Why You Shouldn’t Use Instagram Automation

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.


Instagram’s terms of use

Aside from having the potential to make some huge blunders on behalf of your brand, one of the biggest problems with bots is that they violate Instagram’s terms of use. If you have employed software to generate likes and comments on your behalf, then you run the risk of Instagram closing down your account.

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.

21st Century Hieroglyphics: Emojis

Emoji has stormed the world. Over the past few years, the smiling yellow faces have escaped the confines of our inboxes to appear on social media feeds, advertisements and even some pieces of clothing (don’t worry, we’re not here to judge anybody’s fashion choices!). Emojis have changed the way that we interact with each other on a daily basis, and some scholars have even suggested that they represent a new form of language that’s akin to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Could this be the case?

It’s easy to see why emojis have come to be seen as the fastest-growing present day language. According to a survey by Talk Talk mobile, 72% of 18-25 year olds reported that they find it easier to express feelings in emoji pictures as opposed to the written word. Emojis are used by over 90% of the world’s population, making them truly universal. As more than just a millennial passing fad, they provide a visual system of communication that transcends both language and culture.


Origins of the emoji

The emoji first came about in 1999 – the heyday of the video tape and the iconic Nokia 3310. Sending pictorial messages had become especially popular in Japan, which is what led the artist Shigetaka Kurita to find a way of sending them that would require less data. He designed 176 separate icons and assigned each one to a unique combination of symbols.

Little did Kurita know that he was laying the foundation for what would become the world’s fastest-growing form of communication. Since then, the Unicode Consortium have adopted and expanded the emoji keyboard to include 2666 uniquely designed icons. With the attention of western players Apple and Google, Kurita’s “picture-letters” turned into a global phenomenon and became what they are today.


Talk like an Egyptian

Professor Vyv Evans, a language specialist at Bangor University, claims that emojis have now far surpassed ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics in terms of what they are able to convey. Despite existing millenniums apart, he points out that both are visual language systems that use symbols to represent specific words and phrases.

Just take a visit to any museum of ancient history, and you may be able to spot some uncanny resemblances between the pictograms of today and those of bygone civilisations. As the world becomes increasingly digitalized, it seems that much of our communication is taking a more visual turn. But does the rise of emojis really mean that our language has taken a step backwards?


The end of the written word?

The idea that ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics were a precursor to the modern day emoji has understandably proved to be quite controversial. Seema Moody of CNBC equated the rise of the emoji with the death of written language. Guardian journalist Jonathan Jones explored the idea further, concluding that our preoccupation with emojis does indeed signify “a huge step backwards for humanity”.

Emojis and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics are both what Jones calls “static languages”. In other words, there are limits to what can be said with them. Emojis are no good for advancing ideas, poetry and argument to their highest levels. Compared with hieroglyphics, the Greek alphabet proved to be a lot more adaptable, allowing for more articulate communication.


Deciphering hieroglyphics

But hieroglyphics was by no means a primitive language or restrictive in what it allowed the ancient Egyptians to achieve. In fact, during the 3500 years that hieroglyphics was in use, it enabled the ancient Egyptians to compose a huge variety of texts. This included everything from medical and legal documents to poetry, history, religious texts and even graffiti.

Hieroglyphics was actually a structured and grammatical language that was capable of communicating far more than emojis are. Try composing an email, a CV or even a newspaper headline with emojis alone, and it soon becomes very clear that emojis are not a new language — or anything like hieroglyphics.

While emojis can add a fun and creative flair to how we message one another, it seems fairly unlikely they could take over from the written word as our main language of messaging anytime soon.