Building a large and highly active online community requires much more than simply posting interesting content. Social media is a two-way street. You can’t just broadcast messages to your audiences and expect to increase engagement and followers. You need to also interact with your audience and other users. That means that you’ll need to spend time manually searching for, liking, following, and commenting on relevant pages and posts.
In other words, it takes a lot of time and effort. To many, it can seem like a tedious task and extremely time-consuming. If you are managing it all on your own, it could take anywhere from weeks to years to cultivate a community and see all that hard work finally pay off. So, how can you unload yourself and accelerate the process?
Some hire a professional in-house or outsource the work to an agency or a freelancer. Others are looking to another possible solution━automation. Automating engagement tactics like commenting and liking may seem unusual, but a trend is beginning to develop.
One of the primary leaders in this trend is a tool called Instagress. For organizations that need help with managing their Instagram profile and community, it may sound like a huge timesaver. However, there are a few things that businesses need to know about Instagress and similar automation tools before they hop on the bandwagon.
What Exactly Is Instagress?
Instagress is an Instagram bot that automates interaction by liking, following and commenting on other pages on behalf of your account. It’s a paid-for automation service, but you can try it free for 3 days before paying. After, you select the number of days you want to use the service. Depending on the number of days, the price can range from $1.99 to $79.99.
How Instagress Works
You must first create an Instagress account and connect it with your Instagram. Instagress doesn’t save your password, so you don’t have to worry about privacy issues. Then, you choose settings that tell the bot what you want it to do. You can instruct it to like, follow, comment and unfollow on your behalf.
Next, you select the speed that you want it to interact and the method it will use to determine which posts to interact with: tags or followers.
● Tags - You select certain hashtags that are relevant to your brand.
● Feed - It focuses on interacting with the profiles that you already follow.
With the feed option, you won’t follow any new accounts but comment and like posts from users that you already follow.
How are comments generated? Comments are often generic phrases like: beautiful, nice, looks great, love it, etc. You upload them into the settings before the bot becomes active.
There are a number of other settings that you can fine tune to your preferences. Those that have successfully used the Instagress suggest settings that are the closest to your normal human behavior. For instance, you can set a timer to make the bot active for certain hours during the day. Instagress could be active 24 hours a day, but because that isn’t typical human behavior, it could get flagged by Instagram.
The goal of the bot is to growth hack the process and quickly increase your follower count. It is important to distinguish that it is not a click farm, in which you pay for likes and followers. (A practice that is generally considered unethical, violates social media user policies and is highly ineffective, because it fills your community with fake and spam accounts.)
Instead, Instagress automates the manual process of interacting with other accounts, which may or may not result in those other accounts following you. The engagement and growth you see from using them should come from real accounts. But, how well does the tool work?
Pros of Instagress
There are major advantages to using an automated interaction tool, however, there are also big disadvantages. Some of the most common benefits that Instagress users cite are that:
● It’s cost-efficient. Hiring a person to manage the interaction part of your Instagram may not be possible for smaller businesses with tight budgets.
● It saves time. The process of manually interacting with other profiles to grow your presence can take considerable time and resources.
● It can grow your follower count. When you manually comment, like and follow other users, the interaction helps to grow your community. The automation tool follows the same premise. However, the quality of those follows and the reputation it builds for your brand has come into question.
The advantages of Instagress can make it sound tempting to companies that are short-handed, but you should know the cons before signing up.
Cons of Instagress
For some, the perks of Instagress may sound promising but aren’t worth the risk. Many Instagram users have shunned automation because it lacks the genuine and intelligent qualities that make us human. Some of the top disadvantages of using an automated tool like Instagress are:
● It could cause some serious issues with Instagram. Is it against Instagram policy to use? Although Instagress doesn’t officially say that it violates Instagram policies, it does say that using it is safe━if you do it right. According to some reports, if Instagress isn’t setup properly from the start, Instagram will flag it.
So, if you mess up a setting, the tool will have obvious bot-like behaviors that appear spammy and could get you banned from Instagram. This could result in getting comment banned for 24 hours, however, there is no data on how often that actually happens to Instagress users.
● Risk of diluting your brand. If Instagram can detect that you are using a bot, then your followers and other users could detect it as well. For instance, comments like, “You look wonderful!” on a picture of a delicious sundae, doesn’t make any sense and will throw users.
Can Instagress and other automated tools be effective in growth hacking your Instagram numbers? Possibly yes, but proceed with caution. Many of these tools are in their infancy and at times, not a suitable replacement for human talent.
Social media runs 24 hours/ 7 days a week. It never turns off, so any opportunity that you have to automate certain aspects is worth exploring. Although effective automation tools can take some of the burden off of your shoulders and also help you grow your community, you should consider your options. The wrong automation tools can leave you vulnerable to mistakes and oversights, so it is crucial to select the right tools for you.
For a quick bump in followers, it may be useful to your company. If that is your goal, then you can test it out for a few days to determine if it is an effective solution for you. However, as a long-term solution, Instagress and other automated tools don’t seem sophisticated enough yet to keep up with real human behavior. If you want to cultivate an active, loyal community, you may want to explore outsourcing or freelancing options. Growing your social presence and engagement isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work and time, but the results are well worth it. To learn more about automated tools or for support managing and growing your online communities and brand, chat with us at 10twelve.