Everything You Need to Know to Schedule Instagram Posts

Schedule Instagram Posts

There’s no “secret” to Instagram success.

But if there were, it would be consistency, quality, and high levels of engagement.

Unfortunately, those things are easier said than done.

What’s more, Instagram has more than one billion monthly active users and 25 million business profiles, so competition for attention is tough.

To rise above the noise and succeed on Instagram, you must be dedicated and organized.

This is why you need to schedule Instagram posts.

In this article, you’ll find out which tool you should use, as well as the best times to schedule Instagram posts to maximize engagement.

And make sure to stick around, because you’ll also learn about three disastrous scheduling mistakes to avoid.

Let’s get to it.

Can You Schedule Instagram Posts on Instagram?

Um, well, no.

You can schedule Instagram posts, but you can’t use Instagram to do it…

In January 2018, Instagram released a new feature called “Content Publishing (Beta).”

But this feature still doesn’t let users schedule Instagram posts within the app.

However, it does allow third-party social media software applications like Hootsuite, SocialFlow, and Sprout Social to connect to Instagram directly.

In other words, to schedule Instagram posts, you need to use a third-party social media management application.

Hootsuite was one of the first to take advantage of this feature.

“The scheduling and publishing of Instagram content has been the number one request for our 16 million customers,” said Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes. “Now, they can manage large volumes of content, multiple team members and multiple Instagram accounts with ease and security. Hootsuite is excited to partner with Instagram to make this happen.”

Oh, one more catch: Social media applications like Hootsuite can only work with Instagram business profiles.

Ideally, users could simply schedule Instagram posts on the platform itself, like on Facebook:

Schedule Facebook Posts

Still, Instagram’s third-party fix is better than nothing, especially for marketers.

So yes, you can schedule Instagram posts – but, you need an Instagram business profile and a third-party social media management application.

How can you convert your Instagram account to a business profile? And which social app is best for you?

We’ve got you covered:

How to Convert Your Instagram Profile to a Business Profile

It’s a cinch to convert your existing Instagram profile into a business profile.

First, head to your Instagram profile and tap the settings icon to view your account settings. Then, scroll down and tap “Switch to Business Profile.”

Convert Instagram to Business Profile

Once you’ve done that, follow the instructions. At this point, you’ll be asked to connect your Instagram account to your Facebook account.

Don’t skip this step.

For verification purposes, the social media scheduling tools can only work with Instagram business profiles that are connected to a Facebook page.

Connect Instagram to Facebook

Once you’ve connected your Facebook page to your Instagram account, enter your business email address, phone number, and address. Then tap “Done.”

Congrats – you’re now the proud owner of a swanky Instagram business profile!

Aside from being able to schedule Instagram posts, business profiles come with tons of useful tools and features to help you grow your business.

These include Instagram Ads and Instagram Insights – Instagram’s analytics tools:

Instagram Insights

To learn more about these features, check out our article “How to Optimize Your Instagram Profile to Skyrocket Growth.”

4 Awesome Tools That Allow You to Schedule Instagram Posts

Now that you have a business profile and it’s connected to your Facebook page, you need a way to schedule Instagram posts.

There are countless third-party applications available, but we’ve narrowed the list down to four of our favorites.

Each one is aimed at businesses with different needs. So take a look and see which of these four tools is most suitable for you.

1. Later: Focusing on Instagram

Best for: Solopreneurs and businesses with a strong focus on Instagram

Later

Later is a social media management app with a strong focus on Instagram.

The app also allows you to schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. However, you’re not able to use it with other popular platforms such as Google+, YouTube, or LinkedIn.

Plus, you can upload media directly from Dropbox or Google Drive.

Later’s free plan lets you schedule up to 30 posts for each social platform.

To schedule additional posts, manage extra social accounts, or add team members, you need to upgrade to one of their paid plans, which start at $9 per month.

2. Buffer: Social Media Scheduling for All Your Accounts

Best for: Solopreneurs and small businesses using multiple social media accounts

Buffer

Buffer is a tool that allows you to schedule posts directly to Instagram, as well as five other social networking sites:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+

Buffer lets you manage all of your posts from one dashboard which you can access from your computer’s browser or the Buffer mobile app for iOS and Android.

There’s also an extension for your browser which enables allows you to add content you find online to your social media schedule.

Buffer’s free plan allows you to connect and manage up to three social accounts, excluding Pinterest. You can also schedule up to 10 posts at a time for each social account.

Plans for additional posts and social accounts start at $15 per month.

