Should You Use Instagram Bots? Here’s Everything You Need to Know about Instagram Automation

Should you be using Instagram bots to grow your audience? This question is being asked more than ever, as building an engaged following on Instagram just isn’t as easy as it used to be. In an attempt to stay ahead of the curve, a lot users are turning to Instagram bots or Instagram automation tools to help them grow their audience — but is this really the best decision for your account?

If you’re curious about Instagram bots (like Instagram auto follow bots or Instagram auto like bots), but aren’t quite sure what they’re all about or what the risks of using them are, then keep reading!

instagram bots

What are Instagram Bots?

Instagram bots are designed to help you perform such actions as liking, commenting, and following other accounts on Instagram through automation. These are actions most Instagram users do on a daily basis, but they can take up a big chunk of your time. With the help of Instagram bots, you can plug in parameters, like specific hashtags or accounts to target, and the bot does all the work for you. Some of the most popular bots for Instagram or automation services are Mass Planner, FollowLiker, and Instagress (which was recently shut down! Keep reading to find out why…).

instagram bots

Why Using Instagram Bots Can Pose a Serious Risk to Your Account!

Instagram bots are a bit like eating an entire chocolate cake. It might sound like the perfect decision at the time, but deep down inside, you know that it’s so bad for you! This is exactly what you have to worry about when it comes to Instagram bots. They seem like the perfect solution for a busy entrepreneur who has little to no time to spend building their following on Instagram, but here’s the risk: any sort of automation on Instagram strictly violates the platform’s terms of use and using Instagram bots can get your account banned or shadowbanned!

Most Instagram bots access Instagram’s API (the connection that allows a service such as Later to communicate with the Instagram app) without permission. As stated in Instagram’s Terms of Use, this is a strict violation:

  1. You must not access Instagram’s private API by means other than those permitted by Instagram. Use of Instagram’s API is subject to a separate set of terms.

According to Instagram’s API Terms, Instagram bots violate the following terms:

  1. Don’t store or cache Instagram login credentials.
  2. Don’t use the Instagram API to simply display User Content, import or backup content, or manage Instagram relationships, without our prior permission.
  3. Ensure your comments are uniquely tailored for each person. Don’t post unauthorized commercial communication or spam on Instagram.
  4. Don’t enable a business to take more than one action on Instagram at a time.
  5. Add something unique to the community. Don’t 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.

Now, having said all that, it is pretty common for users to see the positive effects that Instagram bots have on their accounts without looking at the repercussions.

At least until recently, that is.

As mentioned earlier in this post, one of the big names in Instagram automation, Instagress, was recently shut down. And while Instagress has been relatively quiet about the closure — other than leaving a message on their site saying, “by request of Instagram we were forced to close our web-service” — we assume the reason is because they violated Instagram’s terms of use. Around the same time, a lot of people started to experience what we’re now calling a “shadowban” (click here to read my blog post about that!). Users started to notice that their images weren’t showing up within their used hashtags, and that led to a massive decline in engagement. While there are multiple reasons why this could happen to your account, the main one is from using Instagram bots and violating Instagram’s terms of use.

So, as an entrepreneur myself who knows the importance of efficiency, in this particular case, I would NOT recommend the use of Instagram bots to help grow your following.

So, What Can You Do Instead?

Wondering how you can grow your Instagram account without the use of bots or automation? That’s a good thing! You’ve hit a roadblock, but instead of giving up, you’re looking for a way around it. With that attitude, you’re certain to succeed on Instagram, no matter how much it changes or how many hoops they try to make us jump through.

Instagram Bots Alternative #1: Suck It Up And Do The Work Yourself

Now I know this isn’t the most time-efficient method, but it truly is the most authentic and will bring you the closest to your audience. Look at it this way: if your target market is stay-at-home moms, you should be searching for hashtags that are relevant to your community, like #sahm. You might see something that compels you enough to leave a comment, or perhaps even follow an account. From there, you’ll continue to see these stay-at-home mom accounts pop-up in your feed, and you can get to know the people behind the accounts on a deeper level. You’ve liked their images, you’ve read their captions, you might have even clicked the link in her bio and read their blog posts. While this might be considered “time consuming” (not to be confused with time-wasting), it gives you an opportunity to really get to know your audience (and potential customers) in a way that you just couldn’t through automation.

Want to save time on Instagram? Check out these 13 Free Instagram Marketing Tools!

Instagram Bots Alternative #2: Hire a Virtual Assistant (VA)

There are plenty of VA’s out there that charge various amounts for their services. You can find high quality VA’s in entrepreneurial Facebook groups (like mine!), or on websites like Upwork and Freelancer. Of course, you’re going to have to do a little shopping around to make sure you find the right candidate for you. But once you find someone who understands your vision and goals, you can confidently allow them to take the reigns on your day-to-day engaging. This way, the accounts your VA interacts with will sense a true connection and an authentic, genuine person behind your account. I promise you, this plays a major role in whether or not that person purchases from you, visits your website, or signs up for your email list.

If you use Instagram bots to automatically leave a “this is such a great photo!” comment on someone’s image, and it happens to be a memorial video for his or her dog that just passed, they’re going to know that you’re using automation, which will probably leave a sour taste in their mouth. They’re also going to be offended by your lack of empathy and self-awareness, and probably aren’t going to follow, like, comment, or buy whatever you’re offering. Automation like this can really damage your brand on Instagram!

Instagram Bots Alternative #3: Remember That Speed Isn’t Everything  

If you can’t afford a VA and you don’t have the time to like and comment all day long, then don’t. It’s ok! If you focus your efforts on creating high-quality content, writing engaging captions, and researching and using targeted hashtags, you’ll be well on your way to running a successful account on Instagram.

With that in mind, if you can, spend 15 minutes once or twice a day to hop on IG and engage with your community. Even this small amount of time can make a big difference in how quickly your account grows. Want to make more time for engaging and spend less time actually posting to Instagram? Plan your posts in advance and schedule Instagram posts with Later — it’s free!

Free Instagram Scheduler

Regardless of your stance on Instagram bots, what it really comes down to is authenticity. By being authentically you on Instagram, you’ll have no problem attracting the type of people who are going to love what you produce, who will click the link in your bio, and who might even buy your products. Whatever your goal is, it’s achievable with real, manual interaction.

Don’t get caught up in the rat race of who can get to 100k followers the fastest. Instead, focus on getting 10 new quality followers and you honestly can’t go wrong.

If you need help nailing down your authentic Instagram strategy (starting with your bio, to your content, your hashtags and more) then please sign up for my FREE 7 day ecourse!

Inside you’ll learn:

  • How to properly set up your bio to increase followers & clicks on your link
  • How to choose hashtags that massively increase your engagement
  • How to strategically create content that attracts high-quality followers
  • How to promote your products & services without being sales-y
  • How to effortlessly set yourself up as the authority figure in your niche, and
  • Why pretty pictures won’t make you money (and what will!)

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Written By

Alex Tooby

Alex is an Instagram Marketer, Influencer & Mentor residing in Squamish, BC. She is the founder of @instawithalex@menandcoffee, alextooby.com and The Instagram Marketing Mastermind.