How to Post on Instagram - The Full Guide

person holding mobile phone with instagram on the screen
person holding mobile phone with instagram on the screen

Learning how to post content on social media is an essential step in executing your content marketing strategy. We have covered how you can post organic content on Facebook as well as the best times to post on social media networks, but now let's talk about Instagram. 

With over 1 billion active users, Instagram is undoubtedly one of the biggest social media networks you can leverage in your marketing strategy. However, with all the algorithm changes that happen on Instagram, it's important for marketers to ensure that they have a clear plan on how to post on Instagram.

From knowing what content to post on Instagram and having a schedule to publish these posts to optimizing carousel posts and reposting user-generated content, we’re sharing all the best tips on how to post on Instagram.

Here, you'll get the step-by-step guide you need when it comes to posting on Instagram to help you grow your follower count, catch your audience's attention, and master marketing on the app. 

From hashtags to Instagram stories, our Marketer's Guide to Instagram Marketing shares numerous tips, tools, and strategies that you can use to take your Instagram marketing to the next level. Download the guide here.

Here's your full guide on what to post on Instagram:

How to Post on Instagram

How to Post on Instagram (2021 Beginners Guide)

1. Tap the "+" icon at the top of your screen

Instagram recently changed its default home screen, so now when you want to post Instagram Stories, Reels, or go Live, you need to tap the "+" icon at the top of your screen. Then, select what type of post you'd like to share from the list.

2. Select an image or video from your library, or take one in the app

Instagram will then show you the photos and videos already saved on your phone from its library or gallery. Select the one(s) that you would like to post to the app. Alternatively, you can click on the camera icon to take a photo or video within the Instagram app itself.

Finally, if you want to share more than one image on a single post, otherwise known as a carousel post, tap the stacked square icon. Then select all of the images that you would like to post. Numbers will begin to appear as you select your images. Instagram will only allow you to post a maximum of 10 images in one carousel post. 

Once you have selected the image or photo you want to post, click "Next" in the top right corner of your screen. 

3. Crop the image

If you haven't cropped your photo yet, don't worry. Instagram allows you to crop your image directly within the app. Simply pinch the screen where the image is being displayed to crop it until you get your desired image size. If you aren't sure what size your image should be on Instagram, read our full guide to social media image sizes

4. Choose a filter

You don't need to be a graphic designer to add filters to your images. Instagram provides 24 filters that you can choose from, as well as basic editing tools to help enhance your images, such as the ability to adjust the image's brightness, contrast, or saturation. Simply scroll to the right to see your filter options, then click on one to preview how it will look on your own image. When you are ready, click the arrow at the top right corner of your screen. 

5. Create your caption

Like creating copy for an ad, this is where you want to type out a caption to go with your image. Text is a great way to not only elaborate or provide context to your post, but it can help with optimizing your post on Instagram.

Try to create a caption that is catchy and creative, or informative and educational. This will give your followers a reason to engage with your Instagram post when they see it on their feed. 

6. Include emojis, if you can

Adding emojis to your Instagram post caption is a great way to capture the attention of a follower or Instagram user. If you can incorporate relevant emojis in your captions, don't be shy to do it. 

If you do choose to go this route, try not to use too many emojis though. These can be distracting instead of enhancing, so try to stick to about 5 emojis, max. This will ensure your post remains eye-catching without it being disorientating. 

7. Use hashtags for better optimization

With Instagram's search feature, users can search for content with hashtags. So naturally, you want to incorporate relevant hashtags in your caption. If someone does a search of a hashtag you placed in your caption, the chances that your post gets seen increases, as well as other posts that included the same hashtag. If you aren't sure how to use hashtags effectively, read our blog on the secret formula to hashtag success

 8. Add your location tag

If your brand is hosting an event or launching a new product in a particular city but you don't want to necessarily include the location information in your caption, use the "Add Location" function to do this. Simply tap the "Add Location" text to choose from a recommended list of locations. You can be as specific as a particular building or as general as the country you are in. Either way, adding a location tag can make it easier for people to find your post on Instagram. 

10. Share your post on other social media platforms

If you want to share your Instagram post to your other, connected social media sites, such as your Facebook page or Twitter account, slide the bar from the left to the right.

When you're ready to post, click "Share" in the top right corner, and Instagram will automatically share the post to your selected social media sites. 

How Much Content Should You Post on Instagram? 

You don't want to bombard your followers with too much content on the app, but you also don't want to upload too little content that your Instagram account is easily forgotten. So the question remains: how often should you post on Instagram?

To be honest, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Online search queries will give you a range of different answers. Adobe Spark says more than one post per day is enough while blogs might suggest anything between at least 7 to 10 posts per week. The truth is, finding how much content you should be posting on the app might not work for you if you are basing the numbers on what others are generally saying. You may need to test your Instagram posting frequency first before finding your sweet spot. 

person holding a phone from above and taking a photo of food on the table

Regardless of how much content you choose to upload to Instagram, make sure that you publish the posts when the largest percentage of your audience is on the app. Wednesdays and Thursdays have emerged as the best days to share Instagram posts.

