Do Instabots get you Real Engagement? The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of Instabots

July 11, 2018
Elizabeth Swain
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Type in “how to get more Instagram followers” into Google and you’ll undoubtedly stumble upon countless bot services promising to grow your following on Instagram for only a few dollars a month.  

In the bustling world of social media, more and more people are turning to automating software to free up their time on the small tasks in order to focus on other parts of their strategy. Isn’t it tempting? Save your time and boost your following with “real engaged users”. But you know the expression when something seems too good to be true…..

Here is the good, the bad and the ugly on instabots.

WHAT ARE INSTAGRAM BOTS AND HOW DO THEY WORK?
Instagram bots are designed to help grow your following by automatically liking, commenting and following other accounts for you. Installing the service is simple; users connect their account, choose specific hashtags they want to target and the bot will put your Instagram account to work by liking and commenting on photos 24/7.

THE GOOD
In this busy age where Instagram is just one facet of your marketing strategy. taking any measures to automate time consuming tasks can serve as a useful time saver. No more time spent scrolling through your feed finding relevant users to follow and interact with. Just set and forget, the bots will do the work for you.

Many of these Instagram bots claim that as you are targeting hashtags in your niche, this is going to attract a league of new followers from your target audience who will like and interact with your account.

…. This all sounds great, what could possibly go wrong?

THE BAG
Instagram bots sound good in theory; a massive increase in likes and followers… who doesn’t want that? But the truth is not all followers are created equal. Thousands of people liking your photos might be a good boost to your ego, but are these followers actually engaging with your content? Are they going to purchase your products? Recommend your service to their friends? and are they even interested in what your brand has to say?

Another undesirable factor of bots is that they don’t consider the context of the captions in each post. Bots only think about adding a comment based on a hashtag. This can lead to a series of awkward situations.

Instabots

Have you ever seen a comment like “wow,” “great job!” or “very nice!” on one of your Instagram post. Even if the comment isn’t out of context, most users can identify this is the work of a bot. This action looks spammy and can leave a sour taste in user’s mouth. Users want meaningful and genuine interactions, not a series of generic two words with a thumbs up emoji.

THE UGLY
Hypothetically, let’s consider that using an Instagram bot will produce thousands of new genuine followers. Perhaps the biggest red flag is that Instagram bots are against the terms of services of Instagram’s Guidelines.

  1. 22. Ensure your comments are uniquely tailored for each person. Don’t post unauthorized commercial communications or spam on Instagram.
  2. Add something unique to the community. Don’t use the Instagram Platform to replicate or attempt to replace the functionality or essential user experiences of Instagram.comor any of Instagram’s apps.

Instagram regularly culls fake and spammy accounts that violate the community guidelines. This will lead to fluctuation of your Instagram follower count.

Another important factor is that having a bot like, follow and comment excessively for you 24/7 will look disingenuous to Instagram and raise a red flag. This can temporarily block your account for misusing the feature or worst, disable your account entirely.

Last year we saw Instagram take action against bots like Instagress, one of the most popular services. Instagress said it was forced to shut down by “request of Instagram.” This itself should be a warning that these services are risky.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO INSTEAD
Do the work yourself.

Before you groan, hear me out. Yes, I know Instagram can be time-consuming but the reward will pay off more if your actions are genuine. Would you rather build up a loyal base of engaged followers, or thousands of followers who don’t interact with your brand? While a high follower count will float your ego, if they aren’t interacting with your brand the follower count becomes redundant.

Growing an Instagram page is hard, we get it. But it requires time and hard work. While there is a lot that technology can do to free up our time, we still need good old fashioned human interaction, great content and a killer strategy. It’s also what the social media giants Facebook and Instagram encourage us to strive for, so often to be successful, we need to play by the rules. Keep these things in mind and you’ll see the rewards Instagram has to offer.

Elizabeth Swain is a social media coordinator at Milkbar Digital. On the weekends you can find Liz at Melbourne’s newest brunch venue, obsessively scrolling through her Instagram feed or working on her lifestyle blog.

Milkbar Digital is a Melbourne social media and digital marketing agency here to help business small and large. If you need help with your social media, or don’t know where to begin, get in touch.

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