Everything You Should Know About Instagram Automation [Bonus: 6 Recommended Tools]

With over 2 billion total users today, Instagram makes up 28% of internet users across the globe. It is also the world’s fourth most popular social media platform, with two million Monthly Active Users (MAUs).

With such rich figures contributing to the digital diaspora, it is not surprising to see more and more businesses using Instagram to promote their products and services. However, that increases the competition and makes remaining at the forefront of the user feeds a challenge.

To enhance your business visibility, you must like and comment on countless posts, publish multiple posts, Stories, and Reels, and keep an eye on who is following you and who you should follow daily.

That is a lot of work for any business — whether they have one person handling social media or a large team! That is where Instagram automation can help make a difference.

Table of Contents

What is Instagram automation?

It refers to the process of using a third-party solution for managing an Instagram account, which could include scheduling posts, liking and commenting on other posts, and fetching reports, among other tasks.

Instagram automation essentially uses “bots” that interact with the platform’s Application Programming Interface or API to perform specific actions that users manually do, enabling you to focus on more important things like brainstorming fresh ideas, building a strategy, and creating high-quality content.

Does Instagram even allow automation?

Automation on this social media platform is allowed to some extent as long as it is within Instagram’s terms of service, community guidelines, and API usage policies.

For instance, you can automate certain activities like publishing Reels, deleting or hiding comments, replying to comments, and so on. More specifically, it is legal to use automation tools that do not access Instagram’s API by means other than those permitted by Instagram.

However, it is also important to remember the Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance, or GRC meaning in terms of social media automation. While the automation tools offer efficiency in scheduling posts and analyzing metrics, they can pose risks if misused.

Unchecked automation may breach advertising and data privacy regulations or result in tone-deaf content, hampering brand reputation. Thus, you must ensure coherence and compliance in Instagram content production and publishing.

What can be automated on Instagram?

Besides liking and commenting on posts, scheduling content, deleting/hiding comments, and responding to DMs, you can automate finding followers. Some tools can analyze accounts and hashtags to uncover accounts relevant to your target audience.

This can be a massive time-saver if you want to build a huge follower list but do not have the capacity to look at each and every growth component. You can automate responding to comments based on specific keywords or phrases you define.

In addition, schedule in-depth Instagram analytics reports for your account and your competitors’ to keep tabs on high-performing strategies Social analytics tools like Keyhole can do the heavy lifting of pulling numbers for you in real-time.

Is Instagram automation worth it?

Posting Reels can be a delicate balance. On the one hand, you want to engage your audience. Conversely, you want them to retain interest by posting less often. A good rule of thumb is to post no more than two times per day. 

When you do post, try to avoid ‘peak times.’ This might sound counterintuitive – peak time is when most people are online. But peak time is also when most people will be posting. If you’re not careful, your Reel will be lost in a sea of content. 

To avoid this, pick a time when traffic is moderate. Your content has a better chance of standing out without being buried. Posting between 10 am and 3 pm is typically considered the best time (although, as mentioned, this may be different for your audience).

It depends on what you want to achieve on the social media platform. Let us look at what you can and should not do with Instagram automation.

Pros

1. Automate repetitive tasks

This is a huge advantage. Growing an Instagram presence organically demands a combination of time and strategizing. Just coming up with content ideas is tedious. As highlighted in the preceding sections, Instagram automation tools can pick up some slack and trim down time spent on tedious tasks.

2. Reduce the need to switch apps

Did you know that 1 out of 10 employees juggles 20 apps every day? That is a lot of time spent moving tool-to-tool. Instagram automation enables you to consolidate your efforts. For instance, if you are to publish a batch of 20 posts in a week, you can easily schedule them all in one go and just monitor them for a few minutes every day.

You do not have to download the creative from Google Drive manually, copy-paste the caption from your Excel sheet, pick up hashtags from another tool, and publish the post on your Instagram mobile app every single time!

