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, Later, 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.
Read our full Planoly review and learn why it’s our preferred choice for scheduling content for your Instagram feed.
Planoly is an auto-posting tool for Instagram that allows publishers to schedule and auto-post photos, videos, and stories on their Instagram profiles.
In the past, Instagram limited API access to a handful of tools, which barred many apps from auto-publishing posts onto the platform.
However, Instagram has opened up the level of access to several official partners of Instagram, including Planoly, to automate basic processes for publishers who actively post and plan content for this particular platform.
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 allows me to spend less time planning content through the services it offers in a single place to schedule my content on a weekly basis.
Below are a few of the features that the Planoly app offers to content publishers:
Like I’ve mentioned before, Planoly is best known for its ability to plan and auto-post content.
You will schedule your posts using Planoly's visual planner. Simply drag and drop the media and see where the individual posts look the best for visual planning. Once you're satisfied with how things look, you can add an overview and hashtags to your message. We like how easy and tidy the feed appears. It almost looks identical to Instagram's interface, giving you a good idea of how your feed would look.
You can also choose what you want to publish. Planoly will automatically upload your content for you, so you won't have to do anything until you've created it. This is a one-of-a-kind feature that streamlines the Instagram content management process and saves you time. You don't need to take time out of your day to share your regular Instagram material anymore!
Be sure to read their auto-posting instructions in their blog. Planoly, for example, cannot assist you with posting Instagram Stories if your account isn’t configured as a business account.
Planoly's Stories Planner makes planning your Instagram Stories effortless, even though you can't auto-post them. You'll be able to see the Stories content until it goes live, allowing you to create your own personalized storyboard.
You may also build directories for various Stories or campaigns, which is a handy way to keep track of content you’re aiming to publish. This feature will significantly aid in the social media management and planning of your Instagram highlights..
You can post several Stories to your Instagram account at the same time, in addition to planning out your Stories and editing them out in the app or on your desktop. While you can't automatically publish them, this is the next best thing.
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.
It will also show you the best time to upload your content and schedule posts, based on when Instagram users are most active on the platform.
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 version 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 subscription plans have more options available to suit your needs, such as the Duo plan for $15, or the custom plan starting at $23. I've found that the cheapest paid version works perfectly for my content scheduling needs.
Below we’ll walk through the biggest feature differences between both Planoly and Later.
Later's Media Library function provides a single location where all images and videos can be saved, tagged, and arranged for use on every social media site, making it simple for companies and entrepreneurs to stay on top of their multi-platform sharing. Since you can easily apply tags as in the gif below, the labels are particularly useful for allowing for fast and simple content discovery.
While the free edition of Later limits the number of articles you can schedule each month to 30, it allows for unrestricted media library uploads. And if you've used up all of your planned posts for the month, you can still see it in one place.
Planoly's free edition allows for just 30 media uploads per month. When it comes to people who post several times a day or wish to batch material for more than a month, this may cause several problems. That can also be a challenge if you upload objects and never try to use them again in the future, so you won't be able to prepare your grid correctly if you reach the maximum uploads.
Planoly's media collection does not have the same hierarchical characteristics as Later's. It uses a basic “Scheduled,” “Unscheduled,” or “Drafts”.
With the drag-and-drop feature, you can easily schedule and monitor your feed on Later. Rearrange material to better fit your posting requirements and aesthetic. Your rearranged posts would be immediately slotted into pre-scheduled time slots on your weekly calendar if you have them. The preview is shown as a phone mockup, because it provides a practical depiction of what your grid would look like, including the ability to drag in existing live posts.
The drag-and-drop feature on Planoly makes it very easy to rearrange your grid to fit your aesthetic and posting needs. This set-up, on the other hand, did not strike me as intuitive as Later's. In the "All" page, you can see unscheduled and planned posts alongside current posts, but this still covers any posts you weren't able to add in your grid.
In the free and premium editions on both apps, you can see your planned content by week or month. This allows you to have a better understanding of your posting plan, right down to the time of day. Later edges Planoly by showing thumbnails of the scheduled picture on both the Week and Month views, while Planoly only does so on the Week screen.
