Hootsuite has supported stream monitoring for Instagram for a long time, allowing you to see your feed, and posts, and to comment, like and interact with the content on Instagram. A while ago they announced the ability to schedule content posts with Hootsuite. We currently use Hootsuite for stream monitoring and engagement of most of our social media channels. While we use Buffer for content posting and scheduling, Hootsuite is the tool of choice for many, and is an awesome social media management platform. We currently use Onlypult for scheduling and publishing much of our Instagram content, but we decided to switch to Hootsuite to give its new connectivity a test drive. In this article I’m going to look at setting up Instagram in Hootsuite, posting to Instagram from Hootsuite and the Hootlet Chrome extension, managing Instagram streams in Hootsuite, and the analytics available. In addition, I’ll talk about how Hootsuite and Onlypult compare.
Instagram In Hootsuite
Adding Instagram to Hootsuite requires that you connect to the Instagram account like you would any other account. However, in order to post to Instagram from Hootsuite you will have to complete a couple extra steps. The latest version of the Hootsuite app needs to be installed on the same mobile device that has Instagram installed. You need to specify the phone number of the mobile device to post from, and turn on notifications for Instagram from within the Hootsuite app on the mobile device.
Once you complete these extra steps you will be able to post to Instagram from Hootsuite. You only have to do this to post to Instagram from Hootsuite. If you just want to view and manage your Instagram content, you can connect to your Instagram accounts like any other social media account in Hootsuite.
It took us less than 15 minutes to get connected, configured, and get our initial streams created. From there we were ready to take advantage of all the great things already in Hootsuite such as app integrations, their UI, and browser extensions.
Posting and Scheduling from Hootsuite
n Hootsuite, you compose a message for Instagram just like any of your other social media networks. Select your Instagram profile and then enter the text for your message. You can add a link, and attach an image by dragging it onto the post or browsing to it. Finally, schedule what time to post the message.
This is where it gets a little bit different. Posting has to happen from the mobile device using a combination of the Hootsuite app and the Instagram app. When you schedule a post to Instagram from the Hootsuite desktop UI, a notification is sent to your Hootsuite mobile app at the time you specified. In the Hootsuite app, open the notification and select to send it to your Instagram app. You are automatically switched to your Instagram app, where it looks like you just composed a message. From there, inside the Instagram app, you apply an image filter and then post the message. So there are still manual steps in the posting process. Essentially, in Hootsuite you’re s entering your content, and scheduling when you will receive the post notification on your Hootsuite mobile app. Nothing will get posted to your Instagram account until you finish the posting process from the Instagram app. This is similar to how Latergramme and some other Instagram scheduling tools work.
Posting and Scheduling from the Web with Hootlet
Hootsuite’s Hootlet Chrome browser extension allows you to compose a message directly from the Web. It brings in text from the web page and automatically adds the shortened link for you.
You then need to select your Instagram profile. So far we have not been able to get the Hootlet extension to add an image from a Web page automatically. It adds a link to the post, not an image. You will have to save the image and attach from your computer. Even if you select the Hootlet icon for an image on a web page it does not attach the image. Instead the link automatically created for the post is a link to that image, not that page. You will not be able to post to Instagram unless you have an image file added to the message.
Once you add the image you can post the message immediately or autoschedule it. Again this will result in you receiving a notification in your Hootsuite mobile app and go through the posting process described above.
Hootsuite provides great management of Instagram data streams. You can add streams for your Instagram home, followers, following, your liked posts and posts you have liked, popular posts, your posts, specific Instagram user’s posts, a specific hashtag, specific location (requires Facebook account), and your scheduled posts.
The followers and following streams allow you to see lists of both, and lets you follow, unfollow, or send them a message. The Instagram web interface doesn’t let you do that so it is nice to have here. The other streams give you visibility into your own posts and how they are performing. You can also research other users’ posts and information like specific hashtags.
At the time of this blog post there are no Instagram specific templates or modules in Hootsuite’s analytics. We hope those will be added at some point in the future. There is at least one Hootsuite app that can provide monthly summary statistics and engagement metrics. This would allow for some amount of analytic information.
Through Hootsuite’s huge list of app integrations, you can find apps that provide Instagram analytics such as Iconosquare for Instagram. Some apps provide other features. TrendSpottr for Instagram helps spot trends in Instagram, while Vidpiq for Instagram performs more complex searches by combining hashtag and location data. Iconosquare for Instagram also lets you manage multiple Instagram accounts which could be useful for a Social Media consultant.
Hootsuite versus Onlypult
As stated earlier, we currently use Onlypult to manage and post to our Instagram account. Both Hootsuite and Onlypult have their strengths and weaknesses. Hootsuite provides great access to Instagram data such as followers, likes, etc. and gives you the ability to search Instagram by user, hashtags, and location. I don’t like the fact that scheduling posts has a manual component where you are required to move the post from the Hootsuite mobile app to the Instagram app and post it. It also does not currently have built-in analytics.
Onlypult allows you to create a queue of posts that are posted based on a schedule that you define, all from your desktop with no manual intervention. I can queue up a week’s worth of post, go on vacation, and not have to continuously approve posts from my phone. Even during a normal workday I might miss that Hootsuite notification on my phone, and the post will sit and wait as the scheduled posting time passes by. It also has built-in analytics so you can measure your posts effectiveness and engagement with your audience. It does not give you good access to Instagram data such as followers and it does not have the search capabilities of Hootsuite.
For usOnlypult ultimately wins out. Being able to schedule posts from my desktop in one stop is too good to pass up. The analytics in Onlypult also make up some for not having the search capabilities as Hootsuite. We still use Hootsuite to track and manage followers and it's awesome for that!
To learn more about Onlypult see our article Using Onlypult to Schedule and Manage Instagram Content.
Have you tried Hootsuite’s new connectivity to Instagram? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments.