Using a bot to increase my Instagram following

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Instagram: use cases for business

I found myself talking a lot about social media marketing and content this week. Personally I see myself at an intermediate level when it comes to social media. I have a firm understanding of every platform, as well as a firm grasp of what works what does not on each one. All of this is not just backed by my own personal experience but also by hundreds of startup founders.

The platform I found myself discussing more and more often was Instagram. Some use it for inspiration, others for dating, and some to sell stuff. The consensus is that it is a perfect B2C platform. Most B2B things do not fly there because most users use it for personal life stuff. So even if you are a c-suite executive on Twitter on Instagram you are an amateur cake baker and a semi professional marathon runner. You can be a VC by day and an up and coming interior designer on Instagram.

Instagram is an escapist paradise where we indulge in our hobbies, FOMOS and find aspirational goals. Thus startups that tend to do well on Instagram are b2c focused and it can be anything from drinks (Recess), to makeup (Glossier), to watches (Daniel Wellington), to tinsel clothes.

Although there are startups with substantial following an opinion that I heard over and over is that unless you are paying to promote your post its hard to get noticed. This was when I came across ‘Boost your Instagram Followers’ Growth Organically’ that kickstarted my research into bots on Instagram.

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Bots on Instagram

Instagram is a quid pro quo platform many people still operate with the mentality ‘like for like’ and ‘follow for follow’. Thus the more photographs you like the more your photos get liked. This is behaviour that can be automated so of-course it was.

Bots usually fall into these categories:

  • follow
  • like
  • comment

They find what to follow/like/comment in one of two ways:

  • hashtags
  • follower lists of other accounts

To check if bots work I picked three bots to test and to test on a dummy account I created for this purpose.

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Bot 1 — InstagramBot

How it works: you give the bot a username, it goes through the list of user’s followers and likes a few photographs from each one.

This thing was exceptionally easy to set up.

It ran for around an hour and I got 2 likes out of it. When I tried running it again the next day it refused to.

Would recommend? No, as it only worked once for me.

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Bot 2 — Instagram Like Bot (Jenny’s Monster)

  • Instructions
  • Github: Following the instructions I created my variation on the bot that can be found here.
  • Coding skills required: 3-4 out of 10
  • Cost: 0

How it works: you give it a hashtag it follows images tagged with that hashtag.

This one took longer than expected. Getting Gecko set up took longer than I thought. Turns out I did not move it to the right path and after 30 min of googling I realised that it is because I wrote ‘desktop’ rather than ‘Desktop’. Coding as a dyslexic is interesting.

In total it took me two solid evenings of installing, googling, searching Stackoverflow and occasionally writing code.

There were a few things that I could not get to work so I did modify the code and my version can be found here.

Did it work: It definitely worked. I ran it for 4 hashtags that first day which essentially added up to around 300 photographs liked and received a solid 25 followers for it. Which as I see it is just under 10% rate.

Would recommend? Yes if you are looking for a python project. If you don’t know how to code it will be an incredibly frustrating journey so for the sake of your mental wellbeing don’t.

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Bot 3 — Gram Up (bot as a service)

  • Website
  • Coding skills required: 0
  • Cost: 0 (donation)

How it works: you can choose any form of following and liking, as well as unliking.

This is a user friendly bot turned platform brought to you by the same people who created Bot 1 on this list

It looks great, it’s incredibly easy to use.

Did it work: I am not sure. Over the 4 days when I run it I had fewer people following me than unfollowing. By day 5 I switched back to Bot 2 to see instant results.

Would recommend? not sure.

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23 May 2019
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25 May 2019

Project summary

I know that instagram is funny abut bots but honestly as soon as you know how bots behave it is easy to spot them, and every other business and individual is building bots.

Also, a bot will take you only so far the content has to be good and engaging. The images that I posted have between 36 likes on the low end to 76 on the high end. The first image I posted had 24 likes in under half an hour I had zero followers and no bots where running. Thus my key takeaway is that bots help boost what you already have.

Also I decided that I will keep the dummy instagram account as I thoroughly enjoyed sharing some of my observations about the London tech startup scene via pink coloured images.

Do follow the Instagram account here. And my next project is a Twitter bot.

Written by

Software Engineer. Previously I was a founder, then I worked for startups, then I looked after the ecosystem for possibly the best London startup hub. Dyslexic.

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