Instagram will now allow businesses to schedule posts to go out at a later date, as announced by Facebook which own the platform.
Starting today (January 30), we are launching three new features on the Instagram Graph API designed to help businesses better manage their organic presence on Instagram. As part of our API changes, we will also be deprecating the older Instagram API Platform over the next two years beginning on July 31, 2018. Please see the full summary below.
Instagram has been busy, adding more features to the Graph API which was debuted in 2017, which aimed to stop businesses and developers from using the old API which will be shut down.
The Graph API allows businesses to schedule posts, view public posts that mention or tag them in, and check out other business profiles.
For a long, long time, Instagram did not allow businesses to schedule posts. There were unofficial ways to aid this, such as tools which send out push notifications which remind you to publish a post. But Instagram as a platform itself, did not allow you to schedule a post to go out at a later date.
Twitter and Facebook have had this functionality for a while, and it has been a pain for many businesses who use Instagram. Many businesses may find Instagram is actually a more important platform for them than Facebook and/or Twitter – so it will be a welcome addition.
What does this change mean for businesses?
The new features aim to make it simpler for businesses to manage organic accounts on the platform.
While businesses with access to the Graph API will be able to view posts that tag or mention them, or see other business profiles (which includes posts, bios, links and follower counts), in order to schedule posts via the API a business will be required to go through a vendor which is a member of the Facebook Marketing Partner program.
Instagram is shutting down the Platform API, whereby Instagram will start winding down its usage in June 2018. In June, businesses will no longer be able to use the Platform API to get follower lists and relationships between accounts, and to comment on public posts.
What is needed to schedule posts on Instagram?
The Graph API is only available to accounts that are connected to a Facebook Page, and have also been converted to an Instagram Business Profile, which was introduced back in May 2016. This is essentially the same as a Facebook Page, but for Instagram.
However, the support the post scheduling does not cover advertisements, and is not available within the product itself.
As the support is via the API, social media platforms such as SocialFlow, Hootsuite or Sprout Social will now have access to the scheduling functionalities. The API is available to all of Facebook’s Marketing Partners and Instagram Partners, which you can find here and here, respectively.
While this means as it stands, only larger organisations will be able to take advantage of post scheduling, it’s a step in the right direction. And for businesses using third-party programs for working with Instagram, of which there are many, it’s a great development that is long overdue. Instagram will be supporting this feature for non-business profiles in early 2019.
You can find a full list of the new Instagram Graph API features below:
The following features are now available for Instagram business profiles:
Content Publishing Beta [NEW] – Available to Facebook Marketing Partners and Instagram Partners only. Post an image to Feed with or without a caption.
Business Discovery [NEW] – Discover and read the profile info and media of other business profiles.
Mentions [NEW] – Read public media that a business has been photo tagged or @mentioned in. Post comments on a business’ behalf on media it was tagged or mentioned in.
Insights – Help businesses access and analyze valuable metrics about their own Instagram business profile. Enable them to understand and optimize the performance of their organic content on Instagram.
Comment Moderation – Drive interactions at scale. Enable businesses to more efficiently interact with their audience through comments under their media on Instagram.
Future updates on the Instagram Graph API will include:
Support for Non-Business Profiles [FUTURE]: Basic permissioning for non-business profiles will be supported in early 2019.