It’s been a while now since Instagram updated its API to allow for third party tools to be used to help schedule Instagram posts.
Depending on how you use social media for business, you may or may not have explored this option.
If you have, great! Share your experience in the comments below.
If you haven’t, the big question for today is… why not?
Every month, 1 billion people use Instagram. Companies that aren’t on social media, or those that rarely post, are missing out on a free or pay-as-you-go marketing opportunity.
And in this world, companies with a purpose and the ability to connect to consumers as people are the ones in business for the long haul.
Here are 7 things to ask yourself before you get down to business scheduling Instagram posts.
1. How much time are you wasting every day manually posting Instagram updates?
When you add up the time it takes to stop, think about a post, capture the image, make your image Insta-worthy, consider and craft the copy, and post to Instagram, you’re looking at a couple of decent chunks of time taken out of your day. Not to mention the time wasted getting back into your workflow once that’s been interrupted.
Advance scheduling of Instagram posts allows you to set aside a block of time at your convenience to do all this at once. No interrupting other work and no time spent refocusing, which means you’re actively increasing your productivity to get more done in a shorter amount of time. You can set it all up and then move on to the next thing, knowing posting for the day/week/month is taken care of.
2. What could you be doing with the time you get back in efficiency gains?
Do you have other social media sites that could use some attention? How about engaging with your audience? Or even exploring new business opportunities?
Consider what you “never” have time for and have always wanted to do. If this list is compelling enough, then the hours saved by scheduling Instagram posts in advance may be worth more than you originally considered.
3. Do your updates often contain copy or fact mistakes?
Rushing to manually post in real-time can lead to oversights when it comes to proper spelling or fact-checking. If you’re catching yourself making mistakes on a regular basis, it may be because of a lack of focus or the pressure to hurry and get a post out between meetings or before lunch.
When you take time to build out a calendar of posts and schedule content in advance, you can double-check copy for spelling and grammar mistakes and identify pieces of information you need to research further… before posting. All without the pressure of daily responsibilities calling on you every step of the way.
4. Do you forget to post some days? Then overdo it on others?
Inconsistency in posting not only confuses your audience, but also erodes their trust. When will they get new information? Can they expect to see images of that new product you’re offering on sale today?
If they get something different every time, are constantly waiting for an update, or feel like your posts are so frequent it’s overwhelming, they’re going to stop following and engaging.
There are countless social media marketing tools that allow you to build out a schedule that’s balanced and that delivers when you say you will. Scheduling posts allows you to do that, no matter what your day brings because it’s all taken care of in advance.
5. Do you have a strategy when it comes to hashtag use?
Some businesses have abandoned any hashtag strategy altogether in favor of flooding updates with them. This strategy seems to be the go-to for businesses with a lack of time and forethought. They’re essentially throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.
When you plan what you’re going to post and schedule everything out in advance, you can more readily identify common themes and research the most popular hashtags related to your topic, product, industry, customer base, etc.
Posting with a handful of smart, well-researched hashtags can ensure your updates end up in the right feeds, in front of your target audience.
6. Would highlighting relevant events or holidays on social media benefit your business?
It seems like there’s some kind of holiday trending every day on social media. Days celebrating pancakes, dogs, boyfriends, movies… depending on your industry, leveraging these “holidays”, as well as national holidays, for use in a social media marketing campaign could be a smart way to reach current and potential customers.
But in the frenzy of other priorities, we tend to lose track of dates or miss out on proper lead time to execute on a formerly brainstormed campaign idea. Building out calendars in advance and scheduling posts helps with awareness of planning windows and makes it more likely that there will be ample execution time.
7. Have you considered automation?
If you’re looking to grow your business with Instagram and take advanced scheduling to the next level, automation may be right for you.
Automation only maximizes the litany of benefits mentioned above, in that you can let go of regularly coming up with new content to schedule and having to update your queued content lists as they run dry.
With automation, the posts keep posting – all you need to do is add one-off updates (breaking news, product promotions, etc.) into the mix as they arise.
Of course, you’ll need to first identify enough evergreen content to share so that your updates will remain relevant, and so you’ll have enough content to populate your queues so followers aren’t seeing the same posts all the time.
Instant doesn’t translate well from personal to business
The “insta” nature of Instagram suggests that this platform is made for instant posting, instant engagement – capturing an instant and getting it out to your followers in real-time.
That makes sense for personal accounts and social media celebrities. But for businesses, such a strategy is less effective and wrought with risks, from missed opportunities to reputation-damaging mistakes.
Scheduling Instagram posts merges both worlds, with automation taking it to the next level.
One last thing to consider: Can you really afford NOT to schedule your Instagram updates?
Author: Since 2003, Chris Makara has developed a broad digital marketing background with a focus on SEO, Social Media, Automation and Analytics. He is the founder of Bulkly, a social media automation tool for individuals and small businesses.