By now you’re probably well aware that Instagress, an easy-to-use and affordable website that allowed would-be Instagram influencers to use bots to rack up followers, has folded.
Instagress didn’t make fake accounts, but it created bots that automatically commented on and liked other people’s Instagram photos, artificially increasing engagement and making accounts appear more popular.
In a tweet, Instagress said the ‘sad’ decision to shut down its web service was due to a ‘request’ from Instagram.
It’s no secret that Instagram dislikes the use of automation and bots, but regulating botting on platforms has always been difficult, due to the bot-like behavior of most people. Think about it: we like, comment and click on the same things in a very predictable fashion. Plus, most people want a high volume of Instagram followers, and to get that to be less of a priority, you’d have to change Instagram into a platform that isn’t based on popularity and likes. And nobody’s doing that.
This is what the Instagress dashboard looked like:
So why did Instagress shut down?
It’s the one question that has been trending across social media platforms for a month. Some say it was because the name had the word ‘insta’ in it; others linked it to the fact that the company breached Instagram’s terms of service.
The truth is, we may never know the exact reason. But the key takeaway from the collapse of Instagress is that paid follower growth isn’t going anywhere. Yes, that may sound contrary. But let me tell you why.
Marketing will always be marketing. And what all marketers want to do at the end of the day is reach as many members of their target audience as possible while spending the minimum amount possible.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but organic reach on social media is dead. Most content goes nowhere and gets zero shares on its own. Think about it. There are 500 million users on Instagram alone. That makes it bigger than the entire population of the USA!
It means standing out on social media is not easy. Changes to Google’s search results pages have further obscured organic content, especially on competitive commercial searches, and the typical internet marketing conversion rate is less than 1%.
Content doesn’t go viral on Instagram just because there are a lot of people on it. It goes viral because all of those 500 million people are connected to each other through one platform and they share whatever catches their attention. It’s a domino effect, and I would argue that it’s only really possible through paid acquisition and automation.
But why do I need bots?
If you’re still thinking, I can just engage with as many people as possible, as frequently as possible, across the necessary platforms, then you’re still not thinking big enough.
In the instance that your Instagram account experiences a high level of activity – I’m talking literally thousands upon thousands of comments and shares – it would take you all day and all night to respond, and then some. Sure, you might have a social media specialist in-house to take care of:
- Sharing comments
- Sharing likes
- Following people
- Responding to direct messages
- Exchanging shout-outs for shout-outs
But a web service like Instagress can take care of a lot of this for you. Imagine the money you will save per year if you outsource your account activity and process of engagement, and have your social media specialist focus more on creating killer content – the kind that commands attention and keeps it.
Here are a couple of Instagram accounts that do a great job of branding themselves with content. And check out their follower counts! They may be organic… But I have an inkling they’re not.
Without a doubt, automation is the way forward for all marketers. It is a form of marketing that, when used correctly, can increase efficiency by a significant margin, and make all the difference between floating and floundering for your business.
So what was great about Instagress?
When I first came across Instagress roughly two years ago, I fell in love with it as it helped me solve my time-management and marketing woes. However, I hated the fact that I had to constantly check the dashboard, adjust the settings and make sure it was working properly. So I decided to revamp the platform in a customized way so that it would work just like I wished it would.
That was when SociallyRich was born.
With Instagress, the user process involved conducting research for hashtags you wished to target. Once done, you would manually type them into the dashboard and the software would begin to ‘like’ pictures using those hashtags at whichever speed you had set the software to do so.
The issue was that the dashboard created a lot of confusion for people who were not well-versed in using Instagram.
We built SociallyRich keeping three issues we identified with Instagress in mind:
- Not everyone is an Instagram expert; in fact, many people looking for paid follower growth are small businesses without a designated team to handle their social media accounts
- There was no dedicated assistive tool for performing hashtag research, and doing so was time-consuming
- There was no customer service team to troubleshoot problems when you started using it.
