How Wannabe Instagram Influencers Use Bots To Appear Popular

by MR Magazine Staff

Jason Wong founded a clothing store called Fifthtee this year that pledges a fifth of its proceeds to nonprofit Best Friends Animal Society. Wong used a bot service for his business account @fifthtee to automatically like and comment 24/7 on posts that included dog-related hashtags. While the provider didn’t get @fifthtee — which has a little over 6,000 followers — as many followers as expected, it helped the account generate more than 100 likes per post than usual, according to Wong. Many agencies and marketing platforms promote the idea of “micro-influencers,” who are considered more authentic than those with millions of followers. But this cohort — whose following base typically falls in the 10,000 to 100,000 range — are mostly likely to turn to bots to inflate their authenticity. Like Wong, many micro-influencers on Instagram are using bot providers — the costs range from $9 to $40 per month — to generate followers, likes and comments based on certain rules in an automated way. For instance, a user can ask the bot to comment “I love it!” on posts about travel or like images posted from New York City. “I’m both an advocate of automation software and opponent of it,” said Wong, who was a former Vine influencer. “There’s lots of downside of doing so, like the decrease of engagement over the long run. But if you are a small business and you cannot hire a marketing team, bot services can be good because it’s cheap and hands-off.” Read more at Digiday.