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How to Automate Your Instagram Marketing and Get 132% More Engagement

If you know me, you know I love Instagram. Why? Because it is one of the only social networks left that is truly “personable” and the engagement is still decent because of it. 

But just like any social network, it requires a lot of time and work.

Here’s the thing though, by automating your Instagram, you can deliver great content, and also spend less time doing it. 

Over the last three of four months, I have been using a few of the features in MobileMonkey (you can do it with a free account) to automate my Instagram marketing and the results have been great. 

Here’s what it produced:

  • 223 story mentions — more eyes on my brand
  • 431 page views — more followers
  • 1068 DMs — more leads for my ad agency

This adds up to 132 percent more engagement–without doing any extra work past the initial setup. 

What’s crazy is a lot of marketers don’t know how to automate their Instagram marketing beyond scheduling a few posts… which isn’t really much automation at all.

Now I did schedule posts, which does help, and I will talk about that in a bit, but it was the story automation mentions which really drove good results (I will go over that as well). 

So let’s dive into how I automated my Instagram marketing and how you can too…

Strategy #1: Get More Shares With Story Mention Automations  

Imagine you’re getting story mentions. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could respond to them in masses without the manual labor of replying one by one?

And best of all, by responding to them (automatically and personalized), you will build a connection and it will cause you to get more story mentions which will grow your account faster.

Plus it helps you increase your followers and nurture relationships.

You can also use automated story mentions to:

  • Enter people in a contest if they mention you in their stories
  • Create promotional offers
  • Get more mentions

Personally, I use automated story mentions to respond to everyone who mentions me in their @story.

If you mention me in a story here is the response you will get from me.

instagram automation thanks for the story mention

I line up responses ready to go out whenever I get a mention. Although I’m not there manually answering everyone, the responses are much appreciated. 

People love the personal touch, and the ability to send automatic responses helps me build customer loyalty and further establish myself on Instagram.

Here’s how you set up story mentions in MobileMonkey:

  1. In order to automate messages on your Instagram account, you must first link it to a Facebook Business Page, then link it to MobileMonkey.
  2. Log in to your Mobile Money account and click on “Chatbot” and then “Chat starters” on the top bar.
  3. Click “Instagram story mentions” in the left bar and choose “Create Instagram story mention.”
 setup Instagram story mentions in MobileMonkey
  1. Choose “Instagram story mention” in the drop down to create a new, automated response. Thank them for mentioning you in their story, or link to a website you think they could enjoy reading. You can also add widgets like images, forms, SMS opt-ins or attachments.
 setup story mentions in MobileMonkey step 2
  1. Choose what your automated response will be depending if the user replies with text message, email, phone number or multiple responses (like yes or no). 
instagram automation story mentions
  1. Preview and send!

Strategy #2: Schedule Posts in Advance

A lot of people don’t realize it’s possible to schedule posts for Instagram in advance.

That’s because the post scheduler feature was banned for years. Now it’s hidden inside Instagram Creator Studio.

As Instagram puts it: “The Creator Account on Instagram gives you a set of tools that makes it easier to control your online presence, understand your growth and manage your messages.”

I love it because batch-scheduling posts for Instagram saves me so much time.

Creator Studio comes with:

  • Professional Dashboard: See your content performance and see educational content shared by Instagram.
  • Growth insights: Tools to help you understand what content you’re posting is growing your audience.
  • Advanced post scheduling: Fill up your content calendar in advance by scheduling posts for Instagram Feed and Instagram TV.
instagram creator studio Instagram automation

Creator Studio even has a calendar view so you can see all the content published and scheduled to publish, which is awesome for social media teams.

Once you use the Creator Studio Instagram post scheduler, you’ll never go back to the old way of posting one post at a time.

Strategy #3: Automate Direct Messaging Responses 

As you build your Instagram audience, you’re likely to see more direct messages. On one hand, that’s great because people want to talk to you. On the other hand, DMs can easily take up hours of your time, but with automation, you can cut down that time drastically.

Most people I know tend to just ignore the DMs but you shouldn’t do that. Seventy-five percent of consumers want to talk to brands via private messaging. Hence you ideally should try and respond when you can.

