You know how it is when you read something and you know you should stop and take a proper note of what you read and where you read it, but you don’t? Your attention is elsewhere and you just don’t stop to look. And later you regret and wish you had taken better notice.
I did that within the past two or three weeks when I read something about Instagram loosening up its rule about only being able to post from your phone. That interests me for the @flying_twigs account because I want to put the products onto Instagram.
I have lots of full-size images on my laptop but I don’t want to put them on my phone because the only place that Instagram can reach is the Photos roll for the Photos app.
And I don’t want to clog up my Photos app and storage with photos that are purely for business. I am not sure how I would even import them into Photos.
So today I googled for the information about posting to Instagram from a laptop and it came up with a couple of apps, but something about them warned me off.
By the way, yes, I know that you can change the user agent on your laptop to make it look like you are on a phone, but I am never sure that Instagram doesn’t recognise what is going on and cause issues such as shadow banning or worse.
And then I remembered Product Hunt, so I looked in there. And for the first time since I joined Product Hunt ages ago, I saw the real benefit to users like me. It’s trust. The app that came up has almost 1,300 upvotes. And these are upvotes by people who are in the Product Hunt community. And you don’t get to join the community unless Product Hunt let you in. They have a reputation to maintain.
It’s funny really, how we the populace wanted to democratise access to publishing tools, but then the bad actors started to game the system with fake reviews, like the complaints over fake Amazon reviews. And now we are grateful for gatekeepers like Product Hunt who keep the system clean in their corner of the Web.
So, I looked through Product Hunt and found the Later app through which to post to Instagram.
As they say in the blurb on their homepage ‘Later is an Instagram Partner and uses the Instagram Graph API for publishing to Instagram, so your account is always safe.’
They have a free plan, but on reading the detail I saw that it only allows 30 posts per month. Oh no, I thought, that means it is going to take me almost a year to post all the products.
But then I thought about it a bit more and realised that the equivalent of one post per day is probably more sensible than blasting the @flying_twigs Instagram with lots and lots of images per day.
The reason the Later app works, is that Instagram has opened their API to allow businesses to schedule Instagram posts using the Instagram Graph API. There are restrictions, for automatic publishing, though. These are that it must be an Instagram business profile. it only works for single photo posts, (not videos or carousels), and there is no location or account tagging.
Well, that’s just perfect for my needs because it is to the business account that I want to post. And I have no interest in carousels or videos. And if I did, then for those rare cases I could post from my phone.
Then I thought that I had better just check that @flying_twigs is a business account. I was pretty sure that it is, but just to check. At some point I tied up Flying Twigs on Facebook to the @flying_twigs Instagram account, so I thought it must be. But Instagram accounts are personal by default so I needed to check. I read an article by Laura Paskoff on TheeDigital (odd name, no?) and that explained how to check.
Tap the hamburger menu at top right of your profile, and then tap Settings. From there, tap Account and scroll to the last section.
It said ‘Switch account type’ and ‘Add new professional account’.
I tapped ‘Switch account type’ and it asked me whether I wanted to change to a Personal account. No I didn’t so I cancelled that. And now I just had to learn how to use the Later app, which turned out to be easy. Once you upload images it is just a question of dragging them to the date and time you want to them to post, filling in the description and adding hashtags, and you are done!