[Publish] Scheduling your Instagram posts

Summary

Unlike other social networks like Twitter and Facebook, Instagram only allow third party apps to publish posts automatically on behalf of users under specific conditions. Therefore, Buffer Publish offers two ways of posting to Instagram: Direct Scheduling and Reminders.

Scheduling Instagram posts works identically for both, but the type of Instagram Profile you're sharing to (Personal Account or Business Profile), as well as the type of content you're sharing (single image, multiple images, or video), will determine whether the post is shared automatically or scheduled as a reminder. Learn more here.

Creating your Instagram posts

To get started, click inside the box at the top of your Instagram Queue, which says "What would you like to share?". Start by uploading an image or video, and then type in or copy and paste the caption you'd like to use. You're able to include up to 30 hashtags in your caption, and these will be hyperlinked once the post has been published to Instagram. If you have an Instagram Business Profile, and Direct Scheduling has been enabled, you'll also be able to choose a location.

The type of Instagram Profile you're sharing to (Personal Account or Business Profile), as well as the type of content you're sharing (single image, multiple images, or video), will determine whether the post is shared automatically or scheduled as a reminder. Whenever you're scheduling a post, we'll let you know if it's going to be scheduled as a reminder.

Notes:

  • Images and videos must be within Instagram's accepted aspect ratio range (between 4:5 and 1.91:1 for images and between 4:5 and 16:9 for videos), in order to be published automatically. If the image or video falls outside of this range, the post will be scheduled as a reminder instead.
  • Videos must at least 3 seconds and less than 60 seconds. If your video is not within this range, you'll see a message letting you know. You'll need to adjust the video and then re-upload it.

Tagging users in images

The ability to tag users in images is available on our Pro, Premium, and Business plans. Learn more about our plans and pricing here.

User tagging is only available on single images that are being published automatically. It’s not available for posts that include multiple images, videos, or posts that are being sent as reminders.

After uploading the image to your post, click Tag. Click the location on the image you’d like to add a tag, enter the @ handle and then click Add Tag. A link to the Instagram account will appear on the right hand side. You’re able to add up to 20 tags on an image. If you need to remove a tag, click the x icon to the left of it on the right hand side. Once you’ve finished adding your tags, click Save and then continue scheduling your post as normal.

Due to API limitations, we are not able to auto-complete the @ handle and you will need to enter the exact @ handle of the Instagram user you’d like to mention. Additionally, we’re not able to check if the Instagram account is private or if it exists. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to check each link that appears on the right hand side to ensure the correct @ handle has been entered and the account is not private. If any tags on your image are for private users, or for an account that doesn’t exist, the post will fail to publish and you’ll see an error message.

First comments

The option to include a first comment is available on our Pro, Premium, and Business Plans. Learn more about our plans and pricing here.

If your Instagram post is set to be published automatically, you'll also have the option to include a first comment. First comments are great for hashtags or other information that you may not want to show initially within your caption. Toggle the Include a comment with this post option on and type your first comment into the extra box displayed. Learn more about first comments here.

Scheduling your Instagram posts

Once your post is ready, you'll have a few scheduling options, described below.

  • Add to Queue (default): Your post will be added to the next available time slot from your Posting Schedule. Depending on the type of post, it will either be published automatically at the right time, or you'll receive a reminder to your phone at that time.
  • Share Next: Your post will be saved at the top of your Queue and be the next one to be published. Other posts in your Queue will be bumped down one time slot. This option is only available on our Pro and Business Plans.
  • Share Now: Your post will be published immediately, essentially skipping the Queue. If the post is scheduled as a reminder, the notification will come through to your phone right away.
  • Schedule Post: You will be able to choose a custom date and time in the future for the post to be shared.

If your post was scheduled as a Reminder, you'll see a bell icon in the Queue. At the time the post is due to be published, the reminder will be sent as a push notification to your phone. Learn more about notifications and posting here.

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