Are robots taking over Instagram?
With 500 million monthly active users and counting, Instagram is one of the most successful and enjoyed social media platforms available. It’s a delightfully aesthetic app, where you can post photos and videos yourself, and follow a range of different people and brands.
A recent update means that Instagram now features ‘stories’, which is a disappearing video concept very similar to Snapchat. The app has also just released a new feature whereby a user can upload multiple photos and videos in the one post, so their audience can simply scroll across to see more. They’re also slowly rolling out ‘shoppable posts’ where a business can ‘tag’ up to 5 products in a post, and a user can follow a few quick prompts to buy an item!
It’s an exciting time. Quite simply, we love it! (Don’t worry we still love you too Snapchat!)
However, with all the fun stuff that Instagram offers, there’s one thing that is bugging us lately when it comes to getting the most out of Instagram:
A comment bot is a computer program that takes over your Instagram with the promise of helping it grow, and finds accounts using the hashtags you define at the initial setup. The program can then be left alone to do a few things for you, such as liking or commenting on posts that feature a certain hashtag.
Sounds easy, no?
While it might sound like an easy way to build up your Instagram following, it’s actually a pretty poor marketing strategy. It’s not genuine and comes across as inauthentic, and little by little everyone is catching on that those comments aren’t being made by a person, but by a bot.
I’ve lost count of the amount of times one of us has cried out in frustration across the office “Insta-bots! Agh!”
You know the comments right? After you curate a gorgeous image, write the perfect caption to go with it, and send it out into the Instagram world with pride, to then be met with comments such as “Nice!” “Cool feed, follow me!” “Good job, keep it up!” or simply just an emoji.
It’s gotten to the point that even if I legitimately want to use an emoji on it’s own in a comment, I feel like I can’t for fear of being seen as a bot. And I really like emojis.
What’s the big deal?
Authenticity is the name of the game on social media, and comment bots are not helping. Not only is it frustrating for the account to have pointless comments on their posts, but it’s also not doing the best thing for the account using the computer program, as they begin to get viewed as fake.
Comment bot programs will tell you that your Instagram following will grow by X, or that you’ll see your engagement levels rise to Y by using their product. And maybe for a select few, who use the program very carefully, this could be true. But for the majority, I dare say they aren’t getting the reaction they want. They want followers on their accounts and engagement on their posts, but with everyone now hyper aware of these comment bots, who is falling for it? Wouldn’t you rather be seen as authentic, real, and honest?
What’s the alternative?
It’s pretty difficult to choose what generic comments you’d like a computer program to post on your behalf, simply at the mention of a hashtag. Hashtags are really just words, you can use them to highlight good and bad things, so it’s a pretty flawed concept to leave your image and reputation up to a robot.
I understand that it’s seen as a time saver, and I also understand that some people or brands don’t care about the quality of their followers, they just want their numbers to rise. Ultimately though, you won’t benefit from an audience that isn’t targeted to you or your brand.
It might take more resources to build your Instagram authentically, but spending the time to do it right will mean you can steer it in any direction you choose.
At Green Door Co, we suggest to post consistently, make sure your photos and overall feed make sense for your brand and image, and to be real when engaging and communicating with others. Being real means that you might spend some time each day following relevant and interesting accounts, and liking and commenting on their photos, with words tailored to the post. You’ll find that you start getting proper replies and interest on your own account in no time!
If you’d like to get some help with your Instagram strategy and start growing a following of engaged users, contact us today!