What is the best Instagram scheduling tool?
What’s your approach to Instagram? Are you a careful curator of your feed or do you take a ‘stick it up and hope for the best’ scattergun approach?
While the second tactic *can* work – if you’re posting powerful, engaging content, you will always attract followers – it definitely pays off to be mindful of how your grid looks, especially if you are a small business showcasing your products via Insta.
Check out this video below ⬇️ to help you compare all three schedulers to help you make the decision on choosing the best Instagram scheduler for you.
Taking the time to have a consistent look and feel is a way to impress your followers and to create a ‘shopfront’ to be proud of. But there’s no denying it can take time and effort and, chances are, you don’t want to be glued to your phone day in, day out. That’s where planning tools come in. They will help you achieve the consistent look and save you time, while the intricacies of each one’s features can help you attract more followers and more traffic, therefore boosting sales and achieving better results from Instagram Stories (the popularity of which is still on the rise).
The big three
The major players are Plann, Planoly and Later, which will help you pre-plan your grid before you post. Sometimes it’s down to personal preference on what to use – one person’s intuitive might be another person’s illogical – but they do also have a few differing features. Here’s a little comparison of them to help you figure out which one suits you best.
PLANN – is the joint cheapest of the 3 if you pay yearly (along with Planoly) – but the costs for all 3 are very similar for the paid plans. Best to look at the features to help you make the right choice. You can also now use Plann via desktop.
Plann offers lots of features including a picture editor, a drag and drop grid, hashtag management, repost feature, scheduling and push notifications on when to post. If you choose the free plan, you can do up to 30 uploads a month on one account, whereas if you want or need to manage more accounts, then prices start from $9 a month.
You can plan themes, find hashtags that offer the best reach and analyse competitors’ posts to gain insight into what works in your industry. Plus, in the analytics section you can even work out your best performing hashtags and colour swatches. Pretty comprehensive stuff.
PLANOLY – Available for both mobile and desktop too. The free option is very similar – 30 uploads a month, while you can go for unlimited uploads on one account for a starting fee of $9 if paid monthly. It markets itself as an Instagram partner, so usability is good.
Planoly shares many of the same features as Plann, with added story scheduling, and has the bonus of a robust shoppable content feature (which comes at a price that is fairly costly). Unlike Plann it will autopost to your business account. However, there is no option to repost content that you have liked. Planoly do release some free customisable Insta Stories templates. Plus you can also now post to Pinterest.
LATER – Another desktop and mobile platform, Later shares most of the same features as Plann and Planoly. Some people report finding it more intuitive.
One key difference is that Later also offers the ability to manage other social platforms (Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter) so you can use Instagram to showcase a full range of your business’ offerings. You get a calendar view and can search and repost content you have liked. The paid plans allow you to schedule video, multi-photo posts, and Stories – the free version doesn’t only allowing photo scheduling only.
Another benefit to Later is a linkin.bio allowing you to build a clickable, shoppable landing page. The Best Time To Post feature is really handy. It automatically calculates your top 7 posting times each week and highlights these times on your Later calendar. Optimise it even more with the quick schedule feature, which allows you to bulk schedule.
Organisational pro Sarah Forde adds ‘I love the visual look of Later on the desktop and mobile, I love the drag and drop feature – which makes creating an impactful grid much easier. You can also tag people and add location – all within the app.’
So, while each one is pretty similar on the free plans, they come into their own (depending on the features that are important to you) in the paid-for plans. They can be so much more than a time-management tool. Curating your feed, keeping on top of comments, using in-depth analytics and some really great photo-editing and reposting features make these tools well worth investing in.
Best all-rounder: Later If you pay monthly then all 3 of the schedulers are the same price $9. Pay yearly then Later is 50 cents more expensive per month. BUT on the free version you can have 1 profile per social platform, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest.
Best for visual merchandising: Planoly. E-commerce brands can’t go far wrong with this tool. If you’re a big Stories user, this tool is great for planning those in too. The new Stories templates released today are stylish and easy to use. I like that they keep developing new products that make life easier for us all on Insta.
I use Planoly, and I have done for about a year now. It’s like an old friend and has been very reliable in enabling to keep on top of my puzzle grid I could not produce a grid like I have without using one of these scheduling tools. I’ll be using the new Stories templates straight away!
The ability to see what my grid looks like before I post is vital to me.
I can create my hashtag groups and add appropriate ones, or a mix of hashtag groups together quickly. And if I needed to show a client the grid (back when I was running social media for clients), I can easily send them a link to approve first. I do sometimes use it on a desktop computer too when uploading my content.
Are you using an Instagram scheduler? Which is your favourite. Let me know in the comments below.
If you need inspiration for creating a grid, download my 3 free instagram templates. Choose between the vertical, horizontal and puzzle grid. All 3 will create 15 posts easily in Canva. Full video instructions and video tips on using Canva are also included.