3. HootSuite: The Complete Social Media Management Tool

Best for: Marketers and businesses looking to take things to the next level

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is another social media management tool that enables you to schedule and publish posts directly to Instagram. You can also manage your other social media accounts on:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube

Aside from scheduling social media posts, Hootsuite has a ton of extra features to help you manage, monitor, and grow your social reach.

They also place an emphasis on building smarter workflows, scaling across your organization, and delivering a demonstrable ROI.

Hootsuite’s free plan lets you connect and manage up to three social media accounts. You can also schedule up to 30 posts at one time.

To manage additional accounts, add extra team members, or schedule more posts, plans start at $25 per month.

4. Sprout Social: The End-to-End Solution

Best for: Marketing teams and established businesses in need of an end-to-end solution

SproutSocial

Sprout Social is a feature-packed social media management solution aimed at larger organizations. The software allows you to manage, monitor, and schedule posts on:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook Messenger

Sprout Social also lets you manage your customer relations with an integrated social CRM (Customer Relationship Manager).

What’s more, Sprout Analytics is a comprehensive tool that enables you to gather meaningful insights from your social data, so you can make informed strategic decisions.

Sprout Social provides a free 30-day trial, and plans start at $99 per month.

What Are the Best Times to Post on Instagram?

Okay, you’ve converted your profile to an Instagram business profile and verified it with Facebook. You’ve also got a third-party tool to schedule Instagram posts.

But when should you schedule Instagram posts to be published?

Let’s explore two options:

1. How to Identify The Best Times to Schedule Instagram Posts for Your Brand

The best times to post on Instagram will be different for each niche and brand.

For this reason, you should track your progress and experiment to see what works best for your business.

Thankfully, Instagram Insights makes this easy to do.

Just head to your profile and tap the three lines to access the menu. Then tap “Insights.”

Instagram Insights

Once there, tab on the “Audience” tab and scroll to the very bottom of the page to see when your followers are most active.

Instagram Insights Audience

You can view how active your audience is by hour or day. Plus, if you tap the graph, Instagram will display the exact number of your audience active during those times.

But what if you don’t yet have a large audience to help you identify when to schedule Instagram posts?

2. The Best Times to Schedule Instagram Posts In General

With so much conflicting advice floating around online, it can be difficult to know the best time to schedule Instagram posts.

Thankfully, Sprout Social compiled all of the social media scheduling studies they could find to reveal a general consensus.

The image below shows their findings:

Best Times to Post on Instagram

Sprout Social found that the highest rates of engagement are likely to be achieved when sharing content Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The day with the highest levels of engagement is Thursday, and Sunday is the worst performing day of the week.

Additionally, peak times to schedule Instagram posts are 5 a.m., 11 a.m., and 3-4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.

Sprout Social also put together the best times to schedule Instagram posts for businesses that sell consumer goods.

Best Times to Post on Instagram

As you can see, Instagram posts from accounts selling consumer goods perform best Wednesday through Sunday, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Mondays perform worst, with Saturday being the best day to share new posts.

Presumably, this is because people are more likely to engage in shopping activities over the weekend.

These charts provide a useful place to start when you schedule Instagram posts.

3 Disastrous Mistakes to Avoid When You Schedule Instagram Posts

Scheduling is awesome – but don’t get caught out. Here are three mistakes to avoid when you schedule Instagram posts.

Mistake #1: Forgetting to Interact with Your Audience

Now that you schedule Instagram posts, it’s likely you won’t be online when they’re published, and so won’t be responding to new comments as they’re posted.

However, interacting with your followers and nurturing your community is a key aspect of growing your reach on Instagram. Remember, Instagram’s algorithm rewards high levels of engagement.

So, make sure to set aside time to review and reply to your Instagram comments.

Although we schedule Instagram posts on Oberlo’s Instagram account, we always make time to talk with members of our community directly.

Instagram Link to Bio

What’s more, don’t forget to spend some time liking and commenting on other people’s posts.

Mistake #2: Not Editing Your Posts

You’re only human.

So when you schedule a big batch of Instagram posts in one go, you’re bound to make the occasional mistake.

Sure, a typo might raise a few eyebrows, but it could be worse.

There’s always the chance that you’ll schedule a post which – on second glance – is confusing, unintentionally funny, or just downright offensive.

Avoid these simple mistakes by setting aside time to come back and review your scheduled Instagram posts to check for errors.

Alternatively, have a friend or someone else on your team check them before publishing.

Mistake #3: Scheduling Too Far in Advance

It might be tempting to bulk schedule six months worth of Instagram posts in one go.

Don’t.

Not only do you leave yourself no room to respond to events and trends as they happen, you also leave yourself exposed to a branding disaster.

