Facebook-owned platforms are probably amongst the most widely used and popular platforms today, and Instagram is one of them. Instagram marketing is in such high demand nowadays that marketers are always looking for Instagram tips and tricks that will help them grow their audience and, by extension, their revenue.
Table of Content: Instagram Automation: What It Is and How It Works
The numbers don’t lie on that one. Facebook – i.e., Facebook-owned platforms – gathers an astounding 274 billion active users. This means that marketers, businesses, and anyone trying to build a brand or maintain its image are looking for a legit tool or two to grow their Instagram account.
However, this is not as simple as it sounds. Let’s see why.
What Is Instagram Automation?
Instagram automation is the action of managing an Instagram account using third-party software that allows you to sit back and relax as it takes over social interactions. Such as likes and shares or does behind-the-scenes work, such as scheduling Instagram posts or gathering data for your analytics.
Instagram automation tools are essentially little bots that interact with your audience. They can be programmed to do X tasks after Y triggers, including automating comments, automating likes, and others, allowing the account owner or marketer to do more important things.
Since Instagram is such a popular platform, I’m sure you think using automation tools for something like that is pretty logical and expected. But this is not exactly the case. You see, much like Email Service Providers (ESPs) don’t much like the idea of spam emails, Instagram doesn’t like the idea of non-human interaction. And it does try to contain it – or, in some cases, eliminate it.
And you’ve probably seen it, too; you just haven’t paid much attention. Remember the times when your follower count drops, and you just have no idea why or the times when you encountered comments like this one:
This was a bot – or Instagram automation, if you will.
Using Instagram automation is risky because it’s different. Other automation tools and platforms, like email marketing platforms or autoresponder tools, kind of have their work cut out for them. Your audience uses something you’ve set to be a trigger; your platform delivers a message in the form of an email newsletter, you’re all set and done and not likely to suffer any losses.
But automating Instagram interactions means that a part of your social media marketing efforts won’t be “authentic.” And more than most Instagram influencers have demonized that.
However, this doesn’t mean that there are no actions to automate or that automation tools for Instagram are a work of the devil and will get you and your brand banned from the platform.
Actions to Be Automated on Instagram
When talking about Instagram automation tools, we’ve got two categories: the front-end automation tools and the back-end automation tools:
- The frontend automation tools boost user interaction by leaving comments, likes, viewing stories, and generally interacting with your audience. This can build you a fanbase and make Instagram advertising very profitable, or it can get suspicious, really fast, as it could be considered “inauthentic activity,” which goes against Instagram’s Terms and Conditions.
- The backend automation tools are the ones that marketers use for hashtags, reporting and analytics, and other similar actions.
While it looks like Instagram should ban all frontend Instagram automation tools and marketers should get on with their lives, this is not the case. There are plenty of workarounds and legitimate tactics that don’t go against Instagram’s best practices that fall under either category. Let’s see what those are:
- Reporting and analytics. These are among the most innocent tasks marketers automate, and automating them doesn’t go against Instagram’s best practices. At the same time, it allows you to make better predictions about your content and your audience’s actions.
- Upping your follower count. Through Instagram automation, you can find audiences similar to your target audience that you can engage and entice without buying followers.
- Scheduling posts. If this action couldn’t be automated, there would be no “non-spammy” action that Instagram automation could do. Use Instagram automation to find when your audience is active and schedule accordingly.
- Instagram follows. If you use Instagram automation for a fundamental follow/unfollow level, then you’re covered. However, if you’re following, say, 20,000 people and only 500 follow you back, this could be considered spammy.
- Likes, comments, stories. This is where things get a little hazy. You can automate likes as a task, and since it’s not a “spammy” type of interaction and won’t increase your traffic overnight, it could work. Now, automating comments isn’t such a good idea if you let your automation run rampant. You can automate comments if you use some “canned answers” to the most common comments you get. This will save you a lot of time. And automating story views is kind of like automating likes. Interacting by viewing a story is not considered spammy but can help boost engagement with your target audience. You can generally automate actions with a low impact with social media automation tools or other growth hacking tools.
- The dreaded DMs. This can go from zero to ultra-spam very, very fast. Never automate your DMs without personalizing them first. In any other case, your DM could end up in the “Message Requests” tab, and users will ignore it at best or flag your account as spam at worst.
Now that we’ve got the actions down, let’s see how you can automate your Instagram without risking a ban from the platform.
The Legitimate Ways to Automate Your Instagram
Instagram cares a little more about user experience and legitimate engagement and a little less about photography and account growth. This is why it encourages people to report any suspicious activity and tries to keep a close-knit community, despite billions of users.
But how are you going to create authentic engagement using tools?
Hashtags and UGC
You can automate your Instagram actions by using tools to analyze your content and account and uncover relevant hashtags, followers, or even underused customer segments that you may not have considered yet. Use these hashtags to discover prospects, nurture existing leads through relevant content, and find User-Generated Content (UGC).
UGC is content that users have created for you and your brand by snapping photos or creating videos and other types of content that you could use as marketing material.
