We get a lot of questions about why an Instagram bot can make or break your account. A few years ago, there were companies like MVMT Watches that used an Instagram bot to massively grow their sales across Instagram. They would follow anyone who used the hashtag #watches. That was a few years ago.
Using an Instagram Bot in 2018
Now, Instagram bots are far less sophisticated. The amount of “bad” Instagram bots found is actually alarming. Instagress and Massplanner were both shut down earlier in the year. These were the most popular Instagram bot services around. Calder Wilson wrote a fantastic article in 2016 about what he had learned by botting his Instagram.
Since we’re approaching the new year, we felt it was the right time to approach the topic again.
What you will find in this post
We’re going to give you the lowdown on why an Instagram bot is bad for your account. We’ll also cover how using one affects your engagement, and what alternatives there are that are actually safe to use for your Instagram.
What you won’t find in this post
Followergrowth is all about helping others grow their organic engagement. We want to help you and our readers build up a loyal follower base on Instagram. We’re not about Instagram bots, we don’t condone them, and quite frankly – we hate the idea of using one. So while this article may seem a little biased, I’m not looking to provide links to them or recommend you an Instagram bot. If you’re looking for alternatives, check out this list of legitimate tools that will help you grow your Instagram. Otherwise, you can always learn more about how you can get more followers on Instagram.
Instagram bots are against the terms of service of Instagram
This is a big red flag that you should always consider. As using an Instagram bot is against the terms of service, Instagram will punish you or anyone else heavily automating their account. Punishment comes in different forms, which include permanent suspensions or shadowbans.
Using an Instagram bot can get you shadowbanned
Yep, that’s right – using an Instagram bot today can almost guarantee you a shadow ban. Older services like Instagress or Massplanner required the user to be smart and not perform too much automation. If you were a newbie to bots, you’d most likely start auto commenting, auto liking, and auto-following people en masse. As we approach 2018, using an Instagram bot in that way will get you banned.
Unfortunately, automation services really don’t tell you this.
There are one or two Instagram bots that are still around that only like photos. We class these tools as “light” versions of automation – and they’re actually okay. These Instagram bots can get you likes, followers. They’re not too aggressive with all the actions they commit to your account on Instagram.
What does it mean to be shadowbanned on Instagram?
Simply put, an Instagram shadowban is when you post content on Instagram that isn’t discoverable by anyone except your followers. Usually, you end up shadowbanned by Instagram if they detect that your account is being automated.
Of course, this puts you in a bad spot. Instagram bots are automated by nature. The problem is that Instagram does not discriminate between users when you’re fully automating your account. Auto-follows and auto-unfollows flag your account and then shadowbanned.
What does the “shadow” part mean? You may have guessed already, but a shadowban also means that you will never know that you’re banned by Instagram. The only fool-proof way of finding out whether you have a shadowban is by trying to find one of your recent posts using a different account (other than your own) which doesn’t follow or have any relationship with your existing Instagram profile.
Using an Instagram bot can also result in a permanent suspension
Instagram has also permanently suspended accounts that violate their terms of service. By using an Instagram bot, you’re also liable to a permanent ban on the platform. If you own multiple Instagram profiles, all of them may end up suspended. Even if you didn’t automate actions on those accounts.
Alternatives to using an Instagram Bot
There are loads of different things you can do to grow your Instagram. Not all of your options are efficient for your time, but you should understand that there’s always a tradeoff.
Wondering what tradeoff we’re talking about?
Exchanging time for growing your account.
Option #1 to Replacing Your Instagram Bot: Do the work manually
The first method we propose to replacing your Instagram bot is leaving comments organically on posts. These comments have to be related to your audience in some way or form. Heck, you could even target your actual audience on Instagram based on the hashtags used. For example, if you’re a model, you can go and like, comment, and follow other models.
While this takes time, it’s definitely worth engaging with other profiles. Engagement is what makes Instagram’s world go round, as it’s a social platform and you should treat it as one!
Alternative #2: Replace your Instagram Bot with a Human
This is where it gets interesting! Services exist where you can hire your own virtual assistant, or account manager – that grows your Instagram for you. We’ve come across a few and tried them out (check out our top Instagram tools of 2018 to learn more). The best human replacement we’ve found is Upleap – where you can hire an “account manager” that acts as your “Instagram guru” (their words, not ours haha!).
We’ve tried them for a few months and it turns out Upleap is great and affordable. Basically, they like Instagram posts all day long and they also double up as an engagement pod, meaning all your Instagram posts get a lot of attention. If followers are your end-goal for Instagram, I’d stick my neck out and say Upleap is your best bet.
Interested in learning about more alternatives? Take a look at how to grow your Instagram effectively.