[Update Jan 30, 2018: Please note the post below is almost 2 years old and Instagram has since released a new Instagram Graph API that has direct support for listening to mentions in both the post caption as well as post comments. Candid has access this new endpoint and is in the process of rolling out it to customers. You can read more on the FB blog: Instagram Graph API Launches and Instagram API Platform Deprecation]
We've learned a lot in the nearly 4 years of speaking with brands about their social media monitoring needs but one of the questions we continue to see on a daily basis, even in 2017, is whether Candid can monitor account mentions.
Whether it's simply pulling media into your moderation queue when someone mentions you on Instagram or other CRM/messaging related use-cases, brands are eager to find a platform that allows them to better manage notifications.
This need is so strong that they're usually convinced it's out there and will often share stories with us about how they've seen demos of other platforms that are able to do this.
Setting The Record Straight
As of Feb 2017, there is no 3rd party support (no official API support) for listening to notifications using the Instagram API, which most notably includes listening for mentions. This applies equally to all platform developers, large and small. The only true way to access your notifications is via Instagram's native app or the web experience at Instagram.com.
Half Measures & Headlines
What motivates us more than anything is transparency. Our entire platform is built around this central theme and we work tirelessly to dismantle hearsay, conjecture, and half- truths around social media marketing.
Brands all over the world are wrestling with their own competitive pressures and don't need other distortions weighing down their marketing ROI.
Remember the episode around Instagram schedulers? There was a lot of frustration when people looked past the headlines and realized that "scheduling" actually meant a push notification to your phone where you'd have to type in the caption and manually post.
In the case of account mentions, the workaround that's been adopted for years by platform developers involves monitoring specific posts for comments or mentions.
Generally these "sampling" techniques are limited to the brands' own content but can be extended to include multiple accounts or branded hashtags. While this is supported on a variety of platforms today, it's important to realize that it does not include scenarios where a user you're not already monitoring mentions your account (and doesn't include a branded hashtag that you're monitoring).
In short, the feature isn't what you think it is.
We provide support for messaging users who've mentioned you on Instagram and potentially obtaining rights to their media but this is a manual step that requires the brand to act on each mention individually. As of August 2016, you can now "like" to bookmark the photo on Instagram and bulk-import up to 500 of your most recent likes via the Candid dashboard. You can configure this step to happen automatically so that each time you sign-in, what you liked on Instagram is waiting in your Pending queue.
Awareness of the mention happens outside of Candid and we do not provide any support for listening for mentions or analytics relating to mentions. We enjoy a great relationship with the Instagram partner engineering team and will always remain focused on complimentary use-cases that are in line with their product roadmap.
Platform Policies & The Golden Rule
Any application that asks for your Instagram username and password directly is violating Instagram's platform policies. Not only is the platform at risk of losing API access but the brand account can also be compromised in these scenarios. Instagram is a global movement and draws a variety of actors each with different motives. It's important to stay safe and get your information from reliable sources.