Anyone who has managed an Instagram account on behalf of a brand will know that it’s something that requires a lot of time and effort. In order to create and grow an engaged audience, it’s important to post new content on a regular basis, monitor your brand mentions and reply to comments. Keeping up with all these tasks is enough to fill up anyone’s day.
The problem that most of us face is that there’s just not enough time to dedicate to one account at a time. As a result, many marketers have turned to Instagram bots in attempt to make the best use of their time and take care of some of the most repetitive parts of the process.
Over the past few years, bots have become very controversial and caused quite a stir in the world of Instagram marketing. Problems with bots are likely to occur when brands take their automation services too far to the point where they cause more harm than good. We took a look at the ins and outs of various Instagram automation software to show you why they should be avoided at all costs.
What are Instagram bots and what do they do?
Instagram automation works by using specially designed “bots” to automate certain day-to-day tasks. The claim made by these service providers is that they’re able to boost your social media presence without you having to lift a finger. Bots are primarily used by marketers and bloggers to carry out actions such as:
- Liking posts
- Leaving comments
- Following and unfollowing accounts
By adjusting specific settings within these Instagram automation tools, it would be possible to have a bot leave a comment on any post that contains a certain hashtag. Bots could also be used to automatically follow users with certain interests who follow one of your competitors.
Bots behaving badly
Instagram bots have been used mainly by aspiring social influencers to boost their follower base, and after causing some very embarrassing moments, they have rightly gained a bad reputation. There have been several cases where bots have been responsible for commenting on inappropriate photos on behalf of brands.
Bots are also known for leaving comments that are completely irrelevant to the content. You’ve probably come across Instagram comments that are clearly the work of bots – think the generic “omg I love it!” comment on a picture of your broken iPhone.
With the past few years’ current affairs in mind, just imagine if a bot had been programmed to make the same comment on all photos tagged with #Paris. Since the entire account activity is managed by computers, the human element is lost and there is no way to process whether a comment posted is going to cause offence.
Even though there are currently hundreds of bot automation platforms in existence, Instagram does carry out the occasional clean sweep. The companies that make Instagram automation tools aren’t the only ones who stand to face action. It would also put your brand at risk of losing all credibility if you were found to be using one.
How bot activity can hurt your brand
Using Instagram automation tools exposes your brand to a whole range of issues. The main indicator that a brand is using automation to expand their following is when the rate of account activity looks very unnatural. Instagram automation tools allow for a specific number of comments, likes and follows each hour. When this is exceeded, Instagram are within their rights to cut off you off or even suspend the account.
The number of likes, comments and follows that you can make in a day will depend on several factors. Instagram will take into account aspects such as your account age and activity. If you want to keep your account active, then it’s best to avoid using Instagram bots for liking and commenting altogether.
Closing the door on Instagram automation
Instagram automation remains extremely popular, and there are many reasons why brands and influencers make the decision to use it. However, bots have demonstrated to us time and time again that putting in the work on your own accord is the best long-term strategy there is. This way, you can be sure that your brand voice is coming across in the right way and that the engagement you are receiving is genuine.
It seems like an easy choice to us. Bots may save you time and energy in the short-term, but you run the risk of having your account banned. The only guaranteed approach to successfully engage your followers is by using your own creativity to publish great content and taking the time to engage with your followers.