In the past Instagram’s API made it impossible to schedule content and auto-post on your behalf, forcing users to set post reminders and physically submit photos and premade captions to the platform for upload. With the latest API changes you can now auto-schedule content using services like Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Planoly. While I’ve used several of these services, Planoly offers the most robust features that will assist you in setting up your content calendar on Instagram; this post will explore how to use Planoly for auto-posting on Instagram.
Brandy Pham, the creator of Planoly, gave birth to her first son in 2013 and relied heavily on her e-commerce business to drive jewelry brand sales on Instagram. Her husband Andy Pham saw a correlation between driving more sales through posts, but Brandy found it to be time consuming.
As written on Planoly’s Our Story Page, “Her process was shooting/editing photos during nap/feeding times, e-mail images to herself, edit & arranged a ‘fake’ feed in Photoshop, type captions on Evernote, and set alerts to post each photo.”
This spurred the need for a more effective visual planner for Instagram with a designer and editor’s point of view that was simple, clean and easy to use.
Like I mentioned earlier, Planoly makes planning posts simple through its visual content calendar grid. All you need to do is drag your desired photos into the Add New Media bucket, add your description, hashtags and set your desired time for upload! The bucket will allow you to see what your picture will look like once posted and shows your remaining @’s and hashtags you can use in your post.
With Planoly you can also schedule video or photo stories, set up hashtags buckets for immediate reference in your posts and draft content before upload. It serves as a mobile app and a website, allowing you to easily upload photos from your computer and then post them onto Instagram on your phone or vice versa.
When I started stepping up my Instagram game, one of the biggest challenges that I faced was scheduling content. Reminder apps weren’t helpful because I still had to post in real-time and some services I tried using weren’t able to sync up to my Facebook Business Profile so I wasn’t able to take advantage of the auto-post feature they offered.
I was left with sending my photos to FB messenger to download onto my phone, writing up captions, hashtag lists and website URL’s to copy onto my phone’s clipboard, and switching between Instagram and Facebook multiple times just to upload a single photo. Planoly has saved countless hours of time through the services it offers in a single place to schedule my content on a weekly basis.
One of the coolest features that Planoly offers is its ability to discover new content based on searchable hashtags, allowing you to quickly repost content.
Reposting has offered the most growth on my Instagram channel, but it’s a pain to copy the post’s URL to get the photo onto my phone, copy the repost description/hashtags and send it to myself on FB messenger and attribute the original poster alongside hopping between platforms to upload that single photo.
This is no longer the case as Planoly allows you to instantly plan your desired photo, displaying the original post and copying the attributed channel when setting your description.
Planoly’s Discover Feature also offers stock photos to use in reposts, which can be helpful depending on what message you’re trying to send out to your audience.
Another cool feature that Planoly offers is its ability to show the metrics and engagement of your Instagram channel. You can view your followers, posts, likes, comments, average likes and comments per post, as well as your follower gain/loss from week to week.
On the Planning Tab Planoly displays the number of likes and comments your posts received, but you can also view this on the Analyze Tab.
The other feature I want to highlight on Planoly is that you can track and reply to comments on your posts within the platform itself. It can be difficult to reply to every comment as they come through in your notifications, making it a Godsend that Planoly performs some of the legwork in that regard.
Up until recently you had to pay to use Planoly, but now they offer a free plan that allows you to schedule up to 30 posts per month! This post limit resets on the 1st of every month and the free plan has a few limitations in tracking metrics and comments, but it’s great for users who aren’t posting more than 8-10 times a week.
The Solo Paid Plan allows for unlimited posts and tracks comments on your 15 latest posts (at the time of writing it costs $9 a month or $7 a month if paid annually). If you’re utilizing more than one account, the other plans have more options available to suit your needs. I've found that the cheapest paid plan works perfectly for my content scheduling needs.
First, you need to create your Instagram Business Profile if you don’t already have one.
Go into Instagram, tap the gear icon and tap “Switch to Business Profile.” Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, you also need to have a Facebook Page to associate your Instagram Business Profile with. Private Instagram accounts can’t be converted to Business accounts, so make sure yours is set to public.
Once you sign up for Planoly, go to the menu in the top right corner and select “My Profile.” Within that dropdown menu you’ll want to click on “Managed Accounts.”
Click on “Auto Post” and choose which Instagram account you want this enabled for. Again, you’ll have to authenticate direct Instagram Publishing with your Facebook Page, so follow the steps highlighted in Planoly that will walk you through the authentication process.
After that it’s all a matter of turning on “Enable Direct Instagram Publishing” and you’ll be ready to automatically post your content to Instagram!
I love Planoly as a content scheduler and curation platform. It’s simple, easy to use compared to Buffer, Hootsuite or Sprout Social and I highly recommend checking it out.
How do you go about scheduling content on Instagram? If you use Planoly, what are your favorite features on the platform? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below and if you found this write up to be helpful, be sure to share it with your audience on social media!