How To Schedule Instagram Posts Using Hootsuite

Has this ever happened to you? You have several photos ready to post on Instagram but you don’t want to spam your followers by uploading all of them at the same time. So you post one or two and make a mental note to share the rest over the next couple of days. You know what happens next, right? Life happens. Your brain moves on to the other thousand things you need to get done and you never post those remaining pics.

Or maybe this? You create an absolutely stunning graphic — at midnight. If you post it now, it will get lost in the stream while your followers are sleeping but if you don’t take care of it right away, it’s going to fade into oblivion and you’ll miss your opportunity completely. What do you do?

If I were posting on Facebook or Google+, I’d simply use a handy-dandy scheduling tool such as Hootsuite, Buffer, or Friends+Me to send my posts out at reasonable intervals. They work exceptionally well (I rely on all three!) however none of the mainstream schedulers integrate with Instagram.

Until now…

How To Schedule Instagram Posts Using Hootsuite

We owe a double “thank you” to Hootsuite because Instagram recently changed the way hashtags work — you can no longer bump a post back up to the top of a feed by refreshing its hashtags. This makes timing your posts even more important than ever.

Figure 1

Let’s get started!

What you’ll need:

  • Hootsuite account
  • Hootsuite mobile app
  • Instagram account

To connect your Instagram account, open Hootsuite and click on your avatar. You’ll find it at the top of the vertical menu to the left (see arrow #1 in Figure 1). You may not have the section called Organizations that I’m a part of — that’s on my screen because I manage some client accounts in addition to having a personal Hootsuite account. Click on “Add a Social Network” (arrow #2 in Figure 1).

Hootsuite will let you know when the mobile app is ready to receive its first Instagram post.
Figure 2

Select Instagram from the list of social networks that pop up. You’ll need to authorize Hootsuite to access your Instagram account by entering your Instagram account name and your password.  You’ll receive a message once your desktop Hootsuite account communicates with the Hootsuite mobile app on your smartphone (Figure 2).

Now you’re ready to create a post in Hootsuite the same way you would do for Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook. Select your image, type the message (including hashtags, if you like), and tell Hootsuite when you want to publish it. Your post can be sent right now or scheduled in the future — your choice.

Hootsuite send a push notification to your phone
Figure 3 – Mobile Push Notification. Tap it to reveal the waiting post.

Here’s where things look a little different. Hootsuite can’t post directly to Instagram, instead it sends a push notification to your phone that will appear at the time and date you specified when you created the post.

Hootsuite will display the photo and the first few words of your message.
Figure 4 – You are shown a preview of the waiting post. Tap the avatar to launch it.

This is more than a reminder. The image and everything you typed into the post creation box on Hootsuite is included in the notification. You’ll see a partial view of the photo you selected as well as the first few words you typed into the Hootsuite message box when you first created the Instagram post (Figure 4).

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Figure 5

Tap the avatar to see the entire photo and your complete message (Figure 5).

If you have multiple messages scheduled, this is your opportunity to make sure you’re looking at the right one. Click “Open in Instagram.”

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Figure 6

At this point, you are working directly in Instagram (Figure 6). You can add filters, adjust the brightness, do virtually everything you normally would do to a photo just prior to posting.

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Figure 7

Wondering where the text portion of your post went? Long press in the caption box and press ‘paste’ to display all the text you previously entered in Hootsuite (Figure 7). Feel free to edit it.

When you’re ready, click the blue and white check box (upper right) as usual.

Voila! Posted on Instagram.



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