What Are Instagram Bots And How Can They Affect Your Account?
In some not-so-recent news, bots have taken over Instagram! But what actually are they? What purpose do they serve, and should you be using them, too? This article talks about how they work and what their effects are.
Your in-depth guide to understanding what Instagram bots are and whether you should be using them.
Bots are everywhere these days. You open a website and ding! A chat bot pops up ready to help you with any information you need.
But bots are not always good. Sometimes they are spammy. Like the ones you see on Instagram. You must have come across them, right? “DM me to make $5000 in stocks immediately.”
There is no escape from these bots. Recently, I posted a poem on my account, and the bots found me within seconds!
So, what is their purpose and how exactly do they work? Let’s find out!
What Are Instagram Bots?
Instagram bots automate your interactions on Instagram. They can like posts, post comments, follow and unfollow people, and even send direct messages on your behalf.
In short, with Instagram bots at your service, you no longer need to manually interact with other profiles on the app. You simply have to define your target audience, and the bot will try to increase your engagement in a manner that is as close to natural as possible. Like a loyal pet. Say bye-bye to spending hours each day networking.
If you’re thinking, “that sounds too good to be true,” that’s because it actually is! Sure, I can understand the allure. An AI-powered tool that would basically act as your social media manager, all for a small fee? Sounds tempting.
But Instagram bots cause more harm than good. Read on to find out why.
Why You Should NOT Be Using Instagram Bots
Instagram bots are not exactly a great way to gain organic engagement. Remember the engagement pods? That.. didn’t exactly work out as planned.
Bots are the same way, except they are way more of a bad news than engagement pods. In fact, they may pose a serious threat to your account.
#1 Bots don’t actually get you any organic/ real engagement
Bots are actually quite easy to identify. After all, they cannot replace actual human interaction. The comments they leave on profiles are often over-the-top, generic, spammy, or completely irrelevant to the post.
Sometimes, the comments are even insensitive because the bots are not capable of making decisions on their own. They simply find the targeted hashtag and post a comment.
People tend to get put off by these and will either write these comments off or even outright block you, which is.. the exact opposite of what you want. So you end up paying money and put your account at risk- all with nothing to show for it.
Let’s say some people do fall for this tactic and follow you. Soon they will realize that it isn’t a real person communicating with them. And off they will go, taking their follow back with them, meaning that your engagement will be affected negatively in the long run.
Building a loyal customer base is crucial for any brand, and you simply cannot do that by letting bots engage on your behalf.
Yep. That’s right. Instagram doesn’t take too kindly to bots that are designed to mimic human interaction. This is because most of these bots access Instagram’s API without its permission. Furthermore, they degrade the authentic user experience, which Instagram does NOT like.
In fact, a couple of years ago, Instagram cracked down on such bots, resulting in the shutdown of many such services, and it continues to do so at every opportunity.
#3 Instagram has hourly/ daily engagement limits
On a particularly boring day, I went on a liking rampage and gave an Instagram heart to many, many photos. An hour later, I got a notification from Instagram saying that I had reached my limit for the day and that I should wait till the next day to like more photos.
So, why does Instagram have a limit, and what is it? The limit is not set in stone. But it exists to identify and prevent bots. The reasoning behind this is that no person can possibly like that many posts in an hour. Except me, of course.
#4 Instagram can shadowban you
An Instagram shadowban is when the app silently hides or restricts your content without informing you about the same. When this happens, your posts won’t show up in the hashtags and your followers won’t be able to see them on their newsfeeds as well.
Instagram claims that shadowbanning isn’t real, but a lot of people have experienced something similar to this, so we must assume that some sort of restriction does take place.
When Instagram detects unusual activity on your profile – such as bots – it shadowbans you, thus limiting the reach you already do have. Many people claim that engagement rates tend to fall even further even after the ban is lifted, so be wary.
#5 Your feed becomes chaotic
Despite feeding proper instructions, bots often tend to follow random profiles that don’t really engage with you. These are known as “ghost followers.”
With a host of ghost followers who don’t even give you engagement, your feed tends to become messy. You can bid goodbye to any semblance of a targeted audience. A loyal customer base? Forget about it!
So, what can you do instead?
The first alternative is to do the work yourself. Yes, it may be exhausting, but the rewards will be worth it! You will end up building actual relationships and trust with people, thereby increasing your engagement, conversion rate, and ROI.
In order to prevent yourself from getting sucked into the social media black hole, follow these simple, but effective, steps:
- Set aside a strict time for social media interactions and follow it to a T. Networking is important, but it’s more about consistency than about the number of hours you spend on it.
- Create a content calendar to streamline the whole process.
- Schedule your posts in advance to save time.
- Collaborate with influencers and invest in Instagram ads to expand your reach organically.
- Get creative to go viral on social media.
If you are simply unable to spend a couple of hours every week on this, hire a social media manager. After they get to know your brand better, you can hand over the social media reins to them and they will take care of it for you by being your voice.
Since managing social media platforms is literally their job, they will be able to dedicate a few good hours everyday and create authentic interactions by coming up with unique comments tailored to each post. They may even have a few tricks and tips up their sleeve to increase your ROI..
With a social media manager, you can achieve what the bots couldn’t – and all without risking your account. Don’t fall prey to things that seem too good to be true, because more often than not, they likely are. Remember, there is no such thing as an Instagram bot that will be undetectable by Instagram.
Taking the easy way may be tempting. But, unfortunately, there is no shortcut to gaining a loyal following, folks! You have to put in the work yourself. As always, don’t forget to share this article before you go.
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