Instagram Bot Bites the Dust
Last week it was announced that the popular Instagram bot Instagress had been shuttered at the request of Instagram. Technically, for those of you that like the fine print, the squabble centred around the use of the term ” Insta … ” in the product name. In any case, the site shut down and for a time, their home page displayed only a link to request a refund! Many would be influencers suddenly felt the panic of having to re-group and pivot in order to continue to maintain high levels of engagement.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Instagress we’ll provide a short overview of the service. Instagress was just one of dozens of automation bots that people use to achieve high levels of engagement on social platforms like Instagram. The instagram bot is always working in the background, liking, commenting, following or unfollowing at a rate that most simply can’t maintain because … Life. Instagress offered an affordable option for many that was both easy to use and simple to understand. However, Instagram has often pledged to rid itself of instagram bots and fake accounts and they just took a massive step in that direction.
Bots in Social – A Contentious Issue
The subject of using bots on social media has long been discussed and met with mixed emotions from both sides. Love them or hate them, many believe they may be here to stay! Social overload is a very real thing and as problem solvers by nature, it’s only natural to seek a solution. With the rise of Chat Bots, AI and AR gaining ever more ground, it will be interesting to see how the major social platforms proceed in the coming months.
So what is an up and coming influencer to do? Where do you turn now for help managing your social profiles? We have some ideas.
1) Take it Old School
Recommit to taking the time every day to scroll through your feed and participate in conversations, like people’s pictures, and follow new accounts. When you like or comment on a post, that person gets a notification and will likely check out your page too. Be consistent and remember to think of this the same way that you would think about behaving at a cocktail party. You wouldn’t just lurk in a corner watching (unless you’re that guy), you’d join in the conversation and tell a few jokes and stories of your own. This is the same, do it here too.
If you’re using business tools on Instagram – you’ve connected your Facebook page to Instagram thereby allowing you to use Business Manager to create ads and sponsored posts – you can track analytics and get incredible valuable information about your audience including when they are on the platform the most. Use this information and jump on when you know you’ll have the best opportunity to engage and get your images infant of the most eyeballs.
2) Hash Tag for the Win
Use hashtags. Use them often and employ a strategy around them. Hashtags are a way to categorize posts so that interested parties can find them later. When you post a picture go into the comments and leave a comment with your hashtags – you can use up to 30 of them at a time. Repeat this process every couple of hours throughout the first day that the picture is live, don’t worry you can delete older hashtag comments if you don’t want people to see your strategy. Use popular hashtags mixed with localized and specific to your content tags.
Here’s an example:
#love #instagood #iphoneonly #instadaily #nofilter #followme #fun #picoftheday #photooftheday #tweegram #igers #me
#Vanisle #yyj #Canada #YVR #vancouver #vancity #BC #beautifulbc #YOURCITY #ubc #canada #explorecanada
#Marketing #Socialmedia #instagram #smallbiz #digitalmarketing #facebook #twitterforbiz
Now don’t stop there. Use hashtags in search to find other, similar accounts and say hi!
3) Captions That Draw the Viewer In
With Instagram, you have 2000 characters to work with in the caption so use it to your advantage! Tell a story, share the first few lines from a blog post, or explain whats going on in your image. Use emojis to jazz it up a bit and add visual interest. The larger caption option allows for more micro-style blogging and if you’re trying to build your Instagram audience this might be a great way for you to really draw in followers and share more of yourself or your brand in a personal voice that feels authentic to your viewers.
4) Reach Out & Tag Someone
You can tag up to 30 people in a post. When you tag another account they get a notification and the image goes into the folder on their feed which is labelled as pictures of them. That means that other people viewing their page can potentially see the image too. Most people, when tagged in a shot will at the very least give it a like, many will comment and if you’re using this tactic to attract influencers this is a great way to get their attention so that they might follow you back. I love this tactic, especially if I am trying to get people to comment on a post. I’ll tag 30 accounts and ask a question like “Whats on for dinner tonight?” or “Tag your favourite account” and usually most people will play along. One warning: If you tag the same accounts in every post they will eventually stop paying attention unless you are offering something of interest or value each and every time.
Bots will never replace people in social but they do present an interesting dilemma. A challenge that Instagram clearly intends to face head on for better or for worse. The simple fact of mainstream social overload for many was inevitable and it isn’t going away. A bot could help if used appropriately but at the end of the day social media is about people. We laugh together, cry together and experience glimpses into each others lives through our newsfeeds. With recent AI advancements, social platforms even want to bring emotion into that experience too.
As for me, I’ll take a real hug over a sideways winky face emoji any day – How about you ?
Thanks for reading!
*Image courtesy Rock Em, Sock Em Robots game, Mattel
Also published on Medium.