…is something you hopefully never have to say to yourself. Through our short stint on Instagram we are constantly on the receiving end of non-targeted, non-relevant, and sometimes inappropriate automated comments that are a sure-fire way to remove legitimacy and integrity from your business.
We’re all in the same boat. We’re using Instagram to hopefully connect to potential customers and clients, while also building our brand and reaching new audiences. It’s an awesome tool that is often abused. How? One very popular method of gaining followers to your account is to use an automated service that “likes” and comments on your behalf, while you’re away working on other aspects of your business. This method works well for jump-starting your followers and building traction because the concept stems from social proofing – a psychological phenomenon in which people are influenced by the actions of others. It’s a powerful tactic when it is understood and can be weaved into your own marketing strategies. But, it best used to leverage momentum for gaining organic engagement.
The issue with automating this process arises when comments are made arbitrarily on other accounts that clearly were stylized to appear authentic but are not. For many casual entrepreneurs or accounts used for personal purposes, it may not matter either way. But, if you’re looking to establish real relationships with real people (especially if you’re b2b), it can be a relationship-killer of Drake-sized proportions.
Consider this. About 15 minutes before writing this post we put up a “fake” post to see if we could bait these automated bots. As predicted, we received what appears to be automatically generated comments. We put up a harmless picture, but imagine if unbeknownst to you, you were leaving emojis and “Very cool post!” in the comment section of a photo of someone remembering their dead grandmother or a fallen veteran. The price you pay for automating your comments is that you don’t know what your comments are or to who you’re commenting to. Some of the services play it safe by using emojis like the one above to avoid these potentially detrimental faux pas. But, even those aren’t foolproof.
The other undesirable effect is that you lose your voice. Comments are a great way to arch the windows of opportunity and invite relationships. Your “voice” is a part of your brand, which fundamentally represents your business. Generic, automated comments don’t do a great job of capturing that. The more inconsistencies in your branding, the more likely you are to come off inauthentic – which directly correlates to trust. And people follow those they trust.
Lastly, just because you’ve automated your Instagram doesn’t mean you can slack on content. While you’re building likes through automation, you should also continue your efforts in creating great, relevant content to your brand so that you can earn organic followers, likes, and comments..and keep them. Inconsistencies such as an account of mostly selfies for a profile claiming to be for a B2B service or a disproportionate followers-to-posts ratio can potentially strip you and the brand you’ve spent money and time growing, of credibility.
Remember that when you outsource an aspect of your business to a third party consider the implications to your brand equity.
Pro Tip: Consider moving away from automated commenting to build followers unless you’re sure it will not effect the integrity of your brand. Many of these applications give you an option to automate “likes” instead, which while not anonymous, are less harmless and broad, in a good way.
With so many users using services to grow followers by following accounts automatically, couldn’t one grow their followers indirectly by not using said service and simply “waiting” for automated follows? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.