Instagram is becoming a strong player in the world of social media marketing and so posting consistently to it is becoming an important part of your overall marketing strategy. When you run an online business while still working 9 to 5, (or simply having a life!), you need to automate or schedule some of the daily tasks. Posting content to social media, specifically Instagram, happens to be one of those tasks.
Posting good content on Instagram at the right time makes all the difference when you’re trying to engage with your ideal followers. Posting 5 great posts in a bunch, all at the same time, most likely won’t bring you great results. So how do you “clone” yourself to post all these great posts throughout the day?
When it’s not enough of you to go around, get some tools to help you out. Today I want to talk about some tools (some free and some low-cost) you can use to schedule out your Instagram posts.
Instagram is all about images of the moment and as such Instagram didn’t allow any kind of scheduling for the longest time, as well as posting from a computer. And I’m all for snapping some awesome photos and sharing them with my audience, but to make a great post you also need to add some hashtags to help you out and often a lengthy message to describe what your image is all about.
I don’t know about you, but I hate typing out long, substantial messages on my phone. Cause you know, the text area is tiny and after two sentences you can’t see what you just typed and 3 paragraphs later something happens and you lost all you just typed out. NO, THANK YOU!
For that reason alone, I love using Instagram scheduling tools, where I can create the images I want on my computer, research my hashtags and keywords, type out (and spell check!) my message and then schedule for the best time to get the biggest impact from my followers. A well-crafted message is especially important now that the algorithm got changed and the popular images are the ones that make it to the feed.
Using scheduling tools is also great if you’re running a daily challenge and you have a series of consecutive images you want to post daily with detailed descriptions and links, etc. It is SO much easier to create the series, schedule it out in advance on your computer using a scheduling tool and then just post through with a couple of clicks.
Yes, I still post the images of the moment, but when I want to post something well-done, thought out and on time, I rely on the scheduling tools.
Here are some of the Instagram scheduling tools that are available today.
Hootsuite is a well-known social media management tool that’s been around for a while and the latest addition to the platforms they support was Instagram. To schedule your Instagram post, you need to first add your Instagram profile to Hootsuite. Keep in mind that Hootsuite does offer a free version of their tool, but it only covers 3 accounts so if you want to use it with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and you have more than one of each, make sure you choose wisely.
Since Instagram still requires a manual posting of the image on your actual phone, you need to also install the Hootsuite app on your phone and sync Hootsuite on your computer to Hootsuite on your phone.
Once you add your Instagram profile to Instagram and sync it with your phone, you can craft your perfect message with your amazing image and schedule this post in Hootsuite. You can post it immediately, set for a particular time or use Autoschedule feature and Hootsuite will pick the posting time for you (you can always edit it if you need).
Once you have done that and scheduled your Instagram post, when the time of the post becomes due, you will get notified on your phone and will simply click through the prompts to post it on your Instagram. All the text and hashtags that you have entered in the Hootsuite on your computer will come through and post along with your image.
Latergram*, as the name implies, was created to post exclusively on Instagram and it does this job well. Latergram* is an excellent tool to create and schedule your posts on Instagram and, as most of the tools that I recommend, it has a free option. This option allows you to schedule 30 posts per month and on up to 2 accounts. Reposts are unlimited for free.
Just like Hootsuite, Latergram has a companion smart phone app that it synchronizes with to push posts to Instagram app on your phone. However, unlike Hootsuite, Latergram’s computer interface is so much better and user friendly when it comes to scheduling things in advance.
Latergram for desktop has a library where you can load all the original and repost images you want, along with whatever text and hashtags you want to include. The tool also lets you resize and crop images right there and then to fit Instagram’s optimal sizes. Once you are ready to schedule the posts, a calendar/time view is available to you to which you can simply drag and drop the images from your library.
You can clearly see how well distributed your content is and at what time, all at a glance.
In addition to a library, you have a Search and Repost feature where you can search Instagram using hashtags or keywords, find the images that relate to your audience and add them to your library to repost now or later.
You can add your original images to the library from your computer, Google Drive or Dropbox. The best thing about the library is that it stores all the images, even after they were posted, so can easily repost them if you wish so and they keep the text and the hashtags you have originally posted them with.
Crowdfire (formerly known as UnfollowMe) offers another user-friendly (and free) solution. Just go to crowdfireapp.com, login with your Instagram account and you’re in business. Easily add the images and the message/hashtags and then, either post now or let the app schedule the best time for you.
Just like Hootsuite and Latergram, Crowdfire has a mobile app that “catches” images sent from Crowdfire’s desktop version. Make sure you have the Crowdfire app installed on your phone when you’re scheduling the images to post.
One of the best things about Crowdfire is that, in addition to the scheduling ability, it provides you with stats like the number of followers/unfollowers and allows you whitelist/blacklist users. It offers similar features for Twitter as well (and you can attach and handle your Twitter profile to it as well).
You can follow and unfollow users through the app without going to Instagram (within a daily limit of 25 each for the free account)
These are the apps that I have used myself. Check them out and see which one jives with your style the best.
There are also apps like Schedugram that has a lot of good reviews and offers a 7-day free trial.
Best times to post
Some of the apps above offer you a feature that schedules your posts at the best times, but if you need to figure out these times yourself, you need to find out when your followers are interacting with your posts the most.
To gather this kind of information, you need to use one of the Instagram analytics tools. One of such tools is Iconosquare (free) which will show the days and times when people interact with you the most. This information is presented to you as a dotted graph where darker, larger dots represent the times/days when most users view and interact with your posts in some way.
Since your particular audience can be very unique to your content, using such tool will give you the best times to post for YOU, rather than generic “best times to post”. Using analytics data from Iconosquare you can really tailor your posting times to your particular audience and have bigger impact and interaction for each post, which in turn will bump up your images in the feed.
So there you have it. Give the apps I have mentioned in this post a try. All of them either have a free version or a free trial for you to test them out and see if they can be helpful in your online business.
If you want to be able to schedule you other social media posts, check out this post.
Note: * identifies an affiliate link