Are you a business that has been using third-party software to schedule your posts on social media? Good news, you can now do this for Instagram as well! In a blog post aimed at developers, Facebook yesterday announced several new changes to their API, the biggest of which allows business accounts on Instagram to schedule their posts.
Prior to this, post-scheduling, where posts were automatically uploaded onto the Instagram platform, was against Instagram’s use policy. Third-party developers who developed such software could have their access to the Instagram API revoked while businesses who made use of the software could have their Instagram accounts shut down. Businesses (and influencers) could only use third-party software to plan posts. Said third-party software would then send push notifications to them when the time came for the posting to be done. Users would then have to reply to the notifications in order for the post to be made to Instagram. With the new update, however, this intermediary step can be removed.
What This Means For Brands (and Influencers)
Simply put, you can now schedule posts ahead of time and have them posted to your account automatically.
Limitation I: Only available to business accounts
This is currently only available to brands who have business accounts on Instagram. This means that if you own a personal account, this update is currently not available for your account.
Does this mean you should switch to a business account now? Not so fast. Many users have speculated that Instagram reduces the reach of posts for its business accounts so as to encourage business account users to pay to boost their posts’ visibilities. While this (naturally) has not been confirmed by Instagram and no scientifically-credible experiments have been carried to test this out, drops in overall engagement after switching from personal to business accounts have happened frequently enough for Instagram users to become wary of making the switch themselves. This is despite Instagram providing useful Insights about post impressions, reach and profile views to its business users.
For those of us who can wait, Facebook has announced in the same blog post that post-scheduling (along with the other features announced) will be made available to personal profiles by early 2019.
Limitation II: Only available via third-party software
As Instagram has not developed an in-house post-scheduling function as part of the platform, brands (and influencers) must make use of third-party software to make use of the function.
This should not be too much of a limitation, since most brands already make use of services, such as Hootsuite, to schedule their posts on other social media platforms. As a matter of fact, Hootsuite has already updated its platform to offer the automatic post-scheduling function for Instagram.
If your brand meets the criteria, and you still haven’t started making use of this new function, what are you waiting for? It’s time to begin!