Chatbot News, Discoverability

Top Social Media Bots for 2021

Social media bots are algorithms that use artificial intelligence (AI) to simulate human behavior on social networks. Let's dive into their uses and the different types of social bots.

By Mariana Ranzahuer
October 23, 2020

In the modern era of social media and digital information, artificial intelligence (AI) has played a big role in assisting business owners and marketers by efficiently connecting them with customers. Many industry sectors, including travel, entertainment, health, and politics, have started to make increasing use of social bots.

Overall, bots are great tools to assist with the growth of your social media pages, since they can enhance your customer support and serve as resource tools. However, these bots can sometimes be poorly developed and programmed, causing more harm than good. They can even be annoying and dishonest and can spread false information. So how do social bots really work, and what are the main types of bots we’re seeing in 2020? Let’s take a look at some examples.

What are social bots?

A social bot is an automated program that incorporates AI technology to simulate human-like behaviors on social media. These types of behaviors range from giving follows and likes on Instagram to sending friend requests. These bots even take part in discussions on Twitter and Facebook through predetermined responses, mainly with the purpose of influencing people’s opinions.

These bots behave in either partially or fully autonomous fashions and are mostly used for political or marketing purposes. To influence opinions, they use methods to search for specific social networks or discussions through a programming interface (API) and to sway the topics as a virtual conversation participant.

However, these bots may have a negative reputation, since they’re often used in dishonest ways and as tools to spread false information on the web.

What’s the difference between social bots and chatbots?

Although social bots can interact with users and respond to their comments on social media without getting tired, these accounts are generally automated through coding language that’s focused on getting a certain message across. Chatbots are capable of engaging conversations in multiple contexts; whereas those on social media are only programmed to sway the conversation to very specific topics—and they don’t need to know the background of a conversation.

In addition, these bots require a much lower level of management and maintenance compared to regular chatbots, which are often managed by a developer to keep their functionality up to date. They’re typically programmed with simple algorithms based on straightforward queries, like “if...then…” statements, which are prompted when specific keywords or phrases are found in social media conversations. After scanning social platforms, like Twitter or Facebook, they publish pre-established responses to try to steer the conversation in a certain direction.

What are the uses of social media bots?

Overall, these bots provide useful services and information, such as daily weather forecasts with emojis, horoscopes, and sports scores. In these cases, the users who interact with them are generally aware that they’re dealing with automated bots since there are clear disclosures. These bots also facilitate customer relations for many types of businesses, along with selling products and services.

However, recently there has been an increasing number of bots on social media that hide their true purpose and are disguised as real humans, which can result in negative repercussions and situations. These include:

Influencing elections.

The risks of bots were highlighted in 2016 (and beyond) as bot accounts were created to spread and amplify controversial issues to manipulate the public’s opinion ahead of America’s presidential elections.

Prompting spam messages.

These types of bots have been blamed for the promotion of elicit advertising in social networks by spreading spam links for users to click.

Amplifying phishing attacks.

Since social media bots can emulate human behavior, they can be used to gain someone’s trust to get their personal information for phishing purposes and scams.

Manipulating stock markets.

In an attempt to manipulate the direction of a company’s perception by the public, bots can also spread manufactured information and influence financial markets.

Promoting hate speech.

By scanning hashtags and conversations on social media, bots can initiate hateful conversations and attacks toward a specific target audience. Bots also harm proactive and positive conversations by deliberately pushing down messages from real human accounts.

Top social media bots

In 2020, we have seen the rise of social media bots and we expect them to continue to thrive as more businesses move their marketing efforts to the digital space. Based on their effectiveness and safety for users, these are among the year’s best:

Nitreo.

This bot allows you to grow your social following by adding niche-specific hashtags and accounts that are similar to yours. According to its website, Nitreo uses SHA-3 cryptographic encryption with Advanced Encryption Standard, which enforces security to your account credentials and keeps your performance results real and accurate.

Ingramer.

After taking a break to adapt to new Instagram guidelines, Ingramer promises an effective interaction automation feature and additional functions, like story viewer, post automation, DM manager, and hashtag generator, that can help new businesses to get their profiles together and to steadily grow.

Instamber.

Instamber is one of the most affordable options that includes services on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter to improve your marketing efforts. This app identifies your usage patterns and activities connected to your IP to create low-risk interactions.

Currently, we have seen how top bots in social media can be used for beneficial aspects in business growth and development. However, it’s important to know their various uses and to identify certain activities on social media that could warn of the presence of a malicious social bot.

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