Why Buffer can't fully schedule posts on Instagram

Overview

Each social network that Buffer connects to (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) has what is called an API, which is a series of functions and procedures allowing third party applications (e.g. Buffer) to access and manage data from that social network. Unfortunately, Instagram's API does not currently allow third party applications to post on behalf of a user. So where with Facebook's API Buffer is able to authenticate your account and then post automatically on your behalf, Instagram's API simply does not allow us to do that.

Using Buffer's Instagram Reminders feature, you are able to create and schedule your Instagram posts in advance and when it's time for the post to be published, Buffer will send a notification to your *phone, which loads your photo into Instagram along with your prewritten caption saved to your phone's clipboard, ready to be pasted.

* You will need to be using Buffer's mobile app, either on  iOS or Android.

What are the benefits of using Buffer, over posting directly to Instagram?

Great question! If you're an occasional Instagram poster, you might prefer to stick to sharing your Instagram posts directly through the native app. On the other hand, if you're a frequent poster, you might find it useful to be able to get all of your posts ready in advance and have the simple job of just pushing them to Instagram when they're ready to go.

Here are some other key benefits:

  • Create a consistent sharing schedule
    • Instagram posts are added to your Buffer queue, in the same way as any other social network. At the time the post is due to be sent, you'll receive a notification on your phone. By sharing your Instagram posts right away (or soon after), you will be creating a consistent sharing schedule, allowing you to reach your audience at the right times and boost engagement by staying in touch regularly and sharing your best content.
  • Track key analytics
    • Measure the performance of your posts to see how your audience is growing and how your followers are engaging with your content.
  • Work together
    • Collaborate with team members to organize your upcoming Instagram posts and campaigns. (Available on Buffer for Business.)

I've seen another provider that can fully schedule Instagram posts. How are they doing this?

Some providers do post to Instagram on your behalf (i.e. the same as how Buffer posts to other social networks). This is a security risk and not in line with Instagram's recommendations. You would be handing over your Instagram user name and password to that third party application and they essentially log in as you on their devices to do the posting.

Buffer uses the official Instagram API, which means that you log in to your Instagram account directly (we never see the password) and then Instagram authorizes us to do certain things such as pulling basic account details and seeing analytics, but not other things such as posting on your behalf.