How To Schedule Posts for Instagram – December 2019
Instagram is all about sharing your best moments in the moment, hence the “insta” in their name. The image based social media platform isn’t big on letting people schedule their posts. After all, what’s “insta” about sharing Sunday night’s stunning souffle on Monday afternoon?
Not only do they have no tools within the app for post scheduling, but they also don’t allow third-party scheduling programs to post on your behalf. Suddenly your dream of saving time and energy by streamlining your Instagram feed seems hopeless, right?
Don’t give up. There are some, albeit not ideal, ways to get around Instagram’s unspoken no-scheduling policy.
Why Schedule a Post
Wait, what? Schedule an Instagram post? But the souffle is right there, and your phone is right here. Why not just share it now?
The casual Instagram user may have no need for these methods. But someone who is serious about building an Instagram following needs more than a phone and a desire to share. They need to tackle the platform less as a means of expression and more as a tool for reaching new people and maximizing exposure.
- Find out when your target audience is most active and post accordingly. In other words, dinner may be ready but your followers may not be.
- Plan for those times when you won’t be able to post on a whim, like a vacation.
- If you take a lot of images and want to share several, space them out so you’re not overwhelming your audience.
It’s starting to sound like a little planning ahead is just what the social media savant ordered.
How to Schedule a Post
Fine. Scheduling has its perks. But how are you supposed to do it if Instagram doesn’t want you to?
The truth is you can’t completely automate posting. Period. However, there are some social media management platforms that will streamline the process as much as Instagram allows. In other words, you can prep the post, filters, tags, and all, and set a time for the post. When that time comes, the third-party platform will send you a push notification with your prepared post. All you need to do is hit one button to submit it.
So who are these social media managers and how do you choose the right one? If you’re in it for Instagram, then your choice is more straightforward. Many social media managers don’t deal in Instagram. Some of them are platform-specific, like TweetDeck, and some just don’t deal with apps that won’t let them automate the process. The following four, however, are solid apps that will do exactly as described above.
- Hootsuite. This is the most popular social media manager and for a good reason. It will allow you to manage multiple accounts, including Instagram. It also includes a dashboard that allows you to view other people’s social media content, so you can surf while you schedule.
- Buffer. This social media manager is not as all-encompassing at Hootsuite. But it does one thing very well: scheduling. It’s scheduling options are more refined, so if you’re looking for more control, this might be the tool for you.
- Later. This platform is not as well known used as the others, but it’s on its way up. It also includes some very intuitive handy tools for analyzing your Instagram audience.
- Tailwind. Although primarily used as a Pinterest scheduler, it’s also a pretty competent Instagram scheduler as well.
We want to offer an “honorable mention” to Picdeck. This tool markets as the “TweetDeck for Instagram.” However, it doesn’t allow people to schedule Instagram posts yet. That being said, it’s only a matter of time before they get on board.
When to Schedule a Post
Now for the final piece of the puzzle. When should you schedule these posts for?
According to a poll by Later, the aforementioned Instagram scheduler, more than half of social media managers agree that the best time to post in the evenings between 7 and 9. They also noted that there was an increase around lunchtime during the weeks, around 11 to 1. Finally, they found the worst time to be between 3 and 4 in the afternoon on weekdays. It sounds like off-work hours are generally the way to go.
Later also concluded that Wednesday and Thursday were the best days for posting, and Sunday was the worst. Coscheduler, another popular scheduling platform, challenged this, suggesting that Monday was a more prime time than Wednesday. In either case, it seems Tuesday and Friday are right out.
Now forget everything we’ve told you.
The truth is, peak posting times are going to vary widely by the audience. While adhering to the above guidelines might help a little, it’s more effective to learn your audience and when they are likely to engage with you.
- Figure out what time zone your target audience is likely in. This may or may not be relevant, depending on the audience.
- Use Instagram’s native analytics tools (and those provided by your scheduler) to determine peak times for audience engagement.
- Experiment with posting at different times to test audience engagement to make the aforementioned tools more effective.
There’s no one size fits all approach, but some due diligence should put you on the right track. Work on understanding your Instagram audience, get to know your schedulers and keep your fingers crossed that Instagram decides to loosen the reigns on scheduled posts some day.
Getting tired of seeing someone posts constantly? Read our post to figure out how you can block someone on Instagram. Want to know if someone has blocked you? Click here!
Having a hard time generating true followers on Instagram? It isn’t easy, but this book can steer you in the right direction. Hint: post consistently!