This guide will teach you how to schedule Instagram posts for both business and personal accounts so you can focus on what really matters: growing and engaging your audience.
Let’s get started.
Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps an adventure photographer used to grow from 0 to 110,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.
How to schedule Instagram posts (business profiles)
Hootsuite users who have Instagram business profiles are able to schedule and publish photos to Instagram directly from the Hootsuite dashboard, making it super easy to engage audiences in different time zones and ensure a consistent publishing flow.
Follow these three easy steps to publish directly to Instagram.
Step 1: Convert your account to a business profile
Those Instagram users who already have a business profile can feel free to skip this step. If you haven’t yet updated your account to a business profile, follow along.
Instagram business profiles have a few special features that distinguish them from personal profiles:
- Post promotion
- Tracking of post performance and audience demographics with Instagram Insights
- Space to add business contact information so customers can reach you through the app
Note that business profiles are different from verified profiles. Instagram profiles are either personal or business, and both can be verified.
To create an Instagram business profile, you must link it to a Facebook Page. (Make sure you are a Facebook admin of the Page in order to do this).
- Go to your profile and go into Options.
- Tap Switch to Business Profile.
- When you are asked to Connect to Facebook, tap Choose Page and follow the prompts.
- Make sure your profile is set to Public.
- On the Set Up Your Business Profile page, review your business’s contact information, make any changes, and tap Done.
Step 2: Add your Instagram business profile to your social media management platform
If your Instagram business profile is already connected to your Hootsuite dashboard, you can skip to step no. 3.
Before you can publish a post, you must add your Instagram account to the Hootsuite dashboard. Here’s how to do that.
- Click on your profile icon in the Hootsuite launch menu and then Add a Social Network.
- In the pop-up window, select Instagram and press Connect with Instagram. Enter your credentials and authorize Hootsuite to access your account. Hootsuite will automatically recognize it as a business profile.
- Pick the tab you want to work with and select Add Stream. Choose Instagram from your list of connected social networks and select your Instagram profile.
If you already have an Instagram account linked to your Hootsuite dashboard, but have upgraded it from a personal profile to a business profile, you will have to re-authorize your account:
- Click your profile picture in the top-right corner.
- Select Manage social networks.
- Select your Instagram business profile.
- Connect with Instagram and follow the prompts to finish setup.
Step 3: Compose and schedule your post
Now you’re finally ready to schedule and publish directly to Instagram from your Hootsuite dashboard, like you would any other social network.
- Go to Composer and draft your copy, along with hashtags
- Attach an image, and perform edits like resizing, framing, and text overlays
- When you’re done, preview your post to ensure it will appear exactly how you want it
- Schedule the post by clicking on the calendar icon and choosing the date and time you would like it to go live
- Sit back and relax. Hootsuite will take care of publishing the post at the scheduled date and time.
Note: You cannot publish video posts directly to Instagram from your social media management platform. However, you can still schedule them by following the steps below.
Watch this 2-minute video to see the direct publishing process in action.
How to schedule Instagram posts (non-business accounts)
Again, it isn’t possible to schedule posts from within the Instagram app itself. For that you’ll have to use a social media management tool. Here at Hootsuite we of course are partial to our own platform—of which there is a free version.
Read on to learn how to schedule Instagram posts using Hootsuite.
Step 1: Add Instagram to Hootsuite
Before you can begin posting, you will need to add Instagram to your Hootsuite dashboard. Here’s how to do so:
- Click on your Profile Icon in the launch menu and then Add a Social Network. Add a social media network for scheduling Instagram posts
- In the pop-up window, select Instagram and press Connect with Instagram. Enter your credentials and authorize Hootsuite to access your account.
- Pick the Tab you want to work with and select Add Stream. Choose Instagram from your list of connected social networks and select your Instagram profile.
NOTE: Keep in mind that Instagram requires posts from a non-business account to be published natively through its mobile app. To schedule using Hootsuite, you’ll need both the Instagram app and the latest Hootsuite app. You can download it for free on the iTunes App Store or the Google Play Store.
Step 2: Compose and schedule your post
With Instagram integrated into your Hootsuite dashboard, you’re now ready to begin composing your Instagram posts. Simply follow these steps:
- Click on Compose Message
- Add your witty Instagram caption (spoiler alert: hashtags and emojis are fully supported)
- Attach your photos or videos
- On the calendar, pick the day and time to schedule your post
- Click Schedule
Step 3: Publish to Instagram
Once it’s time for your post to go live, Hootsuite will send a notification to your mobile device telling you it’s time to publish.
- To publish, simply tap the notification. You will then be redirected to the post in your Hootsuite dashboard. Do one final check and when you’re ready, tap Open in Instagram.
- The Instagram app will then open. Add your image/video and apply image filters if desired.
- Next, copy your caption from Hootsuite to your phone’s clipboard. Then simple press and paste your caption into the caption field.
- Finally, tap share to publish your post. And voilà! You’ve just successfully scheduled to Instagram using Hootsuite.
Got all that? If you need a review this video takes you through all the steps in only two and a half minutes.
When is the best time to schedule Instagram posts?
Now that you know how to schedule Instagram posts, the next step is choosing the best times to post—when you can hit the largest possible audience and drive engagement.
With social media analytics—also available within the Hootsuite dashboard and mobile app—you can determine when those times are. Test a variety of posting times and then look at the results. Which times garnered you the most Likes and comments? Those are your best times to post.
Our guide to finding the best times to post on social media takes you through this process step-by-step, and we also supply you with some of the most popular times to posts based on Hootsuite’s own data and other prolific Instagram posters.
Save time managing your Instagram presence using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can schedule and publish photos directly to Instagram, engage the audience, measure performance, and run all your other social media profiles. Try it free today.