Instagram automation will allow you to discover such content. After that, it will be your responsibility to reach out and ask if you can use said content.
Social Listening and Scheduling Content
Automating social listening will allow you to discover all the topics – and hashtags, of course – that your audience loves to talk about. And it could be anything, from keywords to testimonial videos to infographics – the list goes on.
Just make sure you pay close attention to what your audience is talking about when it comes to you or your competitors. This will help you find out what they love in terms of content and how they interact with the different types of content they come across.
And, of course, Instagram automation will help you figure out when to schedule your next Instagram post by showing you when your audience is more active and engaged.
The Right Way to Automate DMs
Instagram automation can be fatal when it comes to comments and DMs if one believes that generic, spammy answers can fly under the radar. However, there is nothing wrong with automating your DMs and comments if you can do it right.
DMs and comments are essential tools to the grander scheme of pr planning. This is why you need to take a deep dive into your data and figure out the patterns of your comments and DMs. Is there a frequently asked question? Use Instagram automation to create a canned response for that.
The same goes for most of your DMs, more or less. But there’s a little twist to it: Your tabs.
A business account allows users to use tabs in their DMs and categorize their DMs into Primary and General. Using Instagram automation will help you make the most out of those categories and leave no DM unanswered.
Pros and Cons of Instagram Automation
Instagram automation, much like any other automation tool, isn’t inherently good or inherently bad. But what are the pros and cons of using it?
It’s a Time-Saver
This is the main reason why any type of automation is developed in the first place. Marketers need to save time and resources, and it’s more challenging to create a strategy that will help you with increasing engagement and, in the end, lead generation than targeting each user manually.
But It Can Be Spammy
Instagram doesn’t exactly love automated messages, and audiences are far too wary of bots not to be able to tell them apart from simple people and report you for suspicious activity. So, automating your comments can come at a price, mainly if you use powerful words in your content.
Power words can look pretty spammy, and they can, all in all, frame you for inauthentic engagement. Instagram hates that and limits this activity by banning such brands and accounts from their platform.
It Can Give You Insight
Instagram automation can help you uncover your audience’s “hidden secrets” that could give you better insight into what they need from your Instagram posts and your brand as a whole. After all, bots can distinguish patterns that the human eye can’t, and this goes from interaction patterns to hashtags and preferences.
Understanding even the slightest interaction on a one-on-one basis will help you personalize your message and, as a result, grow your follower count and get more interested leads on board.
But You May Pay the Price
Sometimes, some interactions are too good or too crucial to miss and be handled by a bot. Just ask any chatbot user out there; they’ll verify this statement. Now, the same goes for Instagram automation as well.
This is why you need to automate your Instagram marketing but at a specific scale. As a marketer, you need to spend time with your audience and interact with them personally. Otherwise, you won’t get to know them in-depth.
4 Instagram Automation Tools You Need
Now that we’ve covered all the pros, cons, and legitimate ways to use Instagram automation and Instagram bots that can help you increase your follower count, let’s see what kinds of social media management tools can help you play the field in a safe, acceptable, and Insta-friendly way.
1. Social Champ
This social media automation tool was built to help marketers increase engagement and, at the same time, automate procedures and save time and resources.
Social Champ enables marketers to schedule posts, track and analyze audience engagement and even respond to customer queries in a way that may be automated but won’t be spammy.
It’s not the most accessible tool, but it’s worth it. Jarvee is mainly an Instagram automation tool but can be used for a plethora of social media platforms. It enables marketers to schedule posts, repost the highest quality posts in their niche, and automate follow-backs.
What is more, it allows marketers to search related hashtags that are high-performing and automate custom-made comments.
Since Instagram is all about pretty pictures and an aesthetically pleasing feed, you most definitely need an image editor and designer at your disposal. Canva is one of the best and the easiest designing tools out there.
You can design images using a pre-set template or create your own. With Canva, there are unlimited personalization options, from colors to images to fonts and practically anything else that you could think of.
4. Hashtags for Likes
This one is particular, as it automates the way businesses grow their Instagram following through popular hashtags that target a large and useful chunk of their ideal audience.
Using this tool, you can look up high-performing competitor hashtags, use analytics, and measure results based on the hashtags you’re already using. Hashtagsforlikes is a tool that is on par with Instagram’s Terms and Conditions.
How Can You Automate Instagram Through
Social Champ offers an Instagram management tool for direct scheduling from within the dashboard on all business profiles. You can connect your Instagram business account with Social Champ and schedule up to 25 direct posts in a day!
After scheduling, you can view all published and scheduled posts in the Social Media Calendar. From there, you can drag and drop posts to reschedule them to your preferred dates.
With Social Champ, you can also track the analytics with Instagram-specific metrics. The tool generates reports with beautiful charts and graphs so that you can download them.
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All in All
Automating your Instagram marketing is simple and using Instagram automation tools makes sense, so long as you don’t just set it and forget it as most marketers do.
Users are keen on spotting the bots, and Instagram is keen on maintaining a safe, humane community. So, hack your Instagram growth through automation, but never allow bots to take the reins.