Do you want to save time on using Instagram for business?
Don’t know what Instagram scheduling tool to choose?
To grow your Instagram community, it is important to be consistent and post at the right time. In social media marketing, the automation of some processes always helps to save time and be more productive.
There are several services for Instagram scheduling, but the question is which one will serve you better.
For this post, I’ve tested and compared seven of them.
The scheduling steps are similar for all the tools:
- Adding image, description and setting the publishing date through the computer or mobile device.
- At the scheduled time you get a notification on your phone, that you need to post an image.
- Select ‘Open on Instagram.’ Edit the picture if you need in the Instagram editor and paste a description.
- Share the post.
A few tools even will post images without actions from your side.
The tested services have a variety of features and prices. Some of them have plans for agencies and large enterprises; however, we’ll go through benefits, pros and cons, which are useful for individuals and small business owners.
Instagram scheduling with Buffer
Buffer is the scheduling service for all the key social media networks.
As the several other services, Buffer only sends the notification to your phone, and then you need to publish the photo by yourself. The reason is the Instagram limitation of what can and can’t be automated. As they say:
We built Buffer for Instagram this way to keep our community safe. We’re keen to make sure every account that posts through Buffer is doing so with Instagram’s consent and never gets shut down.
- 5 social media accounts, but only one account for each network, which means that you can add only 1 Instagram account.
- Scheduling up to 10 posts per social profile at one time.
- Only one posting schedule.
Paid plans starts from $10/month (Awesome plan):
- 10 social media accounts on Awesome plan and up to 25 on Small Business plan. There can be several different profiles of each network.
- Scheduling from 100 (Awesome plan) to 2000 (Small Business plan) posts per profile for one time.
- Several posting schedules so you can add the individual schedule to different days.
- Analytics feature.
- On Small Business plan, adding up to 5 team members and get more detailed analytics.
It allows you to set the schedule for all the week or each day separately.
It shows the list of previous images with the statistic of engagement, even if they were posted not through Buffer. There you can see how many likes and comments got every post.
You may re-share any of that images again on Instagram as well as on other social media profiles connected to your buffer account.
If you want to repost other user’s pictures you need to copy its URL and open it in Buffer app on your phone. Once it opened, Buffer will recognize that you copied the URL and will ask if you would like to repost the image.
For each profile, you can set up its time zone.
On paid accounts, you have the calendar view of all the posts, where you can reschedule any posts manually or drag and drop them to the new day/time.
Also, paid account gives you the access to additional analytics. You can sort posts by those, which are most popular (have most likes or comments) or those, which are least popular (have least likes and comments).
There, look at the posts, which performed well. Was it because of the posting time? Did you use specific hashtags? What content did you post? See what worked well for you and implement it in your Instagram strategy.
No options for searching and monitoring hashtags, users, locations, etc.
No ways to engage with followers other Instagram accounts.
No bulk uploads.
Instagram scheduling with Hootsuite
Hootsuite is a big platform for managing a bunch of social media networks.
- Up to 3 social media accounts for free. All three can be the Instagram accounts.
Paid Pro plan $8.99/month
- 50 social media accounts.
- 10 team members.
- Bulk uploads function.
In auto schedule function you can set up how many messages per day you want to post and the scheduling interval. Then, the system randomly schedules your post during this time. Or you can schedule each post manually.
When you add mentions to the description using @, the system searches for Instagram accounts and give you the list of profiles which starts with the letters you typed. Then you just choose the one you need. It helps to avoid mistakes when you mention accounts.
You can add the streams to the dashboard. Helpful to observe selected accounts, follow the trends or your brand hashtags, and monitor Instagram posts by location.
On your mobile device, you will see only your posts, likes and scheduled streams. The rest you can monitor only through the web version of Hootsuite.
You can like, comment or reshare images using web interface.
When you reshare the pictures, it automatically copies the text of the post to your description and uses the original photo without adding ‘reshare’ marks on it.
Followers/Following streams have the option to unfollow users from the web interface.
Only one auto scheduling option for the week.
There is no analytics for Instagram.
Instagram scheduling with Schedulegram
Schedulegram is a tool for Instagram scheduling only.
7-days trial, plans start from $20/month for each account
- 1 Instagram account 1-10,000 followers.
- Unlimited team members.
- Unlimited uploads.
- Can post photos and videos.
- Bulk uploads.
It actually posts photos on Instagram.
According to Instagram policy, you are not allowed automatically upload the pictures via API. However, as Schedulgram’s support says they “use the same process all Instagram users do when uploading images.” More about it here How Schedugram works.
After uploading the picture, you can edit and add effects to it by using an integrated editor.
When you write the description to your image, you may add hashtags to the first comment instead of the capture.
That way, at the scheduled time your photo will be posted to your Instagram, and then the hashtags will be added separately as the comment so your post will look clearer.
The visual calendar makes it easy to reschedule any posts by dragging and dropping pictures.
No options for searching and monitoring hashtags, users, locations, etc.
No ways to engage with followers and reshare other Instagram accounts.
Instagram scheduling with Later
Later or previously Latergramme focuses only on Instagram scheduling.
- 1 Instagram accounts
- 30 free post scheduling per month. You can get +10/month more for each friend who subscribed to Later, using your referral link.
- Can upload only pictures.
- Bulk uploads.
Paid plans from $9/month (Plus plan):
- 1 Instagram accounts for Plus plan, 2 for Premium and higher on other plans.
