Which Social Media Scheduling Tool is Right for You?
Here at Sked Social (formerly Schedugram) we know that you understand the importance of a social media strategy to grow your following, engage your audience, and knock your social presence out of the park.
But, we also know that you don’t have endless hours to invest in doing that. Social is important, but you have plenty of other things on your plate.
So, you’re on the lookout for ways to take some pain out of the process. We can’t blame you for that—in fact, we’re the exact same way.
With that in mind, you’ve probably dipped your toes into the Instagram scheduling waters in an effort to follow that golden rule of consistently posting to Instagram—without needing to do everything manually.
Are you nodding along right now? Well, you’re in luck.
In an effort to help you explore your options and find the best Instagram scheduler for your own brand’s needs, we’ve pulled together this comprehensive list that dives into the details of each tool.
How Do Social Media Scheduling Tools Work?
If you’ve already done some investigative work into the various social media schedulers that are on the market, you’ve probably run into this question a time or two: Why can’t those apps post directly to Instagram for you?
With most tools (Sked is a definite exception—more on that later!), you can only queue up Instagram posts within the tool.
However, you’ll still receive a push notification or need to take manual action in order to actually copy and post that image to your account at that desired time.
That’s sort of a pain, right? You’re using a scheduler to avoid having to consciously think about posting at all hours—so, needing to still roll up your sleeves and do the work manually defeats the purpose.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the fault of lackluster tools.
Instead, it’s Instagram that creates this frustrating roadblock. This is because Instagram’s Application Program Interface (API) prevents third-party tools from posting on the behalf of users.
“An app like Instagram doesn’t want to show you everything that’s going on under its hood—so it provides an API that responds only to the requests it allows,” explains Stephanie Leishman in a post for Agorapulse.
This means that the majority of scheduling tools can’t send a request to Instagram’s API in order to post. As Leishman continues, Instagram still values the “human touch”—which means some manual action is required to actually make that post appear on your feed.
At Sked, we’ve worked long and hard to find a simple (and ethical!) way around that, which we’ll discuss below.
However, it’s important that you have this context of Instagram’s regulations when evaluating tools, so you can better understand what will and won’t meet your needs in terms of scheduling capabilities.
Update: Changes to Instagram’s API
Instagram has recently announced changes to their API to allow businesses to schedule content in advance. You can read more about what this means for your brand here.
Compare and Contrast: 10 Social Media Scheduling Tools
1. Sked Social
Call us biased, but we think Sked is the cream of the crop when it comes to scheduling tools. This is because we’re able to quite literally automate the posting process—meaning no push notifications or additional manual work for you.
How do we do it? No, there’s no fancy hacking of Instagram’s API.
Instead, we use a pool of real phones in Melbourne, Australia to post your content for you. So, it’s exactly like you were posting yourself—and, it doesn’t break any rules by using that “human touch” that Instagram values so much.
We’re pretty proud of that. But, there are plenty of other features that make Sked special.
Our Instagram Planner feature allows you to plot your posts and see what they’ll look like together on your grid, which helps you maintain a cohesive aesthetic.
You can queue up posts, drag and drop them on a calendar, and even schedule content to multiple different accounts.
We also have an in-browser editor to get your posts in tip-top shape before you schedule them.
Now that Instagram shopping is available to all, e-commerce brands will be happy to hear about Sked’s product tagging, which makes scheduling your shoppable posts as efficient as possible! Connect your product catalog to tag your hottest items directly in your content, and best of all, this can easily be done while you’re scheduling your own posts too.
When it comes to tagging, Sked doesn’t stop at just products either! You can easily tag locations, users and quickly add your best performing group of hashtags using our Hashtag Manager.
Once followers have completed their purchases and share them with their own following, you can also easily regram your priceless user-generated content using our Chrome browser extension.
If Instagram Stories is where you engage most with your followers, you’ll be happy to hear that IG Stories can now be scheduled via Sked too!
But wait, there’s even more! Thanks to Sked’s new Analytics Dashboard, it’s now easier than ever to refine your Instagram Strategy and prove the ROI of your hard work.
We like to think it’s pretty comprehensive and that it’ll instantly resolve all of your Instagram-related headaches.
Cost: Plans vary depending on your number of accounts and followers, but base plans start at $20 per month.
