to your subject and support an IG account that posts those things. For instance for our high school event posts we now use #stpetersburgfl and #ilovetheburg (which is an account and hashtag) to share our work with local people. Because of these two new hashtags we have a few likes but not as many as if we used #like4like. However the tradeoff is that the people of #stpetersburgfl are seeing what we are doing in the area.

Geotag your posts. Here is the issue of geotagging. It seems as if you have to be in the area to get a proper tag. If not you will have to rename the tag and it will just add the tag to the map of your geographic area. That kinda sucks but IG is more of a realtime application unlike faccebook where it is more archival. I have yet to find a fix for this but I am sure it is out there.

We do our best to geotag our stuff in St. Pete and are close enough to pick up areas where events have taken place however our Orlando events aren’t picking up so we just use a hashtag to describe the event.

Use a hashtag of your location:

SAMPLE: #stpetehigh #greendevils #homecoming2k13 #throwback at #stpetecoliseum. We geotag “St. Pete Coliseum” in our map option and hashtag it in the description. You can then add more info and hashtags if you like.


To improve your account organic reach run your profile through this site to get proper measurements: This site is free and powerful. It measures your communications and traffic. You can also search hashtags before you use them to see how many media are attached to the hashtag. Anything hashtag over 1200 media pieces I will use.


I enjoy using the Samsung tablet because it remembers a flow of key words that I normally use in combination. This is how I engage. I will sit for 30 minutes and just look at pics from the search #prom. Thursday is usually the more popular day for this hashtag to reveal new stuff since kids are “throwing it back.”

When I like something it gets a heart, if I really like it I will use a combination of “Very nice, Love it, Nice, Beautiful, Perfect, Funny group, and so on. Figure out what general combinations you will use to engage. Then if the image really strikes you then add more info. Keep it short.

By now you should have a method and should have at least engaged 50 accounts over the last week. From that you should see a return of 5- 10 followers. That is kind of the ratio that we get.

If you ask to follow you will get less return.

  1. Engaging is the best way to get followers.
  2. Following accounts that you like and hashtagging them when you post is another way. Just make sure the content relates in some way.

Hopefully you have something to sell to the people that will follow you. For our account Firefly Event Photography we decided to focus on hashtagging in such a way that it engages Florida, Tampa Bay, Orlando and Miami. Those are the places we want to connect with our service. When we get likes outside those geographic areas, it does us no good since we can’t service them. The likes are good but we have to look at both sides of our account direction. That is where comes into play. That site is dedicated to every prom goer outside of Florida that would like prom photography. We are working our services to travel to other areas of the US and world to capture prom images.

As for my personal Pierce Brunson IG account, I just do what I do on Facebook; make it all about me and what I like. My mind works better if my business is separate or my accounts become junk. I will use Pierce Brunson to display my photography and delete Pierce Brunson Photography. Not worth the extra time.

Use Events: Go and be a part of live events to gain followers. Have a product and sell one to a person? Snap a pic and post it to your account. Tag them, geotag and hashtag the event. To make this faster, prepare a script in your digital notebook area. I have prepared 7 different ones that I use at various times. Copy the script and just paste it into the comment space for better results.

As much as social media reduces direct physical contact, your best people, sales, and loyal followers may come from something that isn’t virtual. That can be your product or meeting you at an event. Take the time to get out and then connect people to more of you online.

Ask any questions you may have. I discover stuff every day and my accounts are looking good.

It does take time to build. Try to post 5 times a day for the next 5 days and see how your account grows.

No agenda for next week but I will have some new discovery for you.

Follow Pierce Brunson on Twitter, IG and Google+.

Pierce Brunson , M.Ed., is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, and spends his time working as a mentor and speaker while developing businesses that help improve the high school experience for students and teachers. He has over a decade of experience teaching in the public school system as a high school Social Studies teacher, majoring in World History and Sociology. Pierce believes everyone can do more to help improve the education system in their local communities, which is part of the backbone of any society. Pierce’s advice is simple: stop complaining and do something to help improve the situation. Good people have to stop being afraid to fight for what they believe in. Get in the game, help others, share culture and move the world toward equality and justice. Connect with Pierce at,, and

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