Last Updated on November 23, 2020 by Jason
Instagram automation has been widely known as a popular tool for growing Instagram followers, but what does it really do?
Should you use it at all? We’re going to tell you everything you need to know about Instagram automation in this article.
Social media hasn’t slowed down at all in 2020, and Instagram is as booming as ever for influencers, businesses, brands, and marketing. It’s surpassed 1 billion monthly active users, and 90% of users follow at least one business account. There’s plenty of potential on Instagram for marketers who know how to maximize usage of the platform.
But there’s still one problem– competition. With the increased popularity of the platform, there are more companies that see the value of it, therefore trying to capitalize on it and vying for more business and followers in their niche.
Growing social media follower count is no easy task– it can be extremely time consuming, and also tedious work that requires a lot of repetitive actions and engagements with people in your target audience.
For a long time, Instagram users looking for a larger following have relied heavily on Instagram automation tools to help with the task.
Over time, however, this has raised eyebrows at Instagram, and the platform has thus taken action to effectively curb the use of automation for this purpose.
But, what exactly is automation, and what does it do on Instagram?
Can it be useful in other ways?
What are the risks or disadvantages of using Instagram?
We’re going to dive into all of these questions and more to help you understand how to effectively use automation on Instagram, and when to avoid it altogether.
We’ll also talk about some services like Growthoid that might be the Instagram automation replacement that you’ve been searching for.
What is Instagram Automation?
First and foremost, let’s define automation. This term is thrown around a lot, but what exactly is automation?
Automation is using third party apps that automate some of the functionalities of Instagram. This includes and is not limited to:
- Follow users
- Unfollow users
- Like posts
- Comment on posts
- Send DMs
- Schedule Instagram posts
- Analytics and reporting
- Story viewing
Typically, these types of actions and interactions are performed by bots that are previously set up to perform the task as directed by the user, and some of these actions are less harmful than others when performed by bots.
We’ll get more into the benefits of automation in a while, but the main purpose of automation on Instagram has been to grow follower count and engage with other accounts, so that’s what we’ll discuss first.
How Is Instagram Automation Dangerous?
It sounds very ominous and serious, we know. While your lives won’t be in danger, the health of your Instagram account will be, which is a big problem for those who link their livelihood and success to the Instagram platform they’ve created.
For Instagram growth, there are a few ways bots work. The normal procedure is to first provide the bot service with some targeting instructions, such as age of desired followers, location, hashtags, accounts they follow, gender, etc. Once these targets are provided, the bot will start to look for accounts to engage with, and depending on the service will do a variety of things.
The most common one is follow/unfollow, which means the bot will follow an account, and then hope that the account follows your account back. Later, they will unfollow the account that they followed. This is a hit or miss tactic, but widely used with automation and even manually when people try to grow their account.
In the end, Instagram growth is based around interaction– the more accounts you interact with and that see your profile, the more likely you are to gain followers if they’re interested in your content and your content is high-quality and valuable.
That’s why all of what bots do is centered around engaging with other accounts. In addition to follow/unfollow, bots do a variety of other things, including liking photos of other users, comment on photos, view stories, and even send DMs if you set them up to.
As you can see, there can be a strain of issues that these actions bring along. We’re going to get into those in detail shortly.
But before we do, it’s important to mention that nobody likes bots. There are even accounts now that are dubbed things like @botpolice and @bot.inspector to hound bot posts when they see them as comments and spam DMs and requests. That definitely goes to show that people have caught on to the automation game, and so far, they’re not impressed!
If your account is obviously using automation activity, it’s likely that users will notice this, and you’ll lose credibility along with virtually no follower gain.
Let’s look closer at why automated actions are generally not beneficial to your account.
Top-rated Growth Tools for Instagram
This action, when done by bots, is hard to control. Bots can flood accounts and follow a bunch of them, and there’s no guarantee that they’re in your target audience. You may have given them targeting instructions, but many Instagram automation services and tools aren’t able to follow them, and you’ll see your account flooded with people that are completely irrelevant to your target market.
Not only that, using this method without caution can ruin your follower to following ratio. If you have 6000 followers, let’s say, and you are following 8000 accounts. This shows that you are clearly using some kind of follow/unfollow bot tactics and it’s an unhealthy ratio for your account. It’s also a red flag for potential partners or collabs.
Many of the followers you do actually gain from these interactions may also be bots or ghost followers, which means that they won’t even engage with your content and will do nothing but mess up your ratio.