- 100 posts for Plus, 250 posts for Premium and Unlimited on other plans.
- Starting from Premium plan you can add team members.
- Can upload pictures and video.
- Bulk uploads.
- Organizing accounts to the groups.
Later allows you to upload multiple images at once or import photos from Dropbox and Google Drive.
Uploaded pictures go to two categories used and unused media.
All pictures can be found in the media library and scheduled many times for different Instagram accounts.
For better organizing, add labels to the photos, then you can search for them in the library.
The visual calendar shows an overview of all scheduled posts for the week or month.
Scheduling Instagram post you may crop the picture using web interface.
Also, writing the capture and mentioning people with @, Later as Hootsuite searches Instagram users with the name you type.
Changing the scheduled time and day is easy with drag and drop system or manually for the individual post.
You can also preview an Instagram grid to see how your pictures will look all together.
If you post other user-generated content, find and share it with Search & Repost function.
To reshare, add the picture to the library and schedule from there.
You can like other pictures via the web interface.
You can only search for the users or hashtags, but cannot save the search result or keep on the dashboard.
No search by location.
Instagram scheduling with Autogrammer
Autogrammer schedules posts for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
7-days trial, plans start from $19/month (Starter plan)
- 1 Instagram profile for Starter plan and 2 on Regular plan.
- Unlimited posts.
- Bulk upload.
Autogrammer as Schedulgram actually posts pictures to your Instagram account.
After uploading the pictures from the computer, you can edit them with the integrated photo editor.
It also keeps the list of published, pending and posting pictures.
Although it has a visual weekly/monthly calendar, it doesn’t allow you to reschedule posting time there by dragging and dropping. You need to change it individually.
No searches by hashtags, users, location.
Impossible to engage with other accounts through the service.
Instagram scheduling with Onlypult
Onlypult (previously Instapult) is all-in-one solutions for Instagram.
7-days trial, plans start from $12/month (Start plan):
- From 3 to 40 Instagram accounts on different plans.
- 1-5 team members.
- 10-30 Instagram accounts for tracking.
- Publishes photos and videos.
- Bulk uploads.
- Analytic feature.
At the scheduled time, your picture gets automatically posted on Instagram.
Onlypult lets you upload the pictures and videos from the computer (including bulk upload) or URL.
After uploading, you may crop the picture and apply the filters, integrated to the system.
Writing a description, you see how many characters left for the capture, how many more hashtags you can use, you may add Emoji or popular hashtags (which are actually not really useful now, here is why) or create sets of your own hashtags.
Furthermore, it allows the location search and adding geotag.
If you want, you can select an option to delete the post after the certain period.
Onlypult lets you search for users and hashtags and save 10 to 30 other accounts for tracking. You also can repost other user’s content with and without ‘repost’ mark.
The analytics shows you the statistic of your follower’s growth and engagement status by how many likes and comments you got for the period of time.
It also displays the best time for posts publication and the most popular hashtags, which you used with your pictures.
You can set diverse time schedule for each day of the week.
You can’t reschedule posts with the visual calendar, only manually each photo from the list of pictures.
Instagram scheduling with Planoly
Planoly schedules posts only for Instagram.
- 1 Instagram account.
- 30 free post scheduling per month.
- Only photo uploads
- Analytics and Metrics for one month
- Comment inbox 5 latest posts
Paid plans start from $9/month (Solo plan):
- 1 Instagram account on Solo Plan and up to 10 on higher plans
- Starting from Duo plan, you can add 1 to 10 team members
- 150 posts/month on Starter plan, 500 posts/month on Duo plan and unlimited on others.
Easy drag and drop uploading of multiple files or folders.
The media grid lets visually drag and drop images to see how they better fit each other.
When you type the capture and add hashtags it shows you the number of Instagram posts with this hashtag.
The visual editor shows you the scheduled posts and time when previous posts were uploaded with amounts of likes and comments.
The Discover function allows you to search for users or hashtags and repost any images from the search result without marking them as ‘repost’ on the picture.
The analytic displays your following/followers, overview of the posts, likes, comments, which you got for the selected period. Also, you get a list of top liked and top commented pictures.
Through the interface, you can reply to the comments of 5 last images. If you want to manage more images with comments, you need to upgrade your plan.
Visual editor doesn’t show you the pictures you scheduled, only the mark with the time, that there is a scheduled post.
You can’t save user/hashtags search results for monitoring.
There is no one best platform for managing Instagram. Each of the reviewed services has its benefits and disadvantages.
For those who are just starting out, free plans of Buffer or Later will be more than enough.
However, if you are serious about Instagram marketing, you may need the paid options of one or even a few services.
Then, there are numerous helpful functions to look at when you choosing the Instagram scheduling service:
- Easy to use, schedule and reschedule interface, which saves time.
- Additional analytics options.
- Ability to engage with followers and other users content.
Also, from all the services there are those, which send the notification to your phone, and you publish by yourself and those, which do that for you.
Depending on your needs, these tools will help you to save a lot of time for posting images, curating user’s content and engaging with your follower.
What Instagram scheduling tool do you use? Leave me a comment below with your results as well as anything that did or didn’t work well for you.
Marina Barayeva is an international speaker and a host of the popular podcast Marketing for Creatives. She is known authority in helping entrepreneurs become influencers in their niche. She is a TEDx speaker, has presented to audiences in Asia and North America, and has been featured in such media as ArtPeople, CCTV, China Radio International, and others.