Instagram automation... is it worth it?
This post teaches you how to effectively automate your Instagram account AND which automation to avoid!
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Instagram automation” floating around the Internet.
You may have even started to associate the phrase with other ideas like:
- Shady businesses
- Instagram bots
- Outlandish claims of 10x, 50x, or 100x growth in followers
How can you tell what’s true and what isn’t?... AND how can you effectively automate your Instagram in a safe way?
We’re going to focus on those questions in this post.
(Want to start automating your Instagram right now? Try Post Planner for free!)
How to Do Instagram Automation the Right Way (and NOT get banned!)
You’ve heard of Instagram automation, but should you use it in your social media strategy?
There are several things to consider before we can answer that question accurately.
We’re going to start by looking at the different types of Instagram automation.
BUT most importantly, you'll learn how to get started with Instagram automation — the RIGHT way!
We’ll show you:
- What Instagram automation is about
- How to automate Instagram to save time and improve your page
- What kinds of Instagram automation can help you grow your business
- What kinds of Instagram automation to avoid
Let’s get started!
What is Instagram automation?
At first glance, Instagram automation seems straightforward.
However, there are multiple types of Instagram automation that have DRASTICALLY different effects on your social media presence.
Certain types of automation can ruin your credibility online — while others can gain you followers and improve your content.
Understanding the difference between these types of Instagram automation is key to making a good decision for your business.
Let’s look at 2 common types of automation that you’ll encounter online.
Type #1: Automated Instagram engagement
When most people think of Instagram automation, they’re thinking of bots.
What is an Instagram bot?
An Instagram bot automatically does something without any manual input from the account owner.
- An Instagram “like bot” will automatically like other people’s photos.
- An Instagram “comment bot” will comment using AI technology or other methods to post comments.
The newest type of Instagram bot is designed to interact with stories on the platform automatically. In other words, the bot can view stories, vote in polls, etc.
In this post, we’re going to call this type of automation “automated engagement.”
Using automated engagement is supposed to increase:
However, there are some SERIOUS side effects to using Instagram bots that we’ll look at later in this article.
Type #2: Automated Instagram posting
The 2nd type of Instagram automation automates the repetitive parts of your social media strategy to cut down on the time it takes you.
For example, you might have 10 pictures that you want to post over the next 2 weeks.
You have 2 options:
- Log on every day to post your picture, think of a caption, get sidetracked looking at your friends, get FOMO, and finally post it.
- Use automated posting to set up all 10 posts in 30 minutes, then forget about posting for the next 2 weeks.
In other words, automated posting allows you to prepare ahead of time.
Plan once and let automation do the rest.
Automated engagement takes the human out of the picture.
BUT automatic posting simply allows the human to work faster and more efficiently.
Is Instagram automation illegal?
When some people first hear about Instagram automation, their first question usually is, “Is that legal?”
Well… It depends.
First off, you should know that it isn’t ILLEGAL in the sense that you might go to jail for it.
However, certain forms of Instagram automation violate Instagram’s terms of service and could get your account removed!
Getting your account removed is the worst thing that could happen to your Instagram presence.
So it’s ESSENTIAL to avoid it at all costs!
However, not all forms of Instagram automation can get you banned.
Using a service to automate your posting schedule is allowed, but using a like bot or a follow bot can get you banned.
In other words, you have to be very careful when it comes to bots!
They violate Instagram’s terms of service.
Which means they put you at risk of getting kicked off the platform entirely!
How to automate Instagram with Post Planner
The easiest way to automate your posting schedule is by using a software app like Post Planner. It offers:
- Content discovery tools
- Post scheduling
- Visual content tools
Post Planner is a safe Instagram automation software.
It doesn’t use bots to grow your followers artificially, so you’re not at risk of getting banned on Instagram.
Instead, it uses advanced scheduling tools to ensure that you post the right content at the right time.
This section will go through 4 steps to using Post Planner to automate Instagram posting and grow your followers organically effectively.
1. Create a posting schedule
First, you need to create a posting schedule to ensure that your content stays in front of your audience.
To create this schedule in Post Planner:
- Click on “Publishing” on the top menu bar.
- Click on “Posting Plans” on the left menu bar.
- Select the days and times that you want to make posts.
- Select the type of content (images, videos, links, text) you want to post at each time.
If you’re confused about what days and/or times you should post, consider the following as a rule of thumb:
- Post at least once per day on Instagram.
- Post first thing each morning.
Over time, tweak your posting schedule and make a note of how it affects your engagement.
For example, if posting later in the day makes your engagement go up, try posting a little later.
If it makes engagement go down, try posting a little earlier.
You should be able to nail down a specific posting time ideal for your audience.
Optimizing your schedule like this will ensure that your posts are getting as much engagement as possible.