Later is another popular choice in the world of Instagram scheduling tools. The biggest drawback (and, you’ll hear us say this a lot) is that Later can’t post directly to Instagram for you.
At the time your post is intended to publish, you’ll receive a push notification on your phone.
When that happens, you need to open the notification to prompt the tool to open that post in Instagram.
At that time, you can click to paste your caption (which Later will have copied for you), apply a filter, and then click “post.”
Is it relatively easy? Absolutely. But, it’s another step you’d rather not take care of if you didn’t have to.
Drawbacks aside, Later has plenty of great features for people who want to take their Instagram accounts up a notch.
There’s a planning feature to visually map out your posts, detailed analytics, and a media library that gives you the option to label and keeps all of your media organized.
Later’s visual search tools also allow you to search by different hashtags, users, and likes to find existing content that you could repost on your own account.
Cost: Later has a free plan for individuals. But, as a brand, you’ll likely want a business plan—which begins at $19 per month (or $16 per month when billed yearly).
Iconosquare has plenty of the common features that you’ll find with other Instagram schedulers—including the option to preview posts in your feed, notifications when it’s time to post, and the ability to save captions and hashtags for future posts.
But, one thing that most users tout about Iconosquare itself?
The analytics. Iconosquare places a lot of emphasis on data, and users love having the power to measure their community and their engagement directly within the tool.
From daily gained and lost followers to impressions and reach of your profile and individual posts, Iconosquare provides tons of insight into your audience—which you can use to further improve your own Instagram strategy.
However, this is another area where Instagram is changing the name of the game.
Analytics that Iconosquare users used to have access to have since disappeared—but, that’s the fault of Instagram’s greediness rather than an issue with Iconosquare itself.
In terms of drawbacks? Well, you already saw this coming.
Iconosquare is yet another solution that isn’t able to post directly to Instagram for you. You’ll need to respond to that notification and take action in order for that post to actually get posted to your Instagram account.
Cost: Iconosquare’s plans start at $9 per month (or $81 per year).
Plann bills itself as an Instagram planning, scheduling, and analytics app all in one—and, it’s easy to see why. The tool comes packed full with different features.
You’ll find those tried and true features—like a planner to visually map out a pleasing feed and access to analytics. But, you’ll find some other not-so-common things as well.
For example, Plann’s “Sneaky Peek” feature allows you to take a look not just at your own analytics, but at the analytics of your competitors as well. Using Plann, you can also rearrange, schedule, and crop your Instagram stories.
You’ll also have the flexibility to get creative with your posts, with image editing and text overlay features built directly into the app.
In terms of drawbacks? We’re going to sound like a broken record. Plann can’t actually post Instagram content for you, meaning you’ll still need to complete those final steps yourself.
Cost: Plann offers a free option. But, to get access to all of the features, you’ll need a paid account—which starts at $4 per month.
HopperHQ is another Instagram scheduling option that’s intuitive and easy to use—but still full of different features you’ll find useful.
You can drag and drop posts in calendar mode in order to map out your content for the week, month, or beyond.
Have a post that you started but weren’t able to finish? No problem—HopperHQ allows you to save that post as a draft and come back to it later.
There’s also an in-app image editor, a bulk upload option, and the ability to manage multiple accounts from one singular location.
Much like Sked, HopperHQ is an app that can automatically post to Instagram for you—meaning there are no push notifications or alerts for you to worry about. Your content will be posted without you needing to interfere.
Cost: Like Sked, plans will vary based on your number of followers and accounts. But, they begin at $19 per month (or $16 per month when billed annually).
Rivuu is a social media solution that’s especially great for large teams and companies that are cranking out a lot of different content that needs multiple people’s input and approval.
With the ability to manage posts for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, Rivuu is designed with collaboration in mind.
It’s made specifically for people who need to get managers or clients to sign off on social media content before it’s actually posted.
This means the app makes it incredibly easy to provide feedback or approve content with just a click of a button (there are literally big, bold “approve” and “reject” buttons within the interface).
Additionally, in an effort to make social media content management easier, Rivuu is another solution that has found a way to post directly to Instagram—without you needing to do anything else on your end after scheduling.
However, since Rivuu is heavily focused on collaboration and actual content approval, it might not be the right fit for you if you have a small team and don’t have a pressing need to involve other people in your social media posting.
