Instagram Workarounds Not Good Enough

There's no denying Instagram's benefits for business, but social media management products just can't do what marketers need them to do in order to fully participate on the social network - and the network probably likes it that way.

There's a real problem - at least for business users - with the platform in that social media marketers cannot schedule posts there (although some emerging apps promise they allow this). The larger (and likely more trust-worthy) social media management products like Sprout Social and more recently Buffer have announced some features for Instagram, but scheduling directly is still not possible. While monitoring (like for hashtags or brand mentions) and analyzing (to understand performance) is important for efforts on all social networks, the majority of businesses do not have a dedicated social media manager who can post live to Instagram at least regularly.

With Instagram's continued Facebook-like efforts to push low-quality content down (which can be another name for most company's posts), it's likely that social media management platforms will simply still be able to just "remind" marketers it's time to post, as Buffer states, "As you may know, Instagram does not allow outside apps to post directly to Instagram. With Buffer's Instagram support, you can create an Instagram reminder in the Web or mobile app, and when it's time to post, Buffer will send a notification to your phone that loads your photo into Instagram with your pre-written caption saved to your phone's clipboard, ready to be pasted."

Workarounds are never ideal, but Instagram is too important of a network for brands to ignore even though they'll have to manually post to the network each day rather than schedule posts out to go along with their social calendars. What many brands are doing, however, is paying celebrities to push their products. While some of these popular Instagram accounts will put #ad in their caption, plenty are guilty of not indicating they are being paid to use native advertising and show how they are using a product in "real life." If a company goes down this route, it should make sure their spokesperson is transparent about the ad even if the FTC is still catching up to social's use and Instagram hasn't quite figured it out yet. For most brands this isn't an option, but it's an idea of how companies are getting their products seen and how users don't seem to mind the ads. Celebrities themselves are having tough times remembering when to post, however, as one accidentally pasted his directions in the caption, "at 4 p.m. est write..."