Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms today, with over 1 billion monthly active users. For businesses and influencers, having an Instagram presence is crucial for reaching new audiences and growing their brand. However, managing an Instagram account requires a significant time investment. This is where Instagram automation comes in handy.
In this comprehensive 3000+ word guide, we will cover everything you need to know about automating various aspects of your Instagram marketing in 2023.
What is Instagram Automation?
Instagram automation refers to using bots, software or tools to automate mundane, repetitive tasks on Instagram. This includes activities like posting, liking, following, unfollowing, commenting and direct messaging.
The goal of Instagram automation is to save time and effort while still maintaining engagement on your profile. Software bots can perform these actions 24/7 at a much higher rate than any human ever could.
Here are some of the main benefits that I‘ve seen businesses achieve with thoughtful Instagram automation:
- Saves time by managing routine Instagram activities automatically
- For example, scheduling bulk posts and stories in advance instead of daily
- Increases reach and engagement by interacting with more users
- Bots can easily like 1000+ posts per day, far more than a human
- Provides helpful analytics and data to refine your Instagram strategy
- Track key metrics like follower growth, content performance, peak times
- Allows you to focus your efforts on more important tasks
- Creative content, community interaction, brand collaborations
- Consistent visibility even when you‘re not active on Instagram
- Bots keep your profile active with likes and comments 24/7
According to Sprout Social, 53% of marketers say Instagram automation software saves them at least 4 hours per week. For larger businesses, the time savings can be much greater.
Automation tools also increase engagement efficiently. One bot like can have a 34% chance of generating a follower like in return. So every automated like expands your reach.
The key is not to rely on automation alone – but use it to complement your manual efforts. A balanced automation and human-run approach works best for long term Instagram growth.
Is Instagram Automation Allowed?
Technically, Instagram‘s Terms of Service prohibit any unauthorized automation. So the use of third-party bots and software is against their policy.
However, when done carefully and moderately, automation usually goes undetected. The key is to use bots intelligently and mimic natural human behavior. As long as your activities don’t scream “bot”, you should typically be fine.
For example, if you are automating likes, keep them under Instagram‘s limits of 300 per hour. Comment no more than 60 times per hour per bot. Follow/unfollow 100 or fewer accounts per hour.
I‘ll cover specific tips to avoid getting flagged later in this guide. By blending automation with manual interaction and using proxies, you can fly under Instagram‘s radar.
Popular Instagram Automation Tools
There are many automation tools available today that can take over various Instagram tasks for you. I have personally used and evaluated the top players extensively.
Here are the 5 leading Instagram bots compared in 2023:
|FollowLiker||Simple to setup, robust automation features||Limited to one Instagram account||$9/mo basic|
|Ingramer||Powerful analytics, great UI||Single account support||$47/mo basic|
|Combin||Supports multiple accounts||Less automation options than Jarvee/FollowLiker||$15/mo 2 IG accounts|
|Hootsuite||User-friendly, great for scheduling||Very limited automation capabilities||Free plan, $49/mo Pro 10 accounts|
|Jarvee||All-in-one automation, supports multiple accounts||Steep learning curve, no longer available||Discontinued in 2019|
FollowLiker is a web-based Instagram bot that offers robust automation capabilities. You can schedule automated likes, comments, follows, DMs and more. I like FollowLiker for its simple dashboards that are beginner-friendly.
This bot also enables helpful targeting based on hashtags, locations and more. You can customize filters to laser target the right audience for your brand.
The biggest downside is that FollowLiker can only manage one Instagram account at a time. This makes it better suited to individuals rather than agencies.
Ingramer (also now known as Inflact) is a popular Instagram automation tool that comes with an intuitive desktop app.
The key features that make Ingramer stand out are automatically liking and commenting based on hashtags, auto-following and unfollowing users, and running targeted DM campaigns.
Ingramer also provides incredibly detailed analytics on your Instagram activities – everything from follower demographics to optimal posting times. However, Ingramer currently only supports automation on a single Instagram account at once.
Combin is an emerging social media automation tool supporting Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more.
For Instagram specifically, Combin enables scheduling both posts and stories which is handy. It also auto-likes, comments and follows other accounts based on hashtags and locations that you target.