It will be even more time-consuming for you later when you have to go through all of these followers and remove them. They also skew your analytics because you can’t tell which posts are actually performing well among your active followers.
The final problem with this is that bots, depending on the amount of activity you ask for from the service, can actually get your account flagged. Instagram has daily engagement and follow limits that are not disclosed to the public; if you are continually breaching this engagement and follow limits, then you will be disabled and flagged by Instagram, possibly causing more serious consequences in the future.
On the other hand, some services are so aware of this restriction that Instagram has, that they keep their activity so minimal that you’ll hardly see anything at all. This way, they don’t come onto Instagram’s radar, and you see barely any results.
Likes and Story Views
Of all of the bot actions that you can contract in a service, both of these are probably the least harmful. Since likes and story views don’t require any kind of personalized interaction, the only thing that will appear to the user is your username and that you liked their post or viewed their story.
This isn’t the worst way to get more exposure, but in the end, it’s something that you can easily do yourself without having to put in too much time and effort, and you won’t have to give up your login credentials and account integrity to an automation tool to do so.
Comments and DMs
These, alongside follow/unfollow, are some of the most undesirable bot interactions on Instagram.
Not only do comments need to be personalized, they also need to be appropriate and sensical enough in the context of whatever post they appear on. If you post something like “wow! That’s incredible” on a very sensitive post that a user shared with a topic that doesn’t align, it’s likely that you will look really bad, and clearly be identified as using a bot-run service. Not a good look for your account.
What’s more, DMs also need to be personalized; there’s nothing worse than getting a bunch of spam posts begging for followers or views on your profile. These are likely to go right in the trash with an eye roll, and you’ve essentially wasted your money. Unless you’ve got something really captivating to get your bot to share in bulk, it’s not going to work.
How to Use Automation for Instagram Growth
So, long story short– don’t! In the end, the investment is not worth the risk, and you’re likely to lose time and money when you could’ve been creating your own effective growth, or using a service like Growthoid, which we’ll talk about later.
Let’s take a look at some reasons why you can’t trust Instagram automation tools or services.
Instagram Automation Tools Lie About Growth
There’s nothing better than seeing, “grow over 1000 real Instagram followers per month!” and knowing better.
All in all, these types of automation tools and services cannot provide users with a set number of followers that they’ll gain, as the nature of bot-led follower growth and follow/unfollow technique is always unpredictable. There are many factors that it depends on, and to straight up tell a client that they’re guaranteed a certain number of followers in a month is absolutely unrealistic.
If they are planning on living up to that promise, it’s because they want to infuse your account with a bunch of fake followers so it looks like you got what they said you would, when actually they just messed up your real follower count.
Automation Tools & Services Don’t Provide Support
Okay, so let’s say you decided that an automation service would work for you, and you were super convinced by their site and what they promised.
It’s two weeks in, you’ve seen about 5 new followers, you’ve followed about 2000 new accounts, and your engagement hasn’t moved at all.
What do you do? Well, you write to customer service, of course!
One day goes by; no response. Two days, then three. On the fourth day you’re writing again, and the cycle repeats. Your next payment is coming up soon. Convenient, right?
This is extremely frustrating, and all too common with automation services. They don’t want to respond to your concerns for two reasons: number one, they knew that you’d be complaining, and two, they don’t have an answer for you, because that’s just how the service works.
They don’t want you to cancel, so they’ll wait a few more billing cycles.
Automation Tools & Services Don’t Follow Targets
Even if you do see follower growth, it’s really unlikely that these services are able to follow your targets. It’s all too common that you see a bunch of unconnected followers coming into your account, and then the automation service says you just need new targets.
The problem is, they can’t effectively target users because the platform is simply too large; it’s impossible for a bot not to pick up undesired followers, even with targeting instructions.
Automation Tools & Services are Not Approved by Instagram
Instagram is all about providing users with a positive experience free of annoying spam, hate speech, discrimination, and inappropriate activity.
When automation first became popular, Instagram really wasn’t prepared for it, and it worked for a while. But pretty quickly, Instagram took action, and now using bots and automation tools is highly restricted on Instagram.
Therefore, Instagram bots and automation tools always have to work under Instagram’s nose, hoping they aren’t picked out and identified. They, of course, don’t tell you that. They are happy to say they operate alongside Instagram’s policies and you won’t have any negative account consequences.
They can’t guarantee this. They also can’t guarantee the security of your account, and when you work with an automation tool, you could risk your account being hacked or taken over.
How Can I Grow My Instagram Followers?
