The Influencer Whisperer's Guide to Instagram's Bot Problem and how to REALLY Get More Follo
A few weeks ago, a friend sent me a message via LinkedIn, detailing a problem that he was having with Instagram. The problem was, he explained, that he got all these new followers, and then they were gone from his page almost overnight.
My friend wasn't alone. It seems as though many users are "tricked" into thinking that their accounts are experiencing rapid growth only to find that they've lost these new followers just as quickly.
What was happening?
It turns out that this person was on to something. Many media outlets and writers have been paying attention to Instagram's bot problem off and on for a few years now.
HOW IT HAPPENS:
1. People create either a new personal or business account and begin to follow people, thinking that this is the logical first step in building a thriving community on the platform. If you want people to follow you, you have to follow them. Stop me if you've heard this one before.
2. Almost immediately, bot accounts begin following the new account because they pick up on the fact that someone is rapidly following accounts. The name of the game is to ultimately get more followers for the bot accounts. And it works. Here's how --
3. The unsuspecting Instagrammer, awash in the glow of thinking that they're an "influencer", continues posting and creating meaningful content for the channel as per best practices.
4. One or two days later, the Instagrammer's follower count drops significantly, leaving him or her with a skewed ratio of following/followers. The bot accounts, however, now have a boost in new followers, thus lending a sense of credibility to their robotic presence.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A HEALTHY RATIO
The follower/following ratio is very important because of a general Insta-ego that is prevalent on the channel. People want to look popular. They want to be influencers.
Influencers, as a matter of fact, do well on this channel. And the top influencers have hundreds of thousands of more followers than people they're actually following. Therefore, many Instagrammers care about how it looks to have more followers than people they're following.
Don't believe me?
See also: Twitter. It's a numbers game there too.
Businesses also operate under the idea that they must have more followers than people they're following because of credibility and reputation issues.
IS THERE A WAY TO FIX THIS ISSUE?
Unfortunately, the only way to know if bots have followed you and unfollowed you is by downloading any number of additional apps that monitor this activity.
How do I know?
Because I experimented with my own account over the past two weeks.