Despite the unexpected closure of Instagress this year, thousands of would-be overnight Instafamous personalities are still on the hunt for automation bots to generate thousands of new followers.

The problem is, Instagress closed for a reason.

Automation bots that help you like, comment on or follow other Instagram user’s accounts based on a set of (often poorly chosen) hashtags breach Instagram’s Terms of Use. Instagress users have had their accounts closed by Instagram without notice, because the way in which the bots work are not overly ethical, and breach their rules.

In terms of cost to operate, the various automation bots on the market (which range from outright dodgy right through to more well-formulated software offerings) vary widely. Some appear to be very affordable, and that is probably part of the attraction, but in our opinion the risk does not outweigh the reward. Good quality, highly engaging content will outrun automation bots any day. That, and a few fabulous keywords!

So how do you work towards getting thousands of Instagram followers?

Start by creating an Instagram account that actually means something to potential followers. Find a niche and make your account all about that – whether it’s knitting, pets, food, travel, wine or – well – whatever!

Define your keywords

Then you need 59 top notch keywords that relate to what you’re posting about. If you’re stuck for ideas, this great little aggregator site can help you out:

Create engaging content

Spend time to create remarkable, decent images (which you can certainly do with just a smartphone, no need to buy a high-tech camera). Some people find it best to spend a few hours a week devoted to creating content like this, while others take a slightly more ad hoc approach, snapping pics whenever the moment grabs them. Whatever your flavour, be sure to create top quality content that will meet the expectations of your native Instagram audience.

Post regularly

Post at least three times a day, at different times, and be sure to repost some of the better content pieces from other Instagrammers posting about the same or similar topics.

Don’t forget you can target complementary themes to yours, too. For example, if you like writing about travel and your adventures around the world, why not purposefully engage with some travel companies by tagging them or reposting their exciting content, provided it aligns with your values.

Connect with your audience

Lastly, it’s so important to understand your audience. Any great marketer or advertiser will tell you that human behaviour, while it changes almost weekly these days, still maintains some core values and features that never really change. For example, people want to feel part of something – a community – so give them exactly that and watch your Instagram follower numbers grow!

Don’t forget to comment on other people’s posts, too – and make it memorable, don’t just say ‘great feed’, ‘oh this is awesome’ or ‘thanks’. Get wordy and mean something!