It feels like only yesterday (2010) that Instagram was a fun photo sharing app, famously launched with an image of the founder’s dog, a time before hashtags and tagging was thought of.
Eight years on, Instagram continues to grow from strength to strength and its latest move is another step towards it becoming the go-to place for all your business needs. A series of changes have been made to essentially move away from its original purpose and towards a central point in its users’ everyday lives.
Anticipation and excitement followed Instagram’s announcement a little over two years ago when the platform launched its first business tools, and more specifically business profiles. The new features provided businesses with insights and basic analytics, with the base on which to start taking Instagram seriously, as more than just a discovery platform. With this change, the platform has firmly moved towards a more realistic business tool with measurable results.
Despite this excitement and intrigue from businesses of all shapes and sizes, one thing remained a thorn in many a side… the inability to schedule content. This has proved testing for digital marketers, community managers and business owners alike.
Planning what you want to post, writing that killer caption, selecting the key hashtags to bring your image to your target audience, choosing the right filter and posting in one go was the norm for many. The closest businesses got to scheduling was receiving push notifications from third-party content management tools, as a reminder to manually publish a pre-drafted post at a given time, but no functionality was available in Instagram itself.
This week that changed, as Instagram announced for the first time that businesses can schedule content, provided you are signed up as a business account AND using an approved third-party scheduling service.
Scheduling will work through third-party apps that make use of the new Instagram Graph API. There’s still no way to schedule posts directly on Instagram, through. You will, for now at least, need to make use of a third-party social media management service – and they are, more often than not, paid services.
So the big question is… What does this mean for digital marketers?
Well, it’s not the panacea we might have hoped for. There are certainly limitations, but it is a clear step change from Instagram (and its parent Facebook) showing that they are listening to their customers and focusing on the business side of the platform.
The feature will certainly be convenient for marketers, as multiple team members can manage large volumes of content and numerous Instagram accounts with ease and security. For now, only larger organisations will be able to benefit from this feature, as many smaller businesses don’t use a third-party software program to manage their content.
If the last 18 months are anything to go by, we can be certain of one thing with Instagram, and that is the uncertainty of where the platform will go next.
As a digital marketer, embracing change is par for the course, and something we revel in.
Facebook has posted good 2017 results, despite uncertainty over News Feed changes. Read more.
Instagram now allows brands to schedule posts using third-party software.Read more.
Snapchat has launched an in-app ‘Snap Store’, selling merchandise to eager users. Read more.
Snap celebrates user diversity with 1.9 septillion customisation options for Bitmojis. Read more.
Twitter introduces sponsored Moments to help publishers connect with brands. Read more.
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