There have been so very many changes to Instagram over the last few months. First they re-branded and then rolled out a new look for the interface (I liked the latter but not the first), then they introduced Instagram Stories, and now they are rolling out Business Profiles.
I may well write more about these things in the future, but today’s post focuses on something entirely different: bots.
Robots, or bots, can do things on your behalf, that you would normally do yourself. They automate these tasks, allowing you to do more of them, at all times of the day.
Let me give you some examples of how people are using them to grow their Instagram following:
- Following and then unfollowing new people
- Commenting on posts
- Liking posts
For the record, the first is a practice that I despise. Lots of people out there are doing it, yes. The idea is, you follow someone, and then they follow you back. You then unfollow them. It makes your follower-to-followee ratio much bigger, and yes, it grows your following. However. It’s not transparent, and it’s not honest. It’s doing something for the sake of numbers only. I think you should follow people whose feed you enjoy. Period. The end. I don’t like the gamification.
The second one I am also not a fan of. I get comments all the time on my Instagram that I can tell are not real people. First of all, they’re really generic. They say things like “best one so far,” “diggin it,” etc. There’s never any punctuation for some reason. While I like getting comments on my Insta (it shows engagement), these kind of generic comments really don’t mean anything, because they’re not real. Read one blogger’s experiment with this kind of bot.
So, for the purposes of this experiment, I decided to go with the lowest form of automation I could stomach. I used a program called Archie (you can also check out Likestagram and Instagress) to automatically like posts that used specific keywords. I programmed it to like hashtags like #Vegan and #Aquafaba. The bot searches Instagram and likes posts with those keywords.
That was it. I signed up, wound ‘er up, and let ‘er go.
The idea is, if you like someone’s post, they may check out your account, and possibly like some of your posts, or even follow you if they like your stuff. I chose keywords that are ones I often use myself, so the people whose photos I’d be liking would have things in common with me and my feed.
I should say before we go any further that the use of bots on Instagram is against their terms of service (ie: illegal). So there’s that–you risk getting your account shut down by using them (if you get caught).
All right, let’s look at the numbers, shall we?
Number of followers May 22: 2000
Number of followers as of June 15: 2060
Number of followers as of July 15: 2095
Number of followers as of August 17: 2325
So, that first (almost) month, I got 60 new followers. The following month, 35. Then I turned on the bot between about July 15 and August 17 (Archie has a 3 day free trial, I tried that first, then I purchased a month of the service for $10). Number of new followers? 230.
That’s around a 500% improvement in my normal Instagram follower growth.
Should you use a bot to grow your Instagram? I guess it’s up to you. I’ve chosen to turn my off and go back to the old-fashioned way of liking and commenting on posts manually, and following people I like. I didn’t like using it, and it did like some really awkward photos a few times (I won’t get into it, let’s just say it’s a photo I would have never actually liked IRL). But it does work. It certainly did for me.