How To Automate an Effective Instagram Bot that isn’t Spammy.
Before we get started, I think it’s important we clarify one thing: Yes, there are SUPER spammy bots on Instagram that cause very unpleasant user experiences for all of us.
Instead of empowering people to create more crappy bots, this article aims to demystify how Instagram automation works so more small business owners have the knowledge and tools to grow their business through the platform, like I have, and do it in a way that won’t negatively affect their accounts given Instagram’s latest crackdown on inauthentic activity.
In other words, this article will not teach you how to automate a bot that comments or follows other people’s accounts. It’s spammy and everyone who uses the platform all hates that.
From my personal experience growing accounts like @pinlord, @potteryforall, @pleasantlygreen, @macramemakers, and many others, it’s possible to automate certain interactions on Instagram that can help grow an account at an above average rate without generating a bad user-experience for other people on the app. It’s how @potteryforall has gained over 100,000 followers in 12 months.
It’s not magic and it’s not about being “cool” or “social”. It’s about understanding how bots work on Instagram and putting in the work required to consistently execute the right automation strategy over a long period of time.
Here’s how you do it:
Start with the essentials.
What a bot does is interact with other people’s Instagram accounts so you don’t have to do it manually.
If programmed correctly on an Instagram account with differentiated awesome content, a bot is like rocket-fuel! It will multiply your rate of growth because it’ll allow your already-great account to be discovered many more people that you could have never reached if you were doing all of the interactions manually.
On the other hand, an incorrectly programmed bot on an account that doesn’t have delightful content will likely ensure that your Instagram appears spammy because many more people will receive an irrelevant interaction from an account they dislike (yours). It’s a terrible first impression, and worse of all, it’ll be a big waste of your time, energy and money because it simply won’t generate any substantial growth.
So, before you start your bot endeavors it’s important that you make sure your Instagram is a well-designed rocket, ready for some bot rocket fuel. There are many ways to do that, but the absolute essentials are:
Have an account with a differentiated visual grid and content that gives people value.
How your account looks at first glance is often the only way people decide whether or not to follow you once they discover your account after receiving a “like” from your bot. The better you are at executing differentiated visual content that gives people real value, the more effective your bot will be at converting interactions into Follows and the faster you’ll grow! A simple way to execute that is by having a well executed and differentiated visual grid (like the accounts in the photo above) and content that gives people value (which you can easily schedule straight from your computer).
Know the hashtags and accounts that your target audience cares about.
To automate an effective bot you’ll also need to know the hashtags and accounts that your target audience pays attention to the most.
Who are the people on Instagram that will find your account valuable? Who do they love to follow? Which hashtags do they check most often? The more clearly you know what type of person will find your content valuable and the more accurately you’re able to identify the accounts and hashtags that they pay attention to the most, the more effective your bot will be at converting interactions into Follows and the faster you’ll grow!
Once you’ve spent time ensuring that your Instagram meets the essentials needed to have a successful bot service, it’s time to find the best bot for you.
The best Instagram bot.
There are many (and I mean MANY) websites out there claiming to provide the most effective bot services for your Instagram account. I’ve tried most of them and so should you, but currently, here are the most effective (and safest) ones I’ve used in the following categories:
(Btw, I update this portion of the article frequently so if your current bot provider isn’t working for you, make sure to check back here for updates on the latest automation software I’m trying)
The Most Effective: Most bot services in the market start around $30, and there are A TON out there that claim to be great, but the most effective one I’ve tested is Social Captain (which starts at $39 p/month). If you’re familiar with the now-shut down Instagress, you’ll like this one. Not only do they give you data on which of your targets is converting better (like Instagress did), they also offer AI-Optimization which, basically, learns from your account’s past actions, conversions, and existing followers, and automatically optimizes your activity, to maximize your conversions and more precisely target your desired audience. It’s the first in the business and it makes a big difference if you’re not very experienced with bot automation. Not only that, but they also have great customer service and seem to be coming out with new improvements on the product all of the time.
If you don’t like Social Captain, you can try Combin. Although they don’t offer as much data and functionality and aren’t as effective, they are easy to use if you’re just getting started. A long-running bot services at this price level, are Boostgram, and Gramista. Although they are falling behind in terms of the product in comparison to new services coming out recently, they will still get the job done if Social Captain or Combin aren’t the right fit for you.
The Best One If You Don’t Know How To Automate: If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information and skill required to set up a bot, I’d recommend you try Social Sensei. Starting at $45 per month, they are slightly more expensive in comparison to the do-it-yourself services like Social Captain or Viral Soda but the results usually more than make up for the price difference. They manage every step in the automation process for you by setting up your audience targets and engagement guidelines as well as optimizing them over time. Basically, you’re hiring a trained professional to manage the process, so you don’t have to. What’s important here is that you’re super clear about which are the most effective hashtags and influential accounts within your target audience so they can get the best results for you. In the past, I’ve seen them get at least 500 new followers p/month for accounts who have great looking content and clearly know who their audience. They also have a customer service number which you can call and speak to a human being that can help you. That’s rare in this industry.