Best Instagram Automation Tools - MobileMonkey Instagram Automation tools survey graph image

Through the automated direct messaging feature you can: 

  • Line up automated welcome messages to new followers
  • Send automated replies to Instagram DMs based on keyword triggers
  • Create automated FAQ answers in DMs

Automated Direct Messaging (ADM) can be used for various purposes such as customer service, account management, and marketing campaigns.

The key with automated DMs is it needs to be triggered based on keywords. You don’t want to send out generic DMs to everyone or else it will look like spam and won’t be effective. This absolutely changes the way you add calls to action to Instagram post comments.

instagram automation direct message replies

For example, I would make a post on Instagram and tell people to leave a comment with a specific phrase or word if they wanted a free ebook. This helped me get more engagement, build a bigger audience and best of all generate leads for my ad agency.

Instagram automation tools MobileMonkey keyword feature image

Here’s how you do it: 

  1. In order to automate messages on your Instagram account, you must first link it to a Facebook Business Page, then link it to MobileMonkey.
  2. Log in to your MobileMonkey account and click on “Chatbot” and then “Chat starters” on the top bar.
  3. Click on “Instagram Welcomer” on the left bar and then create a new one. 
  4. Choose what message you want people to automatically receive when they DM you on Instagram. You can also add widgets like images, forms, sms opt-ins or attachments. Here’s one I created: 
automate instagram direct messages example
  1. Preview and send.

Strategy #4: Drip Campaigns in Instagram

You’ve heard of email drip campaigns, but did you know you can do it on Instagram, too? 

You can use the Instagram drip campaign feature that takes the standard automated DM response to the next level. 

Rather than just sending one DM, you can send several links to your blog or other channels over the course of several days.   

For example, you can: 

  1. Respond to their first message with educational content related to their message. 
  2. Send social proof a few days later, such as a case study or short review. 
  3. Once you’ve caught their attention, ask them to sign up for your email list or send a free trial or tool. 

Want to see it in action? DM “growth” to me on Instagram. 

Here are a few other ways to use Instagram drip campaigns: 

  • Kick off lead nurturing campaigns. 
  • Send onboarding messages with educational messages to engage followers.
  • Ask questions for list segmentation and retargeting.
  • Send upsell campaigns.
  • Send instant welcome messages to your new followers. 

Here’s how you set up the Instagram drip campaign:

  1. Click on “Campaigns” in the top bar and “Drip Campaigns” in the left bar. 
  2. Create a new Drip Campaign.
  3. Specify the social media platform. 
automate Instagram drip campaign
  1. Choose the audience(s) that should be sent the campaign. You can include or exclude your audiences.
choose the audience for drip campaigns instagram automation
  1. Choose a schedule during which your drip campaign messages will be sent. Then choose how long before the first message goes out. You can choose minutes, hours, days, weeks and months.
Schedule automated instagram drip campaign
  1. Create a dialogue and add as many follow up messages as you want up to 23 hours. If a user responds to any of your messages, the 24 hour clock starts over. 
Create first drip message automate instagram
automate instagram drip campaign message example 2

Strategy #5: Automate Comment Replies

Do you know what the best way to go viral on Instagram is?

It’s actually similar for most social networks…

It’s not about likes or shares, it’s actually comments. 

Anyone can like or share a post, but it takes a while for someone to leave a thoughtful comment and social networks know that. Hence the more comments you get the more views your content typically gets.

And the best way to encourage more comments is to reply to your comments.

Best of all you can do this in an automated way that is “personalized”.

Here’s how to set it up.

  1. First link it to a Facebook Business Page, then link it to MobileMonkey.
  2. Log in to your Mobile Money account and click on “Chat bot” and then “Chat starters” on the top bar. 
  3. Click on “Instagram comment guard” on the left bar and then create a new one. 
  4. Choose what the Comment Guard will work with, for example all posts and respond to all comments.
automate instagram comment responder
  1. Choose the frequency cap If a user posts more than one comment. 
set frequency of automated responder automate instagram
  1. Create a dialogue to send to users who comment on your Instagram post. You can also add widgets like images, forms, sms opt-ins or attachments.
instagram automation growth example
  1. Preview and send.

Want to see this in action? Comment “growth” on this post to see it in action.

Strategy #6: Use Instagram Guides

Instagram Guides are a relatively new Instagram feature designed to help users easily find recommendations, tips, and other content from their favorite Instagram accounts. 

