Can you really schedule Instagram posts?

The Truth About Instagram Scheduling

 

The truth about Instagram Marketing? There are a lot of rumors going on about the different features Instagram allows for marketers these days. So how is it, can you really schedule images to be posted at certain times? Can you find out where your followers are from? Can you identify the hashtags that generate the most engagement and virality?

 

Scheduling on Instagram

 

Instagram report: best time to publish

 

The answer is complicated. Yes you can, and no you can’t. The truth is, Instagram limits the use of it’s API (application program interface), even for Facebook Marketing Partners, and these limits include scheduling. This means, that at the moment Instagram doesn’t allow marketers (or even it’s marketing partners) to schedule posts. On top of scheduling posts, any type of automation, including automated following. liking and commenting are not allowed.

At the same time, there are tons of third-party apps that offer the possibility to schedule on Instagram. Some, like Schedugram actually let you schedule a post, and they will publish it on your Instagram account at the defined time. This, however, is against Instagram’s API restrictions and by using an app like this, you are actually violating Instagram’s terms of use and risk getting a temporary suspension for your account.

Many other tools and apps, like Hootsuite, have found a way to work around these restrictions. They say their tool allows you to “schedule” posts on Instagram, but the truth is more complicated. You can upload your picture, include your caption and hashtags and schedule it to be published on your account, but the picture is not actually published without you manually approving the publishing at the set time. This means that at the time you’ve scheduled the post to be published on Instagram, these apps will send you a notification and a link to go and click on “publish” to have your image published. So you’re not really scheduling, just planning ahead and clicking on publish at the right time. This way you are not violating Instagram’s terms of use and the activity remains legal, although manual.

That is also why Allin1Social, being a Facebook Marketing partner with direct access to Instagram API, doesn’t offer Instagram scheduling at the moment. If this feature becomes available on the API in the future, we’ll be among the first to implement it also on our platform. Also post creation & Instagram publishing are not currently available on Allin1Social. In the meanwhile, publishing pictures on Instagram remains manual and “instant”, through Instagram’s own platform, just like Instagram wants it to be.

 

Instagram analytics and reporting

 

Instagram analytics report

 

There’s a simple answer to this: yes, you can get Instagram analytics and performance reports. They’re not available directly from Instagram, but several social media reporting platforms offer detailed stats and data about your Instagram marketing efforts and performance, including Allin1Social.

There are no restrictions for reports & analytics data provided by third-party tools & apps, like there is for scheduling. All the reports available follow the Instagram API terms of use and provide clean statistics and insights into the performance and engagement of your Instagram account. There’s a lot of extremely detailed information that you can find out about your Instagram marketing, your followers, engagement rate, filters, hashtags, publishing time and other details, that you can’t even imagine – let alone count manually.

The amount of data you can get for your Instagram performance is incredible. A marketing manager who sees our Instagram report for the first time is always amazed. There is no way to get these stats from Instagram, and, let’s face it, any serious marketer needs proper performance stats and analytics to back up their strategy, to understand their performance and to get insights for the ways to improve in the future.

 

Instagram report filter analysis

 

So what kind of Instagram analytics can you get? 

Your Instagram report, at least the one available on Allin1Social, will give you detailed follower data, including growth, the amount of new and lost followers, daily followers growth, the percentage of female & male followers and your most active followers & potential influencers. The details about your posts (posted pictures) include e.g. the number of likes and comments, and engagement by publication type.  You’ll then get insights into your best performing posts, post distribution, time analysis, best time of the week and the best hour of the day to publish in terms of engagement, and hashtag & filter analyses. The amount of available data is big, and the ways you can use the insights to improve your strategy are endless.

But can you find out where your Instagram followers are from? So many marketers are looking for this extremely useful demographic data. Unfortunately the answer is no, Instagram doesn’t provide this information at the moment. The only location-related information available is where the posts have been published from (if a location was added to the picture). As soon as Instagram adds new data to its API, the reporting tools will start providing the same info as well.

 

Instagram Report - hashtag analysis

 

When it comes to professional Instagram marketing, there are many tools and apps out there helping you out. But beware of the scheduling tools. Instagram API does NOT allow scheduling, and doing so might get your account banned. For as long as Instagram doesn’t release a scheduling feature in its API, we won’t implement it in the platform. Instagram reporting and analytics data however, is fully available on several third party platforms, including Allin1Social.

Marketing on Instagram is becoming a normal part of more and more social media strategies – and so should professional reporting. You can’t have one without the other. Let’s hope proper Instagram scheduling will also become available in the future.

Have you been using any tools to schedule Instagram posts? Have you generated a free Instagram Report yet?

8 Best Practices for Successful Instagram Marketing

8 Best Practices for Successful Instagram Marketing

 

Beyond just being another social media platform, Instagram is a phenomenon that took the internet by storm, growing from zero to 100 million users in just a few years from its launch.

