Written by Michael Keenan

March 13, 2022

Boasting more than 200 million active businesses on the app people visit every day, Instagram (IG) is one of the most used social media platforms by brands worldwide. It’s a place where you can easily find your target audience, gain new followers, and create organic growth in your business. 

The downside? Managing your business Instagram account can be time-consuming. Posting quality content, answering customer direct messages, dealing with influencers and more can be overwhelming for a small team. So what do smart companies do?

They automate parts of their Instagram marketing and engagement with the help of some great tools.  

Does Instagram allow automation?

The short answer: yes, but only certain parts. Instagram doesn’t allow automation that is designed to manipulate the algorithm or misrepresent your account.

An easy example of bad automation is using a spammy bot or duplicitous growth services that make it seem like you have more followers or engagement than you actually do.

Using services that auto-follow/unfollow accounts, leave mass comments, or buff up your follower count with fake followers is against Instagram’s terms of service. You’ll quickly find yourself on the ban list and Instagram will close your account.

Instagram wants real people, real followers, and real engagement — and you should too! Acquiring thousands of fake followers and comments won’t boost your revenue; in fact, it will repel prospective customers.

Good automation services work with Instagram to make sure their tools comply with IG’s terms of service. Approved Instagram automation includes scheduling posts, reporting, DMs, and auto likes/replies (within your own content). 

We’ve compiled a list of Instagram automation tools that work with Instagram and can help you manage and grow your account while saving you substantial time in the process.

9 best Instagram Automation tools

The tools on this list are not exhaustive, but they are some of the best you can get. Some of the tools are better for different needs, so try a few of them to see which ones works best for you personally.

ManyChat

Price: Free plan or $15 per month for Pro plan

Best Instagram automation tool - ManyChat

ManyChat is an Instagram automation service and official Facebook (now Meta) Business Partner. Its main automation solution enables you to build chatbots that will help you automate Instagram DMs.

It has a clean, intuitive interface that makes it easy to visualize the path of chat conversations. It also includes many growth tools that will direct people into your chatbot flow from posts and Stories.

ManyChat offers detailed tutorials on how to build the best chatbot for your business and walkthroughs of its Instagram growth tools that work alongside the chat functions.

Best for: Small businesses and influencers who want to generate leads using chat.

Features include:

  • An intuitive Flow Builder: Easily build automated chatbot flows.
  • Keyword triggers: Send users into a chatbot flow from DMs using pre-determined Keywords or phrases. For example, let’s say you want to give away a freebie digital guide. Just create a post or Story that asks users to DM you the word “eBook”; when they do, ManyChat will send them into the giveaway chatbot flow.
  • Comments Automation: Automatically like and reply to comments on your content, and send those users DMs. You can even create a set of randomized replies so that not everyone gets the exact same response for more authentic user engagement.
  • Story Mentions Trigger: Instantly respond to anyone who mentions you in their Story. You can automate a quick “thank you” message or even build a flow that generates leads or encourages further engagement.
  • Conversation Starters: Direct common customer questions or sales into specific flows. For example, you can create a flow that shows off your current sales or help people understand shipping costs.
  • Information capture: ManyChat automatically captures and stores user-provided information that you can use across your marketing channels and for future campaigns.
  • Live Chat: You can set up an unlimited number of team members to speak with people and the Live Chat dashboard shows you key customer information and interactions.
  • Popular integrations: Use MailChimp, Klaviyo, Shopify, Google Sheets, Zapier, and more to help automate internal processes. 

Available on: Web, iOS, Android

G2 rating: 4.6 out of 5

Kicksta

Price: from $49 per month, 14-day money-back guarantee

Kicksta IG automation tool

Kicksta is a simple automation tool that drives growth using an equally simple method — automatically liking people’s posts. Don’t worry, it doesn’t go crazy and spam other accounts with comments or DMs.

It works by liking one or two posts from accounts that already follow other accounts you’ve specified are similar to yours. In doing so, it educates potential followers on your account content, then they can decide whether or not to follow you.

