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Written by Lisa Kalner Williams

December 11, 2018 at 2:49 pm

The December 11 Instagram API Changes are Here. Let’s Talk about Them.

In April of this year, I wrote about the big Facebook and Instagram API Changes that had just been announced. In that post, I did my best to calm the nerves of social media marketers who thought they’d be out of a job with these changes.

Looking back, I wonder if I needed to calm anyone down at all. Three of the four changes — restrictions on Facebook Group publishing, Facebook Private Messages, and Facebook Search API) — were soon overturned by Facebook and life returned back to normal.

Now, on December 11, 2018, we face a couple of changes again, including the one holdover from April. Let’s chat about what they mean for social media marketers who use third-party tools to manage Instagram profiles. (Heads up: It’s not that bad.)

Change 1: Third-party tools can no longer support Instagram personal profiles.

Situation: As of December 11, you cannot add Instagram personal profiles to your Agorapulse subscription (or to any other legitimate third-party tool). In addition, any Instagram personal profiles that are currently linked to your subscription will be deactivated.

“Deactivated” means one of two things:

  1. You can continue to use your personal profile as is —  but you must post and engage with it natively through the Instagram app.
  2. You can convert your personal profile to a business profile and continue managing it through a third-party tool like Agorapulse.

Freakout Factor: Low. For busy profiles or for multiple personal profiles, Option 1 will soon prove to be quite labor intensive. If you go for Option 2 and stick with Agorapulse, you’ll have more robust engagement features than native Instagram has, including:

    • saved replies to answer commonly asked questions or popular comments
    • moderation rules for easier community management
    • a filtered stream for ad comments
    • the ability to qualify and label those who interact with your posts

And because Agorapulse is connected to the Instagram Graph API, you’ll also be able to:

    • publish directly to Instagram without push notifications
    • schedule to Stories if you choose to disable direct publishing
    • view threaded comments
    • receive a monitoring stream of mentions of your brand

And that’s just out of the December 11 gate. Down the road, we’ll be able to tap into other features that the Instagram Graph API provides.

Now, don’t let the name “business profile” detract you from creating an account. You don’t need a physical storefront (or even a Website!) to claim a business profile. The whole process of switching over takes no more than 3 minutes. Here’s how you can convert your personal Instagram profile to a business profile in case you’re stumped.

If for some reason you have an Instagram business profile on your Agorapulse subscription but didn’t connect it to the Instagram Graph API, you’ll be asked to do so the next time you use your profile in Agorapulse. As a business profile, you don’t want to miss out on these options to more easily share content and engage with those that comment on your posts.

And if you haven’t tried Agorapulse to manage your Instagram business profiles, why not try it for free today?

manage Instagram business profiles

Change 2: Third-party tools can no longer support Instagram hashtag and location searches.

Situation: Third-party tools like Agorapulse can no longer give search results from particular locations. However, because Agorapulse is connected to the latest Instagram API, we can soon offer you limited saved hashtag search results.

Freakout Factor: Medium-low. Yes, Instagram location searches are gone. And hashtag searches, coming soon to third-party tools like Agorapulse, won’t be detailed as they once were: This view-only stream will no longer provide user data on monitored posts.

But these API restrictions comes in light of all the tools that have polluted Instagram with automated engagement [ie. bots]. With access to hashtags and locations shut off, social media managers will now have more accurate numbers on and quicker access to true engagement. So long to “Nice shot! 👏” and hello to real engagement, leads, and community building.

I’m all for that. How about you?

Lisa Kalner Williams

Lisa Kalner Williams is the Lead Social Media Strategist for Sierra Tierra Marketing and the Content Marketing Director for Agorapulse. You might see her speaking across the country on how to better market using Instagram.

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