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Building your social media channels can be difficult for first time businesses without resorting to black market tactics such as fake instagram followers. Seeing the big brands achieve thousands of likes and comments per post would make any small business owner wonder what they’re doing wrong. Developing your channels on your own can take a long time. It may take months, if not years, before you are able to see continuous engagement with your posts. Every social media marketer knows you must be patient and consistent.


For those not willing to wait, it can be tempting to invest in black market techniques to give your account an artificial boost. Investing in fake followers or “bot” accounts will allow your account to gain a substantial amount of followers in a very short space of time. This will give the impression that your business has a booming fanbase that will look more appealing to potential business leads who are scouting to invest.


This is incredibly risky and comes with serious consequences if you are caught out. We will educate you in the reasons why you must avoid investing in bot accounts and how to spot an account using them.


  1. They Add No Value

When you invest in bot accounts, you are investing in a fake profile to follow or engage with your content. In practicality, this is doing nothing for your business other than giving you short term gain. A bot will never look into your products and subsequently make a purchase or invest in your services which adds no value to your business.


  1. Affects Analytics

Using Instagram’s business analytics is a great method of measuring the effectiveness of your content with your target audience. When you invest in bot accounts, these analytics will not give you a true reading of user engagement. This, in turn, disables the ability to collect any useful data which could otherwise be helping you plan future content and make the necessary changes to help get a better understanding of what your audience like and dislike.


  1. Long Term Loss

In the long run, you will notice a steady decline in followers or engagement due to the bot accounts getting flagged and banned by Instagram’s security algorithm. Once these accounts are banned and removed from the platform, the bots will automatically unfollow your account. As time progresses, the algorithm becomes smarter and more efficient in detecting these accounts which leads to a heavier decline in followers for your account.


Identifying Accounts That Use Bots

Identifying accounts that have invested in fake followers are surprisingly easy to find. Using programs such as socialblade will allow you analyse a users total Instagram followers over a certain timeframe. Potential investors who are knowledgeable about these tools will be sure to avoid profiles with signs of artificial growth.


In the example below, we analysed an account that shown signs of fake followers. You can find bot activity in accounts by observing the rate of monthly followers. In the example, this account experienced a rapid increase of 3,000 followers between October 2017 and November 2017. From the moment of the influx in followers, the rate of followers have been slowly depleting as the bot accounts have been banned or automatically unfollowing the account.


An account with organic growth will display a graph with a much more steadier rate of followers than the one depicted. Being able to identify accounts that include these sharp increases will help you as a business or investor pick up on unusual activity and fraudulent growth within companies trying to cheat the system.