Instagram today made a long overdue change to its product that social media managers have wanted for some time – it will allow businesses on Instagram to schedule their posts. Before, there were unofficial means to aid with this – like tools that would send out a push notification to remind you to publish a post at a given time, for example. But no functionality was available in Instagram itself.
The closest Instagram got was the added support for Drafts, which allowed social media managers and other users to prep a post and save it for later publication.
Unfortunately, the official support for post scheduling doesn’t extend to ads, nor is it directly available with the product itself.
Instead, the support is being added to Instagram’s API – meaning that social media software applications like Hootsuite, Sprout Social or SocialFlow now have access to the functionality, which they can then add to their own products. Instagram says the API is available to all of Facebook’s Marketing Partners and Instagram Partners.
Hootsuite is one of the first partners to implement the API.
“The scheduling and publishing of Instagram content has been the number one request for our 16 million customers,” said Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes, in a statement. “Now, they can manage large volumes of content, multiple team members and multiple Instagram accounts with ease and security. Hootsuite is excited to partner with Instagram to make this happen.”
“It’s always been very time-consuming to create Instagram posts,” SocialFlow CEO Jim Anderson told TechCrunch. “That’s not necessarily a problem for individual consumers, but when you’re a media company that creates more than 100,000 posts a month, it’s simply impossible to do everything manually.”
However, this API update means that – for now, at least – post scheduling is something only larger organizations will be able to take advantage of, as many smaller businesses don’t necessarily use a third-party software program for working with Instagram.
The change was introduced today as part of a larger revamp of Instagram’s API platform that also included a plan to deprecate the older Instagram API Platform over the next two years beginning on July 31, 2018. The old API is being replaced by the newer Instagram Graph API, which also includes the ability to analyze metrics and insights about the business’s performance on Instagram, moderate comments, and now, access the business’s mentions and add responses to those.
Another new feature involves business discovery, which offers the ability to view other business profile information and media.
These features won’t be limited to businesses in the future, the company notes.
Instagram says that support for non-business profiles is in the works for an early 2019 release.