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 is designed to help users with the Buffer mobile app. All instructions and screenshots are taken from the iOS app, and any steps that are different on Android are noted. You can find the desktop version of this article here.
This article contains the following sections:
- Creating your Instagram post
- Adding first comments and using the hashtag manager
- Adding Shop Grid links
- Scheduling your Instagram post
Creating your Instagram post
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).
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.
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'd like to add a location to your post, you can tag a Facebook Page that has a location associated with it. Tap the location field and then start typing the name of any Facebook Page. 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.
- 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 reminder instead.
- Videos must be between 3 and 60 seconds. Reels must be between 5 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 is only available on desktop at the moment. Learn more about that feature here.
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. Adding a first comment is helpful if you want to incorporate any information not ideally shown in your caption. What you share in your first comment, and if you use this feature at all is completely up to you!
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.
From there, you can think about whether or not you'd like to include a group of hashtags from your hashtag manager to your caption in the Buffer composer.
Hashtags are a great way to make your posts more discoverable on Instagram, and Instagram has shared with the world that they specifically look for hashtags inside captions (not comments). When scheduling directly (not through a reminder) and with an Essentials plan, 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 hashtags.
Tap Add to include a first comment with your post.
Type your first comment into the extra box displayed. Alternatively, tap the hashtag symbol in the bottom left corner to open the hashtag manager.
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.
📝 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.
Scheduling your Instagram post
Once your post is ready, you'll have a few scheduling options, described below.
- 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.
- 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.
- Schedule Post: You will be able to choose a custom date and time in the future for the post to be shared.
- Add to Queue: 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.
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.