Have you recently seen an uptick in DMs asking you to buy followers, likes, and comments?
Or maybe, for an “exclusive, just-for-you” fee, they’ll promote you on their pages or stories.
Seems like a sweet deal, right? More engagement means more business, more sales, more people walking through the door… right?
Because all those interactions aren’t coming from real people — they’re coming from bots.
When we mention the word “bots”, we’re not talking about lil cuties like R2D2 or Wall-E — we’re talking about automated social media accounts. Essentially, these accounts are acting as if they’re real humans by interacting with your posts, liking them, commenting, all that good stuff.
But as they’re NOT real humans, they’ll never do what all your legitimate followers do: form a genuine relationship with your brand, spread the word about your products and services, or even just browse through what you have to offer — not to mention ever actually making a purchase at all.
And with today’s world of increasingly human-seeming automation, it can be really difficult to tell whether an account is run by a real person or something more sinister.
Here’s some signs that an account might actually be a bot in disguise:
And here’s some signs that an account is engaging with bot purchasing:
Of course, these are merely guidelines rather than rules of thumb. Lots of real people might not make posts very often and follow more accounts than have followers — looking at you, lurkers of the internet — but they’re still good to turn to if you’re looking to mine for bots.
And when you buy bots, not only are you wasting your money because they’re not real people but you’re also heading down the path to getting your business shadowbanned on Instagram.
Shadowban, blacklist, internet exile — that’s what’s waiting for you if you buy bots.
Shadowbanning essentially means that your posts won’t show up in the feeds of your followers because Instagram has noticed some sort of malpractice with your social media operations. Sometimes they’ll be shown in a reduced number of feeds, and sometimes they won’t be shown at all. There are no notifications that your account has been shadowbanned, but things you can look out for are a significant drop in likes, comments, and shares, your posts not showing up on the relevant hashtag pages or the explore page, and whether or not your post shows up in the feed of a friend or follower.
Instagram’s been working to wipe bot accounts since 2014 by removing bots from the platform and shadowbanning those who employ them. They’re also discussing completely removing the likes and comments the bot accounts left on other pages, but this hasn’t been put into action just yet. Either way, seems like a total waste of money, as the potential from these purchases being removed from your account is ever increasing.
So ask yourself: Are a couple extra likes and followers that will probably be removed in the end really worth getting my account shadowbanned?
When purchasing bots from one of these companies, essentially, you’re purchasing spam.
All the likes and comments will fly in all at once, totally blowing up your — or your social media manager’s — notifications and feeds. That might not be a huge issue, but it’s definitely an annoying one.
And as for the comments you’re getting?
Take a look at this screenshot:
You see that? Horrifying, right? Don’t worry, it’s just Swedish.
First things first, we truly mean no offense to all you Swedish folk out there — your country is literally pioneering sustainable living and accessible healthcare, which, let’s be honest, America could never — it’s only horrifying because the account in question is an American influencer trying to make a name for herself. And no, she doesn’t speak a lick of Swedish. And yes, for obvious reasons, her information has been redacted.
So yeah, you’re getting lots of comments, but they’re not going to be relevant to your content.
Usually, when people comment on your pages, you want them to ask questions about your products and services, tag one of their friends, share a story — in sum, you want them to actually interact with it. Bots simply just won’t. They can’t.
In addition, you’ll likely have to enter your email address and phone number when you go to sign up for these services — which means not only are you going to see spam on your Instagram, but also all over your inbox and voicemail.
We don’t know about you, but we’ll pass on the robo calls and junk mail.
Think buying bots will be your best kept secret?
Negative, ghostrider — people will know.
For example, let’s say you purchase 5,000 followers, but when you post your content, you only get a couple hundred likes or so. People will know you bought followers because surely if you have that many real followers, you’d have way more likes. But you don’t.
Essentially, this can serve to dilute your brand in the eyes of your loyal followers. They might even unfollow you or cease doing business with you — but even when it’s the best case scenario, buying followers and likes frankly just makes you look bad.
There you have it: Buying followers is a waste of money, might get you banned from Instagram, brings tons of spam, and makes your brand look bad.
Over the past year, search interest in fake Instagram followers grew by a whopping 71 percent. Don’t risk everything by hopping on the train to Shadowban Station.
But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost! There’s tons of things you can do to grow your Instagram following without any risk at all, such as:
Best of luck to you in all your future endeavors, and just remember that real, loyal followers are just a few posts away.
Thanks for taking the time to read our blog!
If you need any guidance with social media strategies, feel free to schedule a time to talk to us by filling out our contact form.
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