Industry predictions state that the marketing automation trend will continue to grow in 20231. Its impact is already visible in virtually all areas of digital marketing: from analytics, through advanced metric projections, to social media management – and marketers simply can’t ignore it.
But implementing automation strategies often is not a walk in the park. You may end up at either of two opposite extremes; relying entirely on marketing automation and losing your human touch or pretending that it doesn’t exist and letting the benefits slip away.
Whichever stance you take, it will be quite evident how you manage your social media and interact with your followers.
How do you find the sweet spot? The answer may lie in Instagram auto-comments. Today, we’ll talk a bit more about using automated replies to Instagram comments. We will try to answer the following questions:
- What are automated replies on social media?
- How are they different than bots?
- What are the benefits of using automated comments?
- When should you use auto-comments?
- When should you avoid automation?
- What are some examples of successful Instagram automation?
- What are Instagram auto-comment best practices?
- How do you set up auto-comments for Instagram?
- Bonus round: How to hide comments on Instagram
Fasten your seatbelt: we’re starting right now.
Auto-comments for Instagram (for multiple accounts at one go)
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What are automated replies on social media?
Automated replies on social media can resemble autoresponders known from email. They are triggered once someone starts an interaction or leaves you a comment containing specific words.
Their main purpose is to ensure that no comment (that meets certain criteria, usually) is ignored, but also to shorten the distance between your brand and your target audience and provide a better experience.
With automated replies, you are able to improve your response times and automate answering generic questions.
Auto-comments vs. bots on Instagram
In an era when Instagram is struggling with inauthentic activity (automation bot overload), fake followers, and spammy comments, anything that’s automated can seem suspicious at first glance.
Reports speak of 95 million bots on Instagram, which accounts for 9,5% of the platform’s users2.
Many of those bots auto-comment without permission, leaving comments without making much sense, doing more harm than good to particular Instagram users. Having encountered how these Instagram comment spam bots work, many IG users choose to stay away from any form of automation.
Long story short: bots have nothing to do with thoughtfully curated automated moderation.
First of all, automatic replies appear exclusively on your profile, as a reaction to existing follower engagements, and follow specific rules that YOU set. Setting up an automated response system does not entail posting anything to other profiles or automatically following new people.
If we were to compare this kind of marketing automation to emails, the difference would be equivalent to that between autoresponders and spam.
Moreover, there are several actions that you can perform by setting up auto-moderation rules: on top of replying, hiding and deleting offensive or spammy Instagram comments is also possible. You can’t, however, use automated social media moderation to follow anyone or to send direct messages. We’ll cover this in more detail later on.
Benefits of automated comments on Instagram
Instagram auto-commenters take the weight of some tedious tasks off your shoulders, increasing your time- and cost-efficiency. Here are some other ways they can support your business.
Building a positive brand image
If you provide your followers with a positive and timely reaction from your side soon after they interact with your content, then their positive sentiment towards your brand will only get stronger.
With auto-comments on Instagram, your brand can quickly reply to specific reactions in a heartbeat, keeping followers in an engagement loop.
Delivering better customer service
Manual moderation of a popular Instagram account is a lot to take on one plate. Auto-moderation works great for addressing repetitive questions, while your team can put extra effort into handling more difficult cases and providing a stellar customer experience.
Many customers’ inquiries on social media can go unanswered, so make sure that you’re not one of the negligent brands that don’t interact with their followers.
Auto-comments on Instagram can help your team find some much-needed time for digging into the details of particularly troublesome cases instead.
Getting rid of spammers
If you have noticed some repetitive spam comments, you can set up an auto-moderation rule that will automatically delete or hide them to take care of the quality of your profile.
The nature of such comments sections can be various: spam comments coming from fake Instagram users, some accounts of your competitors trying to derail your Instagram ads, or simply offensive and inappropriate content often coming from hacked accounts or anonymous little trolls.
All of these cases can be easily managed with an automated moderation rule to delete or hide comments that include particular keywords.
Protect your Instagram from spam and trolls
Automatically delete or hide comments based on keywords and phrases. Protect your brand from spam. Instagram ads included. Try it for free:
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Sorting out your social media communications
Are your Instagram profiles really engaging? That’s great! However, handling many comments manually can be a real troublemaker.
With auto-comments, you can quickly set up some rules for appraisal comments, repetitive questions, or complaints. Auto-comments can help you take back some control over your Instagram accounts so that you can focus on unleashing your creativity.
You can also set your auto-moderation rule to automatically forward sensitive inquiries straight to your Customer Support.
Instagram automation: when to use auto-comments
Auto-comments are particularly recommended for a few specific scenarios mentioned below, which is a good list to start with. However, feel free to test out some other ideas!
If you present your products or services on Instagram, you likely receive a lot of questions regarding prices or availability. Setting up a thoughtful auto-comment reaction for those cases can shorten the customer journey and help your potential clients make their final decisions.