Perhaps its wide user-base and big potentials for marketing are what makes it appealing for more and more brands to build presence on the network. Yet, despite the competition, it’s never too late to join and master how to use the platform in a way to stand out from the competition.

Once you decide to create a presence on Instagram, it’s important to know how to make the most of the tools and features available on the platform to effectively build more brand awareness and community engagement. Use these Instagram marketing best practices to maximize your results.

 

  1. Determine if Instagram is right for your brand

Retail, fast food and construction are some of the top-ranked industries on Instagram in terms of engagement. But just because your brand is not in retail, doesn’t mean you can’t use Instagram for successful brand marketing. Many supposedly ‘boring’ brands are effectively using Instagram to boost their brand awareness and engagement. Just look at Intel and American Express, both top brands on Instagram, engaging their followers by creating behind-the-scene images, sneak peeks and employee and user submitted photos and videos.

 

Intel Instagram American Express Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some companies, even B2B,  also use Instagram to show the daily office life and to introduce their employees in order to give a “human touch” for their rather professional brand.

In addition to that, 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35. If your main target audience falls within that age group, it’s already a big enough reason for you to build an Instagram presence. Define your audience and decide whether Instagram is the right platform for you –if your main audience is not there,  can you use it to engage with new potential target audiences?

 

  1. Create content that resonates with your audience

Brands that are successful in making social media marketing work for them, do so because they focus on their followers. They are aware that it’s not about their products, but about what their audience wants. Entertain and engage with your followers by telling your stories in ways that you can entertain and engage with your community while communicating about your brand and products at the same time. Imagine what kind of pictures you like to see while browsing through your Instagram feed. Your picture can show an everyday situation, but your product can be a part of the picture – often a subtle presence is enough.

This applies even more on a photo-sharing network. Determining what your audience wants and letting them connect with your brand at a personal level pays off in the long-run.

 

  1. Leverage user-generated content

Getting followers to submit photos is a creative way to boost engagement, to get “free” content  and to create social proof. Your followers can share photos or videos of them using your products, receiving a giveaway from you, sharing their experiences with your products, etc. Find the best way that suits your brand. Top brands are having success in encouraging their fans to submit content with a specific hashtag, by giving them credits or rewarding them. Often being featured on the brand page, or receiving a like from the brand is a big enough reward for many.

 

  1. Understand how linking works in Instagram

Note that on Instagram, links are not clickable except on your profile page. Whether you want to link to your site, pages, a contest, or a giveaway, your best option is to include a call to action in your posts, images or captions. Create compelling post captions with a call to action for your followers to click on the actual link on your profile bio.

 

  1. Include Hashtags, always

This should be obvious – hashtags matter on Instagram more than anywhere else. Use them! Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement. Including hashtags in your posts also helps you get found by your target audience; especially with the updated ‘Search & Explore’ feature on Instagram that has made it easier for users to explore images with specific hashtags.

 

  1. Cross-promote

Instagram lets you publish content on other social media sites with a click of the mouse. But aside from that, you can integrate your Instagram marketing within a cross-platform strategy and use Instagram in conjunction with your other social media accounts to publish content.

This helps you not only to get more eyes on your content, but also to use the integrated power of your presence on each social media site to your advantage. For example, include a call-to-action on your Instagram posts for your followers to check out your free offer on Facebook or a contest on Snapchat.

Instagram notifications

 

  1. Ask your followers to turn on notifications

Instagram released a feature earlier this year, which allows users to be notified whenever a brand or a person they follow publishes something.  This is a great opportunity for marketers to make sure their top followers never miss a post. Don’t be afraid to be direct and invite your followers to click and turn on notifications.

 

  1. Analyze your performance and use the insights to do better

Monitor your performance and use analytics to define your strong and weak points as well as to optimize your strategy. Instagram doesn’t provide statistics yet, so you need to use a social media platform to get performance data on your Instagram presence: track your most engaging hashtags, your filters that are gaining more likes, the best time of the week or the day to publish, the potential influencers within your followers and optimize your strategy based on these insights to improve your performance.

Instagram Report - Allin1Social

What ideas have you used and worked for you? Have you created your Instagram performance Report with Allin1Social already?

Do you have some marketing tips to add to the list? Share your knowledge on the comment box!

Infographic: Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet in 2015

We’ve all been there. When you finally find the time to update your Twitter banner or the Google+ profile picture, after uploading your carefully chosen images they come out all blurry or crooked.

The specs for the different channels keep changing constantly and it’s almost impossible to find all the relevant information in one place.

Allin1Social did the work for you and created the Ultimate Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet for 2015. You can find all the most important image sizes for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Youtube and Pinterest in one, simple infographic.

You can view the full size Infographic by clicking the image, or download the PDF version here.

 

Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet 2015 - Infographic by Allin1Social

 

Now let’s keep our social media channels and images updated!

How do you manage your social media channels?

With Allin1Social you can publish and schedule posts, and get detailed analytics and presentation-ready reports about your social media performance.  Start using the tool for free today.