In one of Instagram’s blog posts, they referred to Instagram as a place where “people turn their passions into purchase”.
If this is true, then every business person, blogger, podcaster, writer, programmer, and freelancer should have an Instagram account if they want to turn followers into loyal customers.
The blog post also reveals that 60% of Instagram users learn about a product or service through the platform. So I’m not surprised that I made my first sale on Instagram a few years ago when I started an online jewelry store.
This is why Instagram is my favorite social network.
The Best Instagram Scheduling Tools
What I’m not crazy about is the time and effort it takes to regularly fill Instagram with content. Not just any content, mind you, but visually stunning images that will make your followers tap twice.
This was when scheduling Instagram posts became my obsession. I spent hours looking for a way to keep my Instagram feed constantly updated with the least possible effort.
That’s when I found some amazing tools…
I’ve tried all the options on this list, and I must say that all of them are great ways to maintain an active Instagram account. Each tool here has their own pros and cons, and I’ve listed them out for you to get a better idea of how they work.
Later is a multi-platform app to help you publish Instagram content according to a pre-made schedule.
This means that you can upload images from Later.com or from your phone and schedule it for publishing at a later time.
The app will then send you a notification once it’s time to publish a post. The notification leads you to your phone’s Instagram app with the content ready to be published.
While this process isn’t that convenient, it’s still a great way to ensure your Instagram is updated regularly.
With a free account, you can schedule up to 30 posts a month.
You can log in to your Later account on your computer and upload all your images from your hard drive, Google Drive, or Dropbox, organize posts in a nice, visual calendar, and schedule each one according to your preferences.
- Multi-platform app (Desktop, Web, Mobile).
- Visual and interactive calendar.
- Can also schedule Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter posts.
- Analytics, Search, and Repost features available for free accounts.
- Can upload photos from Dropbox and/or Google Drive.
- Cannot upload/publish directly to Instagram.
- Shared calendar and other features require paid subscription.
- Captions are not copied over to actual Instagram post.
Later can be free forever if you’re okay with some features being unavailable to you (such as calendar sharing, advanced analytics, and an increased number of posts allowed each month).
If you want to get more features and add more social media profiles, then you can upgrade to a paid subscription starting at $9/month (or $7/month, paid annually).
Check out Later
One of the leading apps for social media management, Hootsuite is another great tool for scheduling Instagram posts. If you’re already using HootSuite to manage your Twitter, Facebook or other social media profiles, then you can simply add your Instagram profile to get your posts scheduled.
If you’re already using HootSuite to manage your Twitter, Facebook, or other social media profiles, then you can simply add your Instagram profile to get your posts scheduled.
Again, Hootsuite doesn’t publish directly to Instagram. Instead, you need to install the Hootsuite mobile app. After you’ve set up the mobile app, you’ll get a notification telling you if it’s time to publish a scheduled post. You then need to open Instagram on your phone and publish the post that’s ready to go.
Like Later, Hootsuite limits the number of scheduled posts with a free account. According to a new update, free users can only schedule 30 posts at a time across all social media profiles (EX: 2 scheduled posts for Instagram + 2 scheduled posts for Twitter = 4 scheduled posts).
One thing to note is that a free Hootsuite account only shows scheduled messages as a list. If you want to change the view into a daily, weekly, or monthly grid, you’ll have to upgrade to a Professional account ($29/month).
- User-friendly web and mobile app interface.
- Real-time analytics.
- Bulk scheduling.
- Auto-schedule feature (suggests the best time to post).
- Calendar view of scheduled posts is not available for free accounts.
- Only 30 scheduled posts at a time is allowed for free accounts.
Hootsuite has a free account option that allows one user and three social media profiles. If you want to add more social profiles, you will need to upgrade to a Professional subscription which allows for 10 social media profiles.
A Professional plan costs $29/month.
There’s a free 30-day trial if you want to experience all of Hootsuite’s features.
Check out Hootsuite
Buffer has been one of my favorite free social media management tools for a while now. It has also recently added scheduling for Instagram.
The publishing process is the same with Later and Hootsuite. To schedule and publish Instagram posts, you have to install the Buffer mobile app and then get notified when it’s time to publish.
With a free Buffer account, you can only schedule 10 posts at a time. If you want to schedule more than that, then you can upgrade to the Awesome Plan ($10/month; $102/year). You also need to upgrade if you want to see your scheduled posts in a visual calendar; otherwise, scheduled content appears as a list on a feed.
