I know how it is, you see an account with a good following and you think WOW, I want to get to that stage. So just like a fad diet you jump onboard the bot bandwagon, buy yourself a stack of followers and find out that it did sweet FA to help boost your profile.
Now, let me delve into the negatives of bots:
1. Follower count
It’s obvious when you go to an account with a few thousand (if not more) followers and you click a photo to find out their like/follower count is drastically different on all of their posts. In other words, if they’ve actually put in the hard yards to build a good following, you’d see a progressive increase in their engagement rate, therefore, more likes. Having 10k followers and a measly 50 likes on a post means 1 of 2 things:
- They’ve probably bought their likes, therefore, they have next to no engagement
- Their content sucks and they need to up their game (It’s 99% the first one)
2. Automated responses
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want a bot going around under my brand name saying ‘Great Post’ or ‘Nice Photo’ and annoying everyone. In fact, I’ve seen it a few times where it’s in bad taste when someone has posted something emotional and raw, and the bot comments ‘Awesome’. All that does is tarnish your brand rep because people either see your brand as being inconsiderate, annoying or worse, one that can’t even be bothered to have a real conversation.
3. Instagram pods are a waste of time
THESE DON’T WORK. Let me try and break down the Insta algorithm. Instagram wants people to have REAL conversations, hence why it won’t let 3rd party apps post automatically, someone has to physically post it. I personally think the algorithm is good, it can annoy some people but that’s because they might not understand it. That’s not to say that it can be difficult to get around, because it can. It ‘s much harder to grow an organic following today than it was 2 years ago, BUT that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. What it does is places the accounts in your feed who you actively engage with. So the more you like and comment on an account, the more it will show in your feed. If you join one of these stupid pods, all you’re doing is engaging with the same group of people who probably won’t be buying your product or using your services. These are catered to individual accounts, just because you’re showing up in theirs, doesn’t mean you’re showing up in your customer/clients feed.
How to generate an organic following!
Making sure you have an active and engaging following takes bloody hard work. Just like a real diet to a fad diet; commitment, understanding and constant tweaking is what will get you real results.
1. Engage like a real human being
Bots don’t engage, people do. Think how annoyed you get with the automated voice on a phone call vs a real human. Start discussions, learn about people and build relationships. It takes time and consistency, it’s not as easy as most people think (read my other blog ‘Where brands go wrong on social media’). Sure you’ll see some accounts rise to stardom quickly but that’s usually because they’ve had some exposure. Cue my next point.
Getting in front of the right people will make all the difference for you. The thing is, you need to make sure you align yourselves with the right influencers. How you make that happen is up to you, but you need to think collaboration NOT competition. You can guest blog, pay to be promoted on their feeds, have an offer etc. This basically gives you an opportunity to communicate to a mass audience you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Think of influencers like your modern day magazine ad, same same but different. The difference between this and bots is that you’ll attract REAL people who will buy your product or use your service. Think smart about who you can align with.
3. Create good content
Work harder! If you’re not getting the response you’re wanting, then track, measure and try again. Remember that things also take time to build traction so tweak little things as you go and monitor your analytics (if you’re not doing that get on to it now). Deliver the content your audience wants, not what you think they want. Ask questions, get their opinions, bite-sized tips and facts that can assist them in any way (have a read of ‘4 tips on how to market on social media‘ here). How does your brand look as a whole, what are people saying about it, make sure you’re communicating your brand narrative throughout each and every post. It’s all a learning process.
Long story short, keep it real. Don’t take shortcuts and find the best way to communicate. After all, you’d rather 100 fully engaging followers than 5k unengaging ones any day.