Over the past decade, social media has become one of the most important parts of running a business. Effectively managing your company’s social media accounts for reaching more customers, improving brand awareness, and getting feedback from customers has become a base level expectation, and the successful businesses that still ignore it can be counted on one hand.
As a consequence, businesses often spend significant budgets on hired professionals/experts that help them manage the accounts and get the maximum benefit out of various social media platforms. And these social media managers have a secret up their sleeve. Advancements in automation and artificial intelligence have allowed them to automate many of the day to day tasks that are required of them -- thus increasing the amount of businesses they can serve.
The tools and bots have now evolved to the point where you might as well ditch the middle man and apply this social media automation yourself -- or at least do it in-house.
What are social media bots?
A social media bot can be described as a software application that is designed to run automated tasks on a particular social media platform. The tasks run by social media bots are typically simple and structurally repetitive at a rate much higher than that possible for a human. Modern businesses use bots and AI on almost all the major social media platforms --Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on.
Uses of social media bots
Business owners are now able to automate almost all the aspects of their social media management and marketing by making use of these bots. Here are some of the ways bots are helping business owners free their time and get the most out of their social media.
- Acting as customer service agents
- Answering frequently asked questions
- Sending out personalized messages
- Creating and posting relevant content
- Facilitating sales
- Getting more followers and customers
- Making sure new content gets the most attention possible
How to get more followers using social media bots
There are several ways a person or a business can use social media automation to expand their circle of fans and customers. Here are some of the most effective ways:
The follow bot
When you follow other people or businesses, they get a notification that often results in them checking you out and, hopefully, following back. You can set up a follow bot on Instagram or Twitter that either targets specific usernames, the users of a specific hashtag, or users in a particular location. The targeted users will then be automatically followed over a period of time by your profile -- while you sit back and work on other aspects of your business.
Keep in mind that in the follow strategy, it's vitally important to make sure you have great and relevant content on your profile, and especially near the top (most recent). This has the added benefit of getting additional retweets and likes on your content even from people who decided against following.
Taking care to make sure your account looks and feels like a great follow to the specific demographic you are targeting can result in as much as 80% follow-back (in my personal experience on Twitter).
Like or retweet bots
Like or Retweet bots automatically like or retweet the content of other users on the platform. This higher interaction of your profile or page with other users increases the flow of traffic to your profile or page and is another opportunity to get more followers. The like/retweet strategy is not as effective as the follow strategy, but it should be included in any overall strategy to keep your account's back-end stats as human-like as possible.
Auto unfollow bots
In order to help reduce spam, Instagram does not allow anyone to follow more than 7,500 profiles. For Twitter the first effective limit is 5000, which disappears when your follower counts starts to match or exceed it.
Ergo, you will need to unfollow profiles in order to get new following opportunities. And this is definitely something you should automate -- you don't want to go insane, do you? Many unfollow tools and bots (both for IG and Twitter) exist to help you out here, but we recommend ones that allow you to give it conditions, like only unfollowing people you followed 3+ days ago and who still haven't followed back.
Auto scheduling posts
One of the most time consuming aspects of social media management is managing posts and scheduling them for the coming weeks. It's also one of the most effective ways of getting new followers.
Consistently posting high quality posts not only keeps the existing followers interested in your business, it also results in getting likes, comments and shares that in turn bring in new followers. You can save a lot of time by automating post scheduling on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and there are many tools that figure out (based on your followers and their activity patterns) when to post for the maximum amount of eyeballs.
This is very similar to the like and retweet bot strategy. Users often check who has watched their Facebook or Instagram stories, and a portion of these will check out the watcher’s profile to see what they're about and if they're worth a follow. Setting up a bot that automatically views the stories of different users on a daily basis can give you a consistent flow of new followers.
Maximizing benefits and reducing risk
There are plenty of ways you can use bots to increase your follower count, but it is important to remember that social media platforms don’t really like everything they can do for you.
These platforms are made for human interactions, and the usage of bots can even result in getting permanently banned. Here are a few useful tips to keep it all as safe as possible:
Don't automate everything
It has become very easy to automate almost all the aspects of social media management. There are still a few things that you should not automate. These include sending direct messages, and commenting.
While bots can be used to answer some of the most frequently asked questions, the usual instagram, twitter, or Facebook interactions require real conversations that cannot be left to any kind of current generation AI.
Using a bot for replying to messages and comments not only results in lack of interest from other people, it also risks your profile being marked as spam. So make sure you either do it yourself or delegate it to a team member.
Don’t push bots/automation to the max!
While there is (usually) no limit to how many accounts your bot can follow or how many posts it can like in a day, it's important to keep things safe and at a relatively natural speed. You will need to set the bot at a much slower pace than it is actually capable of. Operating the bot at its full capacity can lead to getting banned due to the detection of unnatural activity.
Create great content regularly
Whether or not you are automating (you should), the most important factor in the success of your social media marketing is consistent content. If you are not producing high quality content and doing so consistently, the bots won’t be of much use.
Your followers and customers are actual people who need to see great content in order to feel the need to like, comment, share, and purchase.
Engage with your audience
The bots can bring in a lot of followers and plenty of engagements to your profile, but it is your job to engage with the audience in a meaningful way to increase brand awareness, improve brand image, provide better customer experience, avoid spam detection algorithms, and, ultimately, to get sales.
Reply to the comments, answer the queries you receive in direct messages, and take time to check your mentions. It will not only leave a great impression on the audience but will also improve your overall credibility.
So there you have it.
The future is all about automation and if you avoid it you will be left by the wayside by those who tap into its enormous potential. Use technology and social media automation to your maximum advantage and don't feel any guilt over it -- all the cool kids are doing it!
You can also check out our past writing on how to use automation and AI to grow your business.