One of the questions we are asked most often is why we don’t schedule posts automatically, ie, post directly into Instagram.
The answer to his is quite simple: Instagram does not allow tools to post directly into their app.
The next question that follows this is that there are other tools that completely automate the process.
We have answered this to over 100 people over the last two months, so it made sense to write a blog post about this.
A few days back, buffer added Instagram to its offering (finally). Unsurprisingly, they follow the push-notification method to schedule posts to Instagram. In fact, all the top social media management tools follow this method.
One of our users asked us if these companies “could not figure out how to do it”.
The answer is that they knew how it can be done, but still chose not to do it. In order to understand why, you there are a few terms you should understand.
Access tokens are how all social media tools (and all aps) communicate with social networks. You would have seen this page asking you for permission from many social networks.
When you authorize an application like this, the application gets an access token from Instagram.
Another thing to note is that this access token is not your password.
Access Tokens vs Passwords
Instagram does not allow apps to post directly into their app with the access token.
Tools that post directly to Instagram do it with your password. That is why they stop working when you change your password!
From a security perspective, it is not a good idea to share your social network passwords with third party apps. It is better to use products with valid access tokens.
These tools simulate a human being operating your account. You will usually get a warning email from Instagram saying someone is operating your account from the other side of the world!
We know a few companies that have been shut down by Instagram because of this unsafe practice of using passwords to simulate human posting.
Here’s another analogy from the people from buffer.
When we built Stribr, some of our earliest paying customers were brands with large followings who needed their data + passwords to be secure. The call to follow Instagrams rules and terms of service was easy for us!
We are sure that Instagram will open up their APIs even more to allow posting into the app – especially considering that they are trying to attract businesses to their platform.
Until that the notifications remain the safest way to schedule posts to Instagram. I hope this posts explains the tradeoffs and helps you choose the best product to suit your needs!