Scheduling Instagram posts, reels, stories, and reminder notifications

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

In this article:

  1. Features available by Instagram post type
  2. Creating your Instagram post, reel, or story
  3. Adding a location
  4. Tagging users in images
  5. Using Hashtag Manager
  6. Scheduling a first comment
  7. Adding Shop Grid links

Features available by Instagram post type

Certain features are available when direct scheduling to Instagram, while others can only be added if you send yourself a reminder notification and finish the post yourself on Instagram. For example, adding stickers to a story or music to a reel or post is only available natively in the Instagram app, so you will need to send a reminder notification to access these. The table below shows which features you can access when scheduling a post directly and which features are available using reminder notifications.

  Post Reel Story
Images

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

X

(suggested aspect ratio is 9:16)

Videos

✓ (1)

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

✓ (1)

(video must be between 4:5 and 16:9 aspect ratio, and may not exceed 1920 pixels horizontally)

(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
Tagging users ✓ (Only if set as a reminder notification) X
Tagging users in images X X
Adding a location X
First comment ✓ (not supported for reminder notifications) X
Hashtag manager X
Shop Grid X X

Creating your Instagram post, reel, or story 

  1. To get started, select your Instagram account on the left-hand side of your dashboard.
  2. Open the composer at the top of your queue.
  3. Choose to schedule your post as a PostReelor Story.

Buffer Publishing composer choosing an Instagram post type

  1. Upload the image(s) or video you want to include in your post. 

Good-to-Knows

  • Videos must be 100 MB or smaller.
  • Instagram creator accounts cannot schedule Instagram stories for automatic publishing. Instead, they'll need to be scheduled as a reminder notification.
  • Instagram carousel posts do not support mixed media, meaning you will not be able to create a post containing both an image and video.
  • For Instagram carousel posts (i.e. multiple images in one post), once the first photo is selected, all of the following photos or videos selected will be cropped to the same aspect ratio. For example, if the first photo you select is square (1:1), all of your other images will be cropped to a 1:1 format. This is the same when posting to Instagram natively.
  • If your image or video falls outside of Instagram's accepted aspect ratio range, it will get scheduled as a reminder notification and will need to be posted manually. Learn more about how to finish publishing using reminder notifications here.
  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 schedule it as a reminder notification).
  2. Use the "Send Reminder Notification" toggle (currently in Beta) to choose whether to publish directly or send a reminder notification to finish posting later.

    (Visit our Using Instagram reminder notifications guide for a walk-through of how to finish publishing your post once the reminder notification comes to your phone).

  3. 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.

Buffer Publishing composer Instagram location field

Tagging users in images

User tagging is only available on direct scheduled 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's Instagram tagging screen with @lunaoriginals entered in the composer

  1. 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 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.
  • Please note: 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.

Buffer Instagram tagging screen with @lunaoriginals tagged in an image of white sneakers and hands in the air

📝 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

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.

You can find it by clicking the # symbol in the composer. Then, click Create Hashtag Group to start saving your favorite hashtags!

Buffer Publishing composer Hashtag Manager button and Create Hashtag Group button

Scheduling a first comment

If your post or reel is set to be published automatically, you'll also have the option to include a first comment. Adding a first comment is helpful if you want to incorporate any information not ideally shown in your caption. 

All you need to do to ensure a comment publishes at the same time as your post is to type your first comment into the first comment field. That's it! 🎉 You now have a comment in the queue and ready to publish alongside your Instagram caption.

Buffer Publishing composer Instagram First Comment Field

Adding Shop Grid links

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

Buffer Publishing composer Instagram Shop Grid Link field

Have other questions about scheduling your Instagram content? Reach out to us via hello@buffer.com and we'll be happy to help!

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