In our always-on, hyper-connected digital world of shameless selfies, meal prepping promotion and misleading jet-setting vacation trips, anyone can become an influencer due to the possibilities from social media.
Whether you’re an established business or just starting your own personal brand, Instagram is a powerful platform enabling you to build a following, grow your brand and increase profits.
If you’re new to Instagram, consider yourself late to the party. Starting at zero in a highly saturated community can make climbing Mt Everest seem easy. That’s because, as fun, as it is to post photos, comment on other posts and follow your friends if you’re a business, you need to be active on social media 24 hours a day. Truth is, unless you’re Gary V, being “on” 24/7/365 is impossible. That’s where automation comes in. And in order to do it properly and protect yourself, you’re going to need dedicated proxies.
With a monthly user base of 350 million, Instagram provides a plethora amount of potential traffic you could be driving to your account. But because manually driving this traffic is impossible, developers created bots to tackle all the mundane and mind-numbing tasks automatically.
How It Works
Bots do everything that you would do but on a larger and hopefully more strategic scale. It’s very easy to go down a long rabbit hole of wasted hours when you mindlessly peruse Instagram. From the oddly satisfying videos to the adorable cats to the laugh-out-loud memes, liking, commenting and following users is entertaining to most. At best, these types of engagement provoke others to follow in a reciprocal matter. But as mentioned above, you can’t possibly do this at all hours of the day. And especially if you have multiple accounts you’re managing. Bots, on the other hand, have this artificial superpower.
There are a handful of automation tools at your disposal and you’ll want to do your due diligence to find the best ones for you. Regardless of the type of automation tool you use, you want to setup your bot to act in a way that lines up with your goal. One of your goals should be authenticity. Or at the very least, appear to be authentic.
If you’re not careful in setting up your bot, you run the risk of putting yourself in some pretty awkward situations. The point of automating is to like, follow and comment without a humans involvement. You’ll want to set up your comments to be generic enough to where it’s appropriate for a variety of hashtags and accounts but specific enough to appear authentic and genuine. Some may argue that because the bot will like and comment generically, it cannot provide genuine engagement. The truth is, you can setup your bot to provide value in an authentic and genuine way in a hyper-focused strategy.
The Ethics of Instagram Automation
Like all ethics-related questions, the use of automation for Instagram and other social media is a toss up. It is however a direct violation of Instagram’s terms. That’s why the popular automation tool Instagress was shut down.
The point of social media is to be “social”. Using an automation tool to replicate humans’ social behavior in the digital space is like sending a robot to network on your behalf at your work happy hour. It might be able to accomplish the same goal but is still technically fake, inauthentic and impersonal.
Regardless of where you stand in this divide, it’s safe to assume bots will always be around and fortunately, you can automate engagement without being spammy. Invest appropriate amount of time to build out your marketing campaign in a way that truly adds value to other users and the community as a whole by replicating your typical human behavior.
Instagram Proxies And Why It Matters
The lure of automation tools is to do tasks automatically and at scale. This means they – the tools – will make a lot of requests via the internet in a short time. The Instagram server can easily recognize an abnormal amount of requests and raise a red flag, potentially resulting in your account blocked or deleted.
What exactly is an Instagram Proxy?
Here’s an obligatory explanation of what a dedicated proxy for Instagram is and how it differs from regular dedicated proxies.
Understanding how the internet and Instagram works is beyond the scope of this article but in a nutshell, when you get on a computer, or another device, to access the internet and make a request (e.g. visiting Amazon or conducting a search in Google, etc), your computer sends that request to the internet network (which is simply a connection of computers). Once it finds the information you requested, it sends it back to your computer. In order to send and receive information, your computer needs “an address” or an identifier of sorts to communicate with other computers. That’s your IP address.
If you’re connected wirelessly through an Internet Service Provider (ISP), you are usually automatically given a temporary IP address for the duration of your session. If you connect through a local area network (LAN), you most likely have a permanent IP address.
When using dedicated proxies that are optimized for Instagram, you’ll have a lower chance of getting blocked due to the actions of other users.
This is advantageous for a handful of reasons. If you create multiple accounts for the sake of building followers and likes from the same computer, Instagram can track the address and figure out the accounts are fake. Dedicated Instagram proxies allow you to connect to all of your accounts from one computer but with different IP addresses that aren’t shared with anyone else, thereby making you appear legitimate (by dispersing you around the world).
There are many types of proxy providers you can purchase from. Instagram only allows you to connect 5 accounts per IP address so depending on how many accounts you’ll be managing, you may need more than 1 proxy server. If you find yourself needing more than 20 proxies from one single computer, you may want to consider having a Virtual Private Server to handle multiple proxies seamlessly.
Why Use Instagram Proxies
As mentioned above, Instagram proxies allow an individual user to connect multiple accounts to the social media platform without raising suspicion. Marketers who manage several accounts on behalf of their clients will need proxies to protect each account. By having each account on a separate proxy, there won’t be a conflict of interest with each client.
But you may also need proxies even if you’re one business. For example, if you’re a clothing brand, you may want one account to promote women’s clothing, another to promote male’s clothing, a third to promote your children’s line, a fourth for accessories and so on so forth. Combining a social media automation tool and Instagram proxies allows you to connect and manage all your accounts in one place and grow your brand.
Unfortunately, most marketers assume that by setting up automation tools and proxies, they’ll automatically increase their following, traffic and revenue. The reality is, 3rd party tools can never substitute strategy, they can only enhance it. Thus, you’ll need to identify your niche and your unique selling proposition, create your ideal buyer persona and finally, develop a strategic distribution strategy based on high-value content.
Picking Your Instagram Tools
There are a variety of proxy types and providers you can choose from. A public proxy is a server that’s accessible by all users connected to the internet. A semi-private proxy is a proxy owned by a group of people. For ultimate security, you’ll want to avoid both of these types of proxies and instead get a private dedicated proxy. It’s an individual server solely dedicated to you. You can review and purchase proxy providers at BestProxyProviders website.
For automation tools, some of the most popular ones used to be Massplanner and Instagress until they got shut down. Some that are still up and running are FollowAdder, Hootsuite, Gramblr, and SocialPilot. There’s no guarantee these providers won’t get shut down either in due time but in the meantime, are definitely worth utilizing.
Simply being on social media for any brand or individual is not enough if your goal is to grow.
Successful marketing campaigns require a number of things (high-performing content, great products or services, etc) and automation is a critical one as well. Automation gives you the chance to exponentially increase your traffic. But you have to be careful on how you run your accounts.
Start slow in regards to the number of likes, follows, comments and account creation and only increase when you get the hang of it. You want to appear “human”. With dedicated proxies, you can successfully deceive Instagram into appearing as a “human” in a different location and thus, prevent them from connecting the dots and banning all of your accounts.