(Updated Jan 2017)
The popularity of Instagram has exploded. It now boasts over 600 million active users per month, making it larger than Twitter and is a serious platform for marketing yourself or your business to millions of engaged users.
Have you ever wondered though, how other people manage to grow their Instagram accounts so fast? Success on the platform has a lot to do with your own levels of activity. Reaching out to others and liking or commenting on their photos. This draws attention to your account and brings users back to check out your bio and gallery. However, attracting tens of thousands of followers, if not millions, would be a mammoth task to manage with this approach. How long would it take? Months? Years?
You could hire other people to manage your account (and let them waste their time instead) but wouldn’t it be so much easier if their was a software tool that could automate this same approach for you?
Instagress is exactly that software tool. It helps put your Instagram account on autopilot, doing the liking and commenting activities for you round the clock, attracting followers to your account even when you are asleep. It’s a powerful tool, but used incorrectly you could appear like a spammer and lose hard earned real followers. Or worse, your account could get banned. Read on to learn how to use Instagress safely and effectively.
The main risk you run when using Instagress to automate your Instagram is by doing things that are obviously ‘inhuman’ and can be detected by Instagram or your followers. This could potentially cause your account to be taken down or flagged as spam, although there seems to be little evidence of that actually happening. The worst we’ve seen is accounts getting comment banned for 24 hours, usually when Instagress was set up very poorly.
Don’t panic, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you have the access to your log-in information for your Instagram account. Should there be any need to change your password due to Instagram security policy, you’ll still be able to regain access to your account. If you follow the strategies below you’ll be fine.
Firstly, you need to connect Instagress to your account. To do this you simply need to login with your Instagram account name and password through the Instagress website.
I know some of you might be suspicious of given a 3rd party website access to your Instagram account. Rest assured, Instagress only needs the required information for the Instagram API and there is no way for Instagress to store your password.
After signing up for an account with Instagress (logging in with your Instagram account automatically creates an Instagress account), you’ll be lead to your Instagress dashboard.
This is a demo account where you get to use Instagress for FREE for 3 days. One of the cool thing about Instagress’ free demo is that the timer only starts counting when you click the start button. So it doesn’t matter whether you sign up a week ago and only got the chance to try it out a week later. As long as you haven’t clicked Start, your remaining free time would stay as it is.
For beginners, you want to turn on the option for Likes and Comments under the “Select what you want to do” section.
After that you need to head to the “Main Settings” section. Here is where all the work is done in Instagress.
Under the Activity speed option, set your speed to slow. It is wise to keep your commenting and liking activities to a slow speed during your initial start-up phase (around 2 weeks should be enough). This is to ensure that Instagram won’t flag your account as a spam account for suddenly performing fast activity.
Under the “Media source” section you have quite a few options. Selecting “Tags” means that you are going to perform activity on users who post a certain hashtag in their images. This can really help you target the most relevant users to your industry, niche or interests. Choosing “Location” allows you to target users who post images geotagged with a given location. This would be most useful to businesses with a physical location or if you know your customers and potential followers are are associated with a certain location. Choosing “Followers of usernames” means that you will perform activity on all the followers of another account, say for example a similar account to the one you want to create, or a competitor’s business account. “Followings of usernames” allows your activity to target all the users another account follows. This could be useful if you have a network of accounts or want to follow the same people as another account.
Finally, by choosing “My Feed”, you will interact with users that you are already following. This is not as useful if your intention is to find and attract new followers. But you might find a unique situation where this feature could come in handy.
When selecting the “Media age” to interact with, you will have a slight advantage if you chose “Newest”. The first people to comment on a photo or video will have their username displayed in full until the number of likes gets too high. It also ensures you and interacting with recently posted media which is normal looking human behaviour.
“Min. Likes” and “Max. Likes” basically tells Instagress to interact with posts that have a minimum and/or maximum number of likes. This is useful to ensure you are not always that first person to interact with a post or that you’re not liking posts that already have a huge number of likes, which would mean you were lost in the noise.
