In the age of everything digital – from businesses to casual social interaction – it’s no surprise that 79% of the American population has a social media profile.
Specifically, Facebook has reported to comprise of over two billion active users, followed by Instagram with one billion, and Twitter with 326 million. These are all according to statistics reported in 2018, and show no signs of slowing down – particularly for businesses and advertisers.
With social media becoming an increasingly lucrative space for ad revenue and business profit, it’s natural for companies and influencers to manage multiple profiles across multiple platforms. Just check out these multiple online accounts managed by the Moonpie snack brand, for example:
In fact, in 2017, a report from GlobalWebIndex discovered that the average person had 7 social media accounts, raising to 8.7 for younger consumers.
Of course, this all depends on your social media goals and needs – though generally speaking, a presence on multiple social media platforms will increase your chances of audience engagement and exposure.
Unfortunately, managing an active presence across several websites can bite off a huge chunk of your time and effort as a brand owner; precious energy that could otherwise be spent on more pressing areas of business.
Introducing social media automation – the answer to all online marketing.
Why Use Social Media Automation?
Social media automation is exactly as its term describes: the process of automating aspects of your social media. This can range from your posts, to your ads, to even your online interactions.
In a 2018 report published by Invesp, marketing automation on social media was discovered to drive a 14.5% productivity increase in sales, with four in five users claiming that such software led to an increase in leads. Nearly 77% of these users also saw an increase in sales conversions.
Respondents additionally stated that the use of social media automation helped improve customer engagement, campaign targeting, and campaign measurability. 74% said that its largest benefit was the ability to save time.
It’s no wonder, then, that most online marketers are opting for such technology in managing their social media profiles. Maintaining an active presence online is mandatory for keeping your followers and potential audiences engaged, but manually entering every Instagram post, Tweet, and Facebook ad can be tedious and bordering on impractical for many.
Social media automation tools work like a virtual assistant, helping take care of all your menial online tasks while you tend to more important matters. They commonly come in the form of third-party software; actual, human-powered virtual managers; or bots.
Rules for Instagram Automation
Though we’ve previously published an article on Instagram automation, we hardly delved deeper into the rules and regulations regarding Insta-automation.
It’s important to be wary of such restrictions. Mess with the algorithm a little too much, and you could put your account at risk of being “shadowbanned”; a term used to describe a profile when its visibility is hindered on the platform. This is Instagram’s way of penalizing accounts involved in shady engagement strategies – including seemingly innocent bots and auto-publishers.
What’s this now? Using automation tools on Instagram can get you “banned”? What’s the point of using them then?!
Practicing Safe Instagram Automation
Luckily, not all Instagram automation software will take a hammer to your engagement rate. Just the ones that break Instagram’s T&C’s. These include:
- Ensuring each comment and message is tailored uniquely to each post and user, avoiding anything “spammy”
- Ensuring businesses are disabled from taking more than one action at a time on the platform
- Enabling functions that starkly “change” the way Instagram functions
- Ensuring you aren’t using an unreasonable amount of bandwidth that could adversely impact the stability of Instagram’s servers
Depending on the software, more of these “General Terms” can be added to the equation. Unfortunately, plenty of popularly-used automation software blatantly violate such rules (particularly the first one!) – with the famous third-party bot, Instagress, finding this out the hard way.
Instagress was a highly effective, affordable bot used by Instagram users everywhere. Essentially, the software ran automated likes and comments on profiles related to keywords you provide.
It seemed like a great solution to any online marketer – until in wasn’t. In early 2017, the popular Instagram bot was sadly closed down. While the exact reasons for their closure were unclear, a common speculation would be its promotion of plainly artificial, meaningless interaction on others’ accounts.
Fortunately, plenty of alternatives stepped up to the plate in the wake of such news. It’s safe to say that Instagram automation is thus a practice that many can’t do without – and with such positive marketing and sales reports, it’s easy to see why.
The Best Tools for Social Media Automation
Below, we discuss some of the best existing Instagram (and other social media) automation tools that work well within the platform’s rules and regulations. Automation on the site is still very well possible; you just have to stick to the limitations you’re given.
There are three popular types of social media automation tools you can use: auto-publishing tools, ad management tools, and automated engagement tools.
Social Media Automation Tool #1 – Automate Your Posts
Previously, the ability to post on Instagram through third-party software was huge violation to the Instagram’s T&C’s, likely resulting in a shadowban. However, early 2018 brought the opportunity for some services to enable this feature, provided they used Instagram’s business API.
This meant that only business accounts can auto-publish on Instagram, but still – it was much-awaited change.
Below are two of the best and most effective third-party schedulers you can use for Instagram profiles, and other accounts on social media.
Later boasts itself as the #1 marketing platform for scheduling Instagram posts, which isn’t too far from the truth, considering its features.
Both a visual planner and an Instagram automation tool, Later provides users with a drag-and-drop calendar for incredibly easy post-planning and scheduling.
Using Later for Instagram Automation
With their tools, you can schedule your Instagram posts days and even weeks in advance. Set aside a day (or even just a part of your day) to smash out weeks’ worth of valuable content, and you’re freeing up a ton of time that could be used for other business or marketing matters.
Additionally, Later offers an easily-navigable library to store all your photos and videos. This content can be accessed on any device – thus perfect for when you’re managing your Instagram profile with a team.
