Smart Instagram Scheduling with Tailwind

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smarter Instagram scheduling from Tailwind!
Wait, isn’t Tailwind all about Pinterest? True – it is THE Pinterest scheduling and analytics choice for many Pinterest pros (myself included), but at heart, Tailwind is all about visuals and the data behind the success of visuals – so venturing into Instagram was a logical next step. And now they’ve done it!

Please note: This article contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase via a link. Also, since I first published this post on January 10, 2017, I have joined the Tailwind team!

A great big thank you to Melissa and David of Tailwind for 1. allowing me to beta test their new feature and, 2. letting me blog about it before they did! I’ve been a Tailwind for Pinterest user for ages and I would simply NOT be using Pinterest without it. The scheduling and reporting features cannot be beat. And don’t get me started on Tribes – it’s basically what I’ve wanted natively on Pinterest all along. I digress.

Naturally, when I heard that Tailwind was releasing a scheduler for Instagram, I had to get in on it. In fact, I pouted until Melissa used her great influence to get me invited. And really, I can’t blame them for not choosing me first. I am NOT a great Instagrammer. But I am a Tailwind Education Partner and that has its perks. 🙂

My problem on Instagram is that I am not active enough to have a business AND personal account, so it’s a bit mixed. I also work from a home office, so my daily work scenery doesn’t change much more than from “dog in the dog bed” to “cat on my chair” or the slightly more popular, “here’s where I ran today.” Lucky me I live in gorgeous Wilmington, North Carolina, but it’s still hardly glamorous stuff. Don’t believe me? Have a look. (pssst – it’s better now that I’ve been using the scheduler for almost three months!)

So, if Tailwind can help me be a better Instagrammer in the way it’s made me a better Pinner, I want in – now!!  And so far, it’s looking good. Now that I’ve been using it a few months, I’m completely sold and I’m thrilled that it is out of beta and available to all!

Start your free trial now!

How Tailwind Will Make You a Better Instagrammer

Smart Instagram Scheduling

There are programs that will tell you when is the best time to post based on your past activity. I’ve used one. It was helpful. Trouble is, I never remember when that time is. Also, it has no connection to the scheduler. This feature is the one Melissa Megginson, Marketing Manager and Cat Lady of Tailwind, was most excited about. She says, “My favorite feature is the smart schedule. It’s easy to see exactly when your post will go out and you can easily drag and drop the image to a different timeslot.”  Sweet. Check out my recommendations:

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Note – this information is available on the Plus plan and higher – so you may not see it, but it is still informing your Smartschedule!

Looks like I post exactly 11 hours earlier than I should. D’oh! See, if I can queue up my posts in Tailwind instead of just posting on the fly all the time, I’ll be way ahead of the game.

That translates nicely into a suggested schedule for my posts – anything I queue up will go into the next available slot. No remember required. Cool. If I start posting more often, Tailwind will have more data to go on and my schedule will become even more helpful for increasing engagement. Must. Post. More. Often.

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I haven’t yet posted my previous blog post on Instagram, so I’ll schedule that now. I don’t think the weekend is the best for that content, but when I queue it up, it goes to my next open slot, Saturday. NO PROBLEM! I just drag that image from Saturday to the spot on Monday. Done!

Save Time and Be Consistent!

We all know how important consistency is on social. Since I started using Tailwind’s Instagram scheduler, I’ve posted updates every weekday. A big change from my previous method of panic and skip! Not only is it a huge time saver in general, but I find having Instagram and Pinterest scheduling in the same place helps me get into that visual marketing mindset and batch my work a bit more.

Check out this video for more time-saving options:

 

A Browser Extension – It’s No-Excuses Easy

Let’s just go back a sec. to the actual scheduling. Oh my goodness – easy scheduling on desktop! Just like with scheduling pins, you can use a browser extension to schedule. It pulls up the image for you and all you have to do is  add a description. For people who blog on the fly and who can’t remember where they put that image (ahem!) being able to grab an image from the post is a huge time saver. My image format works well for cropping to square, which is helpful, too.

