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11 Instagram Automation Tools (That Won't Get You Banned)

Posted 13 December, 2023

Instagram automation... is it worth it?

This post teaches you how to effectively automate your Instagram account AND which types of 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 answer all of those questions in this post.

Feel free to skip to the section that's most relevant for you:

(Want to start automating your Instagram right now? Try Post Planner for free!)


What is Instagram automation?

Instagram automation is when you use software to automate an action that's normally done manually. This could be for:

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.

For example:

  • 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,
  • An Instagram "DM bot" will message people on your behalf.

There are even Instagram bots 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:

  • Followers
  • Views
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Opt-ins or sales

However, be warned: We'll look at some SERIOUS side effects of using Instagram bots 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 reduce 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:

  1. Log on every day to post your picture, think of a caption, get sidetracked looking at your friends, get FOMO, and finally post it. (Posting on Instagram manually from your PC or mobile device.)
  2. 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.

However, automatic posting simply allows the human to work faster and more efficiently. In other words, automating your content ENHANCES what you're best at,  which is focusing on creating awesome content for your target audience.

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.

For example:

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 your IG with the 11 Best Instagram automation tools from Post Planner

The easiest way to automate your posting schedule is by using a tool like Post Planner. It offers:

  • Post scheduling for images, videos, Reels, carousels, and Stories
  • Content discovery tools
  • Bulk post scheduling
  • Content recycling
  • Content design tools
  • Hashtag generation
  • Post & caption ideas
  • AI social posts (coming soon)


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 gives you Instagram tools to ensure that you post the best content at the right time. 

This gives you the best chance to consistently post high-quality content so you can grow your followers AND engagement.

This section will go through every Post Planner tool you can use to automate Instagram and grow your followers organically!

1. Create and customize your automatic posting plan

Your 1st step is to set up a Posting Plan.

Your Posting Plan tells Post Planner what days and times you want to post. 

It also allows you to choose what types of content to allow in each posting slot.

Here's how:

You start by creating or choosing "Buckets" to categorize your posts. (Buckets are a simple way to organize the different types of content you have.)

For example, you could create one Bucket for memes and another for educational posts. Then, you can set up your posting plan to post a specific type of content on your set recurring day and time.

Posting Plan Buckets


Click on “Posting Plan” to access your Posting Plan.

Then, select the Buckets of content you want to post and when.

Posting Plan Calendar

As you add content to your Buckets, this schedule will automatically tell Post Planner when to post your content on specific days and times.

2. Add content to your calendar

After assigning your Buckets to posting times, you’re ready to fill your posting schedule with content.

Post Planner will automatically post any content you add to your Instagram schedule at the appropriate time!

To find content:

  1. Navigate to the “Content” tab on Post Planner.
  2. Search for a keyword that’s relevant to your niche.
  3. Click “Create post” on the content you want to add, then fill in the post details (captions, hashtags, etc.).

Add content to your calendar post planner

To view your entire posting schedule at a glance, go to “Calendar."

The calendar view shows the time, day, and type of content for each scheduled post in the month.

Just click on the Calendar tab to pull up the planned content to see exactly what's going to be posted.

PostPlanner Content Calendar at a glance fr

Repeat these steps until your posting calendar is full!

The content will automatically post on time, so you don’t have to worry about consistency.

3. Create unique visual content

You NEED to create visual content for your Instagram content strategy.

Post Planner makes creating custom visual content for your Instagram plan easy without hiring a professional graphic designer.

Just click on the "Content" tab and "Studio."

Then, use Post Planner’s tools to create visually appealing content for your posts.


When you’re done creating your visual content, save it to your library for future use or add it to the composer to be optimized for Instagram and added to your Posting Plan.

Pro Tip: Post Planner's design studio is perfect for creating infographics or Story posts (more on that later).



4. Automate Instagram posts in bulk

Tired of creating and scheduling each individual Instagram post?

Post Planner's bulk create and schedule features are what you need!

There are 2 types of posts you can schedule in bulk with Post Planner:

  1. New content
  2. Curated content

Let's start by showing you how to schedule new posts:

1) Click on "Create Post" (make sure your Instagram account is selected.)

Select your account and click create post

2) Click where it says "single post." Then select "multiple posts."

Select multiple posts3) Choose which Bucket you want your posts to be part of. You can also select "None" if you want to add them to a queue to be posted.

Select your buckets

4) You have 3 options to upload your posts in bulk:

  • Upload images - for when you're trying to schedule posts with images.
  • RSS feed URL - for when you're trying to schedule a bunch of articles.
  • Upload spreadsheet - for if you want to upload a bunch of posts from a spreadsheet.

3 bulk post create4) Customize each post and determine the order you want them to be posted in your queue.

Bulk upload Instagram posts

5) Add your posts to your queue or save them to your Bucket.

6 bulk post create

But what if you want to combine Post Planner's powerful content curation features with bulk scheduling?

Here's how you can post a BUNCH of content that's proven to engage your audience at scale:

1) Go to the "Content" tab.

2) Use these filters to search for different types of content:

  • Curate from social media - Find the top-performing content across social media.
  • Find images, vids, and gifs - Search through a vast library of free visual content.

