I Tried Instagram Automation (So You Don’t Have To): An Experiment

Has the elusive unicorn of Instagram automation ever tempted you?

We are able to’t blame you. Instagram automation software program websites paint a fairly image of your telephone blowing up organically with likes and feedback. Your social media scales effortlessly whilst you sit again and chill out.

Manufacturers like Nike, NASA, and whoever runs Obama’s social networks are begging you to seek the advice of.

And, oh, who’s that in your DMs? Taika Waititi and Doja Cat each asking for a comply with again? Wow, that is all the things you dreamed of, proper?


I attempted it out, and never solely did Doja Cat not return any of my messages, however I additionally misplaced time, cash, and a little bit of dignity.

All shouldn’t be misplaced; there are legitimately useful Instagram automation instruments. We’ll get to them on the finish of this text. However first, right here’s what occurred once I tried Instagram automation.

What is Instagram automation?

To be clear, the kind of Instagram automation we’re discussing are bots that like posts, follow accounts, and comment on your behalf.

Ideally, you train your bots to sound and act like you. Then, those bots go out and find accounts they think you’ll like. They interact with them using parameters you’ve set beforehand in a hopefully natural way.

The idea is that by engaging with other accounts, those accounts will turn around and engage with you. This way, you’ll be building a following with real people by using a bot to do the work.

But, much like friends in real life, you can’t use a robot to foster relationships for you. Wall-E types excluded, of course. It’s impersonal, and people tend to know when a bot is pretending to be a person, and people hate it.

And when people on Instagram hate something, Instagram tends to hate it too and bans quickly follow. They want their real users to happily spend as much time as possible on the app, so they take black-hat social media tricks fairly critically.

Instagram automation is a kind of pesky black-hat strategies, like engagement pods, which we tried and, spoiler alert, they failed. It’s in step with buying Instagram followers. We tried that too, and it left us with an inflated follower depend, zero engagement, and an extended listing of clearly faux followers.

What’s NOT Instagram automation?

Let me be crystal clear: There are glorious, reputable Instagram automation instruments and software program on the market. They do the groundwork for you, letting you give attention to techniques that may authentically scale your social efforts, like creating content your followers want to see.

Within the context of this text, we’re discussing Instagram automation practices which can be black-hat techniques. The reputable instruments we all know and love don’t fall beneath this umbrella. We’ve listed a couple of of our favourite instruments and software program on the finish of this piece.

What occurred once I tried Instagram automation

Now that we’re on the identical web page with what “Instagram automation” means, we are able to get into the nitty-gritty.

I began off by doing what you in all probability did to get right here — I Googled “Instagram automation.” I landed on Plixi, one of many first marketed Instagram automation choices on Google. It appeared like a superb place to start out.

Experiment 1

Step 1: Enroll

Enroll was fast and simple. I linked my Instagram account and put in my bank card info. I used an outdated account that solely had 51 Followers, so the one method to go was up!

Plixi’s dwelling web page bragged about having a “patent-pending” mannequin. Basically, they’re crawling Instagram and utilizing machine studying to seek out and work together with like-minded accounts, partaking with them, and inspiring followers.

Step 2: Development Settings

After signing up, Plixi requested me to set my progress settings. The free (for twenty-four hours earlier than it’s important to pay for a month at $49) model permits you to select “gradual” to your follower progress. Sluggish it’s.

I added in “accounts like mine” so Plixi might goal their followers, assumedly. This was a bit robust because the account I used to be utilizing — Scholar Collars — was a foolish vogue line I launched firstly of the pandemic.

What’s Scholar Collars, you ask? I created collared dickies for these last-minute oh-my-God-I’m-still-wearing-pajamas Zoom conferences.

You may preserve one in your desk drawer, then slap it on beneath your t-shirt or sweater for an instantaneous skilled improve. On Zoom, you’ll be able to solely see your neck and shoulders, so the opposite assembly attendees suppose you’re in stylish enterprise informal put on.

As you’ll be able to see, it wasn’t precisely straightforward to seek out comparable accounts, so I added @Zoom.

There have been a couple of different choices to arrange my account for fulfillment, however they had been all gated behind a Professional account.

Step 3: Begin

I slapped the Begin Development button, and Plixi began discovering me new followers. I had one throughout the first 2 minutes — a crypto app account.

Plixi additionally informed me in my exercise dashboard that they’d “Reached 9 customers based mostly on @zoom” although it’s unclear what that truly means. They hadn’t reached out to 9 customers so far as I might inform.

Step 4: Watch my followers develop

After 24 hours, I had eight extra followers, taking me from 51 to 59. The following day my follower depend grew to 100. Over every week, my follower depend grew to 245, which is fairly okay — it wasn’t as low cost and simple as different ways to buy followers. However, the accounts appeared legit, and the expansion was gradual sufficient that Instagram didn’t appear eager to flag my account.

However, I now had 245 followers and nonetheless solely seven likes on considered one of my photographs. And no exercise from my very own account. I had been beneath the impression that Plixi would additionally like and remark from my account. It didn’t.

The expansion was positive and all, however what’s actually the purpose? For $50, I had no engagement moreover a rise in follower depend. And since Plixi hadn’t interacted with different accounts, I couldn’t make sure the place the followers had been coming from, nevertheless it wasn’t from natural engagement.

So, Plixi was a letdown. However, like every good researcher, I attempted a second experiment.