There are two things that I like in Buffer’s web and mobile interface: Comments and likes show up under each published post, and you can scan older posts and hit the Re-Buffer button which will allow you to post those posts again or schedule for publishing at a later time.
- Free plan allows scheduled Instagram posts (10 at a time).
- Real-time analytics on individual posts.
- Re-Buffer option for recycling old posts.
- Access to visual calendar requires upgrade to paid plan.
- Pricing is high.
Buffer has a free option that allows for one account per social network (Twitter, Facebook, Google, Instagram, and Google Plus) and 10 scheduled posts each. For additional social media profiles and scheduled posts, you can upgrade to the Awesome Plan for $10/month ($102/year).
Check out Buffer
Unlike the apps mentioned in this list, Onlypult publishes scheduled posts directly to Instagram. This may raise some concerns for users who value their privacy and security since it’s not clear how Onlypult is able to accomplish what other tools can’t.
Nevertheless, the tool has been around for a few years now, and that’s enough reason for me to believe that they’re in line with Instagram’s Terms and Conditions.
If you want to schedule posts for a public Instagram account without having to manually publish from your phone, then this is one of the few tools out there that will let you do that.
In addition to direct Instagram publishing, you can also track your audience engagement, comments, and likes from the Onlypult dashboard.
Instagram features like uploading multiple images and applying filters are also present in this tool.
Direct messages can also be viewed from the Direct tab. You can even reply to comments from the Onlypult interface.
- Posts are published straight to Instagram.
- Upload images from PC or URL.
- Upload single or multiple images.
- Calendar view with large thumbnails.
- Auto-delete posts after publishing.
- This is a paid service.
- No mobile app available
- Works only with a public Instagram account.
Onlypult is a paid service that starts at $12/month for 3 accounts and 1 manager/user. You can choose to pay monthly, every 6 months, or annually.
Note that Onlypult only supports Instagram, so this will be great for marketing teams or people who own multiple businesses.
Check out Onlypult (7 days free trial)
Tailwind is another great app for scheduling Instagram posts. It works the same as Hootsuite and Later, which means you have to manually post from your phone. What makes Tailwind better are the analytics and scheduling features that focus on having your posts seen by your followers.
When you schedule a post, Tailwind will give you a list of suggested hashtags, as well as the best time to post. You also get stats from your published posts, so you know which ones got the most views and engagement. The Post Inspector area is where you get to see your previous posts and how much likes and comments each of them received.
Tailwind also works with Pinterest and you can add multiple accounts per network.
- Post analytics
- Best time to post
- Includes Pinterest
- Multiple accounts
- Drag and drop calendar
- Manual posting
- No Android app yet
Tailwind is a paid service that costs $9.99/month (for bloggers and small businesses) or $799/month for agencies/large companies.
Create a free account on Tailwind
You’ve probably heard of Agorapulse as a powerful social media tool. It does a great job at scheduling Instagram posts through its mobile app (available for iOS and Android), but it goes beyond that.
For each social network added to this app, you get separate tabs labeled Inbox, Listening, Publishing, Fans & Followers, and Reports. The Listening tab allows you to search for a hashtag and monitor its activity. Reports give you a detailed chart of your profile’s statistics including likes and followers. You can even add automated rules to moderate comments and mentions.
- Advanced analytics
- Republish option
- Visual calendar (weekly/monthly)
- Manual publishing
- More expensive
Agorapulse supports Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube on top of Instagram. This makes this software more advanced and a bit more expensive. A basic plan costs $49/month, which allows for 3 social network profiles and one team member. The Medium plan costs $99/month and allows 10 social profiles, 3 team members, and ads monitoring.
Start free trial of AgoraPulse
Conclusion – The Best Instagram Scheduling Tools
With all these free and paid options, you have the power to substantially boost your Instagram engagement. You just need to decide whether you need simple scheduling reminders or more advanced publishing techniques.
For the best free option, I think Buffer is the most user-friendly and feature-rich tool for scheduling Instagram posts. There are also many other paid options similar to Onlypult, but I came to the conclusion that Onlypult has the best-looking dashboard among them and is the most reasonably priced as well.
Regardless of which you choose, there’s no denying that Instagram is one of the most popular social networks today, and you need to build your presence on this network to expand your audience reach.
To do this, you need to stick to a posting schedule and publish compelling content that your followers will want to like, comment on, and share.
Which tool do you use for scheduling Instagram posts? Have you tried any of the ones on this list? What do you think? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below!
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