If you’re serious about using social media to grow your business, you need to spend less time on social media. A contradiction? Not necessarily….
It’s easy for startup and small businesses to get on social media, post a few bits of content, and end up spending an hour browsing, commenting, liking. It’s fun, right? After all, these brains behind the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have designed their platforms to have that sort of addictive quality about them.
But that’s not always time well spend when it comes to your business, because it doesn’t pay the bills. Sure, you may be gaining followers, but don’t trip up in thinking that followers = revenue.
So, what’s the solution? You need to plan out your content in advance, and invest in a scheduling app that’s going to do all the legwork for you.
Here are 10 of the best scheduling apps around for Instagram.
Please note this post contains affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure for more information.
For those of you in a hurry, here’s a sneak peak of my top recommendations from the list.
What To Look For In A Scheduler
It can be overwhelming reading through hundreds of features from different scheduling tools, and trying to work out what is going to be most important for you (especially if you haven’t used a scheduler. So here are some tips as to what to look out for:
- Does the scheduler allow you to auto-posting, rather than manually going into Instagram to post your content?
- Is it easy to use, and can you use all features via an app on your phone?
- Does it have the ability to preview your layout prior to posting?
- Does it allow you to do evergreen content scheduling (i.e. reposting your most popular content again)
- What sort of analytics does it have? And what do you actually need? Some tools might have more sophisticated analytics than what you’ll end up using (unless you are an agency)
- Does it offer a free trial so you can try before you buy?
Tailwind is the tool that I currently use because, after trialling a few different schedulers, it has given me the best results which is why I recommend it. It’s also great value for money. If you promote on Pinterest, it also has some of the best features on the market for that platform including tribes, which are networks of influencers sharing your content.
- Drag and drop scheduling tool on a mobile app
- Automatic scheduling to Instagram
- Hashtags posted to the first comment
- Hashtag discovery tool
- Smart bio to link your most popular posts or key offers on a smart landing page from your profile
Best for: Solopreneurs, bloggers and coaches
- $9.99 per account per month
Get started with a free trial of Tailwind now (no time-limit to the free trial, no credit card required)
Crowdfire was one of the first-to-market when it came to developing slick, easy to use apps for scheduling social media, and have since evolved into one of the best platforms around for content curation, not just for Instagram but for LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter too. It’ll link up to your blog feed, so that when you publish new content, it will seamlessly appear on the app next time you log in, for you to schedule (and also allow other people on Crowdfire to curate and share your new content at the same time, which is great for getting content going viral).
- Content curation – curating the best posts for your Instagram feed
- Post scheduling via the app or the desktop
- Automatic “best times to post” suggestions
- Queue meter, so you can always ensure you have fresh content ready in your publishing queue
- Full analytics suite
- Competitor analysis, to discover top posts and performance overview
- Mentions dashboard with the ability to directly reply
Best for: Bloggers
The ease of scheduling freshly published content across all your social media profiles makes this app a huge asset.
Crowdfire has 4 pricing options:
- Free (1 account, limited to 10 scheduled posts, no Pinterest)
- Plus ($7.48 per month, 2 accounts, 100 scheduled posts per account, covers Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest)
- Premium ($37.48 per month, 5 accounts, 100 scheduled posts per account, covers Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest)
- VIP ($74.98 per month, 50 accounts, 800 scheduled posts per accounts, covers Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest)
One of the features that really stands out with Social Bee is their concierge service, which is a great low-cost way for solopreneurs to get support for their social media without the commitment of hiring a social media manager. Social Bee is a feature-rich scheduling and content curation tool, which is popular with many small business owners who want to save time on their social media tasks.
- Category based evergreen posting, with an organised dashboard to repost your most popular content to your audience
- Import and RSS features to automatically upload new content from your blog or elsewhere, ready to be scheduled
- Concierge service, for dedicated social media support to help manage your social media content
- Custom URLs and tracking, to provide relevant reporting on how your content is performing
- Audience analyzer – to discover your targeted audience and connect with them directly, through keyword searching, or to find competitors and influencers
Best for: Busy Small Business Owners
Social Bee is a great option for busy small business owners who need to keep their social media accounts updated, but struggle to find the time.
Social Bee has 3 pricing options:
- Bootstrap – ($19 per month, 5 social profiles, 1000 posts per category)
- Accelerate – ($39 per month, 10 social profiles, 5000 posts per category)
- Pro – ($79 per month, 25 social profiles, 5000 posts per category)
Try a free 14-day Social Bee trial by clicking here (no credit card required)
Famous for being the original drag-and drop-planning tool for Instagram (which other scheduling tools have since added), Planoly has a lot of loyal customers due to it’s beautiful, feature rich platform and is a great choice for those looking for a really gorgeous, professional look and feel to their Instagram account.
- An app to allow you to draft, organise and schedule content directly from your phone
- A drag and drop feature to organise and preview your Instagram feed before publishing
- Manage and reply to comments in one place
- Discover, curate and repost other users content
- Edit and plan stories (they also have designer templates for story creation which is a handy feature)
- Track analytics
- A feature called Shoplink (which is an extra $40 on top of their plan) which allows you to create a shoppable gallery for all your Instagram content and add that gallery as a link on your profile.
Best for: Etsy or craft shops, small eCommerce startups
The Shoplink shoppable gallery for all your Instagram content is a great way to feature your best products and dramatically boost sales from Instagram.
