This is a question that every social editor will likely have come across at some point.
Why is it that Instagram only lets you post from the mobile app? And also, why is its desktop site so pants?
This question was *sort of* answered by Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s co-founder, on a blog post announcing the launch of Insta on desktop.
He said: “We do not offer the ability to upload from the web as Instagram is about producing photos on the go, in the real world, in realtime.”
He also made some more points about simple web design highlighting photos, yada yada yada…
Basically, Instagram is a mobile-first service.
Nobody takes pictures with their laptop while they’re out and about – and they say they want to make sure the network keeps its live, on-the-go feel and avoids too much photo editing.
But it would be SO much more convenient for digital marketers to be able to schedule posts via desktop, as we do with all other social networks.
So, have we simply been forgotten?
Well, no. Because there is still one easy way to get posts onto Instagram via desktop – and that’s via Facebook ads*. If you pay, you can do what you want.
[*ICYMI Instagram is owned by Facebook and Instagram ads are made through the same ad platform. Blog post on the relationship between them here]
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The real reason Instagram doesn’t let you publish via desktop is likely because they know it’s just people with a business interest who would ever want to.
That’s not just brands – it could include photographers using cameras and/or photoshop, illustrators, artists, or anyone who could conceivably want to make any money from the images they’re uploading.
If you’re using Insta as a marketing tool, you are being encouraged to pay for it.
So why is that annoying?
I’ve found this to be super-annoying, even for brands who are spending money on Instagram ads.
Because Insta isn’t just about the one killer image – it’s supposed to be about a beautiful, curated feed of images that people want to scroll through.
My instinct has always been to build up this identity before spending money on accessing new audiences for click-throughs or extra reach. Which means I’m reduced to using sub-standard tools for the job.
But which tools should I use?
Sprout social offers nothing, so don’t try that. I’m informed by them that they are looking to build in an Instagram service soon. I don’t imagine it will be especially revolutionary, but hope to be proved wrong.
Hootsuite – this does have an Instagram scheduling tool that’s more useful than nothing, but only just.
First, you have to get the hootsuite app and link the accounts. Then it allows you to schedule all the posts in. But when it’s time to publish, it sends a notification to your phone which opens the hootsuite app, which then opens Instagram, where you paste in the text and publish.
Not ideal. You essentially have to be ready to publish whenever you’ve scheduled posts to go out – it’s a reminder service, not a scheduling tool. So to that end, it’s certainly useful. But lord knows what you’re supposed to do if you’re on a plane. It also means you have to stay logged in to the brand account on your phone all the time – not great if you end up accidentally liking that sexy photo of that girl you like
Buffer – this is another Hootsuite-style reminder service.
Piktoria – this is a new service that claims to offer real scheduling by using bots to get around the mobile-only Instagram rules. I’ve reached out for a demo and will update when I’ve got one. Looks promising!
Any others – Do you know of any decent Instagram scheduling tools I haven’t mentioned? Get in touch and let me know!