The Follow-Unfollow Method: Why Your Practice Should Not Use It

December 23, 2021

From purchasing followers on Instagram to utilizing engagement bots, there are dozens of black hat techniques for growing a following on social media. In case you are unfamiliar with the term, “black hat” strategies are covert, disruptive, and unethical marketing strategies. Fairly new to this category of digital marketing tactics is the “follow-unfollow” method. Below we will explain what this strategy entails, why it goes against the rules of online etiquette, and how it can harm your relationship with patients.

The follow-unfollow method explained

The follow-unfollow method is a simple technique for growing your following on Instagram and other social media accounts. Here is a rundown of how it works:

  • You follow someone, another dentist or an industry influencer, on social media.
  • They get a boost of encouragement, and follow you back.
  • A few days or weeks later, you unfollow them.
  • You hope they will not notice your unfollow.

The idea behind this practice is that it helps reduce your “following” count while raising your number of followers. Although there is evidence that it works, you should avoid it at all costs. Why? Two simple words: Online etiquette.

Why you should not use the follow-unfollow method in your medical digital marketing strategy

While it may be tempting to make it look like you have an impressive follower-to-following ratio, consider the following reasons to not use this black hat strategy.

It can compromise your credibility

People, especially those in highly respectable fields such as dental and health care, use social media to connect with, engage, and learn from others. When influencers or colleagues follow you, they do so with the intention of creating a two-way relationship that can benefit both you and them. So, when you employ this trick, your followers may feel disrespected. If you want to earn and keep the respect of fellow providers and influencers, build a following the genuine way: through consistent, thoughtful, and sincere engagement.

Your engagement rates may suffer

When using the follow-unfollow method, your following will increase, but the level of engagement you receive will likely not increase. This happens you do not have a genuine relationship with your followers. In fact, as your number of followers goes up but your number of “Likes,” “Shares,” and “Comments” stay the same, your engagement rates may suffer.

It violates Instagram’s Community Guidelines

Per Instagram’s Community Guidelines, platform users have a responsibility to help keep Instagram spam-free by not using insincere means to collect shares, likes, or followers. If the platform catches you using the follow-unfollow technique, it may delete your content, disable your account, or enforce other restrictions. Regardless of which measures the platform takes, your genuine followers will notice, which could hurt your credibility with them as well.

Gain followers the right way

When engaging in medical digital marketing, it is imperative that you remain genuine in every effort and interaction. Failure to do so could hurt your credibility not just with influencers but with your patients as well. For helping building an authentic following, contact our digital marketing professionals at 877-477-2311 today.

Doctor Genius, located at 16800 Aston Street, Suite 270, Irvine, CA 92606, provides a range of services for practice success. We seek to meet our clients’ needs by providing a variety of marketing, SEO, practice optimization tools, and coaching to transform the healthcare experience. Though we work to provide the most accurate information, the content found on this website is solely intended for entertainment purposes. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is entirely correct. You may not use the information on this site to cure, prevent, or diagnose a perceived medical issue. If you have healthcare-related needs, please speak directly to a healthcare professional. Never self-perform medical treatments discussed on this website. All images displayed are also for entertainment purposes only, and personal experiences may differ. Please note that the business tactics mentioned on this site might not be applicable to your industry or practice.