What about sharing other people’s blog images? Well, as long as you tag the creator and mention them in the update, I would think bloggers would love it! There is of course the possibility that this will be abused, but that can happen with any tool. Let’s just all promise to use it for good. 🙂

Hashtag Lists

I KNOW I’m not the only one who struggles with hashtags on Instagram. They tend to be an afterthought and feel like a bit of a chore. Yet, using the right hashtags is one of the best ways to get your content in front of a new audience who may follow you. They are even more important since Instagram allowed us to follow hashtags on Instagram.

So, I did some Instagram hashtag research for the topics I typically cover in my posts. Once. Created hashtag lists for each, plus a “list” which just lets me format my hashtags in my caption, and I’m done!

Here’s how to create a hashtag list in Tailwind:

Hashtag Suggestions

But sometimes you do want to mix it up a bit, and fresh hashtags are important if you want to keep expanding your audience. So, along with my hashtag lists, I’ll let Tailwind suggest some hashtags for me. When I first start creating a post, it shows me recent hashtags I’ve used, but as I start to enter new ones, it gives me new ideas. I’ll choose one or two niche (low volume, low competition) hashtags, but mostly I’ll choose “best” (a combination of decent volume and not too competitive).

Here’s how it works:

 

Automatic Posting to Instagram with Tailwind – No More Device Notifications!

While some people like the device notifications (“It helps me remember to go to Instagram to engage!”), I find that all too often, I have missed my posting reminders, which means that the optimal times to post often pass me by! Tailwind is one of a few official Instagram partners, so they can now post to your scheduled Instagram posts for you – no device required! This also opens up Tailwind for Instagram to android users. Yes!!

To use automatic posting for Instagram from Tailwind, you do need to have or convert to an Instagram business account. I have one anyway since I wanted the useful analytics. Anyway, if you do have business account for Instagram, when you signup for Instagram for Tailwind, you’ll be prompted by a big colorful bar (can’t miss it) to enable auto posting. It will then walk you through a simple process which takes about 60 seconds – and from then on, your scheduled posts will go out automatically!

Start your free trial now!

It’s important to know that this program is in beta for Instagram –  which means you’ll be able to schedule single image posts only. While you can @mention users and hashtags do function, you won’t be able to schedule stories, carousel posts, videos, or tag people or locations – yet. Hopefully as Instagram expands the test, those features will become available for auto post.

Another item that trips up some users is the limited image ratios Instagram allows with auto post. Squares are always a safe bet, but if you keep your ratio between 4:5-1:1.91 you’ll be safe. If you try to upload an image outside that range, Tailwind will let you know. I usually compose mine in Canva or Photoshop anyway, but if you are accustomed to cropping images as you post, this could be a little frustrating as images taken from your phone fall just outside those ratios. Rats! Still, this makes batch scheduling so easy, you can just drop them into Canva, crop, and go!

When auto post for Instagram was first announced, I heard some people say, “Big deal – I’ve been doing this for years with (insert questionable product here)!” The difference here is that Instagram is giving partner tools its blessing for auto post. So there is no need to fear losing your account or some kind of penalty which might impact your reach.

I LOVE this kind of set it and forget it posting, and find that if I want to post a story or video, it’s usually in the moment, not something I want to schedule. So, I’m a fan!!

Start auto posting to Instagram with Tailwind.

Insightful Reporting

If you use Tailwind for Pinterest reporting, you know how easy it is – and it’s comprehensive, too! The data for Instagram is just as good. I can easily see everything I’ve posted – whether from my phone or from Tailwind. It shows me the filters I use, too – which gives me a feel for which ones my audience seems to enjoy the most.

It’s also helpful to have a look at your profile performance.  I’ve always loved this feature for Pinterest – the engagement rate “speedometer.” Here it is in part:

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Post Inspector allows me to see how well each post has done. I can filter by post type, filter, or date, number of likes, or comments. Here I’m looking at which got the most likes. From here I could schedule it to go out again or see and respond to comments, which is great for times when I want to engage, but don’t want to get sucked into just browsing Instagram on my phone!

Ready to try it, too? Start your free trial now!

Be a sport and pin me?

 

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