Welcome to my Social Sensei review! It’s based on my experience using both of the companies products in 2020. Their new strategy is called Instagram Influencer Marketing and I do recommend it with a caveat. By the end, you will know if it is for you, which option to buy, and how to maximize your money.
Social Sensei provides real, organic, and non-automated social media growth on platforms like Instagram and TikTok.
If you’re already familiar with Social Sensei then you must know they recently rebranded.
Had I written this review a few months ago, it would have been extraordinarily negative. Towards the end of my Social Sensei review, I’ve written about my initial experience with their ‘Social Media Strategies’ option which I recommend you avoid at all costs as it’s still listed as an option on the website.
However, this review is about Social Sensei’s new product “Influencer Marketing”.
I received an email a few weeks ago title “A special invitation to Social Sensei’s new product launch”. Based on my first experience with this company, I hovered my mouse towards the ‘mark as spam/delete’ option but didn’t click it. Instead, I clicked on the email and I’m glad I did.
This is going to be a detailed and truthful review of my experience with Social Sensei.
The email was short and seductive. I wanted more information.
Initially, I was hesitant. It seemed too good to be true, especially because of my initial experience with the company and a guaranteed minimum number of followers.
It’s like when an SEO company guarantees you the top three spots of a google search. All that does is identify which companies you want to avoid. Turns out, thankfully, it wasn’t further from the truth.
I saw the option between global or USA followers. I assumed global meant followers from India as the price was half the cost and offered 2x the followers.
With low expectations, I signed up for their Global Silver 5K option. It guaranteed a minimum of 2,500 followers. At a price tag of $299 per month, that was $0.12 per follower.
Recently, I hired a social media ad expert who was getting me followers for about $0.15 each.
I pulled the trigger.
I purchased on Thursday and on Saturday I woke up to hundreds of new followers. The next day, thousands. Each time I checked Instagram, I had hundreds of new followers. They seemed real. They also seemed to be from Brazil.
When it was all said and done I went from 6,500 followers to 14,100. That’s 7,600 followers!
Of course, after the promotion, some followers immediately unfollowed my account.
After 10-days, my follower count was 12,100. That’s about 74% retention, a bit below what Social Sensei advises on their website of 80%. However, I’m still thrilled with the net number of followers and cost of only $0.05 per follower.
I did it so that you do not have to. I wanted to see if my engagement would increase with a USA-based audience. It may have, but not to a degree that would justify the added cost.
I purchased the USA Silver 1k option for $349.
I gain a total of 998 followers in two days, but as you can see, I lost between 50-125 each day after the promotion. After only one week, I was at 603 new followers. But after a subsequent week, I am only at around 400 new followers gained. Just yesterday, almost two weeks after the promotion, I lost another 40 followers.
Upon inquiry with Social Sensei, they informed me that they only guarantee the minimum number of followers gained during the promotion. In their defense, it does say that on the website. But, on the final day of my promotion, I already lost 300 followers. So even though I technically gained the minimum, I also started losing a significant amount of followers right away.
I believe the reason is that the promotion was so short whereas my other Instagram promotion was for about a week. The followers probably forgot to unfollow after the promotion.
In the end, each new follower on this plan cost me almost a dollar.
Based on my first experience with the company, I was shocked and amazed.
Only two days after paying, I saw action on my account. More action than I’d ever seen prior.
I reached out to my account manager and asked if they could share details about my promotion and to my surprise they did without hesitation.
Below is how it worked for me. Based on their website information, it seems all campaigns would work similarly.
First, a Brazilian social media influencer with 800,000 followers posted about cash giveaway a few days later.
The description of that photo had the instructions to enter. They were to:
It’s insanely simple and effective.
Guaranteed Minimum Number Of Followers
The scariest part of this turned out to be the coolest. To me, you cannot guarantee followers. When Social Sensei says they do guarantee followers, I was skeptical. But, again, the offer was too good to decline.
My assumption was that they’d tested this and calculated an average then subtracted a certain percentage to ensure the vast majority of accounts reached the minimum.