Users may use Later to schedule social media content for Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest social profiles, in addition to Instagram. Planoly is solely based on Instagram, which can be an issue for users with limited budget who are looking for the most bang for their buck.
Later just released a slew of new and updated Instagram analytics for paying plans in November 2018. Users can now monitor up to three months of Instagram stories analytics and get a detailed post output report (Instagram's native basic analytics only display two weeks' worth of data). You can also monitor key details about your followers, such as their age, gender, and place, with this Later update.
Later also has a clear time block on your calendar that highlights the right times and days to post. This will help you figure out what to write to get the most engagement based on your previous posts.
Later analytics can only display the number of followers and response levels for posts published using Later on free plans.
Users will build a semi-shoppable Instagram feed using Later's Linkin.bio. Users cannot tag items on blogs, but a connection in the bio can take them to a feed where they can click on any item to shop the image. You will also track your Linkin.bio traffic and average click-through score. Later's business plans, which start at $19 a month and contain a slew of other items, include this.
Shoplink and Stylelink.it are two of Planoly's comprehensive shopping features.
Shoplink is a wonderful tool for business owners, and it functions similarly to Instagram's Product functionality. Users will shop Instagram content straight from the post by using direct URL links. To increase revenue, add Shoplink to your website and build a Shoplink gallery. This feature, however, comes at a monthly cost of $50. (if paid month-to-month). It might be well worth it if you have a product-based company.
Now that we’ve explored the key differences between Planoly and Later, let’s dive into the most common features that these two apps share:
Both Instagram apps support auto-posting, which allows you to publish content without having to wait for a message on your computer. However, due to Instagram's API, no app can auto-post Carousel (multi-image) posts.
Both apps have story scheduling, making it simple to build and schedule out one of the most immersive content types on Instagram right now. However, Instagram does not yet support auto-posting for Stories.
Managing a repository of hashtags for your posts is simple within both app dashboards, making it easy to add your own hashtags with a single click.
Both websites have pages dedicated to content curation and exploration. You can search hashtag material alongside other users and link it to your media library (make sure to obtain approval or add proper attribution first!). The only distinction is that Later has a Chrome plugin that allows you to right-click an image and add it to your media library.
For Later's business plans, a central dashboard for reacting to comments is available. The desktop version of Planoly has an inbox for reacting to feedback. The free edition only allows you to answer to the last five entries.
Both offer very similar features, ranging from having content libraries to store images/videos, scheduling and auto posting capabilities, KPI dashboards to track engagement metrics, and sections devoted to content discovery. I would recommend checking both out and seeing which one you prefer, as they're both great tools.
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!
Last summer Planoly launched the ability to auto post your Instagram content to Facebook. When your content is ready to schedule, make sure the Auto Post toggle is on in the Planoly dashboard. After scheduling your desired date and time, your content will be published on Facebook as long as it meets all the image size requirements.
In order to enable this functionality, you must be subscribed to one of Planoly's paid plans. Your Instagram account must also be linked to a Facebook business page.
Looking to auto post videos onto your Instagram? Planoly offers users this functionality as well! Like I mentioned in the last paragraph, you must be subscribed to a premium account in order to use this feature.
Below are the most frequently asked questions regarding the Planoly tool.
Planoly allows you to share your Instagram posts directly to your connected Instagram or Facebook page when scheduling auto-posts. You can utilize this feature to post your photo's caption, content and location tags.
Planoly is completely safe for auto-posting on Instagram, as it complies with Instagram’s API guidelines.
Planoly is a legitimate service, with tens of thousands of positive reviews from registered users that use the tool.
Planoly offers a free version of the app, which you can use to determine if you want to invest in one of the paid plans that are also offered.
I love using Planoly to auto-post and schedule monthly content for my Instagram account. It’s intuitive, simple to use, and offers both a free option, and fairly inexpensive paid options that offer a strong level of functionality specifically catered for most Instagram content needs.
If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend giving Planoly a try - whether you’re a small business or an individual publisher, you won’t regret the decision.