If Social Sensei doesn’t work for you, you can try Social Steeze. They offer a similar, fully-managed automation service and which usually generates high-growth.
The Most Versatile: Starting at $14 p/month Viral Soda is by far the most versatile and robust Instagram tool out of all of the other services listed in this article. They offer simple and effective interaction automation, like everyone else, but on top of that, they have a bunch of other features like post scheduling, DM automation, and a like and comment marketplace. Another element that I think really sets them apart is that they have a clean and easy to use interface and, most importantly, they give you a free VPN when you sign up, which is a pain in the butt to navigate if you don’t know what you’re doing.
From my experience, choosing an automation service that’s easy to use and helps you with a VPN will make the biggest difference for those who are automating a bot for the first time. For $14, you’ll definitely get the most bang for your buck here, especially if you’re on a budget. I’ve also included a how-to guide about how to use them at the bottom of this article.
Cheapest: Starting at $9.99 per month Instazood, they are the cheapest option if you’re working with a shoestring budget. They offer barebones features, but they are safe and they offer the essential features needed for anyone to get their account set up and started in less than an hour or two (a how-to guide is included at the bottom of this article).
Feel free to try them all, but in an effort to give you as much actionable information as possible in this article, I’ll be showing you the specific strategies and parameters I use on my Viral Soda and Instazood accounts at the bottom of this article.
But before we start, it’s important that I make one thing clear…
DON’T automate comments and/or follows! They create spammy bots.
A comment on Instagram is a positive interaction only when it’s relevant to the content of the photo.
Given that a bot will interact with hundreds of photos each day, it’s impossible to program a bot that will create context-relevant comments for all of the photos and contexts it’ll come across. Instead of avoiding comment automation, pushy social media marketers ignore the fact that they are creating unpleasant interactions and program bots to comment generic and vague phrases like “great shot” or “Keep up the great work!” to try and get someone’s attention. This type of automation is what creates the spammy bots you and I despise on Instagram.
In the same vein, a follow on Instagram is a positive interaction only when it’s perceived as a sincere and organic by the person you’re following.
Given that a bot will interact with hundreds of accounts each day, it’s impossible to program a bot that will mostly follow people who will clearly perceive it as a sincere and organic follow. Equally as annoying as comment automation, pushy social media marketers program bots to follow hundreds of account that they don’t personally know in order to get people’s attention. This is also the type of automation is what creates the spammy bots you and I despise on Instagram.
Don’t be a pushy social media marketer and don’t automate comments or follows. Apart from it creating ill-will with most people you’ll interact with, it’ll likely get you flagged on Instagram as given their latest efforts to reduce these inauthentic activities and greatly diminish your brand’s value over time.
ONLY automate likes. They are a non-intrusive way to make people happy and be discovered.
The way to automate an effective Instagram bot that isn’t spammy or likely to get flagged is by only sticking to “like” automation. Why? In comparison to comments or follows, likes are a subtle nudge that only shows up on people’s activity feed. Most of us don’t tend to have ill-will against a “like” from a person we don’t know, and in fact, we’re usually pretty content or at least indifferent to an extra like in one of our posts (Instagram is also highly incentivized to be more lenient with like automation since it increases engagement on the app and all they want is for people to use the app more)! And unless you’re someone who has thousands of followers, most of us still check our activity feed to see who liked our posts and discover new Instagram account this way.
Effectively automating likes through a bot is the same as paying Instagram to have your account shown on people’s home feeds through a sponsored ad. It’s an activity that creates hundreds of opportunities for your Instagram username to be discovered by of people who didn’t know you existed.
The goal here is to program a bot that, through liking, creates as many discovery opportunities as possible with people who are likely to tap through your username and perceive enough value in your account to give it a Follow.
The better you are at programming your bot to find those people, the faster your account will grow.
Alright, now that you know the principles of automating a bot, here’s how you implement them…
Automate effective likes on ViralSoda by doing the following:
Once you’ve set up your account and connected your Instagram on Viral Soda, here’s what you set up your guidelines:
1. Go to the Auto Like section on your Dashboard:
On your dashboard, you’ll see information on your IG accounts registered, and other features like Post Scheduling, Auto Dm’s, Auto Comments, etc. Although those tools can be very powerful (and you should use them if you’re a pro), I’d recommend you only focus on Auto Like if you’re just starting. To start with an Auto Like campaign, go to the bottom left of your screen and click on Auto Like under the Campaign Manager Tools.
