Instagram Bots: Why They’re a Bad Idea

Instagram Bots: Why They’re a Bad Idea
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Heidi Lang

Last Updated: Oct 20, 2021

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

The hype is true: Instagram bots are the fastest way to acquire hundreds or thousands of new followers on Instagram. But they’re also the fastest way to get your account banned on the platform. 

Instagram Bots: Why They’re a Bad Idea

Nonetheless, tons of Instagram users still use them to boost their follower numbers. There are other ways to grow one’s following and engagement on Instagram — legitimate, effective, and sustainable strategies that deliver organic, interested, and highly engaged followers. These days, however, just reaching the right people in the highly competitive space is difficult enough; converting them into followers and encouraging them to engage with your content present completely different difficulty levels that your brand must also tackle. 

So what’s a struggling and relatively unknown brand supposed to do to get noticed and achieve consistent growth? Even for many semi-established brands that also experience the challenges of growing and managing their accounts, choosing the quick and easy solution is tremendously tempting.   

Are Instagram bots worth a try? What are the pros and cons of using these automation tools? Keep reading to learn more and so you can make a well-informed decision for your brand. 

What are Instagram bots?

Instagram bots are automation tools that take over basic social media activities, such as following accounts and liking and commenting on posts; some bots can also send generic DMs. As these are necessary but tedious tasks, automating them with the help of bots can save users a lot of time. 

Instagram Bots: Why They’re a Bad Idea

You should be able to plug in the parameters to give the bots “specific instructions, such as what types of accounts to seek out and follow and what specific hashtags to track. The most popular bots are Instagram auto follow and auto like bots. The majority of IG users that utilize bots do so for the purpose of boosting their number of followers.  

Using bots for automatic follows, likes, and comments is widely considered an unacceptable practice on Instagram, as well as other social media platforms; at the end of the day, any alleged gains they may deliver are simply not worth the consequence an account will most likely suffer. 

Should you use Instagram bots to grow your Instagram?

It’s a bad idea to use bots to grow your Instagram account. Let’s break down the many drawbacks of automating your Instagram activities. 

Fabricated Follower Boost

Simply put, the increase in your number of followers is faked. This might sit well with you if you believe the boosted numbers will impress potential followers and make them hit your follow button. But you’ll be making the huge mistake of underestimating the shrewd judgment of most Instagram users. They’re well aware that follower numbers can be fabricated; they know how to verify if your followers are real. And if you’re caught, you will lose these potential followers, as well as your existing ones and your credibility.

Your Engagement Rates Will Suffer 

Your engagement rate measures the level of interaction your content generates from your followers, and is calculated as total engagement (total number of likes, comments, and shares) divided by your total number of followers, and then multiplied by 100. 

Because your additional followers are not real users, they don’t deliver any type of engagement with any of your content. The increase in your total followers without a corresponding increase in total engagement will, therefore, lower your engagement rate. 

Instagram Bots: Why They’re a Bad Idea

Your Instagram Feed Will Be Chaotic

If checking your feed regularly to stay up-to-date with relevant people and accounts you follow is a big deal, then following a throng of random accounts using bots (to receive reciprocal follows) will create utter chaos in your news feed as random posts from these random people will take up most of the space. What’s much worse is that posts by accounts that you’re genuinely interested in will be buried.  

Automated Comments Might Be Inappropriate

Bots leave comments on posts based on their target hashtags. As the comments are auto-generated and even if they are generic, there will be plenty of times when they will be completely unrelated to the post. If the original poster or any of their followers catch the automated comment, your account can be flagged for spamming.  

What is Instagram’s position regarding the use of bots?

If there’s only one reason that should convince you not to use bots for your Instagram growth, it’s Instagram’s Terms of Use, which clearly prohibits the use of any type of automation tool that accesses “Instagram’s private API by means other than those permitted by Instagram.” 

Bots violate Instagram’s API Terms when they:

  • Store or cache Instagram login credentials.
  • Use the Instagram API to simply display User Content, import or backup content, or manage Instagram relationships, without our prior permission.
  • Post unauthorized commercial communication or spam on Instagram.
  • Enable a business to take more than one action on Instagram at a time.
  • Use the Instagram APIs to replicate or attempt to replace the functionality or essential user experiences of Instagram.com or any of Instagram’s apps.
Instagram Bots: Why They’re a Bad Idea

To catch bot-like activities, Instagram’s algorithms keep track of every account’s activity levels. The platform has set daily and hourly limits for follows, unfollows, likes, and comments — although these limits have not been specified by Instagram. But if, for example, your account receives and/or makes 100 follows, or posts 60 comments in an hour and every hour because you’re using bots, Instagram will recognize these as bot-generated activities. 

So what will happen when you are caught violating Instagram’s Terms of Use? In most instances, Instagram will send a notification that may say, “Error: You can’t follow any more people” or a “Try again later” message. 

You will also run the risk of getting shadowbanned. This means that your content will not appear on other people’s feed, hashtag pages, or Explore unless they’re already following you; this will result in a significant drop in engagement as you won’t be able to reach potential new followers. 

Instagram does not inform a user when their account is shadowbanned and for how long. The length of a shadowban varies, depending on the seriousness of the violation; an account can be shadowbanned for only a few days, one or two weeks, or even months. During your punishment period, you can still engage with your existing followers, but your growth rate will stall.  

Violate Instagram’s policies often enough and your account can be permanently deleted. 

Are there other third-party apps that are safer and more reliable?  

Fortunately, there are Instagram growth services that are legitimate and deliver authentic followers. If you’re willing to spend money to boost your growth, your best option is a reputable growth service such as Path Social. 

Instagram Bots: Why They’re a Bad Idea

Path Social stands out among other reliable growth services with its proprietary outreach AI targeting and its partnership with thousands of popular Instagram influencers, profiles, and pages that help organically promote your content through shoutouts. The targeting strategy, which is based on your specified parameters, ensures that your content will reach the right people — people who will most likely be interested in what you have to offer, give you a follow, and regularly engage with your content. 

There are no bots involved and no fake accounts used, so you won’t be violating any of Instagram’s policies. Unlike other companies that offer similar services, Path Social does not require its clients to log in with their Instagram account, so there’s no threat to your information’s security. 

What other options do you have?

  • There’s the old-fashioned way of hands-on Instagram account management. Follow a regular schedule — whether it’s daily or a few days a week — to post new content; engage with your followers and with pages you follow, as well as some of their followers when it’s appropriate; and to find several new accounts to follow and engage with. Regular account activity is a guaranteed strategy for sustainable Instagram growth. 
  • If you have the budget to pay for Instagram bots, you should make the smarter choice and invest your money on Instagram ads, instead. 
  • If your budget can accommodate it, you may also consider hiring a social media manager/virtual assistant to take care of all the tedious tasks. There are tons of people doing part-time social media management for business pages; a few hours a day every day or several days a week of organic account activities and organic engagement with your followers can make a huge difference in growing your brand. 

Final thoughts

Bots are basically all about “appearances” — they will make your account appear popular with faked follower numbers. If you want a huge increase in a short period of time, bots can accomplish this, too. The “benefits” they offer end there, however. Bots simply create a false facade; but underneath the numbers, there are no real followers and, therefore, you can’t expect any real and lasting value from them. 

Given their limited and short-lived so-called benefits, bots are not worth the huge risks of losing existing and potential followers, causing your engagement rates to suffer, and getting your account shadowbanned or permanently deactivated. 

If you’re looking for a reliable and legitimate third-party app to help you grow your brand on Instagram, your best bet would be an Instagram growth service, like Path Social, that delivers authentic and highly interested and engaged followers.