The abrupt shutdown of the popular Instagram automation service Instagress in 2017 left many businesses scrambling for an alternative. Instagress provided convenient auto-liking, commenting and following – helping brands quickly amass followers. But this growth was often artificial and unsustainable.
As a consultant who has helped dozens of entrepreneurs improve their Instagram marketing strategy after Instagress, I‘ve evaluated many organic growth services. Here are the top 10 legit Instagress alternatives I recommend for getting real, lasting results in 2023.
Why Instagram is Critical for Business Marketing
With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is a massive platform for businesses to reach new audiences and drive brand awareness.
Some key Instagram marketing stats:
- 500 million users use Instagram Stories every day
- 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business
- The average post gets anywhere from 150-200 likes
- The ideal posting frequency is 2-3 times per day
Clearly, Instagram offers immense exposure potential. But simply having lots of low-quality or fake followers won‘t get you far. The key is cultivating an audience that genuinely engages with your brand.
The Risks of Automation and Fake Growth
Services like Instagress used bots and fake accounts to automate liking, commenting and following. But this artificial engagement violates Instagram‘s terms and could get your account banned.
More importantly, fake followers don‘t actually care about your brand. They won‘t engage with or purchase from your business. They only inflate vanity metrics like followers and likes while hurting your account‘s integrity.
Some downsides to avoid with automation and fake growth tactics:
- Lower organic reach and engagement from real users
- Poor reputation from having an unrealistic follower-to-engagement ratio
- Risk of being banned by Instagram for violating terms
- No real business value from fake followers
How to Evaluate Growth Services
When evaluating Instagram growth services, watch out for any that seem too good to be true. Legitimate services should:
- Focus on getting real, targeted followers through organic efforts
- Be transparent about their growth tactics
- Provide insights into your audience and content performance
- Have evidence of past success growing clients‘ accounts
I generally recommend going with services that assign you an account manager. This way your growth is overseen by a real person who can tailor the strategy to your brand and audience.
Below are 10 services I‘ve vetted and recommend for getting lasting Instagram growth.
Top 10 Organic Growth Services for Instagram
1. Social Sensei
- Price: starts at $99/mo
- Ideal for: brands wanting hands-on account management
Social Sensei is my top choice for brands who want dedicated account managers fully focused on growing their Instagram following. Their team of experts actively engages your ideal audience to drive targeted growth.
"We‘ve doubled our followers and engagement since working with Social Sensei. Their account manager really takes the time to understand our brand and target audience." – John K. Founder of @craft_coffee
- Price: starts at $79/mo
- Ideal for: analytics-driven brands
Ektor.io combines powerful Instagram analytics with expert growth strategies tailored to your brand. Their actionable reports provide insight into your followers and guide you on improving engagement.
- Price: starts at $149/mo
- Ideal for: boutique brands wanting white-glove service
Kenji provides dedicated 1-on-1 account management focused on quality over quantity. Their tailored organic growth strategies are ideal for boutique brands wanting concierge-style service.
- Price: starts at $39/mo
- Ideal for: getting steady, targeted growth
Growthoid specializes in growing your followers through strategic outreach. Their team sources targeted potential followers, engages them, then filters out fake accounts. Reliable for consistent monthly growth.
- Price: starts at $49/mo
- Ideal for: brands wanting basic managed growth
Nitreo provides reliable managed growth services that won‘t break the bank. Their dashboard makes it easy to monitor new followers, engagements and track growth over time.
- Price: starts at $69/mo
- Ideal for: brands wanting to scale broad audiences
Ampya leverages machine learning to identify and engage potential new followers from broad target demographics. A cost-efficient solution for expanding your reach.
- Price: starts at $59/mo
- Ideal for: brands focused on influencer partnerships
Twicsy specializes in partnering brands with relevant influencers in their niche. Great for raising awareness through strategic influencer campaigns.
8. Social Captain
- Price: starts at $49/mo
- Ideal for: brands wanting to DIY with training
Social Captain provides self-managed growth with comprehensive training to equip you with Instagram marketing skills.
- Price: starts at $79/mo
- Ideal for: engagement pods and group networking
Socialized.io runs private engagement pods of brands/influencers who engage with each others‘ content. An easy way to tap into cross-promotion.
10. Fivestar SMMA
- Price: custom plans, avg ~$1500/mo
- Ideal for: Enterprise brands
Fivestar SMMA offers fully-managed Instagram marketing services for enterprise brands, including content creation, influencer partnerships, and on-brand strategies.
Beyond Follower Counts: Evaluate Overall Business Value
While follower count is an easy metric, remember that quality engagement and conversions matter more. Analyze how each new follower impacts:
- Content engagement (Likes, comments, saves, reach)
- Link clicks / website traffic
- Sales and email list signups
The best services will get you genuinely interested followers who actually value your brand. Combined with compelling content and user experience, this community can drive tangible business growth.