Lots of companies and influencers have recognized the potential of marketing through Instagram. However, keeping up with multiple social media accounts can be exhausting, and like many industries, social media marketers have turned to automation by using Instagram bots

What Is an Instagram Bot?

A bot is a software program that performs automated tasks over the internet. Instagram bots are bots that are used exclusively for Instagram.

Generally an Instagram bot can be programmed to perform any function that a human can do on Instagram. These can include liking posts and comments, posting comments, watching instagram stories, and following accounts.

What Are The Benefits?

Keeping up with an Instagram account is very time consuming. To keep your account relevant, you need to have a lot of engagement.

Engagement is measured by your activity on the app and interactions with other users. If you hope to land on the Explore Page, you need to have a lot of engagement. Consequently, having your post displayed on the Explore Page leads to users viewing your content, which leads to likes and follows, thus increasing your engagement more.

If your intention is to use Instagram as a means of marketing, having as many eyeballs as possible viewing your account is essential.

Hiring a social media manager or a virtual assistant to assist you with your account requires a lot more money. Instagram bots are far more cost effective in the realm of labor costs.

What Are the Downsides of Instagram Bots?

The most obvious downside of Instagram bots is that they are ultimately robots and robots don’t have feelings. You can’t program them to consider the context of a situation. What this means is that bots can sometimes leave comments that are insensitive by human standards.

Take for instance, you own a weight loss or fitness company. You setup your bot find posts with hashtag “#weightloss” and subsequently leave a comment saying “you look great! check us out for more weight loss tips.”

Then there could be a person suffering from eating disorder who posts something on Instagram about losing too much weight, and the next thing you know your bot leaves a comment on the post. Over time you’ll start building negative reputation for your brand because of these irrelevant comments.

The more serious risk though is that Instagram bots technically violate Instagram’s Terms of Use.

Violating Instagram’s Terms of Use can result in your account becoming shadow banned, or you could be permanently banned from the app. Shadow banning disables your account from being seen by people who do not follow you. This means you will be incapable of capturing new followers, which could be detrimental for your brand. Being permanently banned from the app will disable you from accessing Instagram forever, losing all of the followers and content you have cultivated.

Popular Instagram Bot Services

If you’re thinking about automating your Instagram engagement by means of Instagram bots, here are a few programs that offer bots:

  • Kicksta
  • SocialMeep
  • Social-Boost
  • Instagram Bot Follower
  • Ingrammer
  • Instazood
  • Instamber
  • Social Sensei
  • Combin

How Much Do Instagram Bots Cost?

Companies that offer Instagram bot services often offer these services as monthly subscriptions. Many offer a free trial for a few days, but after your trial expires, you’ll have to pay.

Instagram bots can cost anywhere from $40 to $300 per month. The difference in price is mainly due to the variety and complexity of tasks that the bot can execute.

Basic bots will just “like” and “watch stories” based on your targeting criteria. Some more complex bots can automatically follow people whom you target (e.g. by location, people they are following, hashtags that they use, etc), and then automatically unfollow them after a certain period of time. This will maintain the balance between your followers and following numbers.

Should You Use an Instagram Bot?

For the long and short of it, I would say no. Especially if you already have a substantial following, its not worth the risk to use a bot and have your account banned by Instagram.

However if you’re just starting out with zero followers, and understand the risks involved, it may be something to consider. However the suggestion is to only use the “like”, “follow” / “unfollow”, and “watching stories” feature, as well as capping the frequency to something that is humanly possible. For example you may want to ensure the bot doesn’t have more than 100 engagements in a day, and generally stops automating the tasks at night.

In addition I would strongly advice against automating comments as this would be a strong giveaway that you’re using a bot, and you may get reported. Once this happens the chances of your account getting banned would be very high, and generally Instagram doesn’t entertain appeals for these kind of cases.