Here’s What You Need To Know About Social Media Bots
Social media bots have become a real problem that is affecting millions of people all over the world. We think about them as harmless, but the truth is that they affect us in many different ways.
Today we will talk about how bots are affecting not only brands in social media, but also regular people.
First of all, let’s examine what the word bot stands for. When we talk about a bot, we refer to an automated program that runs on the internet. Now, it is important to understand that bots are not necessarily bad for us.
For example, some bots are programmed to simply do some tasks such as sending an automated message on Facebook, or setting up an alarm on your phone. However, there are also cases in which bots are extremely dangerous, and today we will talk about that.
Types Of Bots
When it comes to social media, people often think about bots as automated programs that do one specific task. In most cases, they see bots as tools simply designed to help people gain more followers on the social platform of their preference.
But, the truth is, there is more than one type of bot out there, and today we will take a quick look at some of the most popular.
1. Following Bots
As its own name describes it, following bots are designed to gain followers on a social platform. People who want to grow fast without making too much of an effort decide to buy these followers from some website they find online.
But, here’s the thing. Buying followers does not really help people get what they want. No likes, comments or anything like that, all they get is just a number on their profiles.
Spambots are designed to post promotional content around the web. The goal of this kind of bots is to generate traffic and get people to visit the social platform or website of the person who is using such bots.
3. Crisis Bots
Crisis bots are designed to either defend or attack a brand on social media platforms. The goal of using these kind of bots is to get people to form an idea, either positive or negative, about a brand.
Crisis bots are in most cases responsible for fake news posts, that influence users to have a good or bad opinion about something.
How Do Bots Affect Brands?
When it comes to brands, bots are probably their number one enemy. That is of course if we talk about malicious bots. Malicious social media bots harm brands in many different ways. In fact, it is due to these bots that just last year, brands all over the world lost over 2 billion dollars.
But how? Well, it’s no secret that nowadays, brands like to work with influencers.
Anyone who has been on Instagram, YouTube or any other social media platform, has seen at least one person getting perks for simply promoting a brand. Therefore, the idea of becoming an influencer is something that attracts many people.
The problem comes when these people make use of tools such as bots to gain fake followers,and cheat a brand into paying them to promote products to a non-existent audience.
As if this wasn’t enough, there’s more. Another common problem brands have to deal with due to the issue of bots, is fake news.
There have been many times where we have read different news related to important brands, and how they did something awful to their customers. The goal of spreading fake news is to create a negative opinion towards the brand that has been chosen to be attacked.
Of course, this gets translated into millions and millions of dollars in losses.
How Do Bots Affect Social Media Platforms?
Finally, let’s talk about the main topic. How do social media bots affect the most popular platforms?
Believe it or not, social media platforms also have a lot to lose. YouTube, for example, has already had a bad time with bots. We all know YouTube makes money thanks to the ads they display on their videos.
Of course, given that there are billions of videos on YouTube, it is literally impossible to have people place the ads one by one. Because of that, YouTube needs to use bots to accomplish this task.
But, here’s the thing. There was a time when the bots programmed to take care of placing the ads on the videos, messed up.
Brands ads started to be shown not only in regular family-friendly videos, but also in videos that should not be allowed under any circumstance (videos promoting terrorism). Due to this issue, over 30 percent of the brands on YouTube decided to leave the platform, which of course caused the company to lose a lot of money.
The same thing happens with any other social media platform. If not careful enough, bots can cause social media platforms to lose literally millions of dollars.
Unfortunately, malicious social media bots do not seem to be going anywhere any time soon. Brands will continue to lose money and people will continue to create more bots. The use of malicious bots affects companies in ways no one would like to be affected.
So, our best advice is to simply avoid using them. Think about the damage they can cause, and try to put yourself in the shoes of those who are actually affected by them.