2. Select which account you want to start Auto Liking from:
Here, unless you have more than one Instagram account set up on your Viral Soda, you’ll just select the account that appears on this screen. If you have more than one Instagram here, then just select the one that you’d like to automate.
3. Add your hashtag targets:
To start configuring your campaign select the Hashtags section.
Like in the Instazood How To below, here is where having a clear and specific target audience becomes important.
Which are the hashtags that have the highest density of posts from your target audience? Those are the hashtags that should be your targets. The better you are at identifying the right targets, the more effective your bot will be.
For illustration purposes, I’ll use my own Instagram @macramemakers as an example.
My target audience is female macrame makers and enthusiasts from the age of 25–40 in the USA.
From my research, the Instagram hashtags that have the highest density of followers that fit those characteristics are #macramewallhanging #macrameplanthanger #macramedecor #macramemaker #macrameartist.
Find the hashtags through the search tool and select them.
4. Add your account targets:
Once you’ve added your hashtags, go to the People section.
Here, you’ll add the accounts that are the highest density of followers from your target audience. When it comes to female macrame makers and enthusiasts from the age of 25–40 in the USA, they are: @modernmacrame, @emily_katz, @niromastudio, @macramania, @the_forestfern
5. Select the speed of your auto-liking:
Instagram is constantly tweaking the number of likes it allows an account to do per hour. To avoid getting flagged for liking too many posts, select the “Auto” speed under the Speed drop-down menu.
In this speed functionality, Viralsoda modifies the rate and frequency of your automated likes to Instagram’s requirements (so your account is safe).
6. Select the Active status:
In the Status drop-down next to Speed, select the Active the status. By doing this, your bot will start running once you hit SAVE.
7. Make sure you check the Pause actions everyday option and select times in which your bot won’t interact:
To optimize your campaign, make sure to check the “Pause actions everyday” box. By doing this, you will give your bot a time during the day in which it will automatically stop (and later restart) your liking during the day so your interactions are measured as “more human” by Instagram.
And select the times in which your bot won’t be “liking” during a day. I’d recommend selecting the hours in which you’re usually asleep. In my case, I’ll do 10PM — 4AM.
This is another step that will help you avoid getting flagged by Instagram.
8. SAVE to start the campaign:
Once you’ve selected your targets and specified the guidelines you’re ready to start your campaign. To do so, just hit SAVE and you’re off to the races!
9. See how it’s running:
Once you’ve hit save, give it a few hours and then check your Activity Log and see if your bot is running.
10. Measure your bot’s effectiveness.
To see what results you’re getting from these automated likes, go to the insights section of your Instagram and compare how much faster your number of followers has grown since you started the bot in comparison to your rate of growth before you started the bot. That difference is likely the number of followers you’re getting from these actions.
11. Change your account and hashtag targets to improve your conversion rates over time.
Instagram and the people who use it change over time, so to continually improve the effectiveness of your bot make sure to constantly try to find new targets that generate higher numbers of new followers. Remember, the better targets you give your bot, the more it’ll like posts from relevant users in your target audience.
The better you get at identifying targets with high Conversion rates, the more people that get likes from your bot will find your content valuable enough to follow your page. Getting really good at programming your bot to find these people is how your account grows!
Voila! That’s how you automate on Viral Soda. In case that Viral Soda isn’t your jam (or you want a cheaper option), here’s another How-To for the cheapest bot, Instazood.
Automate effective likes on Instazood by doing the following:
Alright, so once you’ve set up your account on and linked up your Instagram, here’s what you do:
1. Add your account targets.
Start by adding your targets through clicking on the + Add Target button:
This is where you’ll find the option to add the target Instagram accounts who’s followers your bot will interact with.
Here is where having a clear and specific target audience becomes important.
Which are the Instagram account that have the highest density of your target audience? Those are the accounts that should be your targets. The better you are at identifying the right targets, the more effective your bot will be.
For illustration purposes, I’ll use my own Instagram @macramemakers as an example.
My target audience is: Female macrame makers and enthusiasts from the age of 25–40 in the USA.
From my research, the Instagram accounts that have the highest density of followers that fit those characteristics are @modernmacrame, @emily_katz, @niromastudio, @macramania, @the_forestfern. These are my targets.
Add all of them through the Add target option:
Once you’ve added all of your account targets, they’ll show up on the bottom part of your home screen.
2. Add your hashtag targets.
To do this, again click on the + Add Target button:
and then click on the Hash-Tag tab:
Here, you’ll add the hashtags that are the highest density of posts from your target audience. When it comes to female macrame makers and enthusiasts from the age of 25–40 in the USA, they are: #macramewallhanging #macrameplanthanger #macramedecor #macramemaker #macrameartist.
Once you’ve added all of your account targets, they’ll show up on the bottom part of your home screen next to the account targets you previously entered.
