The short answer is yes. Yet, you would not have a very long article if that was the case.
Before I share with you my list of top picks, let me remind you why scheduling is so important.
When it comes to juggling my working commitments, I am very much used to blocking time for dedicated tasks, and it’s something I apply to everything I do.
Social scheduling and content creation easily fall into that category.
Truth is the time of social networks “being tools to capture authentic content in the moment” is over.
Actually, it has been for a few years now. Yet, so many clients of mine and members of our collective seem to struggle with the idea of systematising the way they promote and create their content.
According to AdWeek, 28% of time spent online is on social networks.
As a marketer, I always make sure that 80% of that time is spent analysing, scheduling, batching and engaging via my desktop.
Let’s say you may not buy into the idea of scheduling to be more consistent — then scheduling is still the most efficient way for you to save time on social media, and claim back some of that weekend of yours.
Productivity plummets as soon as we head to our phones, and with good reason — when you schedule your Instagram content, you can give yourself some well-deserved downtime! Yes, even over the weekends!
Using external tools on your laptop to coordinate your Instagram content calendar is key to become more efficient.
The caption editing box in the Instagram app isn’t the most user-friendly and it’s very difficult to review and edit your copy in such a tiny window on your phone. Another reason why using your laptop can be incredibly beneficial.
Using an Instagram scheduling tool allows you to cut out these steps and upload your posts straight from your computer files, Dropbox, Google Photos and many other online storage systems.
Just in case I persuaded you to schedule your content, let’s talk about the biggest mistake people make when choosing a scheduling tool.
Create a simple content calendar
It seems like people love to learn about tools to save them time, yet cannot create a simple strategy (or plan of attack, if you may) to define how they are going to use them.
For most clients I work with, a content calendar combining all content creation and promotion is enough. However, since I run a community of 1000 creatives, I also have created Instagram-only content calendars. My key rule when creating a calendar is to use a simple guideline that you can replicate again and again.
Let’s say your Instagram goals are completely different from any other marketing goal.
In this case, your Instagram will only reflect a specific message, instead of talking about every single aspect of your brand. Can you identify 3/6 categories and populate a mock-up monthly calendar with those?
I wanted something linear, that could be filled month by month following a simple guideline: content categories.
This is not only good for your Instagram goals, in fact, using an Instagram scheduling tool and a calendar will allow you to visually plan your feed, ensuring your posts are cohesive, do not clash, and keep any patterns or themes intact on your profile.
Top tools for Instagram scheduling
As a rule of thumb, I always recommend playing with a free trial to explore the different options and choose which one works best for you. I could have given you 10+ options, yet I only wanted you to pick from the best of the best — you are welcome.
With all of these options, you’ll have to manually post stories (aside from Sked, which does it for you.)
There are more and more tools cropping up when it comes to scheduling your Instagram posts. However, Sked is definitely an all-time favourite.
This is the tool I was using when running the social media agency side of our business.
Unlike other software and apps, you don’t have to have your phone on you at the time something is scheduled or muck around posting it yourself. Sked does it all for you. Including the Stories scheduling.
Stories scheduling tool — by far. You can schedule your stories with a ‘swipe up’ link, as well as other features.
The mobile app is not among my favourites, as I found it would not always work as efficiently.
The thing about Planoly is that it speaks directly to a very particular audience.
At first glance, it seems to be aimed at the entrepreneurs, female creatives.
It allows you to manage and reply to your comments in one place, as well as discover, curate, and repost user-generated content from your community. It has great stress on the visual cohesiveness of your account.
Highly visual scheduler compared to other options, it also integrates with an Instagram Stories template function, which allows you to design your own stories.
It has far fewer functionalities than its friends and colleagues on this list.
Tailwind was born as the Pinterest scheduler and analytics tool but recently opened up to Instagram as well. It includes intelligent posting, hashtag recommendation, Regram options as well as a mobile app.
Not as ‘pretty’ or easy to use when inside the dashboard, allows you to play around with a free trial.
It includes all the key scheduling and analytics features other platforms offer, as well as reposting and regramming other people’s content.
Tailwind is hands-on the best Pinterest tool out there. When it comes to Instagram, I believe it is still not the best tool out there. Does not include stories planning and drafting.
Yes, I left the best for last.
Founded as the first-to-market Instagram scheduler in 2014, Later (formerly Latergramme) has grown from a simple Instagram tool to the number one visual marketing platform for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
With their feature link.inbio will allow you to send your followers anywhere by linking your Instagram posts to specific product pages, blog posts, or websites.
You also can optimise your content and grow your following with a comprehensive look into your Instagram analytics, and post at your best times thanks to smart scheduling.
Free plan available — it includes automatic posting and link in bio. The link in bio is easy to use, and integrates with Shopify. Emphasis on a media library, content tagging and sorting is a big bonus for me.
I use Later both for our company accounts and my personal account. I personally love Later, so I would say I struggle to find a con for it. Realistically speaking, the Stories drafting function is still a bit clunky compared to its other features.
More and more people are dreaming of having a business that runs itself — in this case, marketing is one of the first aspects of a business that needs to be streamlined.
If you’re planning a new product launch or special campaign for 2020, you want to make sure you have every announcement planned to perfection.
From freeing up time in your workday to driving traffic to your website and increasing productivity, scheduling Instagram posts and stories is a sure-fire way to boost your engagement and grow your following.
Pick the Instagram scheduling tool that resonates with you the most, and get on scheduling.
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My name is Fab Giovanetti and I am a writer, author, marketing consultant, founder of the Creative Impact Group and professional troublemaker. I help people grow their online audience and monetise their content and unleash their potentials as creatives.