Using Instagram with Buffer

With Buffer, you can plan and schedule your Instagram posts, carousels, stories and reels, get posting strategy recommendations, and engage with your community, all in one place.

In this article:

  1. Connecting and refreshing your Instagram account
  2. How Instagram works with Buffer
  3. Scheduling Instagram posts, reels, and stories
  4. Image, video, and feature specifications by post type
  5. Engaging with Instagram posts
  6. Instagram analytics
  7. Instagram error library

These features are available for Instagram

Publishing Analytics Engagement

Connecting and refreshing your Instagram account

You can connect multiple Instagram business or creator accounts to Buffer. To see a step-by-step guide and troubleshooting steps, checkout the following articles:

If your connected Instagram channel requires a refresh, check out the article Refreshing a channel in Buffer.

Instagram has a limit of five active accounts per device, so if you are managing more than five Instagram accounts in Buffer, we recommend checking out our guide to Working with multiple Instagram accounts.

How Instagram works with Buffer

Instagram works slightly differently from other social networks in that posts can either be: 

Automatic Posts Notification Posts

Posts can be published to Instagram automatically if they're within Instagram's accepted aspect ratio range and the following type of post:

  • a single image
  • multiple (carousel) images
  • single video posts
  • reels
  • stories

Posts will need to be scheduled as a notification if:

  • they contain an image or video that falls outside of Instagram's accepted aspect ratio range
  • you want to add features that aren't supported for automatic publishing such as:
    • music for stories or reels
    • links on stories
    • text on stories
    • product tags
    • collaboration posts
    • topics
Notification posts don’t publish automatically. Instead, we send a notification to your phone that guides you in taking the final publishing steps manually. Learn more in the article: Using notification based publishing for Instagram.

You'll also see an option in the composer where you can either choose Automatic (if your post can be scheduled automatically) or Notify Me (if you either choose to get a mobile notification for your post or if it contains content that can't be published automatically, such as videos that are over the duration limit). 

GIF of toggling between automatic and notifications based publishing in the Buffer composer

⚠️ If you have an Instagram account connected and wish to use notification based publishing, you must set up notifications on your mobile device to ensure you don't miss any posts. (Download our mobile app on iOS or Android).

Scheduling Instagram posts, reels, and stories

Check out a quick overview of scheduling features available for Instagram below.

Check out our Answers feature to find the best time to post on Instagram. For general guidance, you can also check out our blog post, The Best Time to Post on Instagram.

Features & good-to-knows Notes
Scheduling posts, reels, and stories Checkout our step-by-step guides to Scheduling Instagram posts, reels and stories. Plus, check out some good to knows below.
Scheduling in the mobile app

We have two posts that can help you get started posting to Instagram in the mobile app:

-Scheduling Instagram posts and reels on the Buffer mobile app

-Scheduling Instagram Stories on the Buffer mobile app

Tagging / mentions

To tag / mention another Instagram account in your post or reel caption, type in the exact handle (we are unfortunately unable to search @usernames as you type). Once published to Instagram, the account you mentioned will become hyperlinked. Learn more about adding @ mentions (tags) here.

Tagging users in images is only available on automatically published posts. It’s not available for reels, stories, or posts scheduled as notifications.

Instagram Shop Grid Add a link to each of your posts, and then view all of your posts in a clickable grid via the link in your Instagram bio. Learn more about Instagram Shop Grid here.
Daily posting limit 50 posts per 24 hours (this includes all posts, stories, and reels shared within a 24 hour period). Learn more about Daily posting limits here.
Character limit 2,200 characters per post.
Image descriptions / alt text Due to API limitations, we are not able to add alt text to Instagram posts, reels, stories, or notifications. 
Reposts Unfortunately, it is not possible to schedule Instagram reposts. However, you can share one of your own posts again using Buffer’s Duplicate feature.
Adding a location Learn more here: How locations work when scheduling Instagram posts through Buffer.
Carousel posts Enjoy publishing carousel posts through Buffer. Instagram carousel posts do not support mixed media, meaning you will not be able to create a post containing both an image and video.
Hashtags In the composer, type the hashtags you'd like to use. When the post is published, the hashtags will hyperlink just as if they were sent from the native platform itself. Learn more about How hashtags work in Buffer.
Collaborator posts
​​Collaboration posts are not supported due to limitations with Instagram’s API. However, if you schedule the post using the Notify Me option, you'll finish publishing your post in Instagram and can use their collaboration feature at that time.
​​ Music, Story Stickers & Links, Reels Topics, Product Tagging
By selecting these options in the composer, your post will get scheduled for notification based publishing, as these options are not available with automatic publishing. Learn more about notification based publishing here. 

Scheduling Good to Knows

  • Due to API limitations, we're not able to add trending music to posts or reels at this time.
  • Due to API limitations, it is not possible to publish stories automatically on creator accounts. 
  • If you are sharing the URL of an Instagram post to another social network, we are unable to generate a link preview. Learn more about Sharing Facebook and Instagram links through Buffer.
  • If you have Instagram settings to auto share on Facebook, your Instagram posts sent via Buffer won't auto publish on Facebook.

📝 If your Instagram posts are not being published automatically when they should be, check out our troubleshooting guide here: Why aren't my Instagram posts sending automatically?

Image, video, and feature specifications by post type

  Post Reel Story

(up to 10, between 4:5 and 1.91:1 aspect ratio)


(suggested aspect ratio is 9:16)

Image size 8MB X 8MB

✓ (1)

(video must be between 4:5 and 16:9 aspect ratio)

✓ (1)

(video must be between 4:5 and 16:9 aspect ratio)

(recommended size is 9:16; frame rate must be between 23 fps and 60 fps)

Video length between 3 and 60 seconds 5 seconds and 15 minutes for reels between 3 and 60 seconds
Video size 100MB or smaller 100MB or smaller 100MB or smaller
Video bitrate 25Mbps maximum 25Mbps maximum 25Mbps maximum
Audio bitrate 128kbps 128kbps 128kbps
Adding a location X
First comment X
Hashtag manager X
Shop Grid X X

Engaging with Instagram posts

Once your posts are published, you can use our engagement features to see your comments and reply, all in one view. Learn more about Engaging with Facebook and Instagram comments here. 

Instagram analytics

We can post all day, but the real excitement comes when seeing the reactions to our posts. If you’re on the Essentials, Team, or Agency plans, you’ll find all of your stats within the Analyze tab.

There are two places to look for analytics in your Buffer account:

  • When you first connect an Instagram channel, we will be able to backfill up to 30 days of data (excluding Stories data). Learn more about Why your data in Buffer might differ from your native analytics here.
  • Due to API limitations, we are only able to pull Instagram data into the analytics dashboard for accounts that have 100 or more followers. Whilst it's technically possible to connect accounts that have fewer than 100 followers, no data will be available.

Instagram error library

If you're (unfortunately) hitting Instagram errors in Buffer, the Instagram error library is the place to go for solutions. 

Do you have an Instagram feature suggestion? We’d love for you to submit or upvote it here on our feature suggestions board.

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