Why You Shouldn't Be Using Instagram Bots

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” —Maya Angelou

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. It can apply to so many situations. In digital marketing, and especially social media, we are finding that changes are being made so quickly it’s hard to keep up. What is right? What is wrong? All we can do is our best. And when we know better, do better.

This is the case with Instagram bots. It was a common practice to buy followers or use Instagram bots. You can even say it still is a common practice. But the difference now versus, say, years ago is that most of us know better and are doing better.

I’ve seen so many agencies not only use Instagram bots for themselves but for their clients. Are the alarm bells ringing in your head yet? So I wanted to point out some of the reasons why using automation in this way is creating followership and “engagement” that doesn’t mean anything. It definitely doesn’t mean sales.

Quickly: What do bots do? Bots will automatically follow, like, and/or comment on Instagram accounts with the goal to get more exposure and follows.

So why should you not use Instagram bots?

→ Bots don’t understand context like humans do so their automatic comments often make no sense. Or the comments automatically left are generic and usually too short to be considered real engagement by the user receiving the comment. How are leaving random emojis or a basic comment good engagement? It’s not. Queue the “👏🏼😍” and “great photo!”

→ Instagram does not approve of the bots being used and the algorithm works against accounts using them. How does Instagram know? These bots often make a lot of moves at once like, following multiple accounts back to back and commenting less than a few words on posts. The algorithm sees this and doesn’t favor it. They recently posted about the actions they are taking for “inauthentic activity".

→ The bots often follow accounts that do not align with your brand. They are pitched as being able to target because their actions can be automated based on certain hashtags or accounts, but that can only be managed so much. I’ve had to clean up client Instagram follows because the bot from their former agency decided following spammy “lingerie models” using #foodie aligned with the restaurant brand. I don’t think so!

→ Educated Instagram users can see through the bots and look down on them. But what can be equally as bad, if not worse, is an uneducated Instagram user who will engage with a bot not understanding where the comment or follow is coming from. This can lead to a bad experience for the follower. 

→ Using bots goes again the Instagram terms of service and your whole account can be shut down at any time. Which makes it even crazier to me that any agency at this point would recommend bots. 

So those are the main reasons why you shouldn’t be using bots. Don’t fake the engagement. There are many ways to get real and valuable engagement (but that is for another post). If you are itching to find out how now, shoot me an email


Conquer + Flourish is a marketing agency based out of San Diego serving businesses locally and beyond. We specialize in providing services that small businesses need but might not have the time to dedicate to or know where to begin. From creating a comprehensive marketing strategy to managing your day-to-day needs or even occasional consulting to keep you on track, Conquer + Flourish is dedicated to helping business owners and managers focus on the business they love for continued success.