[Overview] The 3 Main Growth Methods: F/U, Viral Growth, M/S

If you’re a beginner in IG-Marketing, this summary of the 3 main growth methods is going to give you a quick overview of the basics (BASICS FIRST!!!), so you don’t get overwhelmed by all the methods and possibilities discussed in this amazing forum and can decide beforehand what suits your goals best. There are more methods out there, but these are the main ones. Again, it is going to be only an OVERVIEW, the methods are not going to be explained in detail, you will find all the information you need using the “search function”, so make sure to use that before asking questions here :wink:
Before getting into the growth methods, always remember: CONTENT IS STILL KING, all the methods won’t help you if your content sucks…
Let’s Go!!!

The 3 Main Growth Methods

  • Follow/Unfollow
    Probably the most common one, basic follow/unfollow is exactly what the name says: You follow people and unfollow them a couple of days later. The follow will give them a notification that you followed them -> they will potentially check out your account and then decide if they want to follow you back. You can either do it manually, which will take a lot of time but might be worth it if you only want to grow 1-2 accounts and want to see exactly who you are following, or you can automate this with tools like Jarvee which will allow you to manage many many more accounts (Keywords: “proxies”, “vps”)
    Results: Can be quite good (~4-6k/month on the high end), but are limited, since IG doesn’t allow a single user to follow more than 500-1000 people per day (this number depends on many factors). Also, since some people will only follow you because you followed them and might not be that interested in your content, your engagement rate might suffer later on!

  • Viral Method
    This method can work very well, but can also not work at all. The very first thing you have to ask yourself is: Do you post Viral Content? (Content that is going to catch the attention of everyone in general / in your NOT too specific niche). If the answer to this question is yes, then this method can work amazingly well for you if done right!
    The Basics: The goal is to get as much engagement right after posting as possible. This will potentially push your posts into some the top posts of the hashtags you chose (make sure to do a detailed hashtag research first, you’ll find all the information in this forum!) and maybe even to the explore page! The quality and the “viral-factor” of your post will determine how long it stays there", if people keep interacting with it, it will stay longer. You can potentially reach 10.000s, even 1.000.000s of people with one single post!
    The main “tactics” used in order to achieve high engagement innitially are Powerlikes and DM Groups, but you can also be creative! For example you can promise a story-shoutout to 1-3 of the people that like and comment your post in the first 30 mins :wink:

  • Mother/Slave
    Also known as Master/Slave, Mother/Child (This is the name I tend to go with) and Fanpage-Strategy, this method is basically like F/U on steroids. You will have 10s, 100s and even 1000s of botted f/u Niche Accounts driving traffic to your main account! This is in many cases arguably the best method out there at the moment (at least imo) and can produce amazing results! Another thing to add is that your main account will be less at risk than if you are botting it itsself!
    Results: The growth is almost only limited to your budget and, if you want to learn this method by yourself, to your skillset. Keep in mid: content is still king! There are people growing over 100k followers/month with this method! It is quite hard to learn though (I am currently still in the testing phase myself), but with hard AND SMART work, you can do it, and it is definetly worth it!

I hope I didn’t forget anything and this gives a good overview of the methods. Please let me know if you have any questions (after using the “search function”)! Obviously any feedback is also welcome! :slight_smile:

Stay Styled


Great post, lot of users will appreciate this info


Great post @staystyled ! MS method gets all the love nowadays, F/UF still works well and much easier to execute. But puts accounts at risk. Recent PV wave affected thousands of botters. Now all are shadowbanned as well.

So if you have time & money, go M/S. Much safer.


Thank you, I hope so :slight_smile:

Fully agreed!


Are you sure? Do you have any proof of this?


Very sure. After getting a Phone verification - accounts tend to go into shadowban 60-70% of the time from my own experience.

I manage 12 clients accounts, all shadowbanned right now after pv loop / wave.

It’s easy to check - no posts display under hashtags. It usually lasts around 14 days after the PV.

As for the proof, see this thread, 25+ people who manage clients have experienced exact same problems.


This is a great overview! I think an important point to add for F/U method is the way users can be targeted by accounts they follow, engagement etc. This ability to target and filter users is a huge advantage. Thanks for your share!

1 Like

that thread is level 2 only

1 Like

That thread is about PV not shadow bans, regarding the hashtag stuff to be honest most of the accounts dont get much traffic from hastags.

Mate, I created the thread, yes it’s about PV’s, but we cover shadowban too.

It’s up to you if you want to believe it or not.

Please don’t confuse general reach issues vs shadowban.

To identify if it’s a shadowban or not, do this:

  1. Pick a hashtag (or few)
  2. Add them to your new post you’re about to share
  3. Make a post.
  4. Click any of the hashtags inside the post and look at recent.
  5. If your post shows - you’re not shadowbanned.

If it doesn’t show - you’re shadowbanned. This is even more apparent if those accounts use custom hashtags, as all posts vanish as soon as the account is under the shadowban.


Thank you! Also thanks for adding that! As I said this is meant as an overview only with pros and cons of each method, didn’t want to go too much into detail as I think most is already out there in this forum. I just remember when I was first starting out I could’ve used a more general overview first before digging deeper into each method, tactic etc. that’s why I wrote this :slight_smile:

Thanks for this thread and the value from commenters


Very nice overview on the main Instagram growth strategies, specially for new comers to the forum. I can definitely recommend the mother/slave method, as I have been using for 5 years, and it is still working very good today. I also completely agree, content is king!


Great post, I wonder if IG will do anything to combat slave accounts next, there are so many of them right now. Business accounts need a way to target customers and right now F/U is more targeted than IG adverts!

1 Like

Yes I understand what’s shadow ban.

What I mean is that has little to nothing effect on the accounts as most of the reach comes from home and not from hashtags.

See insight of a normal post

Hey mate, Isn’t it better if we use a tool to identify if the Hashtag is banned or half-banned rather than making a post to see if it’s banned? Wouldn’t it implicate the account?


You should not use banned hashtags at any time, ever. Because this will affect the reach and may ban your account as well.

I was suggesting to use normal hashtags (not banned) to check if you have any reach - that’s for testing if your account is indeed shadow banned or not. Particularly after a PV.

I would disagree. I scrape hundreds of hashtags and pick low/medium/high competition 40%/40%/20% ratio and use 20-25. If done correctly, it can explode your reach. It takes me 1h to finish this process. This yields 100 niche hashtags to use in dynamic posting. But there are guys on marketplace who sell this service for 10-20$ and it’s the best investment for your engagement, trust me. Let me show you what I mean

1st post before shadow ban

2nd post after shadow ban

How many posts you have with that reach? It looks like the post hit the explorer, which is not the common thing on IG.

All your post have that reach from Hashtags? Or just that one?

1 Like

This is an extreme example, but I normally would have 30-40% traffic coming from hashtags. Before the shadowban that is.


Good post. Iam sure this is going to help some people who’s starting out.