Usefully, Combin also offers an Instagram analytics dashboard to track your growth and engagement. This allows easy data-driven optimization.
Pricing starts at $15 per month for Combin‘s Starter plan with support for 2 Instagram accounts, scaling up to its Agency plan for $66 per month supporting 10 accounts.
Hootsuite is a highly popular social media management platform used by over 18 million users worldwide.
On Instagram, Hootsuite focuses more on scheduling capabilities. You can easily plan your posts and stories in advance and then have Hootsuite auto-publish them for you.
For automation, Hootsuite does allow you to auto-comment and auto-like posts based on hashtags and locations. However, it lacks more advanced capabilities like auto-following/unfollowing or DM campaigns.
Hootsuite is better suited for manual Instagram management with some basic automation rather than fully automated Instagram bots. Their free plan is very limited, while the Pro plan starts at $49 per month for up to 10 social accounts.
Jarvee was the most fully-featured Instagram bot available until it was discontinued in 2019. It worked across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and more.
On Instagram, Jarvee allowed in-depth automation of likes, comments, follows, DMs, and posts. It could manage multiple Instagram accounts at scale. Jarvee also provided helpful data to improve your Instagram strategy.
The downside was Jarvee had a steep learning curve for first-time users. But if you spent time mastering it, the results were powerful. Unfortunately, Jarvee has been permanently shut down so it is no longer available.
Proxies for Instagram Automation
Proxies are an essential part of running automation on Instagram effectively. I‘d say they are mandatory for anyone seriously using Instagram bots.
A proxy acts as an intermediary that routes your bot‘s traffic through another server. When you connect to Instagram through a proxy, Instagram sees the proxy‘s IP address instead of your bot‘s real location.
Here are some of the biggest benefits proxies offer:
Hide Your Bot‘s Identity
Residential proxies make your bot‘s activity blend in with normal user traffic. This prevents Instagram from easily identifying bot behavior.
Avoid IP Bans
Proxies allow you to hide behind thousands of IPs, making an IP ban nearly impossible. Instagram bans based on suspicious IPs.
Overcome Rate Limits
Using new proxies rotates your IP and resets rate limits. This allows your bot to take more actions per hour without being restricted.
Access Global IPs
Proxies provide residential IPs from different cities around the world. This makes your bot look natural, not tied to one region.
Why Use Residential Proxies?
For Instagram automation, I always recommend residential proxies instead of datacenter proxies.
Residential proxies source their IP addresses from real mobile phones and laptops from residential ISPs. This makes your Instagram traffic blend in perfectly with real human users.
Meanwhile, datacenter proxies come from servers in data centers hosting other websites. These IPs are easier for Instagram to flag as bots.
Some top residential proxy sources include BrightData, GeoSurf, Luminati and Oxylabs. Just choose a provider with a large pool of fresh residential IPs at fast speeds.
How to Automate Instagram Safely
While automation delivers fantastic benefits, you need to use bots cautiously to avoid getting banned by Instagram.
Here are 8 proven tips I recommend to run your Instagram automation smoothly and avoid issues:
1. Don‘t Overdo Actions
Set reasonable limits for the volume of likes, comments, follows or DMs that your bot performs per day. As a benchmark, aim for approximately:
- 100-200 likes per hour
- 50-60 comments per hour
- 40-50 follows or unfollows per hour
Instagram‘s official rate limits allow up to 300 likes per hour and 60 comments per hour. Stay well under the maximums.
2. Use Multiple Bots & Accounts
Operate 3-5 bots on different Instagram accounts simultaneously. This distributes your activity across multiple IP addresses and profiles.
Instagram assesses automations on a per-account basis. Having multiple accounts operating in parallel is far safer than scaling up actions on one account alone.
3. Insert Random Delays
Build in random delays of 10-120 seconds in your bot‘s logic between interactions. This prevents taking actions continuously without any break.
Mimicking natural human pacing fools Instagram into thinking a real user is active instead of an automation script.
4. Target Relevant Users
Target users who are likely to be interested in your brand instead of random accounts. Analyze relevant hashtags, captions, locations and posts to find your ideal audience.
Interacting with engaged users improves your visibility with the right folks. Mass generic automation often has poor conversion rates.
