There’s an epidemic on Instagram.

Despite Instagram continuing to rise in popularly by the day, I know that many of you have fallen out of love with Instagram of late. The reason why? It has become plagued by bots!

What is a bot?

Bots allow people to automate certain actions on Instagram, such as following and unfollowing accounts, and liking and commenting on posts. They help users to grow their presence on Instagram, usually at an incredibly fast rate, whilst saving them vast amounts of time by performing more actions that would be possible for the average user.

In theory that sounds great, right?

So why describe bots as an epidemic?

Instagram for the soulful entrepreneur

The entrepreneurs that I work with are trying to grow their social media following in a way that feels soulful and packed full of integrity. Of course, they want to build their audience as fast as possible, but they’re in it for the long haul. They want to nurture genuine relationships with their followers, they want to have real conversations and they want to attract potential customers who will adore their offering.

Bots stand in the way of genuine engagement

I’ve had a number of conversations with clients recently who are absolutely fed up of spammy activity on Instagram – and that’s exactly what it is.

Here are a few tell-tale signs that your account is plagued by bots – you may recognise a few;

  • Comments on your posts that are random and/or meaningless.
  • Users following you and quickly unfollowing if you don’t follow them back – sometimes there are people behind this activity rather than bots but either way it isn’t meaningful engagement.
  • Random, inappropriate or downright weird messages from people you don’t know.
  • Follows and/or engagement from what seems like random accounts in relation to your own –you can’t always tell straight away if new followers are genuine but, over time, you will learn to spot the red flags.

So you’re trying to build authentic relationships with your crowd on Instagram and yet you’re inundated with this type of engagement; it’s no wonder you feel disheartened and frustrated! Not to mention the fact it may seem like everyone around you is racing ahead and building huge audiences whilst you’re struggling along.

Now I’m not saying that everyone with a big Instagram following is using bots, that’s not the case, but what I am saying is don’t take everything at face value and avoid comparing your account to others – you don’t know how they’ve reached that point.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?

By this point, you may be ready to throw in the towel and ditch Instagram, or perhaps you’re persevering but your heart isn’t really in it which is just making things even harder.

Perhaps the thought has crossed your mind – if everyone else is doing it, maybe I should too?

It’s only natural for the thought to cross your mind but I know that it probably doesn’t sit well with you. Your gut reaction says it’s icky and spammy, everything you don’t want to be, and in no way does it seem like a soulful way to build a business.

Those values that you hold are so important. They are the lifeblood of your business, they will keep you motivated and on track and, in the long run, they will help you build a business that you adore, not create a beast that you hate being a part of.

If you come across a tactic, strategy or tool that sets your alarm bells off then trust your gut. You don’t have to sell your soul to be successful. And if something seems too good to be true (1,000 new followers every day!), it usually is.

There is a cure.

Whilst you can’t escape the bots or the follow/unfollow game, you can still foster genuine engagement with real people who are actually interested in your offering.

The important thing to remember is, it’s not a race!

Would you rather have 1,000 new followers every day who don’t give a flying monkey about your message or your offering, or would you rather attract 5 new followers a day who are actually interested and may, one day, turn into paying customers?

I know which one I’d choose.

Numbers are just vanity. So what if someone else has 50,000 followers and you only have 500? What if just 10% of that 500 were to eventually buy from you, that would be 50 new customers! What difference would that make to your business? On the flip side, if you have 50,000 followers and most of them are uninterested, or not even real, then those 50 potential customers might never even see your posts.

Playing the long game wins out here, and I’d like to think that if we stick to our values and commit to building real community on Instagram then, between us, we can inject more soul into Instagram. As for the bots, leave them to it.

Beckie Coupe signature

 

 

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