For example, you might include a joke, only for it to be published during an international tragedy…

Awkward Panda Gif

Situations like this will make your brand appear insensitive, out of touch, and concerned only with your own brand affairs.

So stay on your game.

Avoid scheduling Instagram posts too far in advance, and only schedule enough posts to better manage your time and productivity.

4 Benefits to Scheduling Instagram Posts

Before we dig into the social media tools you can use to schedule Instagram posts, let’s take a closer look at the benefits of scheduling, so that you can get the most out of your newfound freedom!

1. Batch Your Post Creation to Improve Quality

Creating a killer Instagram post is no easy task. Especially if you’re trying to throw one together on a Saturday morning or right before bed.

What’s more, coming up with the best Instagram hashtags, or and writing the perfect Instagram caption takes time. And trying to hone these crucial elements waiting in line at the drive-in is bound to result in less engagement.

Scheduling your posts ahead of time means that you can do them properly.

Block out some time early on in the week to craft a week’s worth of images, videos, captions, and hashtags. You can also develop a narrative or theme to tie the week’s posts together.

Then, schedule the posts and turn your attention to another task.

2. Save Time and Upload Content Directly From Your Computer

Don’t get me wrong: Smartphones are amazing, and there are’s plenty of great image and video editing apps for creating content on the go.

But when it comes to creating high-quality images and videos, a larger screen helps – a lot.

Plus, if you’re using a professional DSLR camera to capture content for Instagram, you’re probably already using your computer to edit.

Once you’ve finished crafting the perfect image or video, it can be a pain to send it to your smartphone so you can upload it to Instagram via the app.

Thankfully, if you schedule Instagram posts, you can upload directly from your computer.

So, whether you’re managing one Instagram account or ten, scheduling will save you this administrative headache.

3. Cultivate a Strong, Consistent Brand Look and Voice

When it comes to branding, consistency is vital.

As Senior Vice President of Apple Inc., Angela Ahrendts, said, “You have to create a consistent brand experience however and wherever a customer touches your brand, online or offline. The lines are forever blurred.”

On Oberlo’s Instagram profile, we mix great product photography with vibrant, colorful text-based images.

Instagram Brand Aesthetic

This is also why, according to a report from WebDam, 60 percent of the top brands on Instagram use the same filter for every post.

Now, when you create multiple posts in one go, it’s far easier to ensure a consistent aesthetic and voice.

Plus, when you schedule Instagram posts, you’ll get the “big picture” view of what’s to come and can adjust each post so they match the style you’re aiming to achieve.

For example, you might notice that you have too much dark imagery and you need to add some lighter photos. Or you might find that you have plenty of product promotions, but need to share more lifestyle images.

It’s also easier to rearrange the order of your posts to create an attractive Instagram feed.

All in all, you’ll be able to develop a stronger, more consistent brand appearance, which will help you to get more Instagram followers.

4. Post Regularly with Ease to Keep Your Followers Engaged

You need to post regularly and consistently to keep your followers engaged and keep Instagram’s algorithm happy.

This is much easier to do when you schedule Instagram posts.

Scheduling lets you post tons of content on Instagram without the constant interruptions to your personal life or professional productivity.

So how much should you post?

Well, according to a study by Tailwind, brands that post seven times or more a week increase both engagement and follower count.

The study also revealed that follower count increases four times faster when brands post once a day rather than once a week.

What’s more, research by Union Metrics confirms that engagement doesn’t dip with increased posting. In fact, because of time zones and the algorithm, sharing more content on Instagram may be the best way to ensure your followers see your posts.

Bottom line: Try to post at least once a day.

But be warned: Don’t sacrifice quality in your quest for quantity. The algorithm rewards posts and accounts that receive high levels of engagement.

In summary, when you schedule Instagram posts, it’s far easier to post consistently, keep your followers engaged, and grow your reach.

Summary

Scheduling Instagram posts has tons of benefits.

You can batch your post creation, save time, and upload directly from your computer. Plus, it’s easier to cultivate a consistent brand look and ensure your followers stay engaged with a carefully created schedule.

To schedule Instagram posts:

  • First, make sure you convert your Instagram profile to a business profile and verify it by connecting it to your Facebook page.
  • Then choose a third-party scheduling tool that best suits your needs, sign up, and link it to your Instagram account.
  • Schedule Instagram posts at peak times to maximize engagement using the charts from Sprout Social. Then, track which times perform best for your brand and constantly improve your posting schedule.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to engage with your followers. Reply to comments on your posts, and engage with other people’s posts on the platform.

Has scheduling Instagram posts helped your business grow? Let us know in the comments below!

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