1 bulk post curate3) Add the content you want to post. And keep adding content until you're done!

3 bulk post curate4) Click "Create [#] posts" when you're done selecting your content.

4 bulk post curate5) Customize your posts with captions, order them, and add them to your queue or Bucket!

Curate bulk content for Instagram

5. Create and schedule carousel posts

Post Planner allows you to post one of the most popular post formats on Instagram: Carousels!

There are 2 ways to use Post Planner to create and schedule your carousels:

1) Create a carousel using your own images. All you have to do is upload them simultaneously when you create your post.

2) Curate images from Post Planner to turn into a carousel.

Curate images for a carousel postMake sure to edit the images to be the same ratio (if needed).

When you curate images for carousels, ratio them to be consistent

6. Schedule Instagram Stories

If you want to stay top-of-mind with your Instagram followers, you need to be posting Stories.

Post Planner allows you to turn any image that's in the aspect ratio of 9:16 into a Story post.

In the example below, I used Post Planner's Content Studio to design an Instagram Story post.

Schedule Stories with Post Planner To turn a post into a Story, all you have to do is select "Story" under "Instagram settings" before scheduling.

7. Schedule Instagram Reels

Reels generate the highest rate of engagement of all content types on Instagram at 1.23%. (That's drastically more than images at 0.72%!)

This means you need to be making and scheduling Reels to your Instagram content plan.

To do so, all you have to do is upload your Reel after you create it. Make sure it's in 9:16 aspect ratio and no longer than 60 seconds.

Schedule instagram reelsThen select "Post/Reel" before adding it to your content plan.




8. Schedule recurring Instagram posts

Post Planner helps you identify your top-performing posts, so you can recycle those posts for future use.

It’s like getting 2 posts for the price of 1!

You can set certain posts to recycle when you create them.

When creating a post, click the recycle icon, then choose how often you want the post to cycle back through your plan.


Post Planner will do the heavy lifting and make sure it gets posted when you want.

You can also view how past posts performed in "History" (in the Posts tab). Then, filter through your content to find posts you want to recycle.

recycle history posts

As a side note, you don’t want to recycle a post too frequently.

For example:

Posting the same post 7 times in a week is OBNOXIOUS.

But posting the same great content 2-3 times a year is SMART.

9. Generate caption ideas

You have the PERFECT picture to post on Instagram.

But what are you going to caption it?

**Crickets chirping**

We've all been there... Finding a caption is usually the last thing you think about when posing on Instagram.

But at the same time, it can either make you look like a polished influencer if done right... or make your posts seem pointless if you fumble the caption.

One of my favorite ways to use Post Planner when posting is to use the "Post ideas" feature.

Post ideas-2

When you're creating your post, click on "Post ideas," then search for a keyword and view the limitless caption ideas you can use.

Quotes for captions

And if you like to use quotes for captions instead, you can search for hot quote ideas too. 😉

In the near future, you'll also be able to use AI to write entirely unique captions based on your ideas!



10. Generate hashtags

When you're trying to reach a wider audience in your niche, hashtags are how you get discovered.

Sure, you should probably spend some time researching the best Instagram hashtags for your industry.

But if you're short on time and need to find the BEST hashtags that are related to the topic of your post, this is when you can use Post Planner's AI hashtag generator!

There are 2 ways to use the hashtag generator:

1) Generate hashtags automatically based on your caption.

AI hashtag recomendations

2) Generate hashtags by adding a keyword that's related to your topic.

hashtags generated from a keyword11. Add the 1st comment to your post automatically

As weird as it sounds, commenting on your own Insta post comes with some advantages:

  • It boosts engagement and reach
  • You can use it to promote a call-to-action
  • You can use it to cross-promote other events or content related to your brand

So, to make this tactic easier than scheduling a post and manually commenting at the right time — Post Planner allows you to automatically add a first comment when you schedule your post.

First comment automation


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.

instagram automation 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.

Reason #2: Increase engagement

Saving time starts a chain reaction that looks like this:

  1. You save time on your social media strategy.
  2. You’re able to spend time interacting with your followers in new ways.
  3. You develop a relationship with your followers.
  4. 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.

For example, try asking for participation like in the following post (from Facebook, but the same principle applies on Instagram).

4-Dec-02-2021-10-24-42-19-PMIncreased 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:

  • Comment
  • Like
  • Follow
  • Interact

The catch?

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.

1-Dec-02-2021-10-17-55-11-PMUsing 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'll be able to gain THOUSANDS of followers every month:

2-Dec-02-2021-10-18-14-18-PMThe 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
  • Shadowban

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.


Frequently asked questions about Instagram automation

Does Instagram allow automation?

You can't automate any engagement on Instagram. However, you can schedule your posts using Post Planner. Also, you can use automation indirectly for other things like content creation.

Do Instagram bots work?

While Instagram bots exist, their use is against Instagram's policies, and engaging in any type of engagement automation that's on the platform can result in account suspension or other penalties.

Can I automate my Instagram?

Attempting to automate activities on Instagram, such as likes, comments, or follows, is not allowed according to Instagram's policies. However, you can automate your posting schedule using tools like Post Planner.

Ready to start automating your Instagram posts?

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!

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