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Scheduling Instagram posts

Instagram works a bit differently than other social networks, and not all posts can be published automatically. Buffer offers both direct scheduling (posts that can be published automatically) and reminders (posts that you’ll receive a push notification for). The scheduling process is the same for both, but the type of content you’re sharing will determine whether the post can be published automatically or not. Learn more about how Instagram works with Buffer here. When you schedule a post, we'll send you an alert if it's going to be scheduled as a reminder.

This article contains the following sections:

  1. Video walkthrough
  2. Creating your Instagram post
  3. Tagging users in images
  4. Adding first comments and using the hashtag manager
  5. Adding Shop Grid links
  6. Scheduling your Instagram post

Video walkthrough

In the video below, Katie, from our Customer Advocacy team, will walk you through how to schedule Instagram posts and stories using Buffer.

Creating your Instagram post

  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. Upload the image(s) or video you'd like to include in your post and then type in or copy and paste the caption you'd like to use.

  4. If you'd like to add a location to your post, you can tag a Facebook Page that has a location associated with it.  Start typing the name of any Facebook Page in the location field and if it has a location associated with it, it will show up in the results.

⚠️ It was previously possible to include any location with your post. However, on November 2, 2020, Facebook deprecated the Places Search API, which means this is no longer possible. Now, through the API, it's only possible to include the location that is associated with a Facebook Page. Learn more about this change here.

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 be between 3 and 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.

⭐️ The features below (image tagging, first comment scheduling, hashtag manager, and Shop Grid) are available on paid plans only. Learn more about our plans and pricing here.

Tagging users in images

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.

  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.

  3. 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 limitations in Instagram's API, 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.

Adding first comments and using the hashtag manager

If your 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.

Additionally, you'll be able to use the hashtag manager feature. Hashtags are a great way to make your posts more discoverable on Instagram. The 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 hashtag groups.

  1. Type your first comment into the first comment field. Alternatively, click the hashtag symbol on the right-hand side of this text field to open the hashtag manager.

  2. To get started, click Create Hashtag Group. Enter a name for your group and add the hashtags you'd like to include. Toward the bottom of the content area, you'll be able to see how many hashtags you have remaining, so that you don't exceed Instagram's limit of 30 hashtags per post. Once you're happy with your hashtags, click Save Hashtag Group. (Groups can be deleted by hovering over the group, clicking the three dots on the right hand side, and then clicking Delete Group.)

  3. You'll see all of your groups listed in the hashtag manager. To add a group of hashtags to your first comment, hover over the group and click Insert. 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 per post.

Notes

  • The hashtag manager is universal across your team. If you have multiple users in your organization, the hashtag groups that you create and save will be available for everyone to use.
  • It's not yet possible to edit hashtag groups via the Buffer web app, but you can via the mobile app (see the blue block of text in our mobile article). In the meantime, if you'd like a workaround on the web app, feel free to try inserting a group of hashtags into the first comment area, make the desired changes, copy and paste the hashtags into a new group, and then delete the original hashtag group.
  • We believe that hashtag groups are best suited to the first comment so that you can keep your caption neat and tidy. Being able to schedule the first comment simultaneously with your post means that you won’t lose any reach by adding them to the comment. However, if you'd prefer to add hashtag groups to the caption instead, you can do that by cutting them from the first comment area and pasting them into the caption.

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.

Scheduling your Instagram post

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 paid 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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