An announcement was made yesterday by Facebook (who own Instagram) saying that they now allow businesses to schedule posts to Instagram. This feature has not been available until now. Us business owners could prep an Instagram post and schedule a reminder to post it to Instagram, and an app on our phones would send a notification at the scheduled time. We still had to manually upload the post and text to Instagram.
This new functionality still relies on the use of a third party application such as Hootsuite, but scheduled posts will publish straight to Instagram so long as you have a business account. It is part of an update to Instagram’s API (the way in which third party applications interact with Instagram), and only available to Facebook Marketing Partners and Instagram Partners. This means that while Hootsuite has already implemented the change, applications such as Buffer and Later cannot yet make use of the function. I asked Buffer about scheduling posts to Instagram and what it meant for their service. They replied: “It’s so exciting to see Instagram opening this up, we know how much it’ll help your work! We’re not part of the beta testing so far. We hope to have an update from our side very soon, we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we have more news!”.
Want to take advantage and schedule posts to Instagram? Here’s how…
Firstly, ensure you have a business Instagram account. A business account is similar to a personal account, but comes with the added benefits of business contact info being at the click of a button on your profile page, and access to Insights where information about the performance of your posts and data on your followers can be seen. To switch to an Instagram business account, navigate to your profile on the Instagram app, click on the ‘Settings’ icon and you’ll see the option to “Switch to Business Profile.” It’s as easy as that.
Secondly, sign up to a service such as Hootsuite, and link it to your Instagram account. Hootsuite offer a free package, where you can schedule up to 30 posts at any one time. Create your post within Hootsuite (including your hashtags), upload your image, set the date and time you’d like the post to go out and it’ll be published directly to Instagram at the scheduled time.
Videos cannot yet be scheduled. If you wish to schedule a video, you can do so within Hootsuite but a reminder notification will be sent to your Hootsuite mobile app when the post is ready to be published. From the notification you can publish the post via the Instagram app.
What else is new?
The update allowing you to schedule posts to Instagram is part of a bigger update to Instagram’s API. Other updates include allowing social media managers (via third party applications) to read public media that a business has been photo tagged or @ mentioned in and post comments on a business’ behalf on media it was tagged or mentioned in, access the account’s insights, and moderate comments. The company says that such support for non-business profiles is expected to be implemented in 2019.
Will the ability to schedule posts to Instagram change the way you use the platform? We’d love to hear you thoughts… let us know below.