Instagram automation is a tricky and elusive thing, since Instagram’s Terms of Service (TOS) is very strict with using third-party applications and tools that are not native to Instagram’s own app. However, there are various ways you can help automate your Instagram posting, which becomes crucial when you are a brand that needs to post multiple times a day, everyday, 24/7, on Instagram. Here are 4 ways to automate your Instagram so you’re not glued to your phone all day long.
(*Note: The first 2 tips are totally legit and doesn’t violate Instagram’s TOS, while the last 2 tips are a little more sketch, so please be aware that your Instagram account may be temporarily disabled or even banned by using the last 2 apps in this article)
This is more of a strategy than a tool. Batching content means you are producing a lot of content in one sitting, versus producing content one at a time when it’s needed. For example, I will batch my Instagram photos into 2 photo shoot sessions (typically Mondays and Thursdays), where I will style a few different photos and take the photos in one sitting. This will give me a few days’ worth of photos to use for Instagram, versus taking a new photo every time I want to do a post. It’s similar to how we do loads of laundry: we typically do 1 big load of laundry at one time versus washing a shirt after every wear.
Latergramme is a legit app (as in, it doesn’t violate Instagram’s TOS) that lets you create Instagram posts and schedule them for the future. This app doesn’t post automatically for you though (that TOS thing again), so instead it sends you a push notification to your phone that lets you know when a photo is scheduled to post. You can even pre-write captions in Latergramme, so that you are posting both the photo and the caption. I’ve scheduled a few weeks worth of posts in Latergramme, which makes batching photo content necessary if you are creating posts that far out in advance (perfect for when you know you’ll be on vacation and you still want to be active on Instagram, simply pre-create posts and schedule in Latergramme).
This option isn’t as legit (as in, it probably violates Instagram’s TOS), so take this app with a grain of salt and “user beware” if you try this app and your Instagram account gets shut down. Instagress is a robot that will perform certain actions for you based on parameters you set. For example, you can tell Instagress to like photos within the last 12 hours of people who use the hashtag #vegan, and you can also tell it to comment and follow that person too. I personally don’t use it for my main Instagram accounts because of the possible TOS violation, although for the sake of trying the program, I used it for a “burn account” (an Instagram account I wouldn’t mind getting shut down) and Instagress worked, and the account didn’t get shut down. A lot of larger Instagram accounts use this program, as evident when you get random Instagram comments on your photos that have one generic word such as “Cool,” “Nice pic” or “Lovely!” (all of these comments are most likely from a robot like Instagress and not actually being posted by the account’s owner).
InsTrack is an app used to track who follows/unfollows you. I’ve used this app for my main Instagram accounts without any problems or bans from Instagram. The best feature of InsTrack is to be able to bulk-unfollow people who you follow but don’t follow you back. For example, If I follow a bunch of Instagram accounts that use the hashtag #vegan, but they don’t follow me back, you can then go into InsTrack and see who didn’t follow you back (so you can then unfollow them). This is the perfect app to use if you are doing a follow-for-follow strategy in order to unfollow people who don’t follow you back. Following accounts is the best way to get a stranger’s attention on Instagram, but only a very small percentage of people actually follow back. InsTrack is legit from what I know, except that if you use the app too many times in a day (or too quickly in one sitting, such as trying to unfollow 200 people at one time) then it could cause your Instagram account to be disabled temporarily or banned altogether, so take this app with a grain of salt and “user beware.”
NEVER DO THE BELOW:
Never, ever, buy followers, period. Not only is it inauthentic to your real audience members, it’s also extremely obvious for an Instagram account to have 50,000 followers yet average photo engagement is 200 likes and 3 comments. Actual engagement metrics for Instagram (even with recent algorithm changes) are in the 1-2%, meaning 50,000 followers should have average photo engagement of 500-1000 likes/photo. Less than a 1% engagement rate usually means that majority of that Instagram account’s followers are bought/”fake”. This becomes even more serious if the Instagram account is selling sponsored posts to other brands, where brands would essentially be paying for their sponsored post to get in front of non-human “fake” followers.
Automating Likes & Comments
Using “bots” or software to automate Likes & Comments on other people’s posts is against Instagram’s TOS, which can result in Instagram closing your account permanently. If you rely on Instagram as a platform for your audience, or you rely on Instagram to promote your business, I would highly recommend to NOT risk your account with this kind of automation. Instead, I suggest hiring an hourly social media contractor to manually like and comment, which is allowed by Instagram’s TOS.
A note about “burn accounts”
Burn accounts are Instagram accounts you set up purely for the sake of testing new tools and apps that may violate Instagram’s TOS, before you try the program on your own main Instagram accounts. Hence why it’s called a burn account, because you wouldn’t mind if it got “burned” or “banned” if Instagram decided to shut it down. If you decided to try apps like Instagress or InsTrack, I highly recommend setting up a burn account first before trying them on your main Instagram account, just to see how the app works for you and to test if the burn account will get banned. I think it’s rather silly for Instagram to inhibit more productive means of social media management, and if we are manually doing a task that a app can do for us (aka outsourcing the task so we don’t have to spend our time to do it, such as liking photos using the hashtag #vegan), I personally don’t see a problem in it, but apparently Instagram does 🙂