Experiment #2,

Step 1: Discover an Instagram remark bot

After Plixi, I wished to focus my efforts on automating engagement. Naturally, I Googled “Instagram remark bot and computerized Instagram likes”

I discovered one which routinely sends out DMs. Yikes. That appeared too private by some means. And one other that promised me it was an actual particular person, which, for those who’ve learn our chatbot do’s and don’ts, you’ll know is a chatbot-don’t.

Instaswift appeared to be extra what I used to be after — they usually marketed a free Instagram-like-bot trial. Bought.

Step 2: Attempt the Instagram bot at no cost

The free Instagram bot turned out to be 10 to fifteen free likes in your final three uploaded photos. Once I tried it, I used to be met with an error message. Off to a rocky begin with Instaswift.

Supply: Instaswift

Step 3: Pay for it

Every week of Instaswift with 3-4 feedback is $15, so regardless of the frustration from the free trial, we’re nonetheless going forward. Possibly they deal with paying clients somewhat higher.

Step 4: Put up a photograph

It’s important to publish a brand new picture for it to start out working, and the one I selected of my good friend’s cat Gus bought 110 likes and 4 feedback. The surge in likes would have regarded faux if I hadn’t performed the follower marketing campaign first. Now, it solely appears to be like faux for those who look intently.

fake comments for Gus the cat

I opted to cancel my subscription because it routinely renews from week to week.

Now, I simply needed to discover a bot to remark from my account.

Experiment 3

Step 1: Discover a remark bot

For the third experiment, I attempted PhantomBuster. It promised to publish feedback from my account routinely.

Plus, it had promised Instagram automation at no cost with a 14-day trial. Bought.

Step 2: Enroll and get began

PhantomBuster makes use of cookies to log in to your account to remark in your behalf. As soon as I had that sorted, it requested me for a spreadsheet with publish URLs and remark examples.

Then, I despatched Phantom Buster to ‘go’ and sat again.

Step 3: Check your results

The bot automatically commented on three posts. But, they were the three account URLs and comments I had added to the spreadsheet. It would have taken me less time to comment on the posts myself.

automatic comments by post on Instagram posts

If this wasn’t a free trial, I’d be upset that PhantomBuster billed me for doing one thing I might have performed myself.

Classes from Instagram automation

Instagram automation isn’t any secret path to instafame or much more engagement. It turned out to be a waste of money and time for me.

There’s no such factor as a reputable, risk-free Instagram automation service

As Hootsuite writers Paige Cooper and Evan LePage every found once they ran this experiment, automating Instagram advertising and marketing and engagement ain’t it.

Paige Cooper tried three totally different websites: InstaRocket, Instamber, and Ektor.io. She described her experiment as “shockingly ineffective” after gaining and dropping lower than ten followers. Although, Paige did wind up with some feedback — notably, “Why did u purchase followers” and “U have small likes.”

Evan LePage used the now-defunct Instagress to get 250 followers in 3 days. He reported:

“I [automatically] commented “your pics > my pics” on a selfie of a boy who was clearly in center faculty. In reality, his account was composed of solely 4 photos, three of them selfies. I felt uncomfortable. The teenage boy informed me I used to be being modest.”


And as for myself, the expertise was a lunch bag letdown. Sure, I bought a couple of new followers and a few feedback. However, finally, the followers weren’t aligned with my model and the feedback

There isn’t any method to automate Instagram legitimately, successfully, and with out danger.

It’s not well worth the time looking and organising

One of many largest frustrations I discovered was that looking for “reputable” (AKA apps that didn’t look too sketchy) automation manufacturers took effort and time. Then, organising every of them to work with my Instagram account and checking in on them took effort and time, too.

If I had spent the identical period of time simply engaged on a social media strategy, I’d be in a a lot better place proper now.

Legitimately useful Instagram automation instruments

Now for the nice half. All hope shouldn’t be misplaced in relation to useful Instagram automation instruments. Like most issues in life, there’s no magic wand you’ll be able to wave to get what you need. However, there are magic wands that may make your workday a bit simpler.

Hootsuite’s Scheduling Software program

Scheduling software permits you to plan your Instagram posts forward, so that you don’t need to scramble the day of. Hootsuite’s scheduling features are a dream for busy content material creators and entrepreneurs — and key to saving you time in your social media advertising and marketing efforts.

Hootsuite Analytics

Tools for Instagram analytics and metrics can automate reviews for you, so you’ll be able to see what’s working and what’s not and pull reviews simply for shoppers or managers that present outcomes throughout all of your social media platforms. We’re clearly somewhat biased, however we do love Hootsuite Analytics, and social media managers do too.


Chatbots for Instagram can alleviate the drudgery of FAQs, buyer help, and gross sales — you simply have to seek out one you’ll be able to belief. We love Heyday — a lot in order that we partnered with them.

Heyday allows you to handle all your buyer’s queries from a single dashboard, so your Instagram DMs are straightforward to examine. And, it automates messages for you, like often requested questions.

Heyday chatbot for Instagram

Supply: Heyday

Hootsuite’s social listening instruments

Social listening and hashtag monitoring tools can crawl for key phrases essential to your model. You may arrange a seek for related subjects, see who’s saying what on the market, then remark again.

Begin constructing your Instagram presence the actual approach utilizing Hootsuite. Schedule and publish posts on to Instagram, have interaction your viewers, measure efficiency, and run all of your different social media profiles — all from one easy dashboard. Attempt it free at the moment.

Get Started

Simply create, analyze, and schedule Instagram posts, Tales, and Reels with Hootsuite. Save time and get outcomes.

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