A few months ago we wrote a post on the 5 ways you could be doing a disservice to your social media and brand. One of the first points we discussed in this blog was the detrimental effects of using follow / unfollow bots. As this particular topic is something we’re very passionate about discouraging, we thought it deserved an entire blog post on its own. Let’s refresh your memory as to what these pesky little bots are, what they do, and how your Instagram account could be at severe risk if you’re considering using them.
What are follow / unfollow bots?
People will pay companies who employ automated bots to follow accounts within a specific niche, only to unfollow these accounts a few hours or days later. These bots can sometimes even be programmed to leave comments on your posts which are completely irrelevant to the content you’re posting. It’s an epidemic which has become a nuisance, and while Instagram users are becoming increasingly savvy to these devious tactics, it is incredibly frustrating nonetheless. Some brands will go to any means, just to get followers, FAST! Back in the day, when someone would follow you, your likely reaction would be to follow back right away, which is why this bot tactic initially worked in gaining followers.
This mentality is changing.
As a result of these bots, and wiser Instagram users, you would know that you no longer have to follow an account back if they will not be offering you any value of any kind. This is why these bots are no longer working, and they are becoming a money-pit for those who fall for the ploy.
Here’s why you shouldn’t be using them!
1. Using these bots are a direct violation of Instagram’s Terms and Conditions and Community Guidelines:
It’s pretty clear in their terms of service –
“You must not create accounts with the Service through unauthorized means, including but not limited to, by using an automated device, script, bot, spider, crawler or scraper.”
And in their community guidelines
“Help us stay spam-free by not artificially collecting likes, followers, or shares, posting repetitive comments or content, or repeatedly contacting people for commercial purposes without their consent.”
Want to know what happens if you break these rules? You feel the wrath of Instagram – that’s what! Your account may suffer from deleted content, be completely disabled, suffer from other restricted use or even a permanent ban. Is it worth losing your entire brand’s account as a result of these inauthentic tactics? We don’t think so!
2. Your credibility will go down the drain:
And as massive advocates for organic growth and building trust around your brand on Instagram – this is one of the biggest risks we really want to stress.
Instagram users are more interested in building authentic relationships with genuine people and their brands. Using follow and follow methods is manipulative and people will soon catch on to your methods. The result? No trust. No relationship. No way would they consider purchasing from you!
3. It doesn’t even work anymore!
As we mentioned earlier, investing in these bots is an absolute money pit because you’re not genuinely engaging with your audience.
According to hypeauditor.com, “according to internal research, accounts who practice follow/unfollow have in average 23.77% of followers who don’t see their posts. Just for comparison: accounts who don’t use mass following have only 12.25% of ghost followers.”
A disengaged audience isn’t going to buy from you or use our services because they won’t even get the chance to see what you’re posting. Or, they simply won’t care because they haven’t developed that relationship with your brand.
The key thing to remember when considering investing in either a social media manager or these bots is quality over quantity is paramount, with a focus on organic growth. Sure it takes longer, but it ensures that quality engagement and following is built from scratch. It gives you growth to be proud of, not growth which has been bought via manipulation. Give your brand the best chance at building an authentic online presence and do the right thing. If you can’t do it on your own, outsource your SMM to a REAL person – not a fake robot.
Need some more information? Get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!