The platform also includes a handy hashtag generator tool and manager.

Best for: Marketing agencies or influencers who want to speed up their growth.

Features include:

  • An Instagram likes automation system that helps to capture the attention of potential followers.
  • A hashtag generator tool that enables you to manage and group hashtags to use on different posts, saving you from having to manually input them all the time.

Available on: Web

Trustpilot rating: 3.7 out of 5

Buffer

Price: Free plan, $6 per month for Essentials plan (or $60 per year) per social channel

Buffer instagram tool

Buffer is a social media management toolkit that helps schedule your posts on Instagram (and other social networks) and measure your content’s performance. 

Its easy drag-n-drop scheduling tool gives you a visual representation of your content calendar while its analytics tool can help you build detailed reports with metrics that matter to your business.

Best for: Small businesses and influencers who want to plan and analyze content.

Features include:

  • Post scheduler tool to plan and automatically publish posts at specific times or via its smart auto-schedule.
  • An at-a-glance view of your content calendar.
  • Team collaboration on content, including an approvals process.
  • Ability to nclude a “first comment” on your posts for things like hashtags or link in bio reminders.
  • Analytics dashboard featuring demographic analysis, Stories and post engagements, and even hashtag performance.

Available on: Web, iOS, Android

G2 rating: 4.3 out of 5

Sprout Social

Price: from $89 per user per month, free trials available (no credit card required)

SproutSocial automation tool

Sprout Social is another social media management platform that’s similar to Buffer, but it has a few extra features. The cheapest plan allows you to manage up to five profiles, automatic scheduling and posting, and an all-in-one social inbox.

As an added bonus, you can also monitor and repost user-generated content (UGC) within the platform as well as monitor reviews across multiple review platforms. 

Best for: Medium to large businesses with social media teams.

Features include:

  • Management of up to 10 social profiles ( advanced plans only).
  • All-in-one social inbox to monitor DMs, comments, replies, and mentions.
  • Automatic content publishing, as well as content drafting and queuing.
  • Review management tool to monitor reviews from Facebook, Glassdoor, Trustpilot, etc.
  • Detailed, professional analytics of group, profile, and post-level reporting.
  • Tasking and social CRM tools.

Available on: Web, iOS, Android

G2 rating: 4.3 out of 5

Combin

Price: Free plan available, from €18 per month for pro plans.

Combin automation tool

Combin is a tool tentatively included on this list as most of its features are handy and impressive. It offers a post and Stories scheduler desktop application (which is free) and allows you to preview your Instagram feed before posting to help create a strong brand voice. 

However, it also offers a “growth service” platform that allows you to follow/unfollow, or engage in Instagram users’ content en masse — which is against Instagram’s TOS. 

That being said, Combin is transparent about the risks involved with abusing of this system and recommend using it within “safe limits” (we wouldn’t recommend using the growth platform side of Combin at all if you want to be absolutely safe).

Best for: small businesses and influencers who want to build a brand aesthetic.

Features include:

  • A desktop application (i.e., doesn’t require internet access to work).
  • Ability to schedule Instagram posts and Stories using an appealing content calendar.
  • Unlimited account management for up to 15 Instagram accounts.
  • Automated Instagram engagement, e.g., comments, likes, Story views, follow/unfollow (which you can use manually instead of en masse).

Available on: Desktop app on Windows, Mac, Ubuntu

G2 rating: 3 out of 5

Hashtagsforlikes

Price: Free features available, from $19 per week for pro plans

hashtags for likes

Hashtagsforlikes is a hashtags research tool that helps you find the best hashtags for your posts. 

Search competitors, influencers, and hashtags you’d like to target, and its  built-in analytics suggests similar trending hashtags which you can curate and save as a set. This tool is a timesaver for those manually searching for hashtags to include in posts.

With the pro subscriptions, you also get a dedicated growth manager, performance reports, and live analytics on trending hashtags. Since the tool doesn’t mess with your Instagram profile, it’s safe to use.

