By Jeff Bullas
It’s getting harder and harder to grow a following on Instagram…
With over 1 billion monthly active users we get lost in the noise of hashtags, filters, emojis, and disappearing stories.
Once upon a time you could post a few photos, slap on a filter, season them with a sprinkle of your favorite hashtags, and your followers would grow…
Your influence too.
But much like social networks of the past, growing an Instagram account from zero-to-many in today’s ecosystem is an almost insurmountable task.
So, what can you do to capitalize on this powerful community of potential customers?
To figure that out, let’s talk about the pink elephant in the room… Instagram bots.
What is an Instagram bot?
An Instagram bot automates the liking, commenting, and following of other photos or accounts on Instagram. They allow you to choose certain parameters, such as the speed at which you want to follow accounts, which hashtags are relevant to your brand, and the geography of ideal followers, so that the bot can automate the whole process of engaging with others and growing your influence on Instagram.
Here is a video from Instazood that explains what a bot is in more detail:
They sound awesome, why is no one talking about them?
Here’s the thing: While Instagram bots sound like a HUGE time saver – which they are – they have a bad reputation. Using bots to aggressively automate interactions on Instagram is technically against the social network’s terms of service. By breaching the terms of service, you open yourself up to having your account banned or deleted – which is not what you want!
I say “technically” because if you use bots in the right way, your interactions will look natural and you’ll never get found out.
For me, I’ve always been an advocate of automation. Whether it’s scheduling content, interacting for growth, or the automation of some other time-consuming social media task, why not take advantage of the technology available?
For example, I openly used automation tools to grow my 560k+ Twitter following. Why? Because otherwise, you get stuck in busy work. Automation allows me to focus on the things that really count. Creating great content and engaging with our community.
What are the benefits of using an Instagram bot?
The benefits of using an Instagram bot are simple:
- You save a ton of time… literally hours and hours of work every week.
- You grow your Instagram following.
- You generate reputable social proof.
- You drive increased referral traffic to your website from your new followers.
All-in-all, you expand your influence and open up a world of opportunities.
Is it really that easy? Let’s find out…
How to use an Instagram bot without getting banned
The key to tapping into the benefits of using an Instagram bot is to construct a plan that follows Instagram’s terms of service and avoids having your account banned. Here’s how to do that…
The more targeted your bot activity, the less chance it is going to raise flags with the Instagram team. The best Instagram bots allow you to set super-targeted filters for your automated interactions.
For example, with bot service Instazood you can leverage a range of targeting options:
- Accounts – focused on the followers of a chosen account, for example, your competitors.
- Hashtags – targeting accounts that use certain hashtags in their posts.
- Location – only targeting accounts in a specific geography.
- Characteristics – further filtering accounts by gender, follower counts, language, and the number of posts.
Follow the rules
In order to avoid having your account banned, you need to follow Instagram’s rules. Now, there are the rules they publish in their terms of service, and there are the unwritten rules of using a bot to automate activity. The unwritten rules are what you need to familiarize yourself with…
Here are some things to consider when setting up your Instagram bot to grow your following:
- Speed matters. If you start following (and then unfollowing) thousands of accounts a day when you are brand new on Instagram, it’s going to set off alarm bells. Start slow and periodically increase the speed of the bot as your account grows.
- Relevance matters. Don’t follow anyone and everyone in an attempt to tap into rapid growth. Instead, use filters to target relevant accounts, hashtags, and geographies so you grow a consistent following that is actually relevant to your goals.
- Activity matters. Use the automation filters of your Instagram bot to only follow accounts that are regularly active, have a minimum number of posts on their page, and are following a certain number of accounts.
- Presence matters. Aim to make your presence on Instagram be known. If all of your activity is automated by a third-party tool, it can be seen as a red flag that could get your account banned. As well as using an Instagram bot, log into your account, respond to comments, like posts, share content, post stories, and interact with your audience.
- Content matters. Automating interactions is great as a background activity for follower growth, but it won’t work as well if you don’t publish consistent content on your page. Make sure you share high-quality content on a regular cadence.
The thought of using an Instagram bot can be scary…
After all, you’ve probably heard a handful of horror stories about people having their accounts banned or closed down.
However, let me ease your nerves for a moment with a revelation… EVERYONE is doing it.
People may tell you that they’ve grown their following organically, but in the end, there are very few sizeable Instagram followings that haven’t benefited from the helpful hand of an automated bot.
It’s the worst kept secret on Instagram, and now you know it.
Just make sure you take it slowly and follow Instagram’s rules as best you can. Don’t get greedy!