3. Grow your follower count faster

Simply spending time on the social media channel and interacting with accounts somehow will help you gain more engagement. That is how Instagram’s algorithm works.

Cons

1. Instagram is not a fan of “hacks”

As mentioned earlier, the platform allows automation to a certain extent. At the end of the day, it wants the users to engage organically. Instagram also has limits and penalties for activities like following too many accounts overall. For instance, you can only follow 7,500 profiles from one account on the platform. Therefore, be careful about how much and what you automate.

2. Poorly done automation looks spammy

Today’s audience is smart and can spot a bot from afar. So if your automated comments lack authenticity or you buy “Likes” to come across as a brand that posts super engaging content or automates “Comments” on too many random posts, there is a high chance of people finding that out sooner rather than later and disengaging with your profile.

The best Instagram automation tools in the market

Choosing the right third-party automation tool will help you keep your profile in good standing and take much off your plate. Here are the tools that enable Instagram automation reliably:

1. Keyhole

Keyhole is a real-time social media analytics and reporting tool. For Instagram automation, you can schedule, publish, and optimize content with Keyhole’s Unlimited Start Publishing feature. Your entire team can work on the content from the dashboard. A dedicated team of experts is available to support you every step of the way.

Key features

  • Allows you to compare metrics from different periods and download readymade reports in seconds.
  • Shares the best time to post with its data-backed optimization suggestions
  • Amplifies and filters your searches as much as you want to get the precise data you are looking for in real-time.
  • Offers a cost-effective option for obtaining additional reporting compared to other social media analytics tools.

Pricing

  • Packages start from $89/month.
  • It also offers a 14-day free trial.

2. Kicksta

Kicksta is a tool businesses, marketers, and influencers use to gain real followers on Instagram. It does not guarantee a specific follower count because it does not work with bots; instead, it applies AI-powered technology to connect you to new users based on your targeting options.

You can create a list of accounts, including influencers and competitors with audiences you would like to target, from the Kicksta dashboard. Then, you create high-quality content to attract those profiles to yours.

Key features

  • Targets niche hashtags and profiles based on factors defined by the user (i.e., you).
  • Does not post or comment on your behalf, as it does not use bots.
  • Get actionable insights from the dashboard; see what is working or not working for your account.
  • Offers 24/7 customer service, complete with live chat and email support, video courses, and FAQs.

Cons

  • The results are slow to come, and users have often reported seeing no real growth.
  • Kicksta is expensive for the meager results it provides.

Pricing

  • Packages start from $69/month.
  • It also offers a 7-day free trial.

3. SendPulse 

Their Instagram chatbot is essentially a part marketing automation powerhouse, the SendPulse platform has become in recent years. Say you have an e-commerce store or you sell your online courses and have a hefty following on Instagram.

The best way to answer those FAQs about your products or services is by incorporating an Instagram chatbot. It will not only help you automate lead generation but also help your customers move the sales pipeline. 

Key features 

  • Lets you build your own GPT-powered Instagrma chatbot and be available to your customers 24/7.
  • Instagram chatbot can react to your subscribers’ stories that mention your brand.
  • Integrate payment gateways and merchant accounts into your chatbot and accept secure payments.
  • Mobile app to manage your Instagram chatbot on the go. 

Cons

  • Chatbot works with only 500 subscribers on a free plan.
  • Limited by 10000 messages per month with a free plan.

Pricing

  • Free plan. 
  • Paid plan starts at $8 per month with 500 subscribers.

4. Upleap

Upleap helps grow your Instagram followers organically without using bots. It applies well-thought-out strategies, including automated and targeted engagement with target accounts based on your preference.

All you have to do is identify the hashtags, locations, and potential profiles (you want to get a follow back from), and Upleap ensures your account gains visibility accordingly.

Moreover, when you sign up with Upleap, you are assigned a personal account that oversees your account and keeps making custom changes to the filters as per your profile performance.

Key features

  • Easy to set up.
  • Only engages with real accounts based on your target audience.
  • Automatically views Instagram Stories of people you do not already follow.
  • Provides dedicated account manager support.

