What is an Instagram Bot?
Instagram bots automate following, liking, commenting, and unfollowing activities on Instagram. Bots are a common method used to boost follower counts and increase post likes. However, Instagram has openly stated that they do not want botted activity occurring on their platform because it fosters inauthentic activity which violates community guidelines and jeopardizes the integrity of its platform. In the past, we’ve explained why you should not use bots on Instagram. In this post, we’ll explain how to spot Instagram growth services that actually use bots.
10 Ways to tell if your Instagram Services is using bots
Without wasting your time, let’s address the red flags you can look for to verify if a service is using a bot or not.
The Team Who Operates the Service is a Ghost
If you’ve encountered an Instagram service that doesn’t share any information about who they are, where they are from, or where they are from that should immediately raise a red flag. Why would you trust a service with your username and password if you don’t know who they are? Also, ask yourself what type of agency hides their ’employees’ – likely one that wants their identity hidden. Let’s be clear you don’t have to know the team personally. However, you should be able to find some information about them on an about page or even a LinkedIn Company Page.
The Instagram Growth Service is Insanely Cheap
If the service doesn’t cost at least a few hundred dollars per month, it’s safe to assume they’re using bots. After all, performing research, custom targeting, identifying followers, and engaging with these followers are all very time-consuming tasks that a real person must get paid to do. There’s no possible way anyone can do it for $29 or $49 bucks per month.
Note, there is a distinction between an assistant and a social media growth service. You may be able to hire a freelancer or a VA at a low rate, but even then no experienced virtual assistant would charge an insanely cheap amount. It takes at least 40 hours per month to manage an Instagram account at a decent level. Therefore, if you paid some even a minuscule $2.00 per hour every month it would still amount to much more than $49.
New Authorized App in Instagram Settings
Check if any new apps have been connected to your profile. This is a clear indicator that your provider has connected your profile to an app. While not all ‘apps’ are bad as some are approved partners of Instagram, most are not.
See the screenshot attached, which has no applications authorized.
If you do not see an app authorized because you have not started using the service be wary of any request to authorize a connection. Whenever any company asks you to connect ANYTHING to your Instagram account (and they cannot confirm they have Instagram API access) be very afraid.
Claims of Tracking all Followers, Unfollowers, Likes, or Comments
If an Instagram growth service claims to keep track of every single follower, unfollower, likes, and other Instagram activities you should be incredibly wary. The process of tracking is almost manually impossible. If they claim to do so, ask them to see the spreadsheet they use. It’s likely you’ll never see it because it’s impossible to do without a bot.
Let’s be honest here, even Amazon has a hard time tracking packages and we all know they use crazy expensive custom-built software. Do you really believe it’s possible for a company that doesn’t use bots to track every single follower, unfollower, like, or comment?
The obvious answer is NO but we had to emphasize how unreasonable that idea is. Keep in mind this use case is also valid for whitelists and blacklists as the types of lists are programmatic tells, they can only really be executed consistently with software.
Examine the Service’s Instagram Account
If an account purchased followers then their engagement rate is most likely going to be super low. Let’s say that the account has 100K followers but gets no likes on an image then you know they’ve purchased fake followers. Since followers and likes can be purchased also observe nuances on the account. For example, ask yourself questions like.
- What was the account’s first post?
- Do you see a history of content on the account?
- Do people engage with the account?
- Can you identify other people who have used the service?
- Is the service willing to hop on a call?
- Do they answer DMs in a reasonable time?
- Do they answer emails in a reasonable time?
- Do they have other social network profiles? (Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook)
Companies that have invested a great deal in their brand are likely to do things above the board as they are not operating a dump and run service.
If you’re a marketing agency or influencer and you’re looking to work with an Instagram growth service, these are the red flags you should be looking for. Be diligent with your research beforehand because you don’t want to end up using a service that wastes money and hinders your online brand in the process.