Have you ever been asked by a small business owner to follow their Facebook page and then they will follow you back, therefore giving everyone hundreds of likes?

It is the adult version of those chain emails you had to send around at school in case you gave yourself bad luck!

They are, I’m afraid, utterly pointless. Why do you want a random bunch of strangers following you anyway? They won’t become customers, so there is literally no point in them being part of your audience. Hundreds of people follow and unfollow our social channels everyday. It just happens that the ratio of follows to unfollows is positive for popular creators. People are constantly deciding what gets their attention and what they want to ignore, which means that our following is a refined audience that are actively engaged.

We did, however, actually ‘go viral’ last month. We used the Reels feature to make a video on Instagram. Instagram will always favour you making videos in the app (and no re-sampling old footage), and is currently promoting these videos to compete with TikTok, so when our video had over 6 million views, that had a ripple effect.

We found we gained about 6,000 followers in a week, and the customer whose shirt was featured in the video sold out and instantly asked for a reprint. The surge then dropped off suddenly as the newest video was given the spotlight, and so we are back to our usual growth rate.

Here are a couple of things to think about when trying to have an impact. Create content someone would want to save. Saved content performs really well as the platforms see it has value for the audience. We do this by giving information or sharing something we have learned.

Try to create and edit unique videos inside the app you are using. That will also mean trying to integrate the music and sounds the platforms are promoting at the time.

And never ask for follows or likes…. it’s a bit sad. Asking people to subscribe to YouTube, however, is slightly different and socially accepted because followers get notifications of new content.

Chessie Rosier-Parker is director and studio manager of Squeegee & Ink, a screen printing and embroidery studio that also provides pre-exposed screens and film to printers along with tutorial videos and resources.