How long does bot sweeping actually take?
You’ve poured your heart and soul into building your Instagram account into a lively, robust community of thousands of followers. Then one day you log in only to see that, literally, overnight you’ve lost half of them.
Don’t worry! You’re not alone. Thousands of Instagram accounts have experienced significant drops and fluctuations in followers over the past few months all thanks to Instagram sweeping bots.
Why is Instagram is Sweeping Bots?
In the past, Instagram has launched a site-wide audit, removing spammy or fake bots causing people to lose millions of followers in a matter of hours.
According to a recent news article from Facebook, “Inauthentic activity has no place on our platform. That’s why we devote significant resources to detecting and stopping this behavior. That includes blocking the creation and use of fake accounts and using machine learning technology to proactively find and remove any inauthentic activity from Instagram.”
While we can all appreciate Instagram wanting to keep their user base as authentic and active as possible, their relentless housekeeping is certainly causing a headache for many subscribers.
While there is no one quick-fix to becoming a victim of the next sweep, there are things you can do to strengthen your Instagram account and minimize the impact.
Stay Away From Fake Followers
If you’ve ever purchased fake followers or used an automation software, stop doing that! This violates Instagram’s terms and conditions and they can come down hard on your account.
Instagram will shut your account down directly, but if they do not, they can limit your reach and visibility by “shadow banning” you. Your account looks seemingly unaffected, but over time, you will start losing followers.
Any “black hat” tactics like generic copying and pasting the same comments over and over will also get you noticed by Instagram, and not in a good way.
You have to remain as authentic and natural as possible. Don’t fall into any traps that could jeopardize your account.
Be Careful with Overpopulated Hashtags
Hashtags are an essential part of branding and reaching new audiences on Instagram but using overpopulated hashtags can open you up to spammers.
Spammers and bots will target hashtags with a large following and subsequently, those accounts associated with the hashtag. This leaves you susceptible to losing followers in the next purge.
Make sure that you’re staying within the max amount of hashtags in your posts (30), and selecting niche, relevant hashtags associated with your target audiences and messages.
There are many hashtag tools available to help you analyze and discover unique and relevant hashtags. Furthermore, using smaller hashtags gives you more of an opportunity to rank in the top posts within hashtag searches.
Change Your Expectations
The cold, hard truth is follower attrition is normal on Instagram and the bigger your Instagram following gets, the more significant the drop can be. People’s interests change over time and what once interested them about you may no longer be appealing.
Furthermore, there will always be a percentage of your followers that aren’t adding any value. Whether it’s fake followers, bots, or people who simply follow/unfollow it’s just the nature of social media.
Should you block bots and unfollow/follows?
In a perfect world, yes, that would be ideal but the amount of time and energy that takes would detract from what you should be doing.
Dedicating time to eradicating offenders everyday detracts valuable energy you could be putting towards generating new, exciting content. Engage with real followers and solidifying new relationships.
Post Consistently and Focus on Valuable Content
While you can’t necessarily control fake bots and spammers on a daily basis, what you can do is continue to work hard at creating amazing, authentic content for your audience that will earn you more quality followers.
In order to grow a valuable, engaging audience, you have to continually provide value. This is done by knowing who your followers are, what they’re interested in, and how to reach them. Is it tips, tutorials, humor, beauty, adventure, videos?
When your content drives engagement and interest it will also attract the type of followers that you want.
Consistency is key. Your followers should know what to expect from you. Your theme, content, and posting times should all be consistent with the brand you’re trying to build.
You don’t want to overwhelm them with posts or go dark from time to time. People follow you for a reason and if you start to stray from that, they’ll go elsewhere.
Don’t Be Too Pushy With Sales
Many people on Instagram are there to sell something. We get it. But that doesn’t mean that you have to post about it every day or use heavy sales jargon unless your aim is to lose followers of course.
Your goal is to provide value. Value isn’t throwing your products or services in a post every day it’s giving people quality information and connecting to them via their interests that also align with your products and services. Find a balance.
Engage. Engage. Engage.
Engagement is what will keep quality followers and attract new ones. Half the battle of fighting bots is won by ensuring you’ve secured a strong, authentic following. That is what Instagram wants.
People like to engage and if you don’t take the time to respond to them, they will think that you don’t care and won’t stick around. New followers are able to quickly see if you’re actively participating with your audience and if you’re going to engage with them.
Social media is all about making connections. If you’re not consistently connecting and building relationships then you’re follower base isn’t as valuable.
We hope that by following some of these tips, you’ll be more prepared and less affected when the next sweep hits. Have you been affected by an Instagram bot sweep?
Well let’s bring some joy to this shall we? For your bot sweep inconvenience, we’re adding a link to a blog on Dynamic Ads on Instagram – Your Complete 2019 Guide
About the author
Shawn Pillar is the Director of Marketing for https://www.juicer.io/