We don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, and we’re sorry that Instagram automation for follower growth isn’t recommended. But, we do care about you and your account health, so we’re going to help you out and give you the next best solution for how to grow your Instagram followers without using automation.
With so much competition out there, providing unique, top-quality content is absolutely vital in keeping the followers you have and growing your audience even more. If you’re so focused on account growth and engaging with target accounts, how can you have time to give your best to content creation, editing, posting, and stories?
The best way to balance your workflow is to use the best alternative to automation– Growthoid.
There are two major things that sets Growthoid apart from the typical automation solutions to Instagram growth:
- Organic Instagram growth by hand: that’s right, Growthoid doesn’t use any automation or bots to grow your account, so they are able to accurately use your targeting instructions to bring new followers to your account that will actually engage and show interest in your content. This is a huge benefit
- Dedicated account manager: Growthoid is able to offer manual Instagram growth because each account is handled directly by an account manager. That means that after you sign up, you’ll be assigned an account manager that will be in charge of doing the interactions that you yourself would do, therefore saving you time and allowing you to work on more important and complex aspects of your workload.
The fact that Growthoid is able to offer the benefits of follower growth with an account manager and manual service is really the best alternative to Instagram automation. All of the concerns that growth service companies raise are effectively eliminated with Growthoid, giving you peace of mind and transparency.
If you’re really in need of an Instagram growth service and don’t want to worry about giving up account security and peace of mind, Growthoid is a great option that’s been working for many clients.
Instagram Automation on the Backend
We did say at the beginning of this article that we’d talk about some positive ways to use automation on your Instagram account, and we are happy to do that, because these types of automation are really invaluable to those who manage social media accounts.
We talked about automation that users will see, such as likes, comments, DMs, follows, etc. But there’s another type of automation called backend automation, which refers to actions that are automated but out of the user view. In essence, users won’t know that you’ve used automation to perform these actions.
In addition to Growthoid, these types of third-party app services can be super beneficial in streamlining your Instagram workflow even more.
Instagram Content Automation
After spending time building unique content that is relevant and valuable for your followers, you’ve got to make sure you stick to a consistent posting schedule and get your content out at optimal times for your followers to view and engage with it.
This can become tiresome, especially if you have target audience in other parts of the world that may be on a different time schedule than you, or perhaps users that are more active on the platform during times that are inconvenient for you to post.
To resolve these issues, you can look to Instagram scheduling apps. These apps will allow you to schedule posts in advance, making your life a lot easier and removing the need to be living constantly glued to a clock waiting to post your content.
Most services offer the basic functions, depending on the service that you select. They offer functions like a calendar view of all your content, seeing your content preview before going live, adding captions and hashtags to your posts, among other features.
Most services can’t schedule Instagram stories, but if that’s a key feature for you, there are a few out there that do.
All in all, Instagram scheduling tools are awesome backend automation services that really do make your life easier and can even help to make sure that your content looks great and reflects your brand image before posting. A win for consistency!
Another way you can use backend automation to your benefit is to use a tool for Instagram analytics.
Instagram offers analytics via the app in the form of Instagram insights. If you haven’t been taking advantage of this, make sure your account is switched to a professional account and start to take notice of this feature.
Instagram insights helps you to understand who is viewing your content, what actions it’s prompting users to take, alongside many other things. Using this information can help you understand what content is performing well and where you have some room for improvement.
While this is relatively easy to use, what Instagram analytics apps will do is they will take all of that data and compile it in tangible ways; since it’s doing the work for you, you won’t have to worry about finding a way to record and track all of this information manually.
It’s another beneficial backend automation tool that saves you time and ultimately helps you to identify strong and weak points in your social media strategy.
Instagram Automation: Wrap-up
Hopefully now you have a clear understanding of what Instagram automation is, how it can be used to your advantage, and the ways that you should probably avoid using it.
Creating a strong social media strategy can be difficult, but don’t resort to unproductive growth methods like bots and automation. In the long run, they’re not a good investment and will bring you little to no results. They will more often than not damage your account and you’ll end up with more work trying to reverse what the automation tool or service did.
Consider alternative growth methods like Growthoid, which will allow an account manager to take over where you left off and engage with target accounts manually.
Don’t forget to take advantage of backend automation tools & services to help streamline your social media posting schedules and analytics.
It’s always a good idea to use as many tools as you can in order to work effectively and efficiently, just make sure that the tool is actually built to benefit you and not trick you into something that doesn’t work in the long term.