For so many brands and businesses, Instagram is a vital marketing tool.
With Instagram, you can promote your products and services to new people, attract new followers, and engage in conversations with your existing customers and followers. Instagram also has a wide variety of types of content you can create, meaning you can experiment with different types of video, selling within the Instagram platform itself and paid advertising all in one app.
That said, Instagram can also take a lot of time, especially because of the variety of content types.
This is where Instagram marketing automation can make a difference and help save you time so you can focus on growing your business.
What is Instagram automation?
Instagram automation is using tools or services to make parts of your Instagram marketing run on their own. For instance, scheduling posts to be published, having a service attract followers for you or even setting up some responses to DMs are all forms of Instagram automation.
There are so many forms of automation in marketing that it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Instagram has a variety of automation tools, too.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of Instagram marketing automation.
Pros of Instagram automation
First of all, and perhaps most importantly, Instagram automation saves you time. Creating content for Instagram takes a lot of time, but it’s something that needs to be done, often manually.
However, there are plenty of other tasks that take a lot of time that could be done automatically with a service.
Another advantage to Instagram automation is that it can help you keep your team small, therefore saving you money. If your team was going to do everything Instagram-related by hand, you’d likely need to hire some additional team members or outsource some of the work to an agency. Those personnel costs can add up quickly.
Instead, invest in software and platforms that can do the same thing but for a smaller fee, thus saving your business money.
Cons of Instagram automation
Well, there are some things that can be automated, like direct message responses and responding to comments, that Instagram users might not like. If they send your business a message on Instagram, they’re probably expecting someone from your team to respond to them, and if they get a response from a bot, they might not like that.
However, there are ways to set up these automations intelligently so you can avoid most of this. Also, many people are becoming accustomed to the idea of bots and automation from businesses.
In order to get the best automation for each task, you’ll probably need to invest in a few different platforms. There are some automation services that handle a variety of automation tasks, but they likely aren’t the best at all of them.
So, you’ll need to do your research and find services for each of the tasks you want to automate.
That said, the advantages of saving time, money and personnel far outweigh the disadvantages of finding a variety of services and needing to automate things intelligently so you don’t upset people.
What actions can be streamlined?
We’ve been talking about automation and how it can save you so much time, but the truth is that not everything can be automated.
That said, let’s take a closer look at what you can streamline and automate in your business.
You need to be careful with this, but you can streamline liking other people’s content. Research and find a reputable source so you won’t accidentally like too many posts and raise Instagram’s suspicions. But, if you automate engaging with others, you can save yourself or your team a lot of time.
Similarly to likes, you can automate the comments that you leave on other people’s posts, or the responding to comments on your own posts. Again, find a good service that does this so you don’t look like you’re a robot leaving random comments. You want to be able to leave something relevant to the post.
Follows (& unfollows)
If you don’t want to spend your own time following new accounts (or unfollowing accounts that you’re no longer interested in), there are automation services that can do this for you. This can serve two purposes: following brands and influencers you might want to partner with and following potential followers so they’ll check out your account.
We’ve talked a little about this earlier, but there are platforms that can help you automatically respond to direct messages. These can be simple responses that say your team is unavailable at the moment but will be back soon with a link to an FAQ page on your website.
Or, you can set up specific responses to be triggered by certain words. So, if someone messages you about templates, you could automatically send them a link to your template shop on your website.
Since Instagram has so many types of content, you want to engage with your followers in a variety of ways. This includes viewing their stories. But, as with everything else, watching people’s stories takes a lot of time. So, there are automation services that can watch your followers’ stories on your behalf.
Scheduling & publishing
This is probably the most common activity that can be automated. Even for people who aren’t intending to automate their Instagram marketing, they might be using a scheduling tool. This allows you to prepare your posts ahead of time so they’re automatically posted whenever you want them to go live, even if it’s outside of normal working hours.
Reporting & analytics
It can take a unique skill set to monitor the analytics Instagram collects and turn them into easily-understandable reports. So, there are services that exist that can automatically do that. You can select what metrics you want to see and what interpretations you want to understand and the platform will do it for you.
8 Instagram automation tools for massive growth
So, now that we’ve talked about all of the things you can automate on Instagram, let’s take a look at some of the tools you can use to automate and grow your Instagram.
Kicksta is an Instagram growth platform that will help you grow your followers with very minimal effort on your part. Kicksta uses engagement marketing strategies to like posts by your ideal followers, thus showing them that your account exists. Then, it’s up to your potential followers to decide whether or not to follow you, ensuring that the followers you attract really do want to be there. Depending on which level of service you want, Kicksta is available for $49, $99 or $218 per month.
For those who want to start with Instagram automation, Later is a great step. This is an Instagram scheduling platform, so you can prepare your posts ahead of time and schedule them to be published whenever you’re ready. Later also offers analytics options so you can know which of your posts are resonating with your followers. Later has three pricing plans, coming in at $18, $40 and $80 per month, depending on how many posts you want to schedule and how many sets of social platforms you’ll be using.
AgoraPulse is a social media management tool that automates your inbox, publishing, reporting, monitoring, and even team collaboration. They’ll pull your direct messages from a variety of social platforms into one inbox to streamline your response time. They’ll also monitor any mentions of your brand or any other keywords you choose so you know what people are saying. And, as with most of these services, there are three pricing tiers: $49, $79 and $119, primarily based on number of social profiles, but there are additional benefits for the higher tiers.
Iconosquare is an analytics automation tool that creates clear analytics for all of your social platforms in one dashboard. This is great if you have a variety of social profiles to analyze, but it’s also worthwhile simply for Instagram. You’ll unlock new insights that you might not have realized otherwise so you know how best to shape your Instagram marketing strategy. Iconosquare is billed in Euros and is available for 49, 70, or 139 Euros per month.
If you’re looking to increase views on your Instagram, look into GoRead.io. Their pricing is low, and they work to improve your presence on Instagram so you can attract more followers and brand or influencer partnerships. They offer a variety of packages, but 500 Instagram views begins at just $0.89, and 5,000 views is $6.99.
Keyhole offers real-time social media insights and monitoring. The dashboards they create encompass brand mentions, marketing campaigns, influencers, and even multiple profiles. One of their key features is the ability to benchmark yourself against other key players in your industry, whether they’re new competitors or the industry standard. You can also see the latest trends and conduct market research. Profile analytics plans begin at $39 per month, and social listening and campaigns begin at $79 per month. For influencer tracking or an enterprise suite, you’ll need to book a demo to find out pricing options.
7. Media Mister
With Media Mister, you can start conversations with your followers or potential followers in their direct messages. People enjoy having conversations, especially in Instagram direct messages. By sending a message to start the conversation, you can get to know more about your followers and unlock key insights. Media Mister will start those conversations for you by automatically sending the message that you draft. You can purchase 500 direct messages, sent over 6-11 days, for $20, or 1,000 messages, sent over 11-20 days, for $39.
8. Surf For Brands
Formerly known as Trufan.io, Surf offers insights to make marketing more powerful. These insights provide demographic details as well as large-scale trends that can allow you to build user personas and understand who your ideal followers are and what they want to see on social media. They’ll also provide a summary that shows what worked for you and why it did. Their pricing information isn’t available online, but you can easily book a meeting with their team to learn more and discuss pricing.
Now that we’ve talked a lot about Instagram automation and focused a little on some automation tools, it’s time for you to do your own research. Decide what activities are most important for your brand to automate, and then find the best automation services and platforms for those tasks.
There are plenty of great services available online, so you can explore until you find what’s best for you.