It turns out, that’s exactly what they did. The Global Silver 5k plan guaranteed 2,500 to 5,000 followers. I assumed that they must be guaranteeing a smaller number as they’ve seen in their trial runs to account for the times the promotion didn’t work out pefectly. After all, humans are very predictable.
No Password Needed
In the past, you’d have to give out your password and coordinate a time to log in so you could pass on any security code. Then, you’d have to do it all over again when they got logged out. And again, when Instagram told you to reset your password. That was annoying and the fact that my password wasn’t needed was a huge bonus for me.
I clicked on numerous accounts and the vast majority (99%+) seemed to be totally legit and active accounts. Getting these new followers engaged after the promotion is the challenge. Check below for my Pro Tip on how to do this.
It couldn’t be simpler. Choose your plan. Pay. Send your username. I was finished in three minutes without any followup needed. In the past, Social Sensei had to coordinate an onboarding call which took about an hour and was, honestly, a waste of time.
Beat My Expectations
Admittedly my expectations were low going into this based on my prior experience with the company, but whatever expectations I had were blown away. There’s only one potentially major negative I will discuss in the next section.
Specify Your Audience
At the Enterprise level, you have more ability to specify your target audience, but you’re going to pay for it. The Enterprise plan starts at 20k followers per month.
Engagement Didn’t Increase Much
Before Social Sensei promotion:
On my Instagram account, I’ve created a new hashtag that manifests itself in one of my columns: #creatorcolumn.
The #creatorcolumn showcases any creation from a chef’s dish to an artist’s design to a writer’s blog post. Basically anything besides a selfie or typical tourist photo.
The #creatorcolumn gets significantly fewer likes than the others so I’m breaking it out.
One-week after Social Sensei promotion:
You can see there was no increase in engagement for photo likes. However, I did notice an uptick in likes within the first hour of posting, a slight increase of comments, and about a 15% increase in story views.
I reached out to the company for this Social Sensei review in hopes they would offer some advice in how to hook these new followers to engage with my page and here is their response:
The price tag will run you anywhere from $300 to $1,000 per month per plan.
However, a better way of breaking down the cost is by the follower. The per follower cost will range between $0.05 and $0.40 per follower.
Can’t Switch Between Global and USA Audiences
If you initially signed up for a Global audience and want to change that plan to USA, you cannot change your current order between the two audience choices. You must cancel the current plan and purchase a new one.
You don’t only want an increase in followers without an increase in engagement. We’ve all seem those accounts with tens of thousands of followers and only 30 likes per photo. This section aims to help you avoid this pitfall.
The interesting thing about Social Sensei Influencer Marketing strategy is the quality of followers based on your audience. USA audiences will retrieve ‘low quality followers’ while a Global audience will retrieve ‘medium quality followers’.
Social Sensei had this to say about follower quality:
“We can’t determine every follower that comes thru, but from months of testing with the campaigns, we ran we put the average of what kind of follower came through for each plan. We wanted our clients to know what to expect when running which campaigns.
Low Quality – A low quality follower is still an active follower based in the target audience you have selected, but their Instagram account may not have a lot of content and they may not be as engaged as a medium or high quality follower would. They might only follow you to join the contest rather than stick around and absorb your content. These types of followers aren’t necessarily bad. It depends on the plans you might have for your account. If you’re seeking sponsors, some sponsors declare you need a certain percentage of followers from a specific demographic. If this is the case, having low quality followers can still reach the criteria of many sponsors.
Medium Quality – A medium quality follower is the typical Instagram user that has a normal profile and engages normally on the platform. These followers have the potential to be swayed. If you’re creating content that aligns with them, the probability of them reciprocating with you increases.
High Quality – A high quality follower will match your target audience more intimately and is highly active and engaged. They love the content you are creating because they are already following celebrities and influencers that create similar content and/or sell products or services similar to yours. These types of followers typically come from a hyper focused campaign.”
For this reason, I choose the Global Silver 5K plan. I wish Social Sensei advised me better and earlier about the things I could do to my account to maximize my engagement, but here are the things that I did after the promotion started:
One thing that may have helped a lot with engagement is posting in the local language. However, because I don’t speak Portuguese (yet!), I opted to not do this.
