12 Instagram Scheduling Tools Compared: How to Pick the Perfect Scheduler for Your Brand
Which Instagram Scheduling Tool is Right For You?
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 that you can 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.
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How Do Instagram Scheduling Tools Work?
Not that long ago, scheduling any sort of content to post to Instagram was a major hassle.
With most third-party tools (Sked was the only notable exception!), you could 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.
There’s no denying it—it was a major pain for most users and social media managers. 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 wasn’t the fault of lackluster tools.
Instead, it was Instagram that created this frustrating roadblock. This is because Instagram’s Application Program Interface (API) prevented 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 couldn’t send a request to Instagram’s API in order to post. As Leishman continues, Instagram still valued the “human touch”—which means some manual action is required to actually make that post appear on your feed.
But, as is the norm in the world of social media, everything changed. In early 2018, Instagram announced changes to their API to allow business profiles to schedule content in advance. You can find out more about what this means for your brand right here.
With all of the technical stuff out of the way, let’s dig into the different Instagram scheduling tools so that you can focus on finding the option that best meets your needs.
Compare and Contrast: 12 Instagram Scheduling Tools
1. Sked Social
Call us biased, but we think Sked is the cream of the crop when it comes to Instagram scheduling tools. Unlike all of the other scheduling tools, we were able to quite literally automate the posting process—meaning no push notifications or additional manual work for you—before Instagram changed their API.
How did we do it? No, there was no fancy hacking of Instagram’s API.
Instead, we used a pool of real phones in Melbourne, Australia to post your content for you. So, it was exactly like you were posting yourself—and, it didn’t break any rules by using that “human touch” that Instagram values so much.
We’re pretty proud of that. But, even with Instagram’s API changes, we’ve carried that same original spirit of innovation to continue evolving the tool.
That means there are plenty of other features that make Sked special. Including, Facebook, Pinterest and (soon) Twitter scheduling tools—and all in one easy-to-use platform, too! But let’s get back to Instagram, shall we?
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 and 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 your Instagram Stories are 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.
Put simply, we like to think that Sked is 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 used to be that Later couldn’t automatically post video or carousel posts to Instagram. But, with the API changes rolled out, they introduced auto publishing for business profiles.
Later has plenty of other 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 keep 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.
In terms of drawbacks, much like many of the other tools on this list, Later only focuses on one platform: Instagram. And, while it does that well, it does mean that you’ll need to manage multiple tools in order to create and schedule all of your social media content.
Cost: Later has a free plan for individuals. But, as a brand, you’ll likely want a business plan in order to auto publish—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 an automatic scheduler, the option to preview posts in your feed, 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.
Iconosquare also makes it easy to schedule reports that get delivered straight to your inbox and even allows you to benchmark your own Instagram performance against others in your industry.
Cost: Iconosquare’s plans start at $39 per month (or $29 per month when billed annually).
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.
However, Plann is just for Instagram. So, when it comes to managing your other platforms and social media profiles, you’ll need to bring some other tools into the mix.
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 when billed annually.
Looking for a Plann Alternative? Meet Sked Social
Both Sked and PLANN offer valuable resources for growing and optimizing your Instagram account.
But Sked supports far more of the features industry professionals expect to improve their account aesthetic and improve engagement.
Without these advanced features, you’re going to slow down your account growth.
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 collaborate with a team and manage multiple accounts from one singular location. And of course, much like the other options on this list, HopperHQ can automatically publish to Instagram (and Facebook and Twitter!) for you.
However, for those looking for e-commerce features like product and location tagging, HopperHQ falls short in this department.
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 and schedule 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).
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—especially if optimization features are what you’re looking for.
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.
As opposed to being a mobile app, Grum is made so that you can easily upload photos directly from your computer and schedule your Instagram content—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.
The biggest drawback withGrum? If you aren’t already a user, you’re going to have a pretty tough time signing up at this point.
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 currently only allowing valid coupon cold holders to register. So, unless you already possess that golden ticket, you can’t sign up to use the tool at this point.
Cost: Grum’s plans begin at $9.95 per month.
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.
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 $9.99 per month.
Onlypult is another tool that had the capabilities to post to Instagram directly on your behalf before the API changes, which—like Sked—made it stand out a bit from many of 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, Onlypult remains an Instagram-only scheduler. So unlike Sked, which gives users the freedom to post to Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and (soon) Twitter, you’ll have to find another tool to take care of your scheduling needs across your other social media channels.
Cost: Onlypult’s plans begin at $10.50 per month.
Finally, Busy is a solution that offers fully-automated scheduling 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 launched 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.
Again, if you’re looking for a basic social media scheduler for Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, Busy is a great option. But if you want to fully optimize your posts with features like product and location tagging, Busy might disappoint.
In order to get access to things like analytics, you’ll need to spring for the higher plans—which, fair warning, can be somewhat costly.
Cost: The starter plan $5 per month, but only allows you to schedule one social post per day and don’t come with analytics. If you want access to analytics, the price bumps up to $20 per month. Prices continue to increase from there. So, for example, in order to be able to post five posts per day and have access to analytics, your price tag is $100 per month.
Buffer is a highly well-known scheduling tool on the market, but they didn’t always offer capabilities for Instagram.
But, following the Instagram API changes announced in early 2018, Buffer got to work on building capabilities to schedule and automatically post content to Instagram.
Buffer is primarily focused on the scheduling aspect. Users can schedule photo and video posts, or queue up posts that don’t qualify to to be published to Instagram automatically (such as posts to personal profiles or gallery posts).
Buffer also offers analytics and the option to collaborate with a team.
The tool is intuitive to use and allows you to keep your social media management efforts within one platform.
However, if you’re looking for more visual features—like a grid planner or in-app photo editor—Buffer might fall a little short of your expectations.
Cost: Buffer offers a free plan, provided you stick to the limit of only three social accounts and only 10 posts scheduled at one time. Users can upgrade to the next level (which allows for eight social accounts and 100 scheduled posts at a time) for $15 per month.
If you’re looking for something super comprehensive, Hootsuite probably offers everything you’re searching for.
In addition to scheduling and posting content for Instagram, this platform also integrates with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube. All of those accounts can be managed from a single dashboard.
In regards to Instagram in particular, Hootsuite offers a lot of the features you’ve come to expect from an Instagram scheduler (like analytics, for example). The platform places significant emphasis on collaboration and makes it easy to assign messages to team members and streamline a social media workflow.
What about downsides? Because Hootsuite is so comprehensive, it does come with a slightly higher price tag. So, if budget is a big concern, it might be worth looking into something that doesn’t come with bells and whistles you don’t actually need.
Cost: The individual plan (limited to just one user and 10 social profiles) is fairly reasonably priced at $29 per month when billed annually. If you’re an agency or a team, though, you’ll need to step up to at least the team plan (which allows for three users and 20 social profiles) for $129 per month.
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Ready to Get Scheduling?
If you’re looking for an Instagram scheduler to take the pain out of managing your brand’s Instagram 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 might be slightly biased, but we’d love if you’d give Sked a try for your own Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and (soon) Twitter scheduling needs. We’re confident we have everything you need in order to reduce your Instagram and social media-related headaches.
If you’re looking to carve out hours in your social media workflow, sign up for Sked’s 7-day trial. Our all-in-one Instagram scheduler allows you to automatically post images, carousels, Stories, videos and more. Tag locations, users and products and manage all your hashtags in one place to save 5+ hours every week.