Cons

  • Some users have claimed that while Upleap produces excellent results regarding follower growth in the first few days, it slows down considerably after a month.
  • Some users have also stated that although they gained followers, most were fake and did little to improve engagement.

Pricing

  • Packages start from $69/month.
  • It also offers a 10-day free trial.

5. Tailwind

Tailwind is a social media scheduling and analytics platform that helps businesses and marketers create and schedule Instagram and Pinterest content. It also enables you to receive hashtag suggestions, schedule posts, Stories, and Reels, tag relevant users and locations, and even format captions from the dashboard.

Its SmartSchedule feature gives insights about when your target audience is most active on Instagram, allowing you to publish content at the most optimal time.

Key features

  • Gives a free landing page to personalize, so you do not have to worry about updating your “link in bio”.
  • Provides analytics and reports showing important metrics like followers, comments, and likes.
  • Recommends helpful tutorial videos that walk you step by step through the features of Tailwind so you do not miss a thing.

Cons

  • Tailwind’s UI is not as intuitive as it should be.
  • The tool has a poor load time, which can be frustrating.

Pricing

  • Packages start from $12.99/month.
  • It also offers a free option for life.

6. NapoleonCat

NapoleonCat offers a holistic range of Instagram growth and automation tools. Specifically built for fast-growing marketing teams, it manages and automates various aspects of Instagram engagement activities, including responding to, hiding, and deleting comments, forwarding DMs to designated moderators, and creating multi-action rules.

Key features

  • Provides real-time updates, so no comment or DM gets overlooked.
  • Helps craft complete Instagram posts with tagging, media, and emojis.
  • Allows managing interactions for each account or ad campaign separately.
  • Can post to multiple accounts efficiently and by considering varied optimal audience timings.

Cons

  • The load time of the tool on comments can be slow.
  • It cannot capture all comments on certain ads to send to the team if they need feedback.
  • The learning curve to use NapoleonCat can be steep.

Pricing

  • Packages start from $27/month.
  • It also offers a 2-week free trial.

Final words

We hope this article has given you a clear understanding of what Instagram automation is and how it can be used to your advantage. 

Note that it is crucial to leverage automation in moderation. Ultimately, how good your content is and how authentically you engage with your target audience defines your long-term success on Instagram.

Consider investing in alternative growth tools like Keyhole that help measure, report, and improve the impact your Instagram is making. Use its social listening, social media analytics, and influencer tracking products to grow your Instagram presence organically.

The tool is built to benefit you and not trick you into something that does not guarantee results in the long run. So what are you waiting for? Unlock your next move on Instagram with Keyhole. Start a free trial.

Author Bio

Carl Torrence is a Content Marketer at Marketing Digest. His core expertise lies in developing data-driven content for brands, SaaS businesses, and agencies. In his free time, he enjoys binge-watching time-travel movies and listening to Linkin Park and Coldplay albums.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is an Instagram bot?

An Instagram bot is a software program designed to automate certain tasks on the Instagram platform, such as liking posts, following/unfollowing users, and commenting. Bots are used to increase social reach and engagement, grow followers, or manage repetitive tasks.

2. What are the disadvantages of Instagram automation?

Instagram automation, especially when abused, can lead to inauthentic engagement, a decrease in real followers’ trust, and potential violations of Instagram’s terms of service. It can also result in receiving spammy comments, following irrelevant accounts, and potentially damaging your brand’s reputation. Moreover, automated actions might not cater to a target audience as efficiently as genuine interactions.

3. Can Instagram ban you from using a bot?

Yes, Instagram can ban or suspend accounts that use bots or automation in violation of their terms of service. They have systems in place to detect such activities. If caught, users may first receive a warning, have certain features restricted, or face permanent account deactivation in severe cases. It is always advised to follow Instagram’s guidelines and prioritize Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance (GRC) for authentic engagement on the platform.