These filters have recently been introduced to Instagress and they allow a higher degree of targeting the most relevant users. These settings will vary depending on your needs, there are no rules to using these settings and there little that can go wrong with them as well. The main issue you might encounter if narrowing down on your target market too much, which will mean that Instagress runs out of users to interact with a stops performing activity. You will need to repeatedly log back in to Instagress to adjust settings each time this happens which can be a bit of a pain. If you don’t notice that Instagress activity has stopped then you are missing out on the opportunity of growing your account.
The “Don’t comment same users” feature is highly recommended! Users will soon notice if the same comments are posted on their images. The only case where you could comment same users is if you have set Instagress to use many different unique comments and it is unlikely that the same comment will go to the same user. You are only limited by your creativity here.
When choosing comments to use you need to keep them reasonably generic (you won’t know exactly what is in the image that you are commenting on) but not so generic that it is obviously an automated comment. Including hashtags and emojis can help your comments to stand out and look different from other users, whilst remaining generic enough to apply to many images. Here are a few that we have found to be useful.
Choose “Media” if you are targeting certain hashtags that others have posted. Select “Followers of usernames” or “Followings of usernames” to follow users who follow another account or users another account follows. This is one of the strongest methods to gain followers using Instagress. If you follow followers of a similar account to yours, there is a good chance many of these users will notice that you followed them, check you out and follow you back. When you implement this feature your followers numbers will increase a lot, especially when you are starting out, however you need to be cautious with this approach and not go over a high number of followings. More on that in the X section below.
If you also use your Instagram account for personal use and have followed a few friends, selecting “Instagress” as your unfollow source if particularly useful. This will only unfollow users that Instagress has followed and will leave the users you were following prior to starting with Instagress in your feed. Selecting “Unfollow who don’t follow me” means that you are less likely to immediately unfollow someone who has just followed you back, which is a good way to annoy new followers if they have a small account and notice such behaviour.
Choosing tags to perform activity on needs a fair amount of research and consideration. In general, you want to be performing activity of tags that are popular, but not so popular that they are targeted by spammers who post inappropriate or adult content. Choosing the right tags will mean that you are interacting with users who want to grow their accounts will be actively searching for new users to follow. Look at other good accounts, find what hashtags they are using and search them within the instagram app. Have a look at the feed for that hashtag and be wary of any that include inappropriate content (I’m going to assume commenting “rad” on low brow content isn’t going to appeal to your fans). If there are only one or two users who are spamming the hashtag you could avoid them using the “Blacklist” feature outlined later in this guide. A good number is to aim for tags with 200,000 postings as they are widely used but less likely to be targeted with spam.
For example an account that was into travel or adventure photography might use the following hashtags:
Setting locations in Instagress is a powerful new feature. It allows you to reach target markets in a given location, which for some businesses will be of considerable value. If you know where your potential followers or customers are you should experiment with this feature. Keep in mind, not everyone tags their images with a location, so depending on the area you target you may run out of users to interact with. Use with caution.
This is where you enter the usernames you wish to follow or perform activity on. Find users with a similar demographic of followers as the ones you are hoping to gain. You can enter multiple usernames to expand your reach here.
This feature allows you to avoid interacting with inappropriate or unwanted content. You can use this setting if targeting popular hashtags that have one or two people posting bad content and using the tag. Or with a bit more research you can simply refine your approach and perform activity in a safer way with less potential for brand damage.
Although tempting, it is a good idea to not get carried away when following other users. Having an account with 1,000 followers that is following 7,000 other users is not a good look. A slower but more authentic looking approach to using Instagress is to follow users up to about 900 followings and then unfollow back down to 300 or so. It is a bit more work, but bouncing between 300 – 900 followers keeps your account looking good to new users and is less likely to turn people away when they come to check you out. Additionally, there is a limit on the speed at which you can unfollow users on Instagram, so if you do go ahead and follow 5k+ users don’t assume you can follow them all in a hurry. It will take a lot of time to get your followings back down, during which time users will drop off and your account growth will stall (or go backwards). A bit of patience goes a long way here.
Instagress is a powerful and useful tool to automate Instagram activity and save you a lot of time. However, a cautious approach using the correct settings will ensure you get the best from the service without getting comment banned or annoying other Instagram users. As a general rule, try to use Instagress to emulate real activity and behave in a way that you would if you were doing it manually yourself.
If any of these strategies work for you we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.