How can I Schedule Instagram Stories through Hootsuite?

The secret ingredients to Instagram success are consistency, quality, and high levels of engagement. But, it needs dedication and proper organization to make a cut through the noise and let your voice heard. This post discusses how you can schedule your Instagram stories through Hootsuite and what is the best time for scheduling posts/stories?

According to the Founder of Neil Patel Digital and so-called the “God” of digital marketing- Neil Patel, it’s crucial to include Instagram in your marketing strategy. It would be foolish to ignore the one billion user base of this platform offering the highest engagement rates.
He further adds in his post on neilpatel.com that being a part of the Instagram community is vital for social proofing. A small step towards this popular social platform would drastically take the conversions to the next level.

What is Hootsuite?

Hootsuite is a social media management tool that allows you to connect with all your social media accounts through one dashboard.
Hootsuite is perfect for people into the business, entrepreneurs, and marketers. It makes your life hell of a lot easier. With Hootsuite, you can easily bulk schedule your social media posts/stories across all your social channels.
In this post, you will learn how to connect Hootsuite with Instagram and schedule your stories.
Don’t miss out to read the best time to publish your Instagram posts/stories at the end of the tutorial.

Why should I develop Instagram Stories?

Instagram stories allow the users to share their moments of the day apart from your routine Instagram posts. These stories are ephemeral and vanish after 24 hours.
This Instagram feature allows the users to share multiple photos, videos etc to all the followers and other members in a slideshow format. The stories don’t show up in the Instagram news feed.
On average, about half of the Instagram users are posting stories every day. This means that around 500 million users are posting around 1Billion stories per day. The statistics are interesting and impressive!
Instagram stories help the brands understand their audience 10x more than normal posts. This incredible Instagram feature allows businesses to stand on top of the mind game. Instagram stories have become the first interaction point for businesses.
Followers and audience directly interact with the brands after watching the stories.

Can I really schedule my Instagram Stories?

Probably you are used to scheduling your stories on Facebook or Snapchat and forget them as they are automatically published. Things are not the same with Instagram!
Instagram (Privacy Policy) doesn’t allow a ‘set and forget’ type of a post scheduling strategy. In fact, you actually have to walk through the posting wizard to post a thing for you. But, you can upload the images, set the hashtags, captions and do the editing on Hootsuite beforehand and set the time when you want to publish.
You will receive a push notification/alert in your phone that “It’s time to Publish!”
As you have already done the homework, just a touch and the stories are published. Hootsuite helps you to avoid the last-minute rush of emailing photos, finding captions, hashtags and remembering the perfect times to post.

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How to Schedule Instagram Posts with HootSuite?

Step1:  Get your Business Instagram Profile
It’s always better to convert your personal profile into Instagram business profile. This helps you get access to Instagram’s advanced analytics which could help you know more about your followers and their interests. Apart from that, it allows you to add links to your stories. 
The business account is the only insta account that has the ability to schedule and publish posts/stories using Hootsuite. 
For that, open your Instagram account. Tap the hamburger icon (three lines)> settings>Account.
Now, tap on switch to professional account. Select Business and follow as directed.

How to Schedule Instagram Posts with HootSuite?
You would be required to connect to your Facebook account in order to complete the account set up.

Step2: Sign Up/Login with your Hootsuite account
Hootsuite account
If you don’t have an account, then sign up with Hootsuite else login to your account and start scheduling.
Get the updated versions for both Instagram and Hootsuite.

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Step3:  Add Instagram Account

Now it’s time to connect your Instagram business profile to Hootsuite.  

·         On the right-hand corner, click on your profile icon.
·         Click on Manage Social Networks
·         Now, Go to Private Social NetworksAdd a Network 
·         From the list, click on Instagram and then click Connect with Instagram.
·         Enter your Instagram account credentials.

