Scheduling Instagram posts, reels, stories, and notifications on the mobile app

When you're using Buffer to publish to Instagram, you can either publish automatically to Instagram or set a notification to finish the post in the Instagram app yourself. This applies to reels and stories, too. Learn more about how to use notification based publishing here.

In this article:

  1. Automatic vs. notification publishing
  2. Creating your Instagram post, reel, or story
  3. Adding a location
  4. Tagging users in images
  5. Using hashtag manager and adding first comments
  6. Adding Shop Grid links

Automatic vs. notification publishing - which is right for my post?

Certain features (like scheduling a first comment) are available when automatically publishing to Instagram, while others (like adding music to a reel or stickers to a story) can only be added if you schedule the post as a notification and finish the post yourself on Instagram.

Every time you create a post, story, or reel in Buffer, you can choose:
Automatic - Buffer will automatically post on your behalf so that you can focus on other things, like replying to comments or creating new content.
Notify Me - Add story stickers, music, product tags, story links, and enjoy more creative control. Buffer will set up your post, send you a notification, and help you finish the post yourself on Instagram. Learn more about notification based publishing here.

Creating your Instagram post, reel, or story

  1. To get started, tap the round avatar icon at the top left of your screen and tap on your Instagram account (if it's not already selected).
  2. Tap the blue + icon at the bottom middle of your screen. This will open up the composer. On Android, you'll need to tap the blue pencil icon at the bottom of your screen to open the composer.
  3. Tap to choose your post type: Story, Reel, or Post.
Select Story, Reel, or Post on the mobile app
Select Story, Reel, or Post on the mobile app
  1. Upload the image(s) or video you'd like to include in your post.


  • 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, 16:9 for videos, and 9:16 for reels), in order to be published automatically. If the image or video falls outside of this range, the post will be scheduled as a notification instead.
  • Videos must be between 3 and 60 seconds. Reels must be between 5 seconds and 15 minutes. 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.
  • Instagram Stories cannot be published automatically by Instagram creator accounts. Instead, you'll need to use the Notify Me open to finish publishing the post manually.
  1. Type in or copy and paste the caption you'd like to use. (Note: to include a caption for a story, or music to a reel, you’ll need to use the Notify Me option—see next step for details).
  2. Tap Change to choose whether to use Automatic publishing or Notify Me to send a notification to finish posting later.
    • Note: If you choose Add Sticker and select a feature that is not supported for automatic posting, such as Music, Tag Product, Text, Link, or Topics we'll switch your post to Notify Me so you'll get a notification and you can finish posting in Instagram. We'll also generate a text box for each Sticker so you can leave yourself a note about what music, text, story links, products or topics you want to add in the Instagram app when you finish publishing your post, reel, or story.

Visit our Notification based publishing guide for a walk-through of how to finish publishing your post once the notification comes to your phone.

Change Instagram post type on Buffer mobile app

  1. Schedule your post using one of our scheduling options and you're done!

Adding a location

If you'd like to add a location to your post or reel, start typing any location name or type the name of a Facebook Page you'd like to point to the location of.

Tagging users in images

📝 User tagging is only available on automatically published posts. It’s not available for reels or stories.

  1. After uploading an image to your post, click the Tag button on the image.
  2. Click the location on the image you’d like to add a tag, enter the @ handle and then click Add Tag.

Buffer mobile app Instagram image tag screen above an image of yellow loafers and jeans

  1. You can add up to 20 tags on an image for a single image post.
  • For carousel posts, the tagged accounts in the image are carried over for each image in the carousel. When this happens, each image tag is added together for a total. If your draft has more than 20 tags, you may see an error and will need to edit the tags down for the carousel post to successfully publish.
  • All tags in the first image automatically carry over to all other images in the carousel, counting towards the limit.
  • 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.

📝 Notes

  • Due to limitations in Instagram's API, we can't auto-complete the @ handle, and you will need to enter the exact @ handle of the Instagram user you’d like to mention.
  • We would strongly encourage you to check each link on the right-hand side to make sure the correct @ handle has been entered.
  • Posts with tags for private or non-existent users will fail.

⭐️ The features below are on our paid plans.

Using hashtag manager and adding first comments

Hashtags are a great way to make your posts more discoverable on Instagram. Our hashtag manager makes it easy to create and save groups of hashtags so that you can build a library of options, experiment with different variations, and easily reuse your top-performing hashtags. Learn more about how hashtags work in Buffer here.

Adding a first comment is helpful if you want to incorporate any information not ideally shown in your caption. Use hashtag manager to share your favorite hashtag group or add your own comment!

  1. Tap Add to include a first comment with your post.

Instagram First Comment on Buffer mobile app

  1. Type your first comment into the extra box displayed. Alternatively, tap the hashtag symbol in the bottom left corner to open the hashtag manager.

Arrow pointing to the # symbol in the Buffer mobile app composer

  1. You'll see all of your hashtag groups listed here in the hashtag manager. You can use one of your existing hashtag groups or create a new one. 

    To select a group of hashtags to add into your post's first comment, tap the + icon to the right of the group you'd like to add. You are able to insert multiple groups, but keep an eye on the hashtag counter to make sure you don't exceed Instagram's limit of 30 hashtags per post.

List of example hashtag groups

Edit existing hashtag groups and create new ones by tapping your mobile settings cog in the lower right-hand corner of your app. You can also create new hashtag groups from your hashtag manager right there inside the Instagram first comment composer (as shown under #3 above).

Adding Shop Grid links

If you're using Shop Grid, add the link you'd like to direct users to within the URL field.

Instagram Shop Grid in the Buffer mobile app

Have other questions about scheduling your Instagram content? Reach out to us at, and we'll be happy to help!

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