Instagram scheduling tools

 

Using Instagram and need help managing all those posts? There are a range of scheduling tools designed for Instagram that we review here.

If your business is already on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter then you may be considering branching out into other areas. More specifically Instagram which is really taking off in popularity and as it’s owned by Facebook since 2012 the chances are it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so is a worthy contender.

Learning a new platform is not always an easy task but Instagram has now changed the way it deals with automated scheduling tools. It now has compatibility with them and this enables users, particularly business users to take advantage of scheduling stories and posts on the platform.

We’ve already written about Instagram tools for engagement as well as how to get 1 million followers on Instagram, so this post focuses on tools to schedule content. If you need a beginner’s guide, this post on Instagram marketing for beginners might help as well as this post on growing followers.

Here is a rundown of just a handful of tools to help your business decide which is best for you:

Instagram scheduling tool # 1 – Planoly

Planoly is a management tool that only works with Instagram and so isn’t necessarily useful for those running on multiple platforms. That said it is the first tool that was approved for Instagram scheduling so a great tool for keeping all Insta content in one place.

The free account enables one Instagram account to have 30 posts a month. For anything more than this or for teams or power users there are various paid options.

Some of the benefits are to be able to:
– automatically publish a photo with a caption to Instagram.
– set up and save different hashtag groups which enables easy copy and paste options.
– access basic analytics
– respond from app or desktop to comments on your own Insta account.
– schedule for Instagram Stories and regular posts.
– create shop feeds from direct links in photos for paid accounts.

There are issues with Planoly too. You must remember to select ‘auto post to Instagram’ or you’re sent a reminder and it’s clunky. The dashboard, shown here, does not show you the actual posts ready to go, just a placeholder that there is something scheduled. Whilst there is an app version, it’s easier to visualise on the desktop.

 

 

Alongside the fact that this tool is only for Instagram there is also the fact that users cannot like or comment on other Instagram accounts using the app or desktop which makes it slightly restrictive.

Planoly also provides you with some analytics, but as this image shows, they are fairly basic.

 

 

 

Instagram scheduling tool # 2 – Later

Later is a social media management tool that works across various platforms and may be specifically useful for those using Instagram alongside lengthy captions. It has free options for users with one account on each platform with a range of posting limitations for each. The free account also only supports photos. Later does offer different paid alternatives for teams, power users and those scheduling videos.

Users of Later are able to:

– schedule social media content for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
– drag and drop photos into Instagram to create grids.
– insert line breaks in caption paragraphs, making longer caption content more engaging and easier to read.
– bulk upload and photo labelling
– basic analytics
– add more than one photo to a post for paid accounts.
– create shop feeds from direct links in photos for paid accounts.

Some of the more negative aspects of Later are that the free account offers only basic and limited features. Furthermore it doesn’t offer the ability to save different hashtag groups and users cannot comment on any posts including theirs from the app or desktop.

 

Instagram scheduling tool # 3 – Buffer

Buffer can be used with Instagram for free for a maximum of 10 scheduled posts. Paid options are available for those wanting more than this with various costs depending on the type of service required.

This tool is particularly known for how easy it is to use and it can be used across different platforms too like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. The tool also enables users to view in depth analytics on each social campaign, including with Instagram.

Buffer uses Buffer Publish, Buffer Reply and Buffer Analyse making it an all-round social media solution. The pricing structure offered by Buffer is simple and there are no hidden costs.

I’ve used Buffer for several years – I pay for what was called the ‘awesome plan’ – and whilst I don’t use for Instagram due to its limited functionality, I find it great for Twitter. It enables me to keep a certain level of content present in the hungry Twitter machine, as well as pulling content from my own blogs to auto post too.

 

Instagram scheduling tool # 4 – Hootsuite

Whilst it is similar to Buffer in the sense that users can direct publish to Instagram there is also much more to Hootsuite and what it can do. They offer a free trial for 30 days and they offer various packages for paid accounts. Here is a brief overview of the additional features which can help users to:

– Look at competition – Hootsuite enables users to follow others in their niche and thus find insights into their marketing strategy.
– Increase engagement – Using Hootsuite means users can create a branded hashtag and see at a glance who likes or comments.

Hootsuite offers support for a long list of networks and is considered a very stable platform. It also continues to include third party integrations regularly. It is regarded as one of the best tools for those with large teams and social ads can be managed from within Hootsuite.

Evaluating which tool may be most useful for your business may depend on what you want to get out of Instagram and how frequently you wish to use it. Once some decisions have been made on the outcomes it should be easier to evaluate the most appropriate social media tool to use.

 

What tools do you use and what would you recommend? Do share and I’ll feature in another blog article.

 

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