Social Media Managers! Beware of Hootsuite Auto-Schedule for Instagram

Does Hootsuite Instagram Update Negatively Impact the Algorithm?

As you may know, Hootsuite for Instagram did not previously have any type of a “set and forget” type of scheduling for your Instagram posts. Rather than a post being automatically posted to the platform through your desktop, you actually had to manually post on the mobile app upon receiving an alert at the scheduled posting time.

Essentially, you would upload your image, caption, and hashtags to HootSuite, and tell the platform what time you want to post to Instagram. At the scheduled time, you would get an alert on your phone that it’s time to upload your post. You would then have to open the HootSuite app, and it would walk you through the steps to post your content to Instagram.

Hootsuite Instagram Update Integrates Scheduling and Posting

In the last week of January, Hootsuite released an update so that it is fully integrated with Instagram. Users can now schedule their ‘grams on the desktop dashboard and Hootsuite will post without anyone (aka: you the Social Media Manager) having to take further action.

Upon receiving this notification, I was STOKED! I’m a typical Colorado gal who likes to go off the grid on the weekends. My weekend fun times in the backcountry make it difficult impossible to manually post to Instagram when there’s no cell reception. So, immediately upon receiving the news, I scheduled 2 Instagram posts for a Parallel Path client partner on Tuesday and Wednesday. The first Instagram posted at the scheduled time on Tuesday without a hitch. Honestly, I had forgotten I even scheduled it (win!). When I remembered and checked out how the post was faring, my stoke-levels immediately went down. … After 3 hours we had only gotten 9 likes. I was shocked, as this client’s posts typically see significantly more engagement. I thought maybe I had forgotten to post hashtags but nope, #colorado #coloradogram #beauty #mountains #sunset…. They were all there.

Does the Hootsuite Instagram Update Affect Engagement?

At this point I had a hunch that this scheduling feature might not be the gift I had anticipated. Having already scheduled another Insta for Wednesday, I decided to leave it scheduled and test my budding theory that publishing strictly via Hootsuite doesn’t jive with the Instagram algorithm. Wednesday’s ‘gram posted as easily as it did on Tuesday, but to my dismay, the engagement was again uncharacteristically low.

On Thursday, I went back to the original method of scheduling with Hootsuite and manually posting on my mobile Instagram app. After 15 minutes, we already received more likes on the manually posted Insta than either of the two posted with Hootsuite.

Conclusion = Don’t Use Hootsuite to Schedule and Post for Instagram

Anecdotally, we recommend not using Hootsuite’s newest feature to schedule and post your Instagrams. Stick to scheduling with Hootsuite and posting manually on your mobile. This apparent deficiency in the new Hootsuite feature is a bummer for efficiency and weekend freedom but a great insight for social media managers. And really, it’s not too bad to post on your mobile - adventuresome social media managers - just be sure to train a team member to have your back when you’re out backpacking.

This begs the question if the same limited reach is happening with Facebook posts... You better believe we’ll be running some tests, stay tuned for a future blog with our results and conclusions.

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