We only have so many hours in a day. So many spell slots to cast (if you are a DnD Player), so many spoons (if you are familiar with the Spoon Theory: ), or match sticks (if you have read Fried Green Tomatoes). And part of being a creator if that you promote your art on multiple platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, DeviantArt, Tumblr, YouTube, Pinterest, and probably even more that I am not even familiar with.
Because there are so many places people need to go to post their product – a sub-genre of businesses has cropped up to help you monitor and promote your art on those platforms. I have done a bunch of research on the various businesses out there and tried out a few and for Instagram have settled on Planonly as my preferred brand for what I personally am looking for as a creator for works a day job.
I decided to focus on Instagram for when I was hunting for social media planner for a few reasons:
- I don’t use Twitter or Snapchat – I just don’t get them really – maybe someone here can teach me how to use those in the future
- Facebook already has a scheduling feature built into them that I use for links and events and more!
- Most of my engagement with my followers and friends is on IG – comments, likes, and stories but I find that the time that IG was telling me people were engaging with my profile was when I was in meetings for my day job in the tech industry – not a good time to be on my phone.
I have found a few different tools that are out there for social media scheduling:
• Planoly - Instagram only (but can post to the connected FB account), has a free plan, 30 posts a month both grid and stories, no videos or gifs, 1 month of analytics and a comments inbox for the 5 latest posts https://www.planoly.com/pricing
• Later - 1 social profile per platform, Ig/twitter/fb & Pinterest, 30 posts on IG, photos but no stories, basic analytics https://later.com/pricing/
• Hootsuite -30 day free trial then 30 dollars a month 10 social profiles for 1 user (this I think would be best for someone who maybe only does social media for a business that really relies on it full time) no autoposting though which is really what I was hunting for at the free level. https://hootsuite.com/plans/free
• Preview: free plan with unlimited posts and basic analytics https://thepreviewapp.com/pricing/
• Plann: free, 1 account 1 person, 30 posts https://www.plannthat.com/pricing/
• Tailwind - free trial for 100 pins and 30 posts on IG then 10 $ a month for smart scheduling, basic metrics, 30 day archive https://www.tailwindapp.com/pricing/small-business
The first one I tried out was Later – I liked the fact that at first blush that you could do Instagram and Facebook as separate planned postings. However, I found their app to be difficult to follow, their tech support poor (I waited 4 days to hear back from them about password requirements to create an account!), and their claims about auto posting to be a bit overstated. You could plan out your posting, but it was not an auto-posting system. It was planner that you still needed to have your phone on you to post the photo to Instagram. It was more clicks than I currently was doing to post on IG since I now had to open the app, copy the caption (that I had already written), copy the picture, open IG, paste the caption, and then post it. It was faster to just open IG, pick out a picture, write out a caption and paste a saved group of hashtags from my note pad which was my current hack. I quickly cancelled that account as I found it was more hassle than I was looking for. Maybe future iterations are better or maybe a paid version is has more bells if you are more platforms! I was looking for easy.
When you login you can see your Instagram grid on the left and a calendar on the right, you can see a month or a week view. On the grid view of your IG posts you can see a quick view of your likes and comments. On the calendar view you can see the time you either posted or are planned to post a photo and again – the number of comments that were left on that post. When you upload your media, you can upload from your computer, your drive or your Dropbox which is neat. And if you are on the free plan like cheap little me – you get 30 uploads a month! It lets you know which posts are scheduled, and which are not.
Another cool feature Planoly has that I really liked was the Hashtag library. So, in addition to planning out the grid of your posts is that you can stash your commonly used lists of hashtags that you want to add to these photos. I tend to have themes of my posts. Burlesque. Modeling. Kink. Travel. Adventure. Steampunk. That sort of thing. So, it is nice to unite my common hashtags together so that way I don’t have to type them all out each time I create a post and plan it all out. With a click of a button they are all added to that photo when I decide when I want it to be posted. IT IS SO EASY. I love being able to add everything with the click of a few buttons rather than having to think and type everything out. And if I was to edit or change anything I can quickly as I am writing up the caption for the photo after I have added the core library of hashtags I am interested in using.
Along with the Hashtags and the Time and Date features? I can decide if I want to auto-post items or hold on to them. I can also tag other Instagram users (as long as their profile is public of course). I can create captions, apply filters and crop the photo ahead of time. I can do a lot of IG’s functionality from my computer – a thing a lot of IG users complain they can’t do right now. I can even go to the comments section and like and reply to some comments on photos. Due to my free limitations its only 5 comments at a time. But I think that’s okay. I am enjoying the trial run and experimentation of it all.
It means that for the next few weeks I don’t have to stress about posting to Instagram at the time that normally most of my followers and friends normally check IG to interact with my posts when I am normally in a meeting for my day job. I can just automatically post to IG at 10 am PST while I am sitting in a meeting with a fully captioned, hashtagged and tagged photo.
In addition to the planning features there are some nice analyzing features. Again, I am just using the basic right now so I can only see 30 days back. With a week view I can see the last 5 top liked and commented on photos (they may not be the same) and with the month view I can see the top 10! I still find that my likes and comments are pretty arbitrary but I enjoy looking at data regardless.
If you upgrade there is also an option to have a shoplinks and other really cool features – so I have a feeling that if you are an artist who relies on sales through Instagram or has a Society 6 or other online print shop this could be a really cool feature for you. Personally I really just like having a few more minutes out of my day back and being able to leverage the data IG has given me about my best posting times with this resource since in the past I was always posting either really early or rather late in the day since my schedule was always so busy with work and training and art creation that I wasn’t able to post when it suggested I should.
One last little note: I haven’t even had to contact their tech support yet, that’s how easy their stuff is to use so far. The app and the website are so nice to use. I have some notes from a tech standpoint on how I think some of their things could be a bit more accessibility oriented however, it is all intuitive for the most part. I can only anticipate their stuff will continue to improve with each update.
I think I spend a lot of time on my photo sets as a model and as a performer and I like being able to then spend may now two days out of the month just planning IG out. I still spend time on IG – don’t get me wrong. I work on Stories (although Planoly has stories – they are not auto posting yet, just planning) to help promote events, other artists, myself, adventures etc, respond to comments, interact with other artists etc. But it nice knowing that there are resources out there that can help make these easier to use and interact with friends, followers and fans who appreciate your art to make your art easily and consistently accessible!
One more time: https://www.planoly.com/pricing
Some other Instagram things:
• You can have up to 30 hashtags on a post! Use them!
• There are pages out there to help you find related hashtags : https://hashtagify.me/hashtag/tbt , https://www.all-hashtag.com/
• Some people in the 18 + community know there is a thing call Shadowbanning – did you know there is a thing to help you check your hashtags to see if any of them are on the arbitrary naughty list? https://triberr.com/instagram-shadowban-tester
Thanks for your time!