Do you know that 57% of customers3 expect the same response time at night and on weekends as during normal business hours? By setting up some rules for the most common queries, you will be a step closer to meeting this demand.
Even a short, concise comment, ensuring that you’re processing the request, can be comforting for Instagram users who are seeking instant answers.
Ignoring emoji reactions or kind words from your followers won’t destroy your brand, but acknowledging and answering such comments will definitely be seen as a lovely gesture.
Many brands don’t do this, yet it could be the key to success in generating consistently high engagement. You can put the process on autopilot with auto-comments on Instagram.
If you create an auto-comment rule for replying to specific emojis and keywords, it’s a win-win situation: you spend almost no time managing answers, yet your potential clients may still feel appreciated and encouraged enough by your reply to keep interacting with your brand.
There are exceptions, though. An automatic rule could be triggered at the wrong moment, for example when you receive a sarcastic comment that goes outside the scope of your rules. That’s why automated moderation cannot fully replace a team of hands-on professionals – but it can definitely save them a ton of time.
You can still monitor everything by receiving email notifications each time an auto-moderation rule is triggered.
When not to use auto-commenters on Instagram
While auto-comments can be hard to spot when used correctly, it is easy to tell when the system fails.
Below, we cover some cases where Instagram auto-commenters might not work as desired.
No rules = no automated replies
If you don’t prepare any triggering rules, then automated replies may show up when they’re not needed or when they don’t fit the context.
Domino’s Pizza is clearly used to receiving some negative posts on social media, but the comment in the example above is actually positive.
A customer decided to share a few kind words about the pizza they ordered, yet Domino’s Pizza took it as a complaint and sent a “sorry about that” message back.
While we can’t be sure the comment was sent automatically, it’s pretty safe to assume that that was the case. This example showcases the importance of filtering and classifying comments when setting up automated moderation.
If the rule had been set up to react to “best pizza” as a positive keyword, Domino’s could have automatically sent out a nice thank you message instead.
In another example, American Air has automatic comments set up as a response to all mentions of their brand, regardless of context and sentiment. Users quickly caught on to this fact and proceeded to mock American Air’s customer service on Twitter.
The takeaway: auto-comments must go side-by-side with well-thought-out triggers and rules.
Complex questions or serious complaints
There are many threads on Twitter that started off with a serious question or complaint. In some of these cases, brands react with automated, out-of-context responses.
Auto-comments work wonders on simple comments with a positive or neutral sentiment. More advanced issues, however, should be handled by customer service professionals. Otherwise, auto-comments can just make the people already annoyed with a brand even more upset.
The takeaway: auto-commenters save you time. Spend it on resolving more complicated cases.
The Snapchat Support auto-commenter seen below was apparently activated by the words “lost” and “streak”. Although the response might have been appropriate in the majority of cases, this time it simply couldn’t win.
The takeaway: Predicting every incoming message is simply impossible. Put effort into establishing your rules, but still be prepared for them to fail occasionally and/or to be challenged by your target audience.
Instagram automation case study: Triumph
Some brands wouldn’t openly admit to using automated responses, but there’s nothing wrong with automating your comments in certain circumstances. Below we present a positive example of using automated Instagram moderation for social customer care purposes.
The screenshots below come from Triumph’s official Instagram profile. The brand utilizes auto-comments to interact with their fans.
We can identify three main types of auto-comments on their Instagram profile.
Informative auto-commenters on Instagram
The first type includes queries about shop locations, pricing, and shipping options. Comments that belong to this group usually receive a response redirecting the user to Triumph’s official site or to their partners’ pages.
What could Triumph do to make this better? Setting up some trigger keywords in various languages could help the brand deliver a more personalized message for those fans who don’t speak English.
Engaging auto-comments on Instagram
The second group of comments triggering auto-replies contains emojis. When a particular emoji is recognized in a comment (in the case below, it’s a “heart eyes” smiley face), the same emoji is sent back in response.
General help auto-comments
The third type of auto-comments used by Triumph collects comments in languages other than English. The comment below is in Spanish, and it is actually an expression of admiration. However, the brand doesn’t recognize it correctly, so they send back an auto-comment with a general question in English instead of replying in an appropriate manner.
While this can’t really be considered as a rude or negative reply, the response could instead be personalized to provide a better customer experience.
Of course, an offer to help in English may be a discrete indicator that customer service on Triumph’s Instagram is only available in English. However, in the year 2023, further personalization is no longer just warmly welcomed, it’s actually becoming a requirement.
Instagram automation best practices
Time to put some of this auto-comment knowledge and examples into practice.
Listen to real people
Take a look at the comments that your audience has already left under your Instagram posts. There is a chance that you’ll recognize some patterns and common queries: these are the starting points that you can address with social media marketing automation.
