Generating strong engagement with your posts is a matter of creating consistent, high-quality posts and then engaging with your followers. With these metrics in place, consumers are more likely to engage with you, and you’ll gain followers as a result.
But how do you accomplish this time-consuming feat when you have so many other responsibilities in running a business? The answer is automation.
Automation is somewhat of a controversial subject in Instagram marketing, but if you know what you’re doing, it’s an incredible time-saver. As you get started with this useful tool, here are some things you can do to put it on auto-pilot.
- Choose the Right Software
Everything has its ups and downs, and automation is no different. The risks of making mistakes or violating Instagram’s terms of service are significantly less, however, if you choose the right software.
To grow your Instagram with automation, choose your software carefully. There are a LOT of websites that claim to offer you the best automation services, but do your research. Read reviews and thoroughly examine your options to make sure the company’s claims are viable.
- Beware the Awkward Comments
One of the biggest oppositions to the use of Instagram automation is potentially awkward situations through misplaced commenting.
“Instagram bots have a bad reputation because they often lead to extremely embarrassing moments,” says Dominique Jackson of Sprout Social when discussing the dangers of uncontrolled automation. “For instance, you could leave a comment on an inappropriate photo, or your comment could be completely irrelevant to the content.”
Be careful what you set your bots up to do. If they’re commenting smiling emojis on every post they see, it will become pretty obvious to your followers—and the Instagram algorithm—that you’re relying on automation. This could get your account suspended and lose you followers.
- Schedule Posts
The best engagement you’ll see on any post happens within the first 48 hours of publishing it. You may receive likes and comments here and there, but the older a post gets, the less engagement you’ll see.
Ideal posting times will depend on your target audience, but most research shows that Wednesday and Thursday afternoons are the best times and weekends are the worst. You can schedule your posts so that you reach your followers when it counts without having to constantly be on the platform.
- Use Social Listening
Successful Instagram accounts are not just expert posters, they’re also expert listeners. If you’ve mastered this trait, you’ll pay special attention to all existing conversations in your industry and about your brand. It will give you invaluable insights into improvements that should be made as well as provide positive reinforcement.
Good automation tools will include monitoring features, or you can use an outside tool. Hashtags also help you to pick up on cues about follower perceptions. They can categorize posts so that both you and your followers can search for relevant content that will cement your brand.
- Monitor Similar Accounts
The most effective social media managers understand the value of monitoring accounts similar to their own.
Target accounts of direct competition and those in your industry that you aspire to be like. As you follow them, you’ll see their antics first-hand. Mimic posts that perform well and piggyback off of their successful traffic to promote your own posts.
Automation allows you to keep an eye on your competition, even when you’re not on the social page. You don’t want miss out on a priceless opportunity to engage or post about a trending topic.
- Edit Images
Research shows that carefully selected and edited images perform much better on Instagram than those that are carelessly posted. Instagram is obviously a visual platform, and users engage with brands because of their high-quality images. For that reason, editing your images is absolutely essential, focusing on aesthetics and the appropriate use of filters.
Editing can be time-consuming without the help of automation. With the right automation tools, you can automatically edit photos for certain things like red eye or too much light. This leads to Instagram photos that are almost instantly beautiful.
Additionally, research from Dash Hudson shows that the image size is important for engagement. Their research shows that square and portrait photos perform significantly better than landscape formats. Portrait is decidedly the best option because “vertical posts take up more real estate on the screen, which makes them more eye-catching,” says Dash Hudson. “It’s literally more physical space for your brand to take up.”
Automation can also size your images for you, turning a landscape image to portrait or clipping it so that it focuses on the best features. It’s a great tool to save you time while improving overall engagement.
- Research Ideas and Trends
Quality content is king, so most Instagram experts say that it’s better to post nothing at all if you only have sub-par content to present. You could research the highest-performing topics to curate your posts, or you can let your automation tool do the researching for you. It will scour the web looking at the best-performing trends on Instagram, providing inspiration for your own page.
- Post from Your Computer
Instagram is designed as a mobile app, and that won’t change. Unfortunately, the tiny screen can make it difficult to create high-quality content. It’s not fun hunching over a tiny screen while you edit photos and type captions.
Some automation tools can be accessed on the computer rather than a mobile app. This way, you can design each post on your computer, which many marketers find to be easier for both posting and engagement. It will automatically connect to your app and post for you.
Automating your Instagram account will be the best thing you can do for optimizing your account and saving time. It helps you maintain engagement in unique and powerful ways without sacrificing focus on equally important metrics.