Automation is something that we’ve been dreaming about for decades. Just look at any old Jetsons cartoon and you’ll see it. Jane Jetson walks into a kitchen, pushes a few buttons and boom, dinner is done! While push button meals never ended up materializing (Sonic doesn’t count), other concepts around automations are at full tilt.
Do you ever open Instagram and wonder how adding a few hashtags can result in people you have absolutely no connection with following your account or liking a picture? Sure, many people browse posts related to hashtags and engage with that content, but it is also VERY likely that at least some of the action you see on your Instagram account is automated.
Instagram automation tools help many accounts gain an audience. The idea is that by setting up automations that like and interact with content posted by other users, you are in effect making that user aware of your own account. In a perfect world, that user will then visit your account and show some love in return. It’s the way many people promoting their personal brand have grown a followship so quickly.
The problem with automations is that they are not authentic and in some cases they can get it completely wrong. I recently took on a project where a friend had Instagram automations set up around the hashtag #CrushedIt. For those that do not know, “crushing” something good! It means you did well at whatever your tried. Did you just skydive for the first time? Guess what? You crushed it!
This automation sent out a scripted, generic comment congratulating the person that just #CrushedIt. However, congratulating a rock climber that just crushed their hand in a freak accident is poor form, and that’s just what happened to this client. It was an embarrassing moment for their brand. Their Social Media intern had to play damage control as the rock climbing community roasted them for all to see.
Recently, Instagram took steps to do away with automations. Instagram has requested that major Instagram automation platforms be shut down. This seems like the end for this type of automation and it’s probably for all of our own good.
Now look, all automation is not bad automation. Do you blog regularly? Having a completed blog autopost to Social Media is a great solution! Do you share 3rd part content? A automation that aggregates this content for you will save you some time! However, if you are going to engage with the community, it is better to leave this interaction to an actual human. Otherwise, you could come off as disingenuous or worse, you could congratulate a rock climber on crushing their hand.
So, if you want to grow your brand on Instagram, keep it simple. Post awesome content and use real life human engagement when you interact with others on Instagram or ANY Social Media platform for that matter. Nobody wants to talk to a robot.