How To Schedule Instagram Posts

How To Schedule Instagram Posts

How To Schedule Instagram Posts

Instagram is the fastest growing social network, which means that bloggers and businesses need to get on board in order to take advantage of the many opportunities. If you haven't yet started an account, you might want to check out Instagram for Bloggers and Instagram for Business to get caught up. Why?

  • The Instagram community has grown from 90 million active users in January 2013 to more than 400 million active users in September 2015. Tweet this! (Source)
  • In a study of 100 top brands, engagement per post has grown at a rate of 53% year-over-year. Tweet this! (Source)
  • In a study of 55 brands, the brands posted an average of 1.5 times per day. Tweet this! (Source)

With this new focus comes a need for new content and activity. On Instagram, that means posting great pictures that talk about your business or topics related to your business. The thing is, unlike Facebook, successful Instagram accounts post often. Two or three times a day is really the minimum to see real growth and development.

Of course, if you're just starting, it's OK to post once a day, and then twice a day when you feel like you're getting the hang of things. Eventually you'll want to test posting more and more often and pay attention to how often you can post and still see consistent engagement on your posts.

But with that increased activity comes increased demands on your time. Do you really have time throughout your busy day to stop and come up with an idea for an Instagram post, create the photo or graphic, and then share it? This is especially true for photographers trying to build an IG audience so they can sell their photos online.

Of course not. That's where batch creation and scheduling come in. You can spend a little time on Monday coming up with a series of ideas and graphics, and then schedule them out throughout the week. The best recipe is to have a series of scheduled posts, supplemented with live posts that you would publish on-the-fly.

For instance, one of the techniques I'm testing on Instagram right now is quote graphics. I create a couple of different kinds of quote graphics and pay attention to which quotes, which images, which font choices, and which hashtag combinations seem to perform the best. Since I know what my plan is for the week/month, I can create a bunch of the graphics in advance and just meter them out over time.

I can look up quotes from Mark Twain or Albert Einstein or Yogi Berra, make a bunch of graphics (easily, using Typorama), and then mix up how I share them out.

And thanks to AgoraPulse, I can schedule them in advance. (Instagram does not offer scheduling natively.)

How To Schedule Instagram Posts Using AgoraPulse

The only way to schedule posts to Instagram is to use a tool like AgoraPulse (try it now, for free). You can craft the post within AgoraPulse, upload your image, and schedule it. At the appointed time, the AgoraPulse app on your phone will notify you, open Instagram on tap, push your image into Instagram, and put your caption into your clipboard to be pasted in.

There are other apps that have or soon will have Instagram scheduling capability but unfortunately, due to the way Instagram's API is configured, this is how they all work.

I'll walk you through exactly how AgoraPulse, my scheduling tool of choice works.

Step One: Create Graphics For Instagram

Scheduling Instagram posts starts with one or more graphics to share. Images should be square, ideally 1024px x 1024px (of course you can also use video snippets up to 60s in length).

You can create the images on Desktop or Mobile, as well as use pictures you've taken. If you want to schedule an image that's on your mobile device, using your laptop... or vice versa... just use Google Drive to transfer the image between devices. But you'll be able to schedule the shares from any device, so transferring an image is merely for convenience.

I use Canva for my blog images since I can preset my brand colors and logo, as well as convert any graphic into a 1024x1024 Instagram graphic. For my day-to-day quote graphics for Instagram, I use the Typorama app.

Consider using a consistent style and pattern for your Instagram images. Definitely make sure that you're including a logo watermark or byline somewhere on each image.

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Next, we'll walk through how to schedule that new graphic.

Step Two A: Schedule Instagram Post via AgoraPulse (Desktop)

  1. Log into AgoraPulse
  2. Click on Publish (Note that you can select your Instagram profile and then click on Publishing to view past and scheduled posts)

    Schedule posts to Instagram using AgoraPulse

  3. Use the Compose Box to craft your message, upload your image and set the date and time you want the post to be scheduled.