If you want to learn more about the right time to upload your content, take a look at this infographic that outlines when the best time is to post on social media

How to Schedule Instagram Posts in Creator Studio

Now that you have a better idea of how to post on Instagram, let's talk about how to schedule Instagram posts. Scheduling your Instagram posts in advance will allow you to save time, maintain a consistent publishing schedule, and prevent you from interrupting your day just to make sure your content gets published.

When it comes to crafting your Instagram marketing strategy, you'll need to consider more than just when to schedule your content. Here are some questions that you should ask yourself:

  • What type of content do you want to schedule? Posts? Stories? Reels? IGTV?
  • What role will real-time content play in your social media marketing strategy?
  • What day and time do you want to publish your content?
  • And, finally, how do you schedule your content?

Well, if you do not have a social media management platform like Meltwater to help you schedule your content, Instagram accounts that are set up as business or creator profiles can use Facebook’s native Creator Studio. This content scheduling tool helps you create and schedule posts right from your computer desktop. If you are an influencer with a Creator account, the Creator Studio will be a great asset for you to have as an Instagram content scheduler. So, here's how to use the Creator Studio to schedule posts straight to your Instagram account. 

How to Schedule Instagram Posts with Facebook Creator Studio

On Facebook, go to Creator Studio and follow the prompts to link your Instagram account to Creator Studio.

2. Select "Create Post"

Once your Instagram account is linked, select the Instagram icon in the top bar, then select "Create Post". Then, select "Instagram Feed".

3. Upload your visuals

Now select an image to share as a post to your feed. You do have the option of uploading multiple images to create a carousel post, and you can also upload a video. 

To do this, select the blue "Add Content" link in the grey box, and choose a file to upload. 

4. Add your caption

Type out your caption, and include all relevant hashtags. Add some emoji's, if you'd like, and your location. 

5. Schedule your post

In the lower right corner, select the arrow beside the blue "Publish" button, and select "Schedule". Here, you'll be able to either publish your post immediately or save it as a draft if you want to make changes to your post later.

What to Post on Instagram

Now that we have covered how to post on Instagram, let's take a look at some Instagram content ideas that you can post on the social media platform. As we mentioned in the beginning of this article, there are a lot of users on Instagram, which means that there's also a lot of people posting great content every day. With so much content being scheduled and published every minute of the day, if you want to promote your brand and engage with your followers on Instagram, you can't simply upload any image or photo, and hope for the best.

screenshot of women doing yoga poses on instagram stories

What you choose to post on Instagram needs to set you apart from the rest because of how highly visual the social media platform actually is. So many brands and individuals are fighting for attention so you need to provide your followers with creative content that no one else can give them. Here's a list of 5 ideas that may inspire your Instagram content strategy. 

1. Ask a question

Asking your followers questions can create a great opportunity for engagement as well as helping you come up with content ideas in the future.

For example, if you run a health and wellness business, you could ask your followers what they currently struggle with when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The answers you get from your followers can help you create content that addresses the things they mentioned. 

2. Share user-generated content

A proven way to generate engagement and interaction with your community of followers is by resharing the content that they themselves have created. This is a simple way of showing your appreciation for your online community while also showcasing how they are using your product or service. 

Great examples include Adobe's @lightroom and @photoshop Instagram accounts, where the brands reshare the designs and photographs of their followers daily. But make sure that you always credit the original creator of the post!

To make finding user-generated content easier, consider creating your own branded hashtag that your followers can use when posting their content. This way you can simply search the branded hashtag to identify posts from your followers.  

Whether it's a trend or a challenge, engaging in the popular trends, memes, or challenges on social media can be a fun way to show off your brand's personality while also remaining relevant to followers. 

Great examples of this include different social media challenges, such as the bottle cap challenge or the #JerusalemaChallenge, as seen above.

4. Share content from other social media sites

If you don't have time to create bespoke content for each social media network, you can repurpose content across social media platforms by cross-posting the same content to platforms like Twitter and Facebook. This is typically done by taking a screenshot of the tweet to upload onto Instagram. Just make sure that the content you are repurposing aligns with your own brand.

5. Use influencer marketing to showcase your product

Is there an influencer who is using your product or service? Much like user-generated content, why don't you share the influencer's content on your own Instagram account?

Influencer marketing is great for brand building and helps build your social proof among your followers. When you have influencers that your followers are familiar with, and trust their opinion, this can help to positively boost your brand awareness while bringing new followers to your brand. If you want to learn more about influencer marketing, see our Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing

And there you go! Now you have the tips and steps on how to post to Instagram. If you would like more information on how to create an Instagram marketing strategy, fill in the form below and we'll get in touch with you shortly.