If you’re one for user-generated content, Later also offers the ability to search for posts on Instagram via hashtag. While you sift through the posts, you can save them directly into your content library, or repost a high-quality copy!
Of course, one of the perks to social media automation is the ability to track your account performance. Later also provides you with analytics that help you determine the best time to post, and tracks all interactions on your content – such as likes, clicks, and follows.
As an Instagram partner, publishing with Later is 100% safe. Only business accounts on Instagram can take advantage of their auto-publishing feature, though personal accounts will still be given push notifications to remind them that their content is scheduled for posting.
Social media automation has never been easier with Hootsuite. This tool is an all-rounder when it comes to managing your social media accounts, with the ability to connect multiple profiles from multiple platforms.
This grants you with tools not only for Instagram automation, but Facebook and Twitter automation as well.
Using Hootsuite for Social Media Automation
Through the Hootsuite dashboard, users have a visual preview of all their social media activity, with options to schedule posts in advance. With their Chrome extension, you also have the ability to quickly repost existing content online as you surf the web.
Additionally, those working in a marketing team can add their colleagues as members of a group onto the Hootsuite platform, allowing them to easily access your social media content calendars. Members will also be able to easily communicate and work with one another all in one place, and have specific social media tasks assigned to them.
You can also monitor any existing online conversations regarding hashtags or keywords related to your brand, to see what’s up among your competitors and industry.
Facebook and Instagram business profiles can easily have posts auto-published to their feed. With their Twitter automation tools, users additionally get the privilege of scheduling a batch of Tweets in bulk to save time.
All social media metrics can be tracked from the convenience of your Hootsuite dashboard, with the option to additionally automate custom performance reports.
Social Media Automation Tool #2 – Automate Your Instagram Engagement… The Safe Way
Instagram will crack down on individuals who use bots for generating fake, artificial comments, follows, and messages – so some users may opt for an actual, human assistant to do all the heavy marketing lifting for them.
However, some automation bots will still work well within the platform’s restrictions, and avoid specific automation practices that are bound to send up a few red flags.
Enter Kenji – an artificial intelligence bot to make your Instagram marketing life a whole lot easier.
The service markets itself as a completely safe-to-use software, avoiding sketchy Instagram behaviour such as auto-commenting, auto-following, and auto-messaging – and simply acting as a tool to ‘like’ posts relevant to your brand. Kenji also exclusively interacts with real, active users; completely steering clear of any fake profiles.
Using Kenji for Instagram Automation
This Instagram automation tool works to ramp up your profile exposure on the site, by engaging with posts and getting on the radar of users within your target demographic.
Upon signing up to their service (new users can get started on a 3-day free trial, no credit card required!), you are simply asked to provide hashtags relevant to your brand and niche.
Kenji then targets posts relevant to your tags, helping you gain visibility among potential followers. You can also choose to target users by location or followers of successful competitors in your industry.
However, users who’d like to take their Insta-marketing a step further can join Upleap: an Instagram service that signs users up with their very own account manager.
While not exactly a social media automation tool, hiring an Upleap account manager can still help you cut down on precious time and energy spent on maintaining your Instagram engagement.
Using Upleap for Instagram Automation
Getting started is easy – just sign up to their service (like Kenji, new users are offered a free, 3-day trial!) and you’ll be asked a few questions regarding your target audience and industry.
Your manager will then get to work, engaging with relevant Instagram users and thus raising your profile visibility. Similarly to Kenji, managers will only target real, organic profiles, ensuring you’re growing an audience base of active users who are likely to engage with your content. Potential followers can additionally be targeted based on identified hashtags, locations, or similar accounts to yours.
Upleap is a highly efficient solution for “automating” your marketing, while sticking to real, genuine engagement that adhere to Instagram’s guidelines.
Social Media Automation Tool #3 – Automate Your Ads
With social media marketing comes the necessity to create and promote ad content. These guys are great for getting your best content, products, or services under the eyes of potential followers or consumers.
Facebook and Instagram are hotspots for online brand advertisement, and fortunately, this process also has social media automation tools to help keep things more streamlined and efficient.
Revealbot is a platform that helps you automate and manage your ads across several social media profiles – including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. You can sign up using your e-mail or a Slack account; from Slack, you’ll be able to track and share your ad performance among your team.
Once you’ve connected all your necessary social media profiles, you can start adding ‘rules’ for your ad automation.
Using Revealbot for Social Media Automation
These ad automation rules help determine Revealbot’s further actions when an ad meets a specific set of conditions. For example, when a certain ad does well, you can set conditions that automate an increase in its budget. You can also choose to pause ads once it’s reached a certain amount of budget spent.
On Facebook, you can also auto-boost ads for promotion once they’ve reached a certain number of organic impressions or engagement.
Additionally, users can easily track their campaign performances by generating custom ad reports, delivered on a weekly, daily, or customized schedule.
Ready to Automate Your Social Media?
Each of these tools discussed are designed to optimize your online marketing efforts; conveniently automating the menial responsibilities of social media management.
With social media automation, you can then focus your entrepreneurial brain power on more critical, creativity-driven tasks – such as coming up with new social media campaigns or improving your online content as an influencer.
Whatever your case may be, social media automation tools will take a great weight off your shoulders. Get on board if you haven’t yet, and see your online productivity rise.