If you’ve been keeping up to date with Instagram over the last couple of days you’ve probably noticed a huge shift in their policies. Well not necessarily a shift, just that they are finally starting to enforce some of them that have been neglected the last couple of years. Specifically, many of the automated platforms like www.instagress.com have been shut down for violating the Instagram API Terms of Service.
Not familiar? Let me bring you up to speed below. If you are familiar, skip this section.
What is Instagress (and similar companies)?
Brands and individuals are always looking for ways to grow their Instagram audience (number of followers) for a couple of reasons. The most obvious is that with a large following of engaged people you have a great opportunity to sell your product/service. However, with Instagram, it is really hard to organically build that following and to get noticed. Some brands go the “grass roots” route and build it slowly over time by posting great content, as well as collaborating with bigger brands.
Other brands look for an alternative, like Instagress, to do this more quickly. Instagress (and hundreds of similar companies) have created a software that interacts with other Instagram users on your account’s behalf. They can automatically like thousands of photos for you every month, comment on photos and follow/unfollow accounts to help you grow your audience.
What was good about it?
Some people absolutely loved the service, as it helped them to build an audience quickly. They could gain thousands of followers in a couple of months and once they had the appearance of a large brand they could start to move towards a more organic growth strategy. People also love the fact that they didn’t really have to do anything, like at all. They could set the software up to target who they needed then just let it do its magic.
What needed improvement?
Since this was a totally automated system you had no control over what type of content your brand was engaging with. Often times you would find yourself engaging with content that was inappropriate and included things that could diminish your brand. In addition, profiles were often shut down by Instagram, after it was determined that you were using a service like Instagress, for violating their terms of service. The third, and possibly most important, is that these services are known for engaging with content that was outside of the scope of what you wanted to target. This resulted in inflated engagement numbers and then once you stopped using the service you would lose followers.
Why was Instagress shut down?
As an alternative to building an audience organically, Instagress found a loophole by building a software that automatically engages with content to boost your account’s followers. This clearly goes against Instagram’s Terms of Service, and Instagram has turned a blind eye to these types of organizations in the past. As of yesterday, that all changed.
It’s worth noting as well that if you use a different company with an automated system like this it will likely be shutting down in the coming weeks.
When it comes to alternatives you really have two choices at this point (assuming that all of the other smaller automation softwares will be shut down soon). The first option is to continue posting great content, encourage your followers to engage with content and collaborate with bigger accounts to get noticed. This is a slower process and you probably won’t build a huge follower base quickly, but the audience you do find will likely be very interested in your brand.
The second option is a service like what we offer at FollowerFlock. A year ago we saw the writing on the wall that these automated softwares like Instagress were probably not going to be around much longer, as Instagram continued to crack down on similar services. We always thought that the idea of the service (to interact with new people to drive traffic to your own page) made sense, but using spammy bots just didn’t seem like the way to do it.
How is Ampfluence different?
The reason that we’re still around and are not going to get shut down any time soon when all the others in the places are is because we stayed away from using automation and instead have real people managing your account for you. Because of this we are able to take a lot of the really cool benefits from services like Instagress, without jeopardizing your account.
For example, we can still target people who follow specific users, hashtags and locations to interact with Instagram members, but because we have humans that actually manually do every interaction we can use common sense. That means we have never gotten an account suspended, we can make sure not to interact with content that would be detrimental to your brand and we can create more customized strategies for you.
If the audience you are interested in is already engaged with you then just keep posting awesome content and driving the conversation. Likewise, if you want to keep your account under your own control then there is plenty of information online around what you can personally do to boost your engagement.
However, if you have great content, want to get noticed and you’re looking for an alternative to services like Instagress that you can trust to do things the right way with no bots, then turn to us.
If you’d like to give us a try today please go to ampfluence.com and use the code “10percentoff” as a coupon code at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.