Ensuring your Instagram audience sees your content increases chances of engagement, brand awareness, referral traffic, and conversions.
However, sometimes it's not super efficient for you and your team members to be hovering over your phones or laptops in order to post on Instagram at the exact time you believe you'll be able to get the greatest amount of audience engagement.
You may also have other things going on throughout the workday that need to take precedence over opening the Instagram app and clicking "Post" on your content.
This is where Instagram scheduling software comes into play.
Can you schedule Instagram posts?
In other words, if you use social media scheduling software, you can upload your content, choose when it goes live on Instagram, and know that it'll be posted for your audience without you having to lift another finger.
As mentioned, to start, you'll need a third-party tool to do the scheduling. Below are a few handy options for your consideration.
Price: $0/month (Free), $45/month (Starter), $800/month (Professional), $3,200/month (Enterprise)
With HubSpot's Social Media tool, which is part of HubSpot Marketing Hub, you can schedule and publish social posts to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. From within HubSpot, you can edit your post, schedule it, and add @mentions to tag other accounts and users.
Upload the image that you want to share on Instagram to HubSpot and then drag and drop it into the post that you're scheduling. You can preview the final post prior to it going live so you're able to see exactly what your visitors are going to see.
After you choose the date and time that your Instagram post will be shared and preview it, tag it with a relevant HubSpot campaign so all of your social posts that are associated with a marketing campaign you're already running are organized.
Once you schedule your post, you can select "Schedule another" to plan another social post — there's an option to auto-copy and paste content from the post that you just scheduled so you're able to plan similar posts for different dates, times, and platforms.
Lastly, if you're using HubSpot's social tool to schedule and publish across other platforms, target specific audience groups (for instance, you can target specific countries or languages on Facebook).
Price: Free, $12.50/mo (Starter), $20.83 (Growth), $33.33 (Advanced)
Later is a social media post scheduler dedicated to Instagram. The platform includes a full social content calendar, drag-and-drop post planning, and the ability to publish automatically to your Instagram Business profile. In addition, the service's Linkin.bio feature allows you to link certain posts to specific product pages.
Price: Free, $9.99/mo (Pro), $19.99 (Advanced), $39.99 (Max)
Tailwind is a social media scheduler and smart assistant platform specifically for Instagram and Pinterest. Using smart features like bulk image uploading and the built-in Hashtag Finder, the tool allows small businesses to quickly personalize their Instagram posts and get them scheduled.
The tool also allows you to visually plan and preview your Instagram post schedule and grid via a single dashboard so you can see what your audience will see prior to posting.
Price: Free, $15/mo (Pro), $65/mo (Premium), $99/mo (Business)
Buffer allows you to schedule social media posts across six social networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. Buffer for Instagram makes it easy to manage and schedule your Instagram posts via a single dashboard.
There's an option to include hashtags in your Instagram post in the Comments section versus in the caption (to keep the post and caption looking as simple as possible). You can also analyze your Instagram posts to determine what worked among your target audience using Buffer's social media analytics feature.
In addition to a mobile app for iOS and Android, Buffer also offers an extension for your internet browser.
5. Sked Social
Price: $25/mo (Fundamentals), $75/mo (Essentials), $135/mo (Professional)
Sked Social offers an Instagram scheduling and auto-posting tool for Instagram posts and stories. You can plan to automatically post your stories, whether they're photo stories or video stories, using the tool so you never have to intervene or receive reminders to click "Post" again.
You can also schedule your Instagram posts via iOS or Android so you can upload content directly from your mobile device's camera roll.
Price: $99/mo (Standard), $149/mo (Professional), $249/mo (Advanced)
Sprout Social is a social media management platform that's compatible with six major social networks including Instagram. It has a social media content calendar that allows you to schedule your social posts and then measure different engagement metrics once live.
Easily upload the image you want to post on Instagram, add the caption and other Instagram post details (e.g. location), and then schedule it to go out at the date and time of your choosing.
The tool's social listening abilities also help you identify unique trends across your Instagram content and then apply these trends to the rest of your Instagram marketing strategy.
Price: $34 /mo (Base), $76 /mo (Standard), $159 /mo (Advanced), $332 /mo (Premium), Contact Us (Enterprise)
Loomly is a brand success platform with content management and social media publishing and scheduling features. Schedule your social media posts in advance — there are automated scheduling and publishing options for a variety of social platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google. Loomly also offers automated Instagram Ad (and Facebook Ad) publishing.
With the platform, easily manage your organic and paid social media content — you can also get notifications (via email, Slack, and more) whenever one of your team members works on a piece of social content to make for easy team-wide collaboration. The tool provides social media post recommendations based on trends, events, holidays, and social platform best practices.
Next, let's dive into how to schedule Instagram posts for an Instagram Business page — for the sake of this post, we'll use HubSpot as our scheduling and publishing tool.
1. Ensure you have admin access to your Facebook Business Page.
Instagram and Facebook might be separate accounts to you personally, but businesses that want to automate their Instagram posting schedule will need to tether both accounts together. So, you'll need the username and password of your business's Facebook account to do this — in other words, head over to the Instagram Business landing page to set up your account if you don't already have one.
2. Switch to your Business profile on the Instagram mobile app and connect this account to Facebook.
If you have a personal Instagram account, you probably know you can manage more than one profile from the app — and the other profile is your business account (keep in mind you'll need an Instagram Business account to schedule Instagram posts in HubSpot).
To switch to your Instagram Business page from your personal page, navigate to your profile on your mobile device and tap the three dots in the upper-right corner of your screen. Then, in the next screen, select "Switch to Business Profile," as shown below:
Under "Settings," select "Linked Accounts." Here's where you can select Facebook and link your two accounts together. You might be asked to "Log in With Facebook," at which point you'll enter your business account's username and password. Otherwise, select "Continue as [yourself]."
3. Open HubSpot and use the "Social" tool to integrate your Instagram profile.
Now that your Instagram profile is anchored to Facebook, you're ready to integrate it with your post scheduler. As mentioned, for our purposes, we'll be using HubSpot's Social tool.
Open HubSpot, select "Settings" > "Marketing" > "Social" > "Connect Account" > "Facebook and Instagram."
Click the first option, "Facebook & Instagram," and follow the prompts to complete this step (which are listed here in greater detail).
4. Create your first social post for your Instagram account.
Once your Instagram account is integrated into HubSpot, you'll see an option to "Create social post" in your HubSpot dashboard. Click it, and you'll see icons for which social network you want to start with. Select the Instagram icon to compose your first post for your Instagram account.
5. Compose a message with your desired visual assets, captions, and hashtags.
Customize your Instagram post and upload an image using the landscape icons on the bottom-lefthand corner of the white text field that appears, as shown below:
Then, caption your image with the text, hashtags, and user mentions you'd like to post your photo with, as they should appear on Instagram.
6. Set the date and time of your Instagram post.
Just above the photo that you're posting, you'll see a field where you can add the date and time that your post will be scheduled to go live. Use this field to set the exact date and time you want your post to automatically go live on your Instagram profile.
7. Preview your post to make sure it looks right.
Any grammatical errors? Are all your intended hashtags included? Is the image successfully uploaded? Check to make sure, and you'll be ready to schedule.
8. Click "Schedule message."
Got any more Instagram posts planned? Draft them now and schedule all of them at the same time — with HubSpot, you can schedule your social posts in bulk.
Once every post you want to schedule has been loaded into HubSpot, you can hit the "Schedule" button on the page.
Schedule Your Instagram Posts
Start scheduling your Instagram posts to make your workflow more efficient and to ensure the content you need to get in front of your audience does so in a timely fashion.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.