Best for: Influencers who want to gain exposure and Instagram followers.

Features include:

  • User-friendly hashtag generator tool to help find new and trending hashtags.
  • Hashtags performance reports that help you see which hashtags are working well for you.
  • Option to curate hashtags into groups that you can use in future posts to save time.

Available on: Web

G2 rating: 5 out of 5

Tailwind

Price: Free plan available, from $19.99 per month (or $119.98 annually) for pro plans

tailwind IG app

With its automated post scheduler and hashtag finder, Tailwind is another great well-rounded tool. These particular features are great, but what makes Tailwind stand out among others is its Smart.Bio feature, which serves as a dynamic landing page for clickable links on your Instagram posts.

The tool also features a “Smart Visual Designer” that helps you create high-quality Instagram content that automatically applies brand styles.

Best for: Small businesses that use the “link in bio” phrase a lot.

Features include:

  • A smart scheduling system that automatically posts when your audience is most active.
  • Hashtag finder tool that suggests similar hashtags for your posts.
  • Smart.Bio feature that auto-updates your bio link with recent posts to which you can add links (to drive traffic to your website, store, blog post, etc).
  • Detailed profile performance analytics with summary reports daily, weekly, or monthly.

Available on: Web, iOS, and Android

G2 rating: 4.4 out of 5

CrowdRiff

Price: Not publicly available (you have to request pricing)

CrowdRiff

CrowdRiff is a marketing tool that helps you source user-generated content from across the web, including social media accounts. Its primary focus is content from the travel and tourism industry, making it a niche and pretty powerful tool for those industries.

Use it to quickly find, secure the rights, and share UGC as part of your social media marketing strategy. Furthermore, CrowdRiff also features an automated post scheduler similar to other tools on this list.

Best for: Small businesses in the travel and tourism industry.

Features include:

  • A media library in which you can store brand assets that are approved for use for team members and PR agencies.
  • Ability to source UGC and acquire rights to use it on your brand’s business accounts.
  • Engagement rate tracking for your visuals that will help you optimize future posts from the insights you learn.
  • Publisher platform that automatically creates posts and Instagram Stories.

Available on: Web

G2 rating: 4.7 out of 5

Task Ant

Price: $15 per week for Solo plan, $49 per month for Growth plan

task ant IG tool

Task Ant is a dedicated hashtag generator and management tool. It has a simple and easy-to-use dashboard that lets you search a hashtag and generate a set of related hashtags that work best with the one you put in. As a bonus, it also has a quick “copy to Instagram” button.

Using an automatic hashtags tool like Task Ant can help you build a strong Instagram hashtag strategy for optimizing your content and generating better awareness without expending too much manual effort.

Best for: Influencers and small businesses that want to use more efficient hashtags.

Features include:

  • Simple, yet comprehensive hashtag generator that lets you quickly build sets of hashtags based on real data.
  • Performance data which lets you see which hashtags you’ve “ranked” for (i.e., appeared in explore results).
  • 24/7 customer support and FAQ.

Available on: Web.

G2 rating: N/A

Start automating your Instagram today

There are good and bad Instagram automation tools available across the internet. However, the tools in this list are all safe to use and will help grow your brand on Instagram without violating Instagram’s TOS.

When you’re researching other tools to use, look for these key red flags to alert you to a suspicious productr: 

  • Instagram tools like Jarvee, Upleap, Growthoid (and others) that “sell” followers, likes, or comments.
  • A product that needs your Instagram username and password to perform its services (instead of opening a separate, native Instagram log-in window that asks for permission).
  • Tools with any part of the Instagram name in its brand — these tools are at risk of copyright infringement and are likely to get shut down.

The best automation tools are official partners of Facebook (or Meta, as it’s now known), such as ManyChat

Grow your Instagram following and make sales with Instagram Automation by ManyChat. Start free today.

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The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ManyChat or any other party. Individual results may vary.