Planning ahead. We all know it’s easier than it sounds. We begin with good intentions but then life happens. That’s why using a scheduler is key to writing better content on social media. A scheduler allows you to pre-plan and schedule days if not weeks of posts in advance, and many offer an auto- publish option. The 5 best Instagram scheduling tools on market today are graded for you.
Finding the right social media scheduler can be a challenge with so many colorful options, overlapping features and varying price plans. Thankfully, I’ve rated each scheduling tool based on their cost, features, and downsides. I’ve graded each one with a score of 1-5, with 5 being the best. I’ve also linked through to each scheduler so you can dive deeper.
Here are my top 5 scheduling tools for Instagram:
1. LATER ( https://later.com/)
If you’re looking for an intuitive, free scheduler, Later is for you. I switched to Later after extensive research (much of which you’ll find below). I’ve since upgraded to the paid version because I love it that much. With the paid version, I’m able to pull from one library and toggle between multiple accounts. I’m also able to auto-publish with location and image tags. When it comes to working with clients, the free version of Later has been working well for individual hotels and restaurants.
Cost: Free (paid subscriptions start at $9/month)
Pros: The visual Instagram planner. You can schedule posts for the month, and then review your Instagram grid and rearrange it aesthetically. The free version includes unlimited media uploads, so you can throw in your entire photo library and see how each image plays out as a tiny square. The cropping and editing tool makes it easy to size images for Instagram, too.
Cons: The free version only offers scheduling for one brand (to Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter) which is fine for most travel bloggers or marketing managers. If you manage multiple accounts, you’ll need to create an individual Later account for each client/brand (I recommend this for brands that stand alone). If you manage accounts that share an image library, consider upgrading to the paid version.
2. PLANOLY ( https://www.planoly.com/)
Planoly offers similar features as other schedulers, like a drag and drop planning tool and basic analytics. The tool is as easy to use and might be the best-looking scheduler out there. It’s been the choice among fashion/retail clients and designers I’ve worked with in the past.
Cost: Free (paid subscriptions start at $7/month)
Pros: The Discover feature allows you to curate and repost user-generated content from your community, making this a great choice for brands in need of additional content, or looking to share guest experiences and customer reviews.
Cons: Only allows for two social profiles (and only two types, Instagram and Pinterest) rather than all profiles. For a lot of travel bloggers, these are the main focus, and certainly the most visual social media platforms. Still, if you’re looking to share content on Facebook or Twitter, even less frequently, you’ll need to log in directly to those sites instead of managing all of your social channels in one place.
3. BUFFER ( https://buffer.com/)
Buffer stands out as the most analytical of all of the schedulers. If you’re more left-brained, this may be the tool for you.
Cost: Free (paid subscriptions start at $15/month)
Pros: Ability to schedule to the most social media platforms (i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn). Plenty of ways to analyze the data, plus recommendations to grow reach, engagement, and sales.
Cons: The free version only allows a user to schedule up to 10 posts at a time.
4. HOOTSUITE (https://hootsuite.com/)
Hootsuite was a pioneer in the social media industry and has been in the game longer than most (founded in 2008). 10 years ago, I used it extensively to manage Twitter accounts. Today, it does much more. Hootsuite caters to businesses managing multiple clients. Higher tiered plans offer collaboration among teams.
Cost: Subscriptions start at $29/month
Pros: The lowest tier offers unlimited scheduling and up to 10 social profiles, more than other tools.
Cons: No free version.
5. TAILWIND ( https://www.tailwindapp.com/)
Schedule an entire week of pins to Pinterest in 20 minutes flat. If you’ve noticed that Pinterest is driving a good chunk of traffic to your website, chances are you’re already using Tailwind. Since Pinterest operates quite a bit differently than other social media channels, it requires a different set of strategies.
Tailwind has revolutionized my presence on Pinterest. I’ve upgraded to the subscriptions and use a Tailwind automation tool to recycle content that performs well. Since Pinterest is one of the only social media platforms that’s still serving most content chronologically, reposting your most popular content is smart way to drive traffic back to your website.
Maybe best of all, Tailwind seems to be constantly rolling out new features. From Tribes, to automation, to connecting your Instagram feed to share posts published across platforms, to offering the ability to auto-publish to Instagram, there’s no telling what Tailwind will roll out next. This is one to watch.
Cost: Subscriptions start at $9.99/month
Pros: Tailwind Tribes. Users can join tribes in 4,000+ niches to reach new audiences, find fresh content, and team-up with a community of influencers to share and post each other’s content for wider reach.
Cons: Currently only allows scheduling to Instagram and Pinterest.