As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate—from running day-to-day operations on your ecommerce site to handling supply chain logistics and customer service. You recognize the importance of having an Instagram marketing strategy. But with everything else you have going on, it can be difficult to find the time to post Instagram content when customers are online.
Luckily, Instagram offers an option to schedule posts. Scheduling allows you to build content when you have free time and post it when the time is right—potentially enabling greater reach, engagement, and sales conversions.
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Why should you schedule your Instagram posts?
With all it takes to run a business, there are likely a host of reasons why you want to schedule your Instagram posts. Here are just a few common reasons you may want to consider scheduling your posts as you plan your social media strategy:
Rather than pausing whatever else you’re doing in order to post, creating and scheduling multiple posts simultaneously can streamline your content creation process, help you avoid interruptions, and leave you with more time to focus on other aspects of your business.
Audiences like to know what to expect when it comes to company and brand behavior on social media. Having a predictable posting pattern, which you can develop through Instagram post scheduling and a content calendar, can keep your customers engaged and help build brand loyalty as they return to your posts.
Using Instagram Insights through your Instagram business account, you can figure out what days and times your followers are viewing your content. With this information, you can schedule posts for those peak days and hours, potentially increasing impressions, reach, and engagement.
Posting content off the cuff, when you’re hurried or distracted, can lead to more errors. Instagram scheduling lets you carefully craft your captions ahead of time. With proper planning, you can craft messages around holidays, promotions, and other events as well.
How to schedule Instagram posts
While it might seem intimidating if you’re not social media savvy, Instagram has made scheduling posts quick and painless. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started:
1. Make a professional Instagram account
If you haven’t already, convert your personal Instagram account to an Instagram business profile. To do this from the Instagram app, tap the menu button in the top right-hand corner, then tap “Settings.” From there, tap the “Account” option. At the bottom, select the option to “Switch to a professional account.”
Follow the remaining prompts about your industry and contact information, and you’re all set to start scheduling Instagram posts.
2. Create and edit your content
To start creating content, go to your Instagram mobile app, tap the + button, then tap “Post” or “Reel.” You can record photos or videos directly from the app, or upload pre-made media from your phone.
Once you have your choice selected, you can add a caption, effects, filters, music, text overlay, or even augmented reality elements.
3. Schedule your content
Once your post is polished and ready to publish, tap the arrow (Android) or the “Next” button (iPhone). Then tap “Advanced Settings” followed by “Schedule.” From there, you can choose a date and time up to 75 days away. Tap “Done,” tap the back button, then tap “Schedule” to finish scheduling your post or Reel.
How to manage scheduled Instagram posts
It’s a common scenario: You scheduled an Instagram post to go live on the day of a big company promotion, but things have changed and you need to make edits to the post. Here are the two ways you can manage Instagram posts that have already been scheduled:
Manage scheduled posts from your Instagram profile
To manage scheduled Instagram posts from your profile, start by navigating to your profile in the app. Then tap the menu button in the top right-hand corner, followed by the “Scheduled content” button. Next, tap the three dots button beside the post or Reel you want to edit. This will give you the options to “Reschedule,” “Share now,” or “Delete” the post.
Manage scheduled posts from the create menu
To manage scheduled Instagram posts from the “Create” menu, start by tapping the + button in the app. Then tap “Post” or “Reel,” followed by “Scheduled” to see a list of your scheduled content. Tap on the content you want to change, then tap “Reschedule,” “Share now,” or “Delete.”
Best practices for scheduling Instagram posts
Being able to schedule Instagram content shouldn’t necessarily change your social media marketing strategy. Strong content marketing includes thoughtful planning, creative language, and the use of analytics for maximum reach and impact. Here are a few other best practices for scheduling your Instagram posts:
- Engage with your followers. If you know exactly when your posts are set to go live, you can block off time to respond to comments and questions. Engaging with your followers is a great way to build your brand voice and keep users returning to your Instagram page.
- Sync up with other social channels. Other social media platforms such as Facebook also offer the option to schedule posts for the future. Crossposting—or coordinating your content to go live on multiple platforms simultaneously—through a social media management tool can help ensure the greatest reach and demonstrate a high level of professionalism.
- Develop quality content. Since you can schedule posts over a month in advance, you can take ample time to plan and build high-quality content. Extra lead time also means you can test your posts internally with employees or leadership to fine-tune them for your final target audience.
- Avoid overposting. While it may be tempting to think that more is better, content fatigue is real. Posting too much may overwhelm your Instagram followers, prompting them to tune out or unfollow your brand. Research shows that in order to grow your engagement, it’s best to create roughly one Instagram feed post and two Stories per day.
Scheduling Instagram posts FAQ
Is scheduling Instagram posts a free feature?
Yes. The only requirement to schedule Instagram posts ahead of time is that you have a professional (creator or business) account, both of which are free to make.
Are there any potential drawbacks to scheduling Instagram posts?
Scheduling Instagram posts means you will be less able to react to immediate changes or live events. If you schedule too far in advance, your posts may not reflect changes in customer preference, trends, or even logistics such as inventory.
How do you choose the best time to schedule Instagram posts?
Instagram Insights offers a look into what days and times your followers are the most active and the most likely to engage with your content. Use this data to inform your social media strategy when scheduling your posts for the most possible engagement.