The posts of the people who follow these accounts and posts of the people who use these hashtags is what your bot will “like”.
3. Program your actions:
Now that you have your targets, you need to program your bot and tell it how to behave when “liking” posts. You do that by clicking on the Settings button from the main page:
Here, find the Actions tab:
and edit its settings for maximum effectiveness with minimum spammy-ness by un-checking the “Follow+like” box and then setting the “Max likes” option to 2:
This will tell your bot to NOT follow people (following = spammy bot) and to give a maximum of 2 likes per account (2 likes better simulates how a “human” account would behave).
4. Apply your filters:
Now that you have your targets and you’ve told your bot how to “like” (actions), it’s time to give it filters to be able to decide who to “like”. You do that by clicking on the Filter tab in the same Settings menu:
Here, you’ll find all of your filtering settings:
Edit them for maximum effectiveness with minimum spammy-ness by using the following settings:
- Checking the Check Gender box, then selecting the Gender of your target audience (if your target audience is gender-specific) and then check Use Unknown Gender: This will allow your bot to be more specific in terms of the people it chooses to interact with.
- Selecting the “1 Week” option in the Media Age setting: This means that your bot will only like posts that have been created within the last week, which better simulates how people “like” posts.
- Checking the Skipped used accounts box: This means that your bot won’t like posts from accounts it has already liked in the past. This will allow you to like more posts overall and not re-tread accounts that didn’t follow you the first time your bot interacted with them.
- Selecting “5000” for your Max Followers setting: This means that your bot will only like posts from people with 5000 followers or less. People with more followers tend to not check their activity feed since they get a high quantity of interactions.
- Selecting “65” for your Minimum posts setting: This means that your bot will not like posts from accounts with less than 65 posts. People with fewer posts tend to not be as active on Instagram and will check their activity feed less often.
- Select English or whatever specific language your target audience speaks in the Select Languages settings: Pretty self-explanatory.
- Check the skip 10% accounts box: This means that the bot will randomly skip 10% of all accounts, more closely mimicking how a human Instagram account behaves.
- Check the Skip Private Users box: This means that your bot won’t interact with people who have private accounts on Instagram. People with private accounts obviously don’t want their information being public and your interactions with them will only seem spammy. Don’t interact with private accounts.
- Then, scroll down and include words “click, bio, link, webcam, cam, gain, Snapchat, followers, kik, followers” in the Stop Words box: This means that your bot won’t like posts from accounts that have those words in their bio. These specific words usually signal spammy accounts that you don’t want to interact with, but feel free to add more or less according to your target audience. The goal is to reduce the number of likes your bot will do with accounts that likely won’t find your account relevant.
- Last but not least, SAVE the settings.
These targets, actions, and filter settings will help your bot have a higher likelihood of liking posts of people who will find your content valuable as well as make those likes seem like organic (human) Instagram behavior.
5. Turn off commenting and following
Last but not least, scroll to your targets section on the main page and make sure to turn off comments and follows for all of your targets. This will ensure that your bot will only be doing “liking” interactions. This is key 🔑 to not automating a spammy bot.
6. Start your bot!
Now, you’re ready to start your bot! Do that by clicking on the Start All button on the main page and let it get go to work for you:
Your bot will now be liking posts based on the targets, actions, and filters that you have programmed it with, giving your Instagram the opportunity to be discovered by hundreds of new people every day.
7. Measure your bot’s effectiveness.
To measure how effectively you’ve programmed your bot, use the Coverage and Conversion data Instazood gives you for each target.
Coverage means the number of interactions it did according to your filters and Conversions means the rate of success of when converting followers from that target.
For my @macramemakers example, after one day of automation, the @modernmacrame account and the #macramemaker hashtag gave me the highest Conversions, with 10.5% and 16.4% respectively:
Overall, I net gained 112 followers in 24 hours, almost doubling my rate of growth without the bot, which was around 50 followers per 24 hours.
8. Change target and tweak filters to improve your conversion rates over time.
Instagram and the people who use it change over time, so to continually improve the effectiveness of your bot make sure to constantly try to find new targets that generate high Conversion rates.
And, voila! That’s how you automate on Instazood.
If you find yourself struggling at first, don’t worry, it takes all of us a while to get the hang of this! If from reason or another your automator isn’t working, contact the bot service’s help team (or try another bot provider like ViralSoda below). They are usually very helpful, reliable and will be able to tell you what you need to resolve your issue.
And don’t forget! Instagram is continually changing and each account is unique, but the principles of automation will remain the same for any service. What’s important is that you always keep in mind that the keys to success are:
- Creating an account that has awesome content.
- Having a clear and specific target audience.
- Continually testing and tweaking your bot targets and filters to maximize conversion rates.
- And more importantly, being empathetic and programming your bot in an organic (human) way.
We have more than enough spammy bots on Instagram…