5. Diversify Your Actions
Don‘t just like posts or follow users in bulk. Sprinkle in commenting, unfollowing, direct messaging, and uploading original posts too.
This makes your bot‘s behavior appear more human instead of repeating scripted actions.
6. Rotate Proxies
Rotate your residential proxies frequently so your bot connects from hundreds of different IP addresses across sessions.
Avoid overusing the same few IPs or your bot‘s footprint becomes obvious. Proxy rotation is key.
7. Respect Account Limitations
Be sure to respect any action limits explicitly imposed by users. For example, don‘t excessively follow/unfollow an account that prohibits it.
Pay attention to user bios and signs of blocking. Tailor your approach accordingly.
8. Vary Content
Make your comments, posts and messages vary instead of using the exact same texts repeatedly.
For example, follow a pool of 100+ comment templates and select randomly. This adds diversity.
Top Mistakes to Avoid with Instagram Automation
While there are many effective automation strategies, there are also some common missteps I see users make:
Using Only a Few Proxies
Don‘t run all your bot traffic through just 1 or 2 proxies. Instagram will quickly identify the same IPs and ban them. You need hundreds of proxies rotating frequently.
Too Many Actions Per Day
Taking thousands of actions per day from a single account is a red flag for automation. Keep your volumes reasonable and spread actions across multiple accounts.
Interacting with Irrelevant Accounts
Aimlessly liking or following random accounts that have no relevance to your brand is a sign of bot activity. Target accounts strategically.
No Delays Between Actions
Acting continuously without any breaks every few actions makes your automation obvious. Mimic natural pacing.
Repeating the Same Comments
Repetitively commenting the exact same text on posts is a giveaway of bots. Vary your comments.
Liking Posts Without Other Engagement
Liking hundreds of posts consecutively without commenting or following is abnormal human behavior. Blend different actions.
Automating a New Account
Don‘t start automating immediately on a new account. Build some organic foundation first.
Using the Same Proxies for Multiple Bots
Separate proxies across your bots. If you use the same ones and they get banned, all your bots go down.
Avoiding these mistakes takes a bit more work, but it will ensure your Instagram automation stays undetected. Moderation and mimicry of real users is vital.
Should You Use Instagram Automation?
While automation can significantly enhance your Instagram presence, it isn‘t necessarily right for every user.
Here are a few key factors to consider before deploying Instagram bots:
What Are Your Goals?
If your only aim is to aggressively grow followers, automation may be suitable. But for more authentic engagement, mixing automation with manual interactions is better. Know what you want to achieve.
How Large Is Your Account?
In my experience, automation works best for accounts above 10,000 followers. On smaller accounts, focus on manual community-building first before gradually layering in automation.
How Active Will You Be?
Don‘t just set automation and forget it. Stay involved by manually liking, commenting and posting regularly yourself. This balances automation with authenticity.
What‘s Your Ban Risk Tolerance?
There‘s always some risk of Instagram disabling accounts using automation, although following best practices minimizes this drastically. Know the risk going in.
Analyze these factors sincerely before deploying bots. Used judiciously alongside engaged manual efforts, automation can elevate your Instagram significantly.
Tools To Analyze Instagram Success
To complement automation, be sure to leverage tools that provide analytics on your Instagram performance. Here are some top options:
- Iconosquare – Tracks key metrics like engagement rate, follower growth, top posts
- Ingramer – Powerful bot also offering analytics on followers and optimal times
- Combin – All-in-one social media analytics suite with Instagram insights
- HypeAuditor – Instagram audit for follower authenticity and engagement metrics
- Google Analytics – Connect your Instagram to view traffic sources and conversion data
By regularly analyzing your Instagram metrics, you can refine your strategy for optimal automation and growth. Don‘t just set it and forget it.
When used wisely alongside engaged human efforts, Instagram automation can help take your brand‘s presence to the next level. The key is using thoughtful tools, fresh residential proxies, organic interactions, and staying within Instagram‘s limits.
With the right balanced approach, automation will save you hours per week while also boosting your Instagram growth and conversions considerably.
So give some of these top Instagram automation solutions a try, stay hands-on with your account, analyze your metrics, and you‘ll be amazed by the results you can achieve on Instagram!