Add Instagram Account

You may be required to connect with your associated Facebook account in order to enable direct publishing.
Step 4: Start Composing and Scheduling
Now enjoy creating and scheduling your Instagram Stories.
Go to the Hootsuite dashboard. Now click the drop-down arrow placed next to “New Post” button and select “New Story”.
Start Composing and Scheduling

·         Now select your Instagram profile (in case you have multiple profiles) for which you want to share the story.
·         You can upload a maximum of 10 videos/pictures into the media area. You can either choose “select file” option or simply drag and drop the files. 
·         If you want to create a story using Enterprise content library, then click “Open Media Library”.  Just remember that the maximum size of a picture can be 5MB and videos can only be 60 seconds long. You can arrange the media in a sequence of your choice.
·         Now you can use “Edit Image”, “Transform Menu” and other inbuilt editing tools for customizing the images.
·         Add your #tags, @’s and location. But these would not be clickable.
·         You can preview your post in the right-hand pane.
·         You can save any captions/links in the clipboard text area that you want to paste while finalizing your story on Instagram app. 
·         Clicking on “Post Now”, will make your Instagram story go live at that moment. But, if you want to publish it in the future, then select “Schedule for later”. A calendar will be popped. Select the required date and time and then click “Schedule”.
Bingo! Your Story is scheduled.

Now, what to do when you receive a push notification to publish Instagram story?

You will receive a push notification on your mobile phone when your story (scheduled) is ready to go live. Make sure that you have enabled push notification for the app. Hootsuite cannot differentiate between multiple Instagram users. So, you need to make sure that right profile has been signed in to Instagram app to publish the story.
Now, what you need to do is:
1.       Open the notification on your Hootsuite app.
2.       Select streams ( Instagram story ). Now click on Notifications ( publish Instagram story ) in the top right-hand side corner.
3.       Tap on “New Publishing Notification”, preview your post and select “Open in Instagram”.
4.       Now click on the camera roll icon (top-left corner), then click on the gallery (bottom-right). All the images and videos prepared on Hootsuite will appear there as the most recent items. The text added on Hootsuite is now copied to your clipboard. Just long tap to paste at the right location.
5. After a quick tweaks, you are ready to publish. Click “Share”. Congratulations! Your story is now live!

What are the Best times to post on Instagram?

There are two approaches to follow. Let’s discuss them.
Approach1: Identify the best times to make your post/story live
The best times would be different for each brand and niche. The best way to analyze this is to follow the Instagram insights. By tracking and experimenting, you would be able to know what times work best for your brand. 
Just tap the hamburger icon on your Instagram profile and click on “Insights”. Scroll down and click on “Audience”.

What are the Best times to post on Instagram
The insights would give you information that at what time of the day your audience is most active and engaging. By tapping on the graph, Instagram would list the exact number of active audience at those times.
But, what if you don’t have a large audience base? The second approach is for you.
Approach2:  Most common best times to make your Instagram post go live
According to oberlo (info graphic) Wednesdays are perfect to get the highest level of engagements followed by Mondays and Thursdays. Sunday is the week’s worst-performing day with fewer engagements only.
And the best times are certainly lunch times (11 am to 1 pm) and after work hours, usually the commuting times (7 pm to 9 pm).
Most common best times to make your Instagram post go live
If your business involves selling consumer products, then the best time to schedule your posts is from Wednesday till peaking on Sunday. Monday is the worst day while Saturday grabs the lion’s share according to Sprout social
The reason is people are more likely to go shopping over weekends.

Winding up

Creating a killer Instagram story is definitely not a cup of tea. Batching them or scheduling posts and stories ahead of time would give you plenty of time to refine and tweak them for a striking engagement.
Struggling with your online presence or need an expert digital consultation, connect me at InstagramLinkedIn, or on Facebook. Or you can also connect me at saniagupta.com for a quick analysis of your ongoing campaigns. 
Stay tuned and keep reading our blogs for more interesting updates on social media and digital marketing.