    Composes your Instagram post within AgoraPulse.

  4. Once scheduled, you can edit / reschedule the post. At the appointed time, your mobile device will notify you.
  5. When you receive the notification on your mobile device, tap to open AgoraPulse. Tap on "OK, Publish Now!" and then tap on the Copy to Instagram icon.

    Example of a mobile notification from AgoraPulse.
  6. Proceed through the Instagram publishing process as normal. Apply filters if you wish, then click Next.
  7. Double-tap the caption area and tap Paste to enter your saved text.
  8. Adjust any other options as needed and tap SHARE to publish.

And that's it! You've now scheduled and posted your first Instagram post.

Step Two B: Schedule Instagram Post via AgoraPulse (Mobile App)

  1. Open the AgoraPulse app.
  2. Tap on your Instagram profile in the left menu.
  3. Tap on the Publishing tab in the lower right.
  4. Tap on the Pencil icon in the upper right to begin a new post.
  5. Tap the + icon to add your Instagram post and remove any other profiles.
  6. Tap the image icon in the lower left, select Photo Library, and select your image.
  7. Review the image and tap Back to return to your new post. (You can see a tiny thumbnail in the lower left.)
  8. Type in your text.
  9. Tap the calendar icon to set a schedule.
  10. Tap Schedule.

    Compose and schedule Instagram posts from your mobile phone using AgoraPulse.

     
  11. When you receive the notification on your mobile device, tap to open AgoraPulse. Tap on "OK, Publish Now!" and then tap on the Copy to Instagram icon.
  12. Proceed through the Instagram publishing process as normal. Apply filters if you wish, then click Next.
  13. Double-tap the caption area and tap Paste to enter your saved text.
  14. Adjust any other options as needed and tap SHARE to publish.

And that's it! You've now scheduled and posted your first Instagram post.

Step Three: Take Instagram Scheduling To The Next Level

Once you get the hang of scheduling posts, it's time to take it to the next level - optimization and streamlining.

First, begin paying attention to your Instagram post performance to determine not just which posts and content performs the best, but also which times of day.

With AgoraPulse, you can easily see when your best days have been and then scroll down to review those specific pieces of media. Note the times that they were posted and test posting to those times again, but also test posting to other times to see when your audience is most receptive.

Review your Instagram statistics within AgoraPulse.

Other tools like the Command app or IconoSquare or Simply Measured can provide more extensive data analysis of your Instagram posts.

Once you've determined your best times to post, you can go into AgoraPulse and set up a queue!

Go to Publishing and click on Queue Settings. There you can adjust what times and how often each day you want to set up shares to Instagram.

Maintain a queue of scheduled posts, and make sure you're always sharing at your best times.

Once set, all you have to do is create posts as we outlined above and click on Add to queue instead of Schedule. Your post will simply be placed in the next available timeslot.

The Skinny on Instagram Scheduling

While there are a few extra steps in the process of scheduling due to Instagram's requirements, it's well worth the practice. With a little time, you'll soon be able to schedule a post as quickly as as if you were live. And if you get into the habit of creating a day or even week's worth of posts in advance, you'll save yourself a lot of time.

  • Graphics created in bulk take less time than creating one graphic at a time each time you need one.
  • Crafting captions and scheduling posts in advance take less time then stopping what you're doing through the day to come up with a post.
  • Scheduling posts at the optimum times each day ensure that your posts have the highest potential for performance, as well as making sure that you maintain consistent activity.

And that consistent level of high performance posting is what will help your account and audience to grow quickly.

So start scheduling your Instagram activity today! And let me know if you have any questions in the Comments.

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Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner

Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner, Blogger and Author in St. Louis, and the Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early '90's, and is active on all of the major social networks. Mike teaches a holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blog content, social media and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales.

Mike is the author of, "The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management", "The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile.", and "Blog Promotionology, The Art & Science of Blog Promotion."

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