After creating your schedule using the “Posting Plans” feature, you can start filling up your schedule using content discovery tools.
2. Use content streams
One of my favorite features on Post Planner is the content streams.
Content streams are pre-made collections of curated content for almost any niche that you can think of.
Each content stream is FULL of content from around the web that directly relates to your niche.
For example, I searched for “art” on Post Planner, instantly discovering dozens of feeds and content streams.
I can access all of the most recent, most successful content in that niche by clicking on a content stream.
If the content in that content stream is helpful to me, I can click “Save” at the top right corner to save that content stream to my home page.
Consider how difficult it usually is to find curated content:
- Do a keyword search on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Scroll through hundreds of pages, images, and articles looking for something that you THINK might do well with your audience.
- Repeat every single time you want to share curated content.
With Post Planner, it’s simple and straightforward to find an entire week’s worth of content in just 15 or 20 minutes.
In addition, Post Planner’s content is proven to succeed with similar audiences, so you can feel confident that it will do well on your page.
3. Add content to your schedule
When you find something that you want to share with your followers (it won’t take long), it’s time to add it to your schedule.
To add it:
1. Hover over the picture you want to add.
2. Click “Create Post”
3. Fill in your caption.
4. Click “Add to plan.”
5. Wash, rinse, repeat!
Post Planner will automatically add that piece of content to your posting schedule that you made in step 1. So you don’t even have to log into your Instagram when it’s time to post!
Repeat this process until you have filled up your calendar with high-quality, engaging content. Then, watch your engagement and your follower count go up!
4. Recycle your best content
Even though Post Planner provides you with data-driven, proven content, you'll still find some posts that succeed more than others.
Don’t let them go to waste!
If you have a very successful, evergreen post, make sure that you add it back into your content schedule by using the “Recycle” button.
Toggling the recycle button will automatically add that piece of content back into your schedule.
Recycling content saves you double the time and provides you with content you KNOW will do well on your page. It’s a win-win!
Why you should automate Instagram posting RIGHT NOW
Automating your Instagram posts is all about being able to formulate a strategy in advance.
All the Instagram automation software does is post pre-planned posts when you want it to.
So, for example, you might plan 2 weeks’ worth of posts. Then you can schedule the app to automatically post at your desired time.
Social media posting tools like Post Planner help you find content and manage your content strategy.
But the best part?
It does NOT violate Instagram’s terms of service, so it won’t get you banned!
In addition, it won’t earn you fake followers or drive hollow growth.
It just helps you do what you’re already doing (but better), so it’s safe for your account.
Let’s look at our top 4 reasons why you need to start automating your Instagram posts!
Reason #1: Save time
According to Findstack, you can save over 6 hours per week by scheduling your social media posts.
Not only does automation save you time by posting for you, but some scheduling tools also find curated content from around the web for you!
That means you can save time finding content AND posting it.
Saving time is an essential part of your social media strategy because it gives you more time to:
- Talk to your followers in the comments.
- Find new influencers in your niche.
- Create engaging stories.
Unlike bots, however, you’ll post HUMAN comments that increase your reputation instead of hurting it.
When you’re able to interact with your followers regularly, you’ll form a relationship with them.
Having a relationship with your followers keeps you from experiencing hollow growth, AND it makes every new follower beneficial for your page.
Plus, saving time means that you won’t have to spend HOURS every single day on Instagram.
Go outside. Enjoy a cup of coffee.
Reason #2: Increase engagement
Saving time starts a chain reaction that looks like this:
- You save time on your social media strategy.
- You’re able to spend time interacting with your followers in new ways.
- You develop a relationship with your followers.
- Your followers begin to engage more with your posts.
When your audience feels more connected to your brand, they’re more likely to interact with your posts.
The perfect example of this effect is the average micro-influencers’ engagement rate.
It's 60% higher than larger influencers’ engagement rates because they can develop more personal relationships with their audience.
You can take advantage of the same effect by working on developing a similar relationship with your audience.
Find content that helps your audience feel like you listen to them to increase engagement (we’ll discuss finding content near the end of this article).
For example, try asking for participation like in the following post (from Facebook, but the same principle applies on Instagram).
Increased engagement is critical to a page’s success because it leads to:
- New followers
- Better organic traffic
- Higher CTR to your website
- More exposure to new audiences
Make sure you’re taking advantage of Instagram automation to develop a relationship with your followers and get increased engagement!
Reason #3: Gain followers
How can automating your Instagram posting schedule help you GAIN new followers?
Establishing an organized and well thought out posting schedule allows you to:
- Take advantage of ideal posting times
- Find the content that resonates most with your audience
- Post more consistently
When your posting schedule is optimized, you'll quickly see new followers attracted to your page.
