Are Instagram Bots Helpful for Your Business Account? Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Automating Instagram
Robots are taking over the world.
No, I’m not talking about the Transformers (although that would be cool).
I’m talking about AI tools that are slowly replacing most repetitive work.
For many social media marketers, using bots is an easy way of making headway on activity intensive platforms like Instagram. As one of the most popular social media platforms today, Instagram is a marketing goldmine. That’s why many brands opt to supercharge their engagement and sales by leveraging Instagram bots.
But are Instagram bots really helpful for your business account?
Especially with brands looking to make a buzz on social media, can an Instagram bot help achieve this?
Let’s look at what bots are, their pros and cons, and much more as we endeavor to answer these questions.
What are Instagram Bots?
The key to growing your audience on social media, particularly on Instagram, is engaging with as many people as possible. Not just anyone, but people who fit your buyer persona’s profile.
Doing so will help you boost your sales and reach other business goals.
Of course, looking for the right profiles and engaging with them is tedious and time-consuming, slowing down your Instagram marketing efforts.
For many marketers, this is where Instagram bots become so appealing.
Image Source: Mobile Monkey
An Instagram bot is a service that helps you automate your Instagram marketing by taking care of mundane activities. The main activities being finding and interacting with user profiles that are relevant to your business. These are interactions that can help you:
- Increase your reach
- Grow your follower base
- Encourage engagement
How do these bots work?
In most cases, these bots use keywords in bios or hashtags in posts to follow and engage with certain profiles. You can also set them to engage with people who follow certain profiles. And with AI becoming more advanced, Instagram bots are also getting better at what they do.
Pros and Cons of Using an Instagram Bot for Your Business Account?
To answer the question of whether Instagram bots can be useful for your business account, it’s best we first look at their pros and cons.
So, let’s get to it, shall we?
Pros of Using Them
As with all automation tools, Instagram bots have some major advantages they afford businesses. Some of these include:
Following back, finding relevant accounts and hashtags to follow and many other activities are time-consuming. Automation helps you do these efficiently.
To achieve your business and marketing goals faster on social media, you need to have a large following. Instagram bots can help you grow your audience faster than you would manually.
Cons of Using Them
While Instagram bots can be useful, you must understand that automating your Instagram activity using them has some serious disadvantages. Here are the most prominent ones:
Go Against Instagram’s Policy
One of the biggest disadvantages of Instagram bots is that the platform frowns on their use.
Image Source: Instagram
To mitigate the use of bots, Instagram is always on the lookout for brands that breach this policy and shut them down. Should Instagram suspect you of using bots to increase engagement, your account can be suspended. Worst case scenario, it could be banned for good.
As good as bots are, they’re not human. Sure, they may help drive up engagement rates, but the engagement isn’t relevant at the end of the day. This could cost you as much as 67% of your followers. Irrelevant engagement is often more evident in automated comments. For example, let’s say you’ve programmed your bot to comment “great!” on all words with a particular hashtag. Someone may post a tragic picture using that hashtag and your bot will (embarrassingly) leave the comment — “great!”
The major problem with bot-generated engagement is that it tends to mess up your feed as it will become full of random posts. In the end, the investment you make on a bot might end up costing you more in terms of reputation and relevant visibility.
Should You Use Bots To Automate Your Interactions on Instagram?
Having seen the pros and cons of Instagram bots, should you use them to automate your interactions?
The answer isn’t a clear-cut one as there are other considerations to make. And the jury is still hung on whether you should or not.
However, the majority of marketers advise avoiding Instagram bots as they put your account in jeopardy. It also verges on being fraudulent as you’re not really the one engaging with your audience.
To help you make up your mind, check out this experiment conducted by Hubspot. The aim was to determine which gets more engagement between automation (bot) and organic (human) activity. TLDR — organic posts got more engagement than automated ones.
How to use Instagram Bots for Your Business Account?
Still interested in using an Instagram bot to grow your social media account?
As said, Instagram frowns on automation tools. The main reason for that is that most people use them wrongly, resulting in a lot of spam-like activities. However, if you use your bot wisely, you can effectively automate your interactions without spamming users.
Here are a few tips to help you ethically use these bots and still get good results:
Limit the Activities You Automate
Instagram’s system monitors all interactions on your account for bot activity. To better detect bot activity, Instagram has put limits on the number of activities an account can engage in per hour. These limits are determined by several factors but in essence, your account will be limited to the number of activities you can carry out manually. The danger of automation is that you can easily surpass those limits. And that’s a red flag that immediately raises suspicion.
Ensure Your Interactions are Targeted
Targeting the right accounts and conversations is essential when automating your LinkedIn activities. Carefully target your Instagram bot to only interact with accounts, hashtags, e.t.c. relevant to your business. As you engage more with relevant (and real) accounts, your bot’s activity closely mimics human engagement and thus stays under the radar. It also ensures your followers get relevant content from you, thereby reducing the bounce rate on your posts.
While the biggest benefit of leveraging Instagram bots is the speed factor, you must discipline yourself and pace your bot’s activity and interactions. It must engage with other accounts at a rate that you normally would. While this may seem counterintuitive, it keeps your account safe from penalties. It also helps ensure you continue being active on Instagram without having to be really there.
Not Comfortable with Instagram Bots? Here are Your Top Alternatives?
Uncomfortable with using Instagram bots to grow your business?
The good news is you don’t have to use bots. There are other ways of succeeding on Instagram without having to use bots. Here are the top three:
Hire a VA or Social Media Manager
One of the best ways to achieve your business and marketing goals on Instagram is by hiring a social media manager or virtual assistant (VA). Sure, this means investing more money than you would with a bot, but the human touch is worth it. Make sure to do your due diligence to ensure you find one who knows the ins and outs of Instagram marketing.
Use a Scheduling Tool
If a social media manager is out of your budget, another alternative you can consider is using a scheduling tool. Granted, these only post content you’ve already created and don’t engage with your audience. However, blocking out time to create your content and schedule its posting, makes engaging with your audience much easier.
FAQs about Instagram Bot Usage
Before we wrap up this post, let’s quickly answer a few FAQs about Instagram bot usage for businesses.
- Is it illegal to use Instagram bots? Using an Instagram bot is not a criminal offense. However, because Instagram discourages the use of automation to engage with users, you can be penalized for it.
- Are they effective? It all depends on how you automate your activities. Done well, bots can drive relevant engagement and help you grow your audience.
- Which is the best Instagram bot? Several brands offer Instagram automation services. To find the best one for you, make sure to read third-party reviews.
Are Instagram bots helpful for your business account?
In a fast-moving world, any type of automation is an excellent way of helping you achieve your business goals.
But do Instagram bots fit in this category?
Instagram bots help you automate your activities on the platform, and therefore are helpful to growing your business. However, they are a double-edged sword as there can be some consequences to using them.
The bottom line is Instagram bots may be helpful, they’re probably not the best option for growing your audience. After all, nothing beats human touch and engagement.
Neal Taparia is the co-founder of Imagine Easy Solutions, a portfolio of online educational services that reached over 30 million students yearly. Neal sold the business to Chegg (NYSE: CHGG), where he stayed there as an executive for three years. He’s now pursuing a new initiative, Solitaired, which ties classical games with memory and attention training. You can tweet/follow him @tapneal
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