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Instagram Bots – What They Are and Why You SHOULDN’T use them

Posted by Nichole Howson | August 25, 2018 | Blog
Instagram, Instagram bots, social media marketing, aimsocial, AIM Social Media Marketing

There’s a “not so new” trend that has become far more common these days that I want to talk about this week… Instagram Bots.

What Are Instagram Bots and How Do They Work?

Instagram bots are services that allow a company to acquire followers onto their Instagram profile. There is any number of ways for a company to use social media to gain likes, views, and followers. One of these avenues is Instagram bots.

These bots will follow other accounts, like posts and leave comments on targeted lists of Instagram accounts to help increase reach, followers, and engagement on a companies account.

If there is one pet-peeve about Instagram – it’s the bots. And it really isn’t Instagram’s fault. Understand… I get it. Managing your Instagram account is only one task on your already overloaded to-do list.

Let’s talk about the reasons why you should NOT use an Instagram bot.

  1. Awkward Situations and Insensitive Comments.

Bots are…. Exactly that. Bots. So, they can’t consider the context or the captions in the photo. They only think about adding a comment based on a hashtag. This, of course, opens a whole box full of issues. Some worse than others…

A while back I posted a screenshot on Instagram. A few minutes later, up came a comment that said something online the lines of “I love this photo – maybe it’s the angle you took the photo.”

How do you even respond to that? I just laughed and wrote off the account. Clearly, it wasn’t a real person.

  1. There’s no real engagement.

Instagram bots cannot replace human interaction. Most people can see clear as day that the comments aren’t from a real person – so it’s not surprising that the engagement to those comments is low.

  1. Your Instagram feed will be a mess.

When you follow thousands on accounts – you will have an incredibly random feed. As you add more random followers to your network, expect posts from relevant people to get buried. If you don’t care about the feed, then this might not be a big deal but if you like using Instagram and connecting with your network, then there will be real consequences.

  1. They violate Instagram’s Terms of Use!

I feel like this should be the #1 reason for NOT using Instagram bots… Here’s what you need to know.

If an Instagram bot accesses Instagram’s API without the platform’s permission. This violates Instagram’s Terms of Use, specifically:

  • You must not access Instagram’s private API by means other than those permitted by Instagram.
  • Don’t store or cache Instagram login credentials.
  • Don’t use the Instagram API to display User Content, import or backup content, or manage Instagram relationships, without our prior permission.
  • Ensure your comments are tailored for each person. Don’t post unauthorized commercial communication or spam on Instagram.
  • Don’t enable a business to take more than one action on Instagram at a time.
  • Don’t use an unreasonable amount of bandwidth or impact the stability of Instagram.com servers or the behavior of other apps using the Instagram APIs.

Anyone who uses a bot that violates Instagram’s API can get banned. Don’t be banned. Be smart.

  1. Instagram has daily and hourly limits.

These limits aren’t set in stone – but rather are limited based on your age, the number of followers and activity. A typical user shouldn’t have more than 150 likes, 60 comments and 60 follows/unfollows every hour.

This makes perfect sense considering that no one is capable of liking, commenting or following so many posts in such a short amount of time.

  1. Shadow banning.

Instagram recognizes when your activity is unnatural. The consequence is shadow banning (if not being shut down). Shadowban means that your content will be invisible to non-followers. That means that no matter what hashtags you use in your post, your images won’t appear in the feeds of others.

You can still create posts and engage with current followers, but you will no longer be able to engage and attract new followers.

There are several alternatives to using Instagram bots.

  1. Hire a Virtual Assistant or Social Media Manager.

Sure – this will be a bit more expensive than a bot. But Virtual Assistants (VA’s) will leave authentic comments, engage with followers and help your brand connect with REAL people.

They’re also less likely to leave awkward or inappropriate comments so you don’t have to worry about ruining your reputation.

  1. Do it yourself.

If you don’t have the budget to hire a VA, then devote 20 minutes or more to engage with your followers. By doing this consistently, you will see the best results. If you want people to advocate for your brand, then you need to connect with them. You must build relationships with your followers – and you can’t do this with a generic comment or a simple emoji. It might be time-consuming, but in the long-term, you will find your brand is better off.

  1. Instagram Ads

Just like running Facebook ads – you can run Instagram ads to get people in your niche to discover your profile and services. It’s not as pricey and you can reach new people without taking the time to engage with them.

  1. Focus on quality – not quantity.

Instagram bots are great because they increase your followers – but the following you’re growing isn’t authentic. You’re simply attracting other bots and trolls! Would you rather have 500 followers who LOVE your brand and are continuously purchasing from you OR 500 trolls and bots who never really engage with you?

I’m pretty sure I know what your pick will be.

DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS? WANT MORE INFO?

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