Scheduling Instagram posts

Instagram only allow third party apps to publish posts automatically on behalf of a user under specific conditions. In Buffer Publish, this is known as Direct Scheduling. For posts that can't be published automatically, we will instead send a push notification to your phone when it's time for the post to be published. This is known as Reminders.

The process of scheduling your Instagram posts works the same way for both Direct Scheduling and Reminders, but the type of Instagram Profile you're scheduling the post for, as well as the type of content you're sharing, will determine whether the post is published automatically or scheduled as a reminder, as described below:

  • Direct Scheduling: Single image or video posts being scheduled for an Instagram Business Profile will be published automatically, assuming the image or video is within Instagram's accepted aspect ratio range. Additionally, videos must be between 3 and 60 seconds.
  • Reminders: Any posts being scheduled for an Instagram Personal Account, regardless of the type of content, will be scheduled as reminders. Additionally, posts being scheduled for an Instagram Business Profile, which contain multiple images, or contain an image or video that falls outside of Instagram's accepted aspect ratio range, will be scheduled as reminders. Whenever you're scheduling a post, we'll let you know if it's going to be scheduled as a reminder. Additionally, posts scheduled as reminders will display a bell icon in the Queue.

This article contains the following sections:

  1. Creating your Instagram post
  2. Tagging users in images
  3. Adding first comments and using Hashtag Manager
  4. Adding Shop Grid links
  5. Scheduling your Instagram post

Creating your Instagram post

Desktop iOS Android
  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. If you have an Instagram Business Profile, and Direct Scheduling has been enabled, you'll also be able to choose a location.

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.

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.

Desktop iOS Android
  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 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.

Adding first comments and using Hashtag Manager

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

If you're scheduling a post to your Instagram Business Profile, and it's 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. 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.

Desktop iOS Android
  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 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. Towards 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 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

  • 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 groups but we would like to add this ability in the future. In the meantime, if you do need to edit a group, we'd recommend inserting a group of tags into the first comment area, making the desired changes, copying and pasting the tags into a new group, and then deleting the original.
  • We believe that hashtag groups are best suited to the first comment so that you can keep your caption neat and tidy. And 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 and pasting them from the first comments area into the caption.

Adding Shop Grid links

Shop Grid is available on our Premium and Business plans. Learn more about our plans and pricing here.

Many businesses now rely on Instagram to increase brand awareness and it has become a major source of traffic. Of course, links are crucial to driving traffic to the right places. With Instagram’s lack of hyperlink capabilities in posts, many brands solve this by asking followers to refer to the link in their bio within the caption of a post.

This approach has served a need, but not without its own complexities. Businesses need to manually edit the link in their bio for each new post, to ensure the link goes to the right place, depending on what their latest post is promoting. It's this manual and imprecise solution that we are hoping to improve with our latest feature, Shop Grid. Shop Grid allows you to add links to each of your posts, which will then be displayed on a unique page that can be used as the permanent link in your bio. Learn more about Shop Grid here.

Desktop iOS Android

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

Desktop iOS Android

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, Premium, 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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