How To Schedule And Publish Instagram Posts Without Using Your Phone
Up until now, if you wanted to schedule a post to Instagram, you could use a third-party tool like Agorapulse, but the best such tools could do would be to send the image and text to your phone and remind you via notification that it was time to publish.
You still had to go through the process of opening Instagram, copying in the text, and publishing it.
It was certainly nice to be able to create images on desktop and send them to your phone, but not being able to have posts automatically publish at the appointed time, like every other social network, was annoying.
All of that changed when Instagram updated their API to allow third party tools to publish posts directly to Instagram.
Let’s take a closer look at what that means, and what Instagram did, specifically, and then dive into the mechanics of how to use a really convenient tool to post and schedule posts whenever you wish.
Instagrams Shift to Graph API
If you’re not familiar, API stands for Application Programming Interface, and is just a fancy way of describing a method by which one application can talk to and use another application.
All of the major social networks have created and published an API so that third party tools can access various parts of those networks and provide additional functionality.
For instance, when you connect an Instagram account within Agorapulse, you’re then able to see and reply to comments on any of your Instagram posts or ads. Agorapulse is able to ‘read’ that activity because Instagram’s API allows it.
Now, recall that, originally, Instagram was a stand-alone social network and then was bought by Facebook. Since then, the networks have been more and more tightly integrated, including connecting with friends and advertising on both networks simultaneously.
Therefore, Instagram originally developed their own API in their own way - nothing like how Facebook does it. In 2017, Instagram developers began updating and replacing the Instagram API with the new Instagram Graph API, based on the Facebook Graph API. The result is increased functionality.
According to the Jan. 30th announcement, "Today, we're introducing new features to the API, such as allowing businesses to schedule photo posts, view posts they've been tagged in and view other business profiles.”
Note though the caveat about “businesses.” These changes are only available for Business Profiles on Instagram. Much like the difference between Facebook Profiles and Facebook Pages, businesses are encouraged (currently) to use a Business Profile. If they do, they gain access to these features, as well as metrics and other fun aspects, including advertising (which is the real benefit to Facebook).
So, if you want to use a third party tool to publish or schedule posts directly to Instagram, without first sending to your phone, you’re going to have to upgrade your profile to business.
Fortunately, it’s easy.
- Open your Instagram app.
- Tap on your profile.
- Tap on the gear icon to access settings.
- Scroll down and tap on Switch to Business Profile.
That’s all there is to it. Now you have a business profile and we can get you started with direct publishing.
How To Start Scheduling & Publishing Direct To Instagram
Only Official Instagram Partners have access to use the Instagram Graph API and offer direct publishing, so you’ll need to use one of those tools. I personally use and recommend Agorapulse, but if you’re using Tailwind or Sprout Social or Hootsuite already, you can take advantage as well.
To get started, you’re going to need to connect your Instagram account(s) and then enable them as a business profile.
From within Agorapulse, simply click on +Add Profile, select Instagram Profile, and then authenticate your Instagram account.
You then have a couple ways to enable it as a business profile. You can start to compose a post:
Or you can click on your Instagram profile from the list of connected accounts:
If you’ve already connected your Instagram profile, like me, that’s the easiest way to get there.
- Click on Enable Business Profiles
- Accept permission to connect to your Facebook Profile
- Review the Instagram Business profiles recognized by Facebook and imported already into Agorapulse. If necessary, upgrade an Instagram personal profile to business, or connect an existing profile to Agorapulse.
You’ll also see any personal profiles listed that you might still need to upgrade to Business if you want to publish directly to them.
- Click on I’m Done.
Note that the little mobile device icon will no longer show up next to your Instagram profile, indicating that it can do direct publishing.
You can now click on Publish and begin to share a new post to Instagram!
Fill in whatever you want for the caption, including any hashtags. And since you’re using a comprehensive tool like Agorapulse, you can also choose to share that post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+! Just select whatever networks and profiles you’ve already connected and use the network tabs to customize each network’s share as needed.
Here you can see my test post which published instantly:
Combine an easy-to-use image creator like Canva or RelayThat, with a comprehensive social media management tool like Agorapulse, and you can build an active, engaged Instagram presence that your audience will love.
Give it a try and let me know how it works for you. Was it easy? Will this give you reason to be more active on Instagram? Let me know in the comments.
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By Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner
Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner - a title he invented to represent his holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blogging, social media, email marketing and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales. He is an award-winning Blogger, Speaker, and Author at The Social Media Hat, and Brand Evangelist at Agorapulse (formerly CMO at SiteSell).
As Brand Evangelist, Mike works directly with other social media educators, influencers, agencies and brands to explore and develop profitable relationships with Agorapulse.Follow @Mike_Allton