Originally only for specific types of accounts, it was later expanded to allow all users to use it from anywhere. 

There are three main types of Guides: posts, places, and products, and they’re also shareable in stories, helping to give your content further reach.

While it’s not automation in the same sense as scheduling posts out in advance, Instagram Guides are advantageous to marketers for many reasons. 

First, the feature is ideal for those with a limited marketing budget. Guides is a free tool, and Instagram helps you design your brand pages and then guides you through content promotion.

Secondly, the curation style of Guides makes it an excellent format to automatically share informational content in an engaging way. You can then use the content to educate new customers and followers about what you do and how your products apply to their lifestyles.

Third, it’s a bit of a set it and forget it feature. You can create tons of great content, and it’s just sitting there waiting for users to engage.  

For example, here’s an Instagram Guide I posted at the beginning of last year: 

Instagram automation instagram guide example NP

It lives on my NP Digital Instagram page and is easily discoverable by users. 

Finally, Instagram Guides give you flexibility regarding the types of formats. For instance, you can write articles and turn them into slideshows with images and videos from tutorials. 

Or, you could create videos that walk viewers through task completion.

Strategy #7: Integrate With TikTok

Cross promoting on social media gets your content out in front of a wider audience, attracts more leads, increases brand awareness, and gets you more mileage from your content.

Instagram and TikTok integrate well, and you can connect your accounts with just a few steps.

To connect them, just:

  1. Go to TikTok and select “edit profile.”
  2. Select “Instagram” and enter your user name.
  3. Click connect.
  4. You’re done!

Now all you need to do is start sharing some content. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.

Begin your story on TikTok and finish it up on Instagram or vice versa. What better way to get in front of two audiences?

This works well with decorating projects, makeovers, recipes, product testing. Anything where you have a starting place and a result. 

A further benefit is you’re not sharing the same content, so you avoid duplication.

You could also repost your Instagram Reels on TikTok, but remember to stick to both platforms’ guidelines and remove watermarks from your TikTok content. 

Whichever approach you take, keep your two audiences in mind, and ensure your content is right for both platforms.

Instagram Automation FAQs

Are tools for automating Instagram functions expensive?

Costs vary. There are some great tools out there that are free. Equally, some paid subscriptions offer a free trial period that you can make the most. Some apps are more expensive but offer an extensive range of features that are definitely worth the investment. Don’t just consider the cost – think of the return value, as well as the time an automation tool could free up for other vital areas of your work and how much this could be worth to your business.

MobileMonkey’s InstaChamp tool has two main packages: VIP Creator & Influencer and the platinum package, including Story Mentions, Q&A keywords, and DM autoresponder tools.

What features of Instagram can I automate?

Instagram tools allow you to automate many of the crucial elements of your account. This includes scheduling posts, responding to story mentions, liking and commenting on posts, and sending automatic responses to Instagram DMs.

Why should marketers automate Instagram functions?

Using Instagram automation is essential for many business owners who need to be more “hands-on” with their Instagram accounts by responding to other users. Still, they just don’t have the time or resources to do this themselves. 

Automating Instagram functions is a great way to save time and be more efficient. For example, you can set up your account to publish at certain times of the day. You can also automate your account, so when someone likes or comments on one of your posts, it will automatically follow them back.

How do I know what Instagram automated tools are best?

There are several ways to find out what Instagram automation tools are best for you. One way is to check the comments on the company’s website and see if they generate any helpful feedback. 

Another way is to check the customer reviews on their website – see what others have said about their experience with these tools, good or bad.

Finally, if the company’s offering a free trial, that’s an excellent way to test out the functions and see how a specific Instagram automation tool meets your needs.

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Instagram Automation Conclusion

Instagram automation is going to make your life easier. 

There are only so many hours in the day, and while being on social media sites like Instagram is essential to brand growth, it’s time-consuming and can take you away from other tasks like outreach and developing content.

With Instagram automation, you can manage the back-end and front-end tasks associated with running a social media account without employing a dedicated manager or virtual assistant to handle these tasks for you.

Additionally, by integrating Instagram automation into your routine, you’re more productive and you can build stronger community links while developing customer loyalty.

Do you use Instagram tools in your business? How do they benefit you?

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