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Why Hootsuite’s Instagram scheduling sucks

In Blog, Technology by jennisheppard11 Comments

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When Hootsuite announced Instagram scheduling was finally possible back in August, I was really excited. I run a nacho review website, Best Nachos In Vancouver, and have wanted to be able to schedule #foodporn nacho pictures to @bestnachosinvan on Instagram for ages.

There is no native scheduling in Instagram and very few third party options, since, unlike Twitter or Facebook, Instagram only allows developers quite limited access to its API (application programming interface.) All the third party Instagram scheduling options out there seem to be small paid services.

What is scheduling?
Social media scheduling means setting posts to publish at a later time or date, instead of immediately, to make sure your posts are published regularly or target optimal publishing times for reaching as many people as possible across the different social media platforms. 
In contrast, Hootsuite has more than 10 million users, offers a free version of its social media management dashboard and I was already using it for Facebook and Twitter scheduling. Surely its huge share of the social media management market must have merited special access to Instagram’s system?

Well, I guess not, since Hootsuite’s Instagram scheduling is nothing more than a glorified reminder service.

Here’s the process, once you’ve connected your Instagram account to your Hootsuite dashboard and composed and scheduled an Instagram post:

  1. Download the Hootsuite mobile app and turn push notifications on. You will need this to be alerted about your post later, regardless of whether you composed the scheduled post on desktop or mobile.
  2. At the scheduled time, you will get a push notification on the Hootsuite mobile app, reminding you to publish your Instagram post. That’s right – you’ve still got to do it yourself.
  3. Click through to the Hootsuite mobile app, then hit Open In Instagram to a) copy your scheduled post’s text to your clipboard and b) automatically open the Instagram app. Yeah – Hootsuite can’t even fill in the image caption field.
  4. At this point, it’s just business as usual on Instagram. Edit your image, paste your scheduled post’s text into the caption field, add tags and location – and Share.

To recap: all Hootsuite really does is send you a reminder about posting to Instagram – and you have to have the Hootsuite mobile app for it to work at all. No filters, no caption, no tagging, no locations, no automated posting.

This sucks.

  • If you are asleep (e.g. posting to a different time zone) or are offline (e.g. travelling abroad and not roaming) when the scheduled post reminder comes through – tough. You missed it. No Instagram post.
  • If you have precise desired Instagram posting times, you really need to schedule your posts early, to allow a few minutes for you to go through the Hootsuite mobile app and Instagram app posting process.
  • If you are managing multiple Instagram accounts, then you’re even more screwed, as the Hootsuite mobile app will only open the official Instagram app, and will post to whichever account is logged in there – regardless of which account you connected to Hootsuite.

For me, that was the final straw.

I manage two Instagram accounts via two different apps – I use the official Instagram app for my personal account, and a third party app, Instwogram, for my @bestnachosinvan account.

Instwogram works great, but the Hootsuite mobile app won’t open Instwogram, or give me the option to access @bestnachosinvan via the Instagram app.

Of course, I could switch around which app I use for which account – but I just can’t bring myself to do it, when the rest of the Hootsuite Instagram scheduling process is so cumbersome and pointless.

As Hootsuite says in its video introducing its Instagram scheduler, “Publishing content to your Instagram profile can be a challenge. You can’t always stop what you’re doing to post at the optimal time of day.”

Well, thanks. You’ve just created a process which forces me to do exactly that.

Hootsuite and Instagram – please try harder!

I want your feedback. Any thoughts, reaction, advice… Let me know in the comments below!

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10 comments
Jimmy22222
Jimmy22222

wait.. you realize that this is a limitation with Instagram right? The alternative is that they don't have any functionality. 

Andrea Kelly
Andrea Kelly

That's hilarious! Are you ****ing kidding me is exactly what I said when I started using Hootsuite for Instagram and just moments ago found this out. To begin with, I thought it was me. I must have done something wrong. Of course I Googled and found this. Incredible, isn't it? What a pain. Funny article though, Jenni - I'm glad I found you anyway :)

Realistic User
Realistic User

This is an instagram limitation.  The only services that post for you charge waaaaaay more and have to keep a device at the ready to do it.  Try latergram or any other app and you will find the same limitation.  Learn what you are crying about before you write an article bashing an app for something that isn't their fault.  I started with Latergram and once hootsuite added this function switched over and although their functionality is not quite as good as latergram it allows me to keep everything in the same place.

tmschultze
tmschultze

I 100% agree.  The app doesn't work most of the time, and when it does, it's basically a reminder service and you end up having to manually do the post anyway.  While I find that frustrating with Hootsuite, its even more frustrating that Instagram's API is so tight, that something obvious like scheduling isn't something you can do.

ChrisHodgeman
ChrisHodgeman

Unfortunately this is not Hootsuite's fault , they are doing what they can within the constraints of the API supplied by Instagram - i know because i run a company that is a Hootsuite competitor and we are about to release a similar type of  Instagram publishing APP.

I am confident in saying that we would all love to give our customers real scheduling to multiple accounts but until Instagram changes the API this is not going to happen.

FedUP
FedUP

Seriously irritating, I just went through the whole process as well only to be completely fed up with what I'm calling "false advertising" - this is ridiculous. I guess I will be uploading from my phone to Insta until I find another work around.. ugh.

FedUP
FedUP

I just went through this entire process and was sadly disappointed at what I'm calling 'false advertising' - I will simply be uploading from my phone to Instagram until I find another workaround.

Caratd
Caratd

What's scheduling ? I feel I need to read into this now to understand what you're talking about :)

jennisheppard
jennisheppard moderator

@Caratd When I say scheduling, I mean setting social media posts to publish at a later date or time, rather than immediately. You don't necessarily need third party software to do this - on Facebook pages, you can do this directly, and you can also do it on Twitter. But if you are trying to schedule across a few different social media platforms it can be handy to do all the scheduling in one place, which is why I use Hootsuite. That way, I can make, see and edit all the social media posts that I have scheduled for all my accounts on the Hootsuite dashboard. I hope that helps?