In building SociallyRich, we removed the dashboard to take the guesswork out of researching hashtags by doing it ourselves in the back end. We aimed to kill two birds with one stone: make using our bot service easier, and make sure every account is 100% optimized. And we succeeded.
At SociallyRich, we look at each account manually to decide how much activity can be generated for optimal performance, and benchmark it to some metrics we look at and calculate periodically. We have a service called ‘Done For You‘ where our marketing team performs in-depth research of your target market so that the following you get is as targeted as possible.
We also offer the best customer service we possibly can for those un-tech-savvy moments. We turned the ‘disadvantage’ of being a small start-up into an advantage and kept it, even when we grew big. To have a connection and be treated as a human through a computer should be standard practice.
Over time, we grew a client list belonging to a diverse range of industries. Clients of SociallyRich include:
- Social media influencers
- Marketing agencies
- Real estate companies
- Small start-ups
- Retail stores
- Design accounts
- Ecommerce companies
And many more.
What other tips can you give me?
First and foremost, understand that Instagram is for everyone: there’s not a single industry that it doesn’t suit and can’t serve in terms of marketing.
Anyone who says otherwise has tried it and given up too quickly as it didn’t work for them. A platform with over 500 million users definitely is worthy of your attention!
Which brings me to another point. You may have noticed that in the list of SociallyRich client industries I included above, social media influencers were mentioned. You don’t need to own a business to give yourself permission to expand your following and extend your influence on Instagram. You can monetize your account simply by establishing your own good self as a brand.
One of my favorite ways to monetize your account in a nifty way is by playing to your different niches: for example, I own the Instagram accounts @designselfies, @higherlifestyle and @mens.daily.style.
When you grow or buy an audience for a particular niche using SociallyRich or another web tool, you can then sell them something they would potentially be interested in. The system works flawlessly. Once you have built an audience and have the potential to attract a lot of traffic, you just have to promote the product through your own account – you don’t even have to pay for traffic or influencer marketing anymore.
Sometimes people say to me, “If I launch my business on ‘x’ date, when should I begin my social media marketing?” As my friend Nick Mares, founder of Kettle & Fire Bone Broth once said to me, “It’s never too early to start marketing.”
I apply that mentality to anything marketing-related.
Even if you don’t have plans to launch a business any time soon, start growing your Instagram audience now so that one day if you do decide to launch your own business, you will already have an audience. You will save yourself a lot of time and money as a result.
I understand that it’s hard to appreciate the impact something can have without having experienced it first. And that’s why I want to offer you a completely free 3-day trial of our service so that you can get a first-hand experience of the type of following you can build for yourself, your company, or your clients with the help of SociallyRich.
This 3-day trial is a no commitment, cancel anytime, 100% free trial. If you are still thinking that you’ll continue to do all your social media marketing manually, be sure to bookmark this page because I guarantee you’ll get tired of it fairly fast!
Social media is a touchstone of modern communication and it’s here to stay. In today’s world, the more people we can connect with, the better. Instagram keeps growing on a daily basis and it is now about to hit, if it has not already hit, the 600 million mark!
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in – what you ultimately want to do is increase your popularity. If you build a large enough Instagram following in your industry or niche, you will effectively establish yourself as an authority and increase your sales prospects.
People will trust you and feel they don’t have to continue searching for another company, as it will validate you in their eyes. Buying follower growth with bots is a statistically proven way to start the process of biasing people towards you.
Think of tools like SociallyRich as the extra firepower and investment for your business that will help you use Instagram and other social media platforms to your advantage. A shift in digital marketing trends is taking place right in front of our very eyes. It’s an exciting time to be alive. My two cents is: Instagram is here to stay, maybe even forever!
Now is the time to get ahead of the curve, see through corners, innovate and stay on top as a digital marketer. Try my free trial offer, and be sure to remember the most important skill of them all: the ability to adapt, and take action today instead of tomorrow.
Guest Author: Ramon Berrios is a multi-national serial entrepreneur based in Puerto Rico, and the co-founder of SociallyRich.co – an Instagram Growth service that helps businesses from any industry grow a targeted following.