Planoly has 4 pricing options:
- Free (for small accounts – limited to 30 posts per month)
- Solo ($7 per month – unlimited posts for one account)
- Duo ($15 per month – unlimited posts for two accounts)
- Custom (starting at $23 per month)
Get started with a free Planoly account here
If you’ve heard the name Iconosquare before, that’s probably because they have some fantastic guides and industry data on Instagram marketing. One reason for that is their market-leading analytics tools, that allow serious marketers to get to grips with how best to grow their social media profiles, which is one of the reasons Iconosquare is so popular with marketing agencies.
- Auto-scheduling and posting of content
- Track hashtag performance on Instagram
- Advanced analytics, to help optimise your Instagram performance
- Competitor monitoring
- Respond to comments via the dashboard
- Advanced search facility to scan hashtags for better customer targeting
Best For: Social Media Managers
Iconosquare has 3 pricing options:
- Pro ($39 per month, 3 social profiles, 2 team members)
- Advanced ($79 per month, 5 social profiles, 3 team members)
- Agency (price on request)
Start a 14 day free trial of Iconosquare now
If you’re only marketing on Instagram, Sked Social is a great option, as this is the platform they specialise in. One way they stand out from the crowd as far as schedulers go is their ability to automatically schedule stories, which is a great feature to have, particularly as this is a fast-growing feature in Instagram.
Best for: Coaches and influencers on Instagram
- Instagram story scheduling and automatic posting
- Ability to automatically schedule stories with a swipe up link
- Repost your content to Twitter and Facebook
- Mobile app to manage and schedule your content
- Preview feature on the app for your scheduled feed
- Instagram regram app for curing and reposting trending content
Sked Social has 5 pricing options:
- Fundamentals ($25 per month, 1 account, unlimited posts)
- Essentials ($75 per month, 3 accounts, unlimited posts, content curation)
- Professional ($135 per month, 5 accounts, unlimited posts, team collaboration)
- Enterprise ($260 per month, 10 accounts, unlimited posts, designed for agencies and big brands)
- Custom (price on request)
Hootsuite is one of the most well known and trusted social media scheduling tools around and used by some of the biggest brands online. It has a powerful dashboard to allow you to manage your full online social media presence in one place.
- Auto-schedule social posts across multiple platforms
- Easy access to all your content, with tagging options to help organise and curate your feeds
- Create dedicated social media campaigns and measure the ROI
- Listening tools to search for relevant conversations by keyword to help you engaging with your audience online
Best for: Small and medium-sized businesses with a dedicated team
Hootsuite has 3 pricing options:
- Pro ($25 per month, 10 social profiles, 1 user)
- Team ($99 per month, 20 social profiles, 3 users)
- Business ($520 per month, 35 social profiles, 5 users)
Start a free 30-day trial here
Buffer is another big-name scheduler with the ability to manage lots of different social media platforms in one place. They have all the features you’d expect from an Instagram scheduling tool including good analytics to help you grow your account. It has a helpful shop grid for eCommerce businesses looking to sell products via their Instagram account.
- Preset publishing schedule for each social media platform
- Custom tailor posts to best fit each social media platform
- At a glance calendar for all upcoming scheduled posts
- Team collaboration
- Preview your Instagram content
- Shop grid to drive eCommerce sales from Instagram
- Analytics suite
Best for: Small or medium-sized eCommerce businesses
Buffer has 3 pricing options:
- Pro ($15 per month, 8 social accounts, 100 posts per account)
- Premium ($65 per month, 8 social accounts, 2000 posts per account)
- Business ($99 per month, 25 social accounts, 2000 posts per account)
Later also has that nice visual planning feature that is so popular for Instagram scheduling, and also has good reposting features, which means you can repost (or regram as it’s also known) other popular content to your feed (whilst crediting the original creator of course). That’s something that is becoming increasingly popular on Instagram and it’s a great way to keep your account fresh and active if you don’t have a lot of time to produce content.
- Visual content calendar and drag and drop feature
- Automatic scheduling to Instagram
- Content library
- Content curation and repost feature
- Instagram analytics
- Bio link with shoppable Instagram feed
Best For: Growing brand new Instagram accounts
Later has 5 pricing options:
- Free (0 per month, 1 profile, 30 posts per platform)
- Plus ($7.5 per month, 1 profile, 100 posts per platform)
- Premium ($16 per month, 2 profiles, 250 posts per platform)
- Starter ($24 per month, 3 profiles, unlimited posts)
- Brand ($41 per month, 5 profiles, unlimited posts)
If you have or plan to launch a social media agency, then Sendible is a good option for managing multiple client Instagram accounts in one place. They also have a really nice “content recommendation engine” which will show you popular content that you should be posting on your account (or your client’s account).
- A large number of supported 3rd party integrations
- Google analytics integration
- An interactive calendar for content planning
- Preview scheduled posts on Instagram
- Advanced analytics and reporting
- Client collaboration and approval features
Best for: Social media agencies
Sendible has 4 pricing options:
- Starter ($25 per month, 12 services, 8 reports, 1 user)
- Traction ($85 per month, 48 services, 15 reports, 3 users)
- Growth ($165 per month, 105 services, 35 reports, 7 users)
- Large ($245 per month, 192 services, 60 reports, 12 users)
Start a 14 day free trial of Sendible
Of course, scheduling is only part of Instagram. You need to have a strategy in place to market your business. And I’ve put together a short free guide where I outline my number 1 marketing method for Instagram. If you want to grab a copy, click here for the free guide.