Post to Instagram from Hootsuite

Hootsuite is my secret weapon for posting to various social media outlets, and it has been so for a few years. I can write one message, attach a photo, and then decide two things:

  1. When I want the message to post.
  2. Which social media outlets will get the post.

For example, I often have a set of motivational quotes and want to spread them out in posts over the next several weeks. Hootsuite allows me to batch the job. I create all of the posts at one time and schedule a date and time for each one to appear. If I don’t really care about the date and time but simply don’t want the posts to “pile up” on top of each other, the “Auto-Schedule” feature allows throwing everything into Hootsuite and letting it choose when each one will post. A post can go to Twitter, my personal Facebook page, my professional Facebook page, my professional Google Plus page, and LinkedIn, by entering it once into Hootsuite and choosing the social media networks.

One player has been absent from the party…until today. You can now enter posts in Hootsuite and have them post to Instagram..well, sort of.

Before today, you had to post to Instagram in real-time. You take the picture now and it posts now. Take five pictures one right after another, and they post one right after the other. Spreading them out over the day was not an option. Secondly, posting only happened via the mobile device. You could go to Instagram.com on your computer to view, like, and comment, but you could not compose. All of that got a major upgrade today. Here is how you can join the party:

Update your Hootsuite app

Hootsuite rolled out an update to the mobile app today. Start by making sure you have that update.

Add Instagram to your Hootsuite desktop

On your computer, open Hootsuite and click the “Add Social Network” button. In addition to the social networks you have seen as choices before, you will now also see “Instagram.” Click it, and then click the “Connect to Instagram” button.

Here comes the “sort of” part…

On Hootsuite, you can compose a message, attach a picture, set a date and time, and choose which social networks receive the post. If you are sending the post to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or LinkedIn, you don’t have to anything more. Your post happens on the day and time of your choosing. With Instagram, it’s different.

You still have to manually post at the time you want that post to appear. You receive a notification. You may find this notification in your notification center on your mobile device. You may find it inside your Hootsuite app. Tapping that notification starts the process of actually sending the post to Instagram.

You will find another interesting twist. Any message that you composed in Hootsuite is not automatically inserted as your Instagram caption. Instead, it is copied to the clipboard. You manually “paste” that caption into your Instagram post. Of course, that feature also provides you with the option to make changes to that caption if you want the wording to be different on Instagram versus the other social media networks.

Why this enhancement is significant

To review a couple of points from earlier in this post, Instagram has been a compose-from-the-app platform. Any image was delivered via the camera on your mobile device. You either took a photo or you accessed an image from somewhere else via the device. Now, you can include any image right from your computer desktop.

Before, you were composing all text with thumbs on a piece of glass. Now you can compose with ten digits on a full-sized keyboard.

Before, you were taking photos now and they were posting now. Beginning today, your images post any time you want them to appear.

A push to upgrade to pro?

I have been using the free version of Hootsuite. I had the following networks linked to it:

  1. Personal Facebook
  2. Professional Facebook
  3. Twitter
  4. Professional Google Plus
  5. LinkedIn

That’s five networks. I learned about the new Instagram capability in an email from Hootsuite. In that email, they said I already had a maximum of three networks. (I guess they changed the maximum to three after I already had my account and they grandfathered me in.) They gave me two options if I wanted to include Instagram:

  1. Get rid of a couple of a few networks from Hootsuite.
  2. Upgrade to the Pro account.

I was offered a free month of the Pro account, which I took. A month from now, it looks like I have some decisions to make. If you are using the free account, you will have some decisions to make also. You could try the free month of the Pro account. If you want to go back to the free version, here is how to do it.

I am sure I will be sharing my experiences and what I am finding to be “best practice” over the next few weeks. I would invite you to do the same. Leave a comment here or tell me what you think over on my Facebook page.