Controversy: Should You Schedule Instagram Posts?
Are you ready for a fight? Because I’m about to wade into controversial territory.
If you have an Instagram account for your business, you know that it doesn’t offer any way to schedule your updates. Instagram doesn’t offer the ability to schedule, and their API doesn’t allow for a third party to log in as you to schedule updates.
This means that if you want a post to go up at a certain time, you have to post it manually at that point.
Or do you?
First I’m going to tell you about the “legal” semi-solutions that aren’t solutions at all, as far as I’m concerned. Then I’m going to tell you about a couple of ways to schedule Instagram posts that violate Instagram’s terms of service but will save you loads of time.
An Extra Device
Do you know what some agencies do? They buy an iPod Touch for every client. This is how they avoid spending all day logging in and out of customer accounts to post to Instagram for them. That still seems pretty annoying, doesn’t it? Pros: you don’t have to log in and out of your one device. Cons: it’s another gadget to keep track of. Expense. The extra steps required (the Dropbox shuffle) to add images you created rather than photos taken with the device camera.
There are a few instances where I can see this as a good solution. A local restaurant could pick up or repurpose an old iPod or iPhone to help manage social media accounts. Then the manager on duty or other designated person could respond to social media and add timely posts without being stuck behind a desk.
Hootsuite and Later (and now Buffer!)
With Later, you can schedule out a bunch of Instagram posts via their web interface. And when it comes time for the image to post to your account, you will receive an alert on your phone to publish the post.
For this to work, your phone has to be logged into the Instagram account where you want to post. Oh, you have more than one Instagram account? It sounds like that could get messy. What if you want to post while you are sleeping? Too bad.
Hootsuite just released its solution for scheduling Instagram posts. So people have been talking excitedly about it recently. But it’s pretty much the same solution as Later. You will still get a push notification from Hootsuite, and then you will be directed to Instagram to finish posting. And, again, you have to make sure to be logged into Instagram as the account where you want to post.
You might find these solutions helpful if you want an overview of your scheduled posts. It also makes it easier to post images from your computer rather than your phone.
Recently, Buffer has added Instagram “scheduling” to their product as well. It works in a similar way to Later and Hootsuite.
Onlypult and Schedugram
Here’s where the controversy comes in. Remember earlier how I said that a tool that schedules your Instagram posts for you was against Instagram’s terms of service? That is true. So using either one of the tools I’m about to tell you about could get your account banned. I have used both without any issues, each for about six months. I usually make no more than two posts per day per account and try to follow Instagram’s community guidelines. Doing what I do in no way guarantees that you won’t get your account banned. So proceed with caution. You have been warned.
I found Schedugram first (now called SkedSocial.) I was going on vacation and would be on a cruise ship for eight days and needed a way to continue to publish Instagram updates for my clients while I was gone. After searching around, I found Schedugram. You have to share your Instagram login information with them, and they, in turn, can post for you. If you want to nerd out, here’s an explanation of how they do it on their site.
They have a nice web interface similar to Latergramme so that you can schedule out your posts. The difference is that it posts them for you. This worked well for me with minimal problems. I would occasionally get an email that a post didn’t go through and then I would have to log into that account via a device to reverify the email address, etc. But otherwise, it worked pretty smoothly.
Onlypult is what I’m using now to schedule Instagram posts. As my company grew and I had more accounts to manage, I started searching for a more cost-effective solution. They aren’t as open as Schedugram about how they make it work, but I assume their method is similar. Like Schedugram, they have a web interface for scheduling. Again, I’ve had no trouble with it. Every once in awhile, a post won’t go through, and I just try it again.
And since I wrote this post, a few more Instagram schedulers have been released. See the comments for other options.
So that’s it! Are you willing to be a rebel if it helps streamline your social media posts? Then give Schedugram or Onlypult a try. If you fear the ban hammer too much, then use Latergramme or Hootsuite to manage Instagram for you. Or, the extra device option might be for you.
How do you currently schedule Instagram posts? Are you planning on trying any of these? We’d love to hear what works for you!