If I could do it again, I might also change my cover photo to something very clearly Brazilian. Really anything that would catch the eye of these new followers initially upon following.
Something else that I will experiment with is making my profile private and accepting the new followers after the promotion ends.
I asked my account manager at Social Sensei if I could have my next promotion in a Spanish speaking country because I do speak Spanish and ab0ut half my content is in Spanish. Unfortunately, they did not have a Spanish influencer, but if they did, it would be possible for me to request this influencer which I thought was pretty cool.
I’m going to purchase the USA Silver 3K with lower quality English-speaking users to see how my engagement changes and report here the results.
Update: Social Sensei has recently added in USA – Low Quality, USA – High Quality, and European options. As discussed above, this reflects on the amount of engagement you can expect from the new followers.
Their website states all emails are responded to within 24 hours. I’ve tested both the website chat in the lower-right corner (pictured above) and their email, both received responses in under 12 hours, including the weekends.
At this point, I’m 100% satisfied with their customer service.
You can call them directly at +1.888.444.9144 between 10am and 5pm PST or California time. They’re not open for phone calls on Saturday or Sunday.
Their email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I mentioned above, I am thoroughly surprised I’m writing a positive review right now based on my initial experience with the company. Before I get into my initial experience and some controversy with the company, I’ll say that all negativity has been wiped away with their rebrand. If you haven’t already guessed, I’m giving Social Sensei two thumbs up for their rebrand and new service.
Back in 2016, I visited my friend in Los Angeles who told me about software they’re using to increase sales through Instagram. The name of the software was Follow Liker and it was an Instagram bot. I even recall it being free.
It worked amazingly well but, after about 2 years of that on my business account and increasing my follower count from around 500 to 18,000 it stopped working. Instagram started cracking down on these services.
This is what brought me to Social Sensei. After researching a bunch of companies that could help me grow my following and engagement, I choose Social Sensei.
They were a done-for-you service which was the ultimate selling point for me. I did not want a bot or anything I had to learn, and I wanted to pay extra for the experts. In light of this, I chose the Essentials plan at $750 per month.
I wanted to test them out on my personal Instagram account first.
It started off bad. I had paid for this service and after a few weeks, I realized nothing happened. I followed up with them and we did a consultation call. It was almost entirely useless as the person on the phone was just reading off the report they’d sent to me by email. I cut him off and said that if he needs anything from me, ask now. Otherwise, I don’t need to hear about the strategy. All I care about are the results. He assured me of success and I was satisfied.
Well, after a month I had not only not grown, but had fewer followers!
I inquired and got a totally nonsense answer to my valid questions of what am I getting for the $750 I’m paying. I held out hope and paid for a second month. That’s $1,500 invested. What happened after the second month besides me canceling my subscription? Fewer followers and less engagement than I started with.
I was disgusted. I then looked into the company a bit more and to my surprise, the Instagram experts did not have an Instagram account. After looking into it further I realized that there were many disgruntled prior customers and one had even had the Social Sensei Instagram account removed for promoting the very thing that Instagram was trying to stamp out.
This gave me reason enough to request a full refund of my second month.
I also found it odd they didn’t have a Facebook page. Though they link to both in their footer (they still do to this day). I did find a Google page for them with stellar reviews.
Nevertheless, my losses were cut and I was only curious how I got into this place at all. I believe their service did work in the past (before I got to them) until Instagram started cracking down on these services. From this time until they rebranded, all of their customers were probably pissed off.
Why did I just tell this story? Because if you were a prior unsatisfied Social Sensei customer, like me, you should give them another try. This new service they have is bulletproof.
From disgruntled customer asking for a full refund to my expectations being blown away by their new service, I’m recommending Social Sensei’s Influencer Marketing product for anyone trying to increase their follower count.
The beautiful thing about their idea of promotional giveaways is that they can actually guarantee a minimum number of followers. And, if you don’t get them, they’ll just add your account to a future promotion.
What’s your Instagram username? Tell me in the comments and I’ll follow you.