Cost: Rivuu does have a free plan, but that only includes Facebook. To have access to Instagram features, you will need to have one of the tool’s paid plans—which begin at $10 per profile per month.
Joining the ranks of Instagram schedulers that can post on your behalf is Grum.
Again, you won’t deal with any push notifications or alerts. Simply schedule your content and Grum will handle the ret.
As opposed to being a mobile app, Grum is made so that you can easily upload photos directly from your computer—whether you have a PC or a Mac.
From bulk posting to the ability to manage multiple accounts, we won’t bother diving into all of the standard features you’ve likely come to expect at this point.
However, there is one tool that’s worthy of note: the first comment feature.
Brands who want to add plenty of hashtags to their Instagram posts (without cluttering up their captions) can use this feature to queue up the post’s first comment.
That way, the hashtags are also posted immediately, without the caption appearing overwhelming.
Grum also includes a hashtag counter so that you don’t have to worry about going above and beyond Instagram’s limit of 30 hashtags per post.
Update: Due to Instagram’s recent changes, there are difficulties with posting content, first comments, video scheduling, loading profiles and adding new Instagram accounts.
Grum’s own website currently says that—due to a heavy load on their servers—they’re only allowing valid coupon code holders to register.
So, unless you have a coupon code in your possession, you’ll have a tough time signing up at this point.
Cost: Grum’s plans begin at $9.95 per month.
While Sked focuses explicitly on Instagram, Autogrammer (despite its name) is a scheduler for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts.
At this point, the basic features of all of these different scheduling tools are fairly repetitive, as they all boast many of the same capabilities.
There are filters, bulk upload options, hashtag functionality—you get the idea.
Much like the name implies, Autogrammer is able to post directly to Instagram for you as well.
As far as potential cons of the service, some users have complained that the timezone setting can be somewhat confusing to use when scheduling your post.
Additionally, many have said that their first image fails to publish, at which point they receive a notification stating that it’s a common issue due to Instagram’s security feature.
If that happens, you need to login to your Instagram account and verify it. After doing so, you should be able to post successfully for all subsequent posts.
Granted, that was an issue that a reviewer complained about in 2015—meaning Autogrammer could’ve resolved that by now.
Cost: Autogrammer’s plans start at $19 per month.
Onlypult is another tool that has the capabilities to post to Instagram directly on your behalf, which—like Schedugram—makes it stand out a bit from the other competitors we’ve shared here.
Many of the other features are similar, including the ability to manage multiple accounts, a calendar view, an in-app image editor, a first comment feature, and the option to review your analytics to determine how you can be more effective with your Instagram marketing.
Users love that Onlypult saves their hashtags in the “My Tags” section for quick and easy use each time you create a new Instagram post.
In terms of potential drawbacks, one reviewer pointed out that Onlypult doesn’t have an autosave option during the scheduling process.
So, if your internet connection goes out while you’re scheduling a post, you’ll lose your work—which can be frustrating.
Cost: Onlypult’s plans begin at $10.50 per month.
Finally, Busy is a solution that offers fully-automated scheduling (yes, that means you won’t have to do anything aside from picking a time to post!) for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
With analytics and a drag-and-drop calendar view, Busy is a lot like the other schedulers that we’ve touched on.
However, Busy is also busy working on new features and improvements for users. Soon, Busy users will be able to schedule content for LinkedIn and Pinterest as well.
Additionally, they’re finishing up their Pipeline feature.
Using that tool, you can fill your Pipeline with content, schedule frequencies (and even block off times when you don’t want the Pipeline algorithm to post), and then Busy will publish the content for you at times when they think your audience will be most engaged.
In order to get access to Busy’s features for social accounts outside of Instagram, you’ll need to upgrade your plan from the individual level—which, fair warning, can be somewhat costly.
Cost: Individual plans are $5 per month, but only allow you to schedule one Instagram post per day. Upgrading to the agency plan (which starts at $69 per month) gets you access to post to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, unlimited analytics, and more posts per account per day.
Ready to Get Scheduling?
If you’re looking for an Instagram scheduler to take the pain out of managing your brand’s social media presence, there’s no shortage of options out there for you to explore.
There are tons of tools that come packed with helpful features and analytics to make you as effective as possible when it comes to marketing on Instagram.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this collaborative post with Sked Social.