Instagram is a wonderful tool for marketing your business, but there has always been one drawback. For years, scheduling posts on Instagram have been at best unnecessarily complicated. Users have been asking for a “set it and forget feature”, but the closest thing to it was tools that allowed them to either pre-compose captions or that simply reminded them to post at a certain time. Yes, these were slightly helpful in terms of keeping ahead on posts, but such solutions were still lackluster, to say the least.
Finally, Instagram has answered the cries for change. Now there’s a more solid solution available, although it’s not quite perfect yet. What is it? The Instagram scheduling API.
Related: Instagram Marketing eBook (free download)
An API or application programming interface is part of an online server that receives requests and sends responses to and from other servers. How does this work in the context of Instagram scheduling?
Instagram’s new API has the ability to connect with third-party services such as HootSuite. In doing so, a request is made from that third-party tool “asking” to post to Instagram at a set time. The Instagram API then sends back a response, allowing this to take place as specified.
Previously, nothing like this was possible, although posts could be scheduled easily for other social networks like Twitter. Now, business owners can take advantage of this new update through all Facebook and Instagram marketing partners. Can you imagine how much time this will save for social media managers and influencers alike? How much time will it save you personally?
How beneficial this tool is for you depends on your following a few essential scheduling best practices.
Consider two things you should make sure to do and two things you should avoid when scheduling your Instagram posts.
You may have come across a list of times when activity levels are highest on certain social media platforms. While this information can be helpful as a baseline, it’s best to figure out for yourself the best times to post.
After all, different audiences have different patterns of behavior so you want to make sure that you tailor your posting schedule to your followers. Data you’ve collected on your target market can be helpful here. What locations of time zones do most of your followers reside in? Do many of them work traditional 9 to 5 jobs? The answers to questions such as these could give you clues as to when you can reach the most people with your posts.
Additionally, much can be learned from testing different times to see which slots garner the most engagement.
It’s more common to share content several times on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Yet, the same can and should be done on Instagram as well. Reposting greatly increases the reach of your posts and can reduce the number of new posts you must create.
Additionally, reposting with different caption styles and at different times can help you to improve your strategy over time.
Now that you have advanced scheduling capabilities, it might be tempting to prepare your posts for the next several months. While it is smart to have post ideas in mind, you also need to maintain a level of flexibility. You need to be able to adapt your posts based on the latest trends, topics, and events.
If you plan too far ahead, you’ll find yourself doing double the work as you’re forced to constantly reevaluate and rework your plans.
Posting regularly is essential to your Instagram marketing success, no doubt. But it is not the only factor that contributes to a thriving, engaged community of followers. Engagement on your part is also necessary.
You can’t simply be content knowing that your posts will go out when they’re supposed to. You must also nurture the interest and engagement they generate by interacting directly with your followers.
Endeavor to respond to the comments of your followers and perhaps even to use direct messages. Of course, it’s especially important to address questions, concerns, and complaints both for the benefit of the person commenting and your reputation.
However, you should not disregard other comments such as those containing kind or humorous remarks. Take advantage of the opportunity to develop a rapport with as many as you can by replying.
And remember that failure to engage can cancel out all other efforts to strengthen your Instagram presence…including scheduling.
You now know the function of the new API, as well as the most important things to keep in mind should you choose to use it. But how will using it benefit you? Will it benefit you at all? Think about it.
It will enable you to get ahead on planning your Instagram posts. It will help you to maintain a consistent posting schedule. It will eliminate the inconveniences that result from having to stop other tasks to post manually at a certain time. Do those sound like advantages to you? Sure they do! So now that you can, don’t waste another second. It’s time to start scheduling!
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