Hootsuite’s Instagram Integration Is Too Good to be True

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Yesterday August 4, 2015 Hootsuite set the social media marketing world on fire by announcing integration with Instagram. Among the promoted features was scheduling! It sounded like the answer to community managers’ deepest problems: how to be efficient and avoid logging in and out of multiple client accounts at all hours of day.

It came on the heels of Instagram finally releasing its ads API, so I assumed that meant trusted vendors like Hootsuite were able to use the API and finally offer a reliable integration.

Boy, was I wrong.

First sign of trouble: when the update rolled out today, I was greeted with this message:

Scheduling Instagram on Hootsuite is not what we hoped

Right off the bat I knew that this wasn’t a true integration. It still requires manually posting instead of allowing a social media management tool to post for you. Other third party apps like ScheduGram offer this or other, less trustworthy ways of scheduling Instagram content. I still decided to give it a shot and added one of my client’s Instagram to our team Hootsuite account.

There were a few minor glitches/syncing issues, but I eventually got it set up.

First, I added streams to my Hootsuite on desktop so I could interact with people. This part I give an A+ because it allows way more stream types and isn’t as fussy as the previous third party Instagram app for Hootsuite.

Instagram streams in Hootsuite

I started with the basics: “home” feed, “scheduled”, “my posts” and two branded hashtag searches. They’re much more streamlined and functional than the previous capabilities.

So then I scheduled a post a few minutes in the future. The push notification was a tad delayed (I selected 12:20, but the mobile app showed 12:21), but the journey from reminder to app seemed to work the way it was supposed to.

Steps to post scheduled content on Instagram from Hootsuite

Until I actually tried to publish the post.

posting to Instagram from Hootsuite errors


I retried posting the image multiple times and got the same messages of “Failed” and “Couldn’t refresh feed.” I switched to the home feed and had the same message there and on my brand’s profile. So I changed tactics and went to my personal account to check if Instagram was down. Not only was my account working fine, I also saw the client’s post live in my feed!

I logged into desktop Instagram and received an “Oops, an error has occurred.” message. Naturally the next step was to frantically try logging in on mobile again, and nothing had changed. I got notifications for people liking the picture though, which made me much more suspicious that it was a problem generated by Hootsuite simply because notifications aren’t part of the integration.

No one else in the office was having a problem with their Instagram accounts that hadn’t been integrated into Hootsuite’s new feature. Being thorough, I asked my manager to log into the client’s account on both desktop and mobile. She had the same errors.

Then something awful happened. Instagram thought there was suspicious activity on the account and forced me to reset the password! Great, either posting through an app or logging in/out on different devices made it look like the account was compromised!

Then this bit of terrible timing happened in my inbox:

Hootsuite and Instagram seem to disgree on the integrations success

Even after changing the password, I was still unable to access the account on desktop or mobile. There was 1 thing left to try– removing the Instagram account from Hootsuite.

Worked like a charm!
Can't eat Hootsuite's cake.

To Hootsuite’s credit, their help team was pretty quick to respond to my emotional tweets. They haven’t provided any answers or fixes, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that there’s a lot on their plates right now.
I’ll update this post when we have answers!

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  • I’m having problems right now integrating Instagram with Hootsuite. Thanks for the heads up on your issues. Hopefully I’ll get mine resolved. I keep getting an “enable notifications” message and the notifications are enabled. Very frustrating.