The Truth Behind Instagram Automation

Posting, editing, content creation, understanding analytics, replying to comments and messages, social media advertising, developing and managing brand partnerships, managing influencer campaigns, staying on brand while staying ahead of the game...there’s a LOT that goes into Instagram account management alone. Then of course you have to manage your brand on all your other social platforms, including your website.

So of course it’s enticing when you see any combination of these words online “Instagram growth,” “fast,” “growth service,” “massive following,” “automated,” etc. However, is this the best strategy and is this allowed?

Social Light was featured in a New York Times article recently where we spoke about our approach to social media management. We thought we’d take this moment to speak further and clarify what types of automation tools are useful for social media.

Let’s start by clarifying a few things:

What Exactly IS Instagram Automation?

When you hear “Instagram automation,” it’s often referring to those little spammy bots that like, comment, and follow accounts for you. They often don’t follow Instagram’s guidelines, which can lead to your account being shut down or you being locked out. I’m sure you’ve seen strange, nonsensical comments on a post of yours...congratulations, you’ve experienced a bot!

What ISN’T Instagram Automation?

There are definitely legitimate, social media-accepted, automated features. They’re acceptable because they’re not cheating the system but do encourage ultimate customer service and practices to ensure your brand does well...legally.

Here are some automation systems that are okay to use:

  • Scheduling platforms: Social media managers (in- or out-of-house) use these since they manage dozens to hundreds of platform accounts.

  • Chat bots: you’ve probably seen this on Facebook. They pop up right when you go to a brand’s page. This is a tactic used for the system to sort out what topic a customer is reaching out about. This way, a representative can help someone quickly and efficiently.

  • Social media analytic reports: these are automatic systems that A.) Do the math for you, and B.) provide you with information that’s already available to you, just in a more concise, readable format.

How To Use Social Media Automation To Your Benefit

1. Schedule Your Social Media Posts

Get rid of those reminders (and headaches) of when to post. Scheduling your posts using an automated platform is only to your benefit. These systems not send your posts out for you, they also help determine when the best time for you to post is, in order to receive the best engagement. It literally does the work for you! And saves you a LOT of time.

Here’s a Social Light tip: create a content calendar to plan out an entire month of content - this would include the content you’ll be posting, what platform(s) it’ll go out on, the date it’ll go out on, the caption, and any hashtags you’d like to include!

2. Chatbots For Ultimate Customer Service

They’re basically your digital concierge. On the business’ end, this can improve customer service by providing 24/7 service for certain concerns and can route customers to an appropriate department or agent for assistance.

Take a look below at some of the ways that chatbots are being used on Facebook:

Sephora Chatbot

Adobe Chatbot

3. Automated Reports

Analytics and data are crucial to your social media success...and social media is crucial to your brand and customer’s shopping experience! Your analytics can tell you not only if you’re gaining fans/customers and an increase in engagement, but also if your social media strategy is resulting in sales.

In-depth reports collect and measure data that’s already available to you on the backend of your social media, and show you short- and long-term patterns and metrics. Some reporting systems even have the ability to automatically email you your report weekly or monthly so you’re able to maintain a consistent run-down.

Alternatives To Instagram Bots

Most bots go against Instagram’s terms of use, so it’s important to be aware of what exact actions are against Instagram’s API general terms when bots are in use:

  • Don’t store or cache Instagram login credentials.

  • Don’t use the Instagram API to simply display User Content, import or backup content, or manage Instagram relationships, without our prior permission.

  • Ensure your comments are uniquely tailored for each person. Don’t post unauthorized commercial communication or spam on Instagram.

  • Don’t use an unreasonable amount of bandwidth, or adversely impact the stability of servers or the behavior of other apps using the Instagram APIs.

What Instagram is hoping to prevent with these terms is inauthentic communications and actions on the platform. It’s understandable that companies are craving these growth methods, and maybe in the future there will be some sort of growth system that works and Instagram will consider it legal.

Until then, here are a few alternatives for growth:

1. Hire Someone

The lure of automation for growth is that it saves time (and money). However, hiring someone to do what these bots do IS legit, and will save YOU the time of doing it yourself. The quality of work you’ll get from hiring someone is greater than if you try it, on top of everything else you’re responsible for.

2. Instagram Engagement

Another great option is to optimize what you’re already doing. Focus on engagement and creating content your audience wants to see. Depending on your brand and how large you are, you should be posting 3-5 times a week on your feed. When you receive good engagement on a post, dive into those analytics to see how to move forward with similar content and where you went right. As your engagement grows, your following should too, and vice versa.

For more tips on increasing engagement, take a look at our recent blog post.

3. Ads Are Your Friend

Instagram Ads are a great way to reach more of your target audience who hasn’t heard of you yet. Promoting your posts gets you in front of their eyes without having to take loads of time to find and engage with them.

For extremely tailored Instagram Ads campaigns, feel free to reach out to us!


“Growth” companies pop up all the time. When one goes down, another comes around. They’re often large operations managing several accounts. Another problem with a lot of these systems (other than, of course, what’s stated above) is if something goes wrong and your account isn’t being monitored, you could be blocked or banned from Instagram. This is a significant negative affect, especially for accounts that need to grow for professional reasons.

At Social Light, we provide growth services for all accounts through advertising, influencer marketing, partnerships, cross-promotion and more (depending on your brand). If you have over 10k followers or a verified Instagram account, we have the ability to provide additional growth services unique to you, given the features that Instagram makes available to verified accounts!

Reach out to us to learn more!