After gathering and categorizing these comments, put yourself in the shoes of your customers, and create a set of automatic responses that will address their common problems. Think about the relationship that you want to build with your followers and the tone of voice of your brand.
Prepare various answers
As we’ve already seen, coming up with several variations of automated responses can make your answers sound more natural. Play around with the creative copy and use emojis. Test out a few answers and compare the results and reactions they’re getting. Gradually add more options as you learn from your experience.
You can add some personal touches to your messages and find the sweet spot between customization and automation. Setting up more personalized auto-comment rules in NapoleonCat is simple: adding [@author] to your comment will automatically tag the particular Instagram user that you are replying to.
To further personalize your automatic comments on Instagram, NapoleonCat allows you to add multiple replies from which only one will be picked to answer a given comment.
Set up smart automated replies on Instagram (for multiple accounts at once)
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Remember about the nature of Instagram posts
If you have already tried automatic responses on Facebook or Twitter, you may feel like saving some time and just copying what worked there. Don’t go down this path.
Although some conclusions drawn from previous experiences are always helpful, remember that social media platforms differ from each other and each requires an individual approach.
The major difference between Instagram and Facebook or Twitter is the possibility to include links in your answers – this is not possible on Instagram. Avoid using links in automated replies – your followers won’t be able to click on them and might get annoyed with having to manually copy them (if they even have the will to do so, that is).
Don’t follow Instagram bot paths
Auto-commenting is definitely NOT about being spammy – it’s about improving the quality of your social customer service and bringing response times down. You should put effort into both preparing your response plan and later evaluating possible improvements.
Things can get messy
No matter how much time and effort you dedicate to setting up your Instagram auto-comments properly, there is always a chance of not getting them quite right. After all, even the smartest solutions won’t completely replace human reactions. Don’t let this discourage you, though.
As soon as you recognize any mistake in your answers, take lead over the conversation. For future reference, analyze how you can avoid these misunderstandings.
Setting up smart auto-replies on Instagram with NapoleonCat’s Auto-moderation
With NapoleonCat’s Auto-moderation feature, you can automatically hide, delete, or reply to comments customers leave on your Instagram profile. Using automated moderation, you can create custom reactions, e.g., auto-responses, to triggers, e.g., keywords used in DMs or comments, including those added to Instagram ads (dark posts). The tool is available for Instagram Business Accounts.
Accessing the feature
- Sign in to your NapoleonCat account and select a project you want to access
- Access Auto-moderation in the left-side menu
Creating a rule
- Select “Create new rule” in the top left corner
- Give your rule a name, e.g., “Repetitive questions on Instagram”
- You can also add additional information about a given rule
- Choose the social media platform you want the rule to work on
- Select your Instagram account or multiple accounts at once
- Choose the message type that will trigger your automated reply – you can select from organic comments, comments for specific posts (including ads), and private messages.
- Define the trigger; write the keywords and phrases that will trigger your automated reaction (you can add an unlimited number of keywords, including single emojis)
- Choose your social media action, e.g., reply in a comment or reply in a private message, or BOTH! 😉
- Write your replies – you can add an unlimited number of replies from which one will be randomly picked and published
Remember that you can create up to 6 different triggers and 6 different reactions – all inside one rule:
- Choose the automatic actions inside NapoleonCat’s Inbox to categorize your social media interactions better. For instance, you can automatically flag an incoming message, and assign it to a dedicated team member.
- If you want to receive email notifications each time a rule is triggered, you can type in your address:
- You can then schedule your rule to work only during defined days or hours or just let it work 24/7.
And that’s it! Your rule takes effect as soon as you click on save & run at the top of your screen.
You can also see how Auto-moderation rules work in action by playing the video tutorial below:
Bonus round: How to hide comments on Instagram
Did you know that there’s no actual option to hide specific comments on Instagram via the IG app?
Thankfully, you can easily do that in NapoleonCat’s Inbox with just 1 click:
The hidden comment will only remain visible to the user who posted it. Safe and easy 🙂
Auto-comments for Instagram
Set up smart automatic replies and save tons of time with NapoleonCat. Try it for free:
Try NapoleonCat free for 14 days. No credit card required.
Auto-comments on Instagram can help you make another step towards a more successful social media marketing strategy. The benefits of smart automated moderations can truly improve your Instagram presence. Think improving customer engagement, providing a better customer experience, streamlining social customer service, and increasing your team’s productivity.
What’s more, implementing auto-comments is nothing difficult, especially if you do it with NapoleonCat. Time to get started!
For more Instagram tips, check out our other articles:
- How to See Instagram Likes in 2023
- How to Track Instagram Growth Over Time
- Understand Instagram Analytics in 2023
- 300+ Best Instagram Captions for 2023
- How I Used Hashtags to Grow my Instagram Organic Reach 20x
- How to Get More Comments on Instagram in 2023