Previously, the only way to come close to scheduling posts for Instagram was to use the “Drafts” feature. This only allowed you to prep a post, save it, and manually publish it later. Using a third-party tool would add a reminder to this process. However, with the upgrade to Instagram Graph API, scheduling posts finally became a reality.
Limitations of the Scheduling Feature
Whereas scheduling does make life easier for anyone posting a large amount of content to Instagram on a regular basis, it still has its limitations. For instance, you can only post single photos and (with some tools) videos — carousel posts and stories are omitted. Scheduling is also unavailable for all types of ads.
Another issue is that scheduling support is only part of Instagram’s API. This means that to take advantage of scheduling, you still need to go through a third-party social media management application. Top choices for this include Hootsuite, Grum, AgoraPulse, Sprout Social, and Tailwind.
Scheduling on a Mobile Device: Hootsuite
Let’s quickly run through the process for Hootsuite.
1. Switch to a business profile
To use Hootsuite for scheduling, you need a business profile. All businesses should be using a business account anyway, as this comes with a number of additional features. For instance, you receive post promotion capability, analytics related to performance and audience demographics, and the chance to list your contact information on your profile.
Bear in mind that a verified personal profile is completely different from a business profile. If you are unsure of what type of account you have, head to your account settings to check.
In the case that you are using a personal account, it’s easy to switch. Find “Options” in your profile and look for “Switch to Business Profile.” You will need to connect to your Facebook page — make sure you choose the right one. Before you finish switching, confirm that all the contact information is correct, then tap “Done.”
2. Connect Instagram to Hootsuite
If you’ve never used Instagram on Hootsuite before, you’ll need to add your profile to the platform. In your Hootsuite account, tap on your profile icon and choose “Add a Social Network.” A window will appear where you can select Instagram. Then tap “Connect with Instagram” and enter the relevant information.
3. Reauthorize Your Account
If you were already using Hootsuite but with a personal profile, you’ll need to reauthorize your account. Do this by tapping on your profile picture at the top of the screen and then choose “Manage social networks.” Find your Instagram profile and follow the prompts to connect it.
4. Schedule Posts
With all the above set up, you can start scheduling posts. To create a new post, head to Composer. Here, you can upload an image, write the caption, and add hashtags. You can also edit the image within Hootsuite, such as by resizing, framing, and applying text overlays. Hootsuite will show you how your post will appear on Instagram. Save it when you’re satisfied with the result.
You can then choose to publish your post immediately or schedule the post by clicking the calendar icon and setting the time and date you want. Hootsuite will take care of the rest for you. For video posts, you can use the same method, but Hootsuite will not directly publish the post for you. Instead, it will be added to your notification workflow.
Scheduling on a Computer: Grum
If you only ever need to schedule posts on a computer, take advantage of Grum. This tool offers additional features that are unavailable through many of the other applications. For instance, Grum gives you the capability to schedule both photo and video posts, to publish to multiple accounts at once, and to schedule multiple posts at the same time. Plus, it provides greater security by not storing your passwords.
1. Set Up an Account
Head to www.grum.co to sign up and add all the accounts you want to use for scheduling posts.
2. Create a Post
To create a new post, click the plus sign or drag a photo to the media box. Complete the post with a caption and emojis. You can also create the first comment at this time. This is ideal for adding hashtags as a comment rather than in the caption.
3. Publish the Post
Choose if you want to publish immediately or schedule a time and date.
The limitations notwithstanding, scheduling posts is a good idea for any business that wants to have an active strategy on Instagram. Plus, direct publishing is less time-consuming than the previous notification system. It is simple to start scheduling, whether you’re already using a third-party social media management tool or you want to add one to your strategy.