If you don’t plan your content ahead of time and automate it, it’s easy to miss posting times, post mediocre content, or forget to post altogether.
In other words, it’s a quick way to KILL your social media momentum.
Reason #4: Improve your page
Whether your page lives or dies will ultimately depend on the VALUE that you provide to your followers.
If you provide high-quality posts, you’ll see your follower count go up.
On the other hand, if you post whatever random memes you stumble upon, your page will likely fizzle out before too long.
In other words, you have to be intentional about what you post. Develop a good strategy and stick to it, making refinements over time.
This is where automating Instagram posting shines. Creating an automated posting schedule gives you enough time to:
- Think through your strategy
- Find or create the highest possible quality content
- Schedule more frequent posts (and stay at the top of your audience’s feed)
You may start as an Instagram novice, but automating your posting schedule gives you the time to strategize like an Instagram pro.
Why you should NEVER automate Instagram engagement
Automated engagement is all about using bots with artificial intelligence to:
It carries some serious risks!
We NEVER recommend using bots because it's more likely to harm your page than help it.
Let’s look at our top 4 reasons why you should avoid Instagram bots at all costs.
Reason #1: Your followers can tell
Imagine with me for a moment:
You find a new business on Instagram, and you follow them.
The next day, they start commenting on your posts with things like:
- “Very cool! I like a lot!”
- “Interesting photo! Look fun!”
- “You have fun time with friends! Yay!”
What are you going to do?
The truth is that people can ALWAYS tell when there’s a bot commenting on their pictures.
Likewise, when people follow businesses on Instagram, they want REAL interactions, not auto-generated text.
For example, take a look at this popular Instagram bot service.
Even the website is difficult to read.
The automated comments it makes won’t be any better.
Using a bot can damage your reputation and make you lose followers, but that’s just the FIRST reason to avoid bots.
Reason #2: Fake followers
Plenty of Instagram automation services claim that you’ll be able to grow your followers quickly.
Many even claim that you'lll be able to gain THOUSANDS of followers every month:
The only issue is how these followers are generated.
Most Instagram engagement automation software works by interacting with low-quality accounts.
They might use thousands of TRASH accounts to boost your follower base.
Think about this:
Would you rather have 30,000 fake followers or 300 real ones?
Don’t let the numbers that the bot websites promise fool you.
Bots lead to fake or extremely low-quality followers that don’t help your page thrive.
Even with a huge follower base on Instagram, your business won’t benefit unless those followers are regularly engaging with your content.
In other words, more followers won’t help you unless you can get them to engage with your posts in a meaningful way.
Reason #3: Hollow growth
If the IG bot does manage to earn you some REAL followers, the chances are extremely high that it'll be hollow growth.
Hollow growth means that your follower count is going up, BUT your profile isn’t actually getting any healthier.
The followers don’t:
- Interact with you in the comments
- Like your pictures
- Engage with your stories
- Click through to your websites
In other words, hollow growth is totally meaningless.
It won’t help your business at all.
Even the few bot services that manage to get you real followers will still produce mostly hollow growth.
I won’t deny that you might get some good followers from a bot service.
It's possible, and it’s even likely that you’ll get a few.
However, the VAST majority of the growth from a bot service will be utterly useless to you.
It isn’t worth spending time and money on something that produces such small gains.
Later in this article, we’ll show you how to better spend that time to help your profile take off.
Reason #4: Get banned
Finally (and worst of all), your profile might get banned for using Instagram bots or for otherwise breaking Instagram’s terms of service.
In addition, you might not even know if you’ve been penalized by Instagram because there are 2 common types of ban:
- True ban
A true ban is when Instagram completely removes your account from the platform.
You'll know that you’ve been banned because you’ll no longer have access to your account.
On the other hand, a shadowban is when your Instagram profile is “demoted” without notification.
If your profile gets demoted, Instagram will stop allowing your profile and posts to appear on most searches or the Explore page.
In other words, Instagram might hide your profile from most people’s views without your knowledge!
Both types of bans could spell disaster for your Instagram account.
So avoiding them at all costs should be your top priority, and using bots could earn you a one-way ticket to Ban-Ville.
Instagram automation seems like a taboo topic because of bots, but there are forms of automation that are incredibly helpful for growing your Instagram page!
You should NEVER use bots to grow followers. The growth you’ll experience will be fake and meaningless.
Instead, use a tool like Post Planner to automate your posting schedule. Then, take advantage of your extra time to interact more with your audience. Over time, you'll see impressive gains.
Don’t believe me? Try using Post Planner’s free trial and see how much it can accomplish for your social media strategy!
Have you used Instagram automation in your social media strategy? If so, how has it helped (or hurt) you?
Let us know in the comments below!