When I first started managing Instagram accounts for organizations, I did it all manually. When it was time to post, I searched for the image I wanted in my photos app. Then, I typed out the caption and hashtags with my thumbs. I would have to schedule times in my calendar for Instagram posting.
Now, I use an Instagram posting app to do most of the work ahead of time so that all I have to do when it is time to post is hit “Share.”
Have you been posting manually to Instagram? Are you ready to kick it up a notch with your Instagram management and use a tool like an Instagram posting app?
You may be nervous to pay for a tool, especially when you’ve been managing your Instagram account (or multiple accounts) on your own. It may seem like you’ve been doing it for “free,” but actually, you haven’t. Your time has value, and if you have employees, you know their time has value too.
If you don’t use any software, you might end up editing the image and writing the caption moments before publishing each Instagram post. This can be difficult when you want to post early in the morning or after a long, tired day of work, just so you can post at an optimal time for your followers. By using an app for posting to Instagram, you can schedule many posts at once when your mind is clear and get them ready for posting.
So, what Instagram posting app should you use? Below, I’ve included many features that matter to me. It’s interesting to see what tools are available and how they stack up.
Instagram is Instagram, but when it comes to third-party tools for helping you work smarter, not all tools are the same. Here are some features that mattered to me when I was looking for a tool to post to Instagram.
I wanted an app that could allow me to schedule posts ahead of time, including setting posting times for my Instagram content. I also wanted a tool that would notify me when my content is ready to post. Then I could put a lot of content up at once and then my phone would remind me during the day/week. There are many types of Instagram posts you can schedule ahead of time.
I make sure the Instagram posting app has my best interests in mind, especially the security of my account. The tool should link with Instagram in ways that are security-minded and abide by Instagram’s policies. I only want to use tools that are official Instagram partners.
When I’m scheduling content, I like to see the month view to know when all my posts are going out. Even better is a drag-and-drop feature, where I can move posts around on the calendar to get the order I want.
Another feature that is important to me is a profile view, meaning I want to see how all the posts will look visually in my feed. Once I’ve scheduled a week’s worth of content, I like to look at how it will look published on my profile so I can see if there are any imbalances.
For example, if I have mostly blue content but two posts with red backgrounds, I might notice that the red posts are oddly aligned in the grid, so then I would move another blue post between them before I start to publish posts.
Critical to Instagram management is comment moderation. Currently, the notifications section of Instagram (the “heart” in the bottom menu tray) is a mix of likes and comments. It’s hard to scroll through and find comments I need to reply to when it’s all mixed in my notifications.
I value tools that separate the comments from the rest of my notifications and provide an inbox feature where I can reply to all comments efficiently and even see which comments I have not reviewed yet (something Instagram doesn’t do for you).
Some businesses thrive by posting UGC (user-generated content). Therefore, another Instagram posting app feature that matters to me is being able to search Instagram for others’ content and repost to my profile (after asking the original creator’s permission, of course). This is critical for organizations and brands that post a lot of user-generated content. It’s a lot like what retweeting is to Twitter. To reiterate, always ask permission before reposting.
My must-have feature list includes analytics reports. If you are not measuring, you’re just pushing images into the void and hoping that it’s working without actually knowing if it’s working.
Sometimes I get a notification to publish a scheduled post to Instagram, but for some reason, I can’t publish at that very moment. The notification disappears, and I missed my chance. I value an Instagram posting tool that allows me to go back into past-scheduled posts that I was unable to publish and choose “publish now.”
This also should work in reverse: if I scheduled an Instagram post for tomorrow, but then change my mind and want to publish right away, my Instagram posting app should have a feature to let me override the schedule and post now.
What features matter most to you? Look for a tool that has all or most of those features. Enjoy the saved time and reduced stress level as a result. Are there features you care about that are not in this list? Share in the comments below!