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An illustration of a calendar with the Instagram logo on different days to represent how to schedule Instagram posts

How to Schedule Instagram Posts

TJ Kiely

Jun 28, 2024

Scheduling your Instagram posts in advance is a social media management tactic that can really keep your content strategy on track. You don’t have to worry about clicking that publish button at peak engagement times. Plus, you can create content in batches and not have to think about it every day.

Learning how to schedule Instagram posts is easy and fast to do. Let’s explore some ways you can schedule content in advance — and save your thumbs from post overload.


Can You Schedule Instagram Posts?

instagram account

Yes, you can schedule Instagram posts ahead of time. You can schedule content to post on specific days at specific times via built-in Instagram features. Or you can use third-party tools to plan and schedule content.

Why Schedule Instagram Posts?

If you’ve ever found yourself scrambling to come up with a new IG post on the fly, you know how brain-draining it feels. That last-minute panic can lead to half-baked ideas, missed opportunities, or even a dreaded typo.

That’s why scheduling posts ahead of time can be a game-changer. You have the benefit of time on your side and can put more thought into your content.

It also helps you stick to a consistent posting schedule so you never miss a chance to connect with your audience. 

And if you’re hung up on the idea of posting at certain times for maximum engagement, scheduling Instagram posts can help you there, too. You can plan content for when your audience is most active, which may help you rack up likes, shares, and comments.

Tip: Social media management has a lot of moving parts. That's why we created our free Social Media Management Toolkit, a treasure trove of resources for social media pros. Access it here!

Different Ways to Schedule Instagram Posts

You have different ways to schedule your Instagram content. It all comes down to what you’re comfortable with and any extra features you want, such as analytics, content management, and collaboration tools.

Let’s look at three ways to schedule Instagram posts.

Native scheduling within the IG app

Instagram offers built-in scheduling tools for professional and business accounts. You can access these tools by doing the following:

  1. Open the Instagram app.
  2. Tap the + sign to create a new post.
  3. Load your content.
  4. Tap Next.
  5. Choose Advanced Settings, then Schedule.
  6. Select your desired time and date, then tap Done.

Voila! Your post will go live on the date and time you chose.

You can check to see your scheduled posts within the app by going to the menu and clicking Scheduled Content.

Meta Business Suite

Instagram is part of the Meta parent company, which means that with an Instagram account, you have access to the Meta Business Suite. You can use these tools to schedule your Instagram content. 

Here’s how:

Meta Business Suite
  1. Go to Facebook and open the Meta Business Suite.
  2. Click Create Post, then specify your Instagram account as the destination.
  3. Add your media and post details.
  4. Toggle the Select Date and Time option.
  5. Choose your date and time, then click Schedule.

You’re done!

You can look at your content calendar in the Meta Business Suite to see upcoming posts, make changes to posts before they go live, and track your posts once they’re published.

Third-party scheduling tools like Meltwater

Social media management platforms like Meltwater give you a bird’s eye view of your entire social content strategy, including Instagram. You can use Meltwater to schedule posts, engage with users, collaborate with in-house team members, and track your performance. 

Meltwater social

Meltwater uses an intuitive content calendar to show you upcoming posts. You can see at a glance where you might have content gaps so you can start planning to fill them. 

Creating your posts in Meltwater gives you an entire asset library so you can keep your content in one place. You can also create approval workflows so that content doesn’t accidentally go live before it earns your stamp of approval.

Best Practices for Scheduling Instagram Posts

When you schedule Instagram posts, you can think less about the details and enjoy more time to create great content. Use these tips to get the most out of your scheduling tools, no matter which one you use.

Learn your optimal posting times

Does your audience scroll IG first thing in the morning? Are they night owls who engage with your brand after 10 p.m.? Either way, you want to share your content when it’s most likely to be seen by the right people.

You can follow general guidelines for the best time to post on social media. Or if you’re using tools like Meltwater, you can see the days and times that earn the most engagement based on your own historical data. 

Keep in mind that optimal posting times may change over time. Your audience’s social media habits evolve just as their other preferences do. You may need to adjust your posting strategy or experiment with different days and times to keep engagement high.

Craft engaging captions and hashtags

Along with your visual content, you should include all the other features that will accompany your post before it goes live. This includes any captions, hashtags, or @ mentions. Your post will be published in its full glory with no edits required.

Don’t over-schedule posts

One advantage to using Instagram scheduling tools is that you can see your planned posts ahead of time. This helps you avoid posting too many times per day while also ensuring you have enough content to fill your calendar.

Use notes as placeholders

Scheduling posts ahead of time gives you more time to plan your content. If you have an idea in mind, reserve space on your calendar for it, especially if it’s a timely topic. You can add a blank post or note in the scheduling calendar so that no one else steals your spot.

Don’t fully rely on scheduling posts

Ideally, you’ll allow for some flexibility in your IG posting strategy. Opportunities might pop up out of nowhere for real-time engagement or timely content. If you’re only automating posts, you’ll have a tougher time taking advantage of these opportunities.

Create content in batches

The life of a social media marketer is highly unpredictable. One way you can save time (and your sanity) is to create content in batches.

You can sit down one morning and knock out several posts at once. You’re already in your creative flow and can be more efficient with your time. Use your tools to schedule each post so you won’t have to worry about content for a while.

Planning Your Instagram Content

instagram on mobile

Scheduling tools like Meltwater do more than schedule posts; they also help you plan your entire social media content strategy. At a glance, you can see what posts you’ve scheduled, the types of posts (e.g., images, videos), the topic(s) of those posts, and more.

To maximize your scheduling tools, make them part of your planning process. 

Here’s how.

  • Create a content calendar with potential topics so you always have something to talk about.
  • Use social media analytics to learn what types of content your audience likes best.
  • Make a list of platform-specific features and steps you need to take to create content; for example, you can use hashtags, @ mentions, and emojis on Instagram, while X has a 280-character limit on text captions.
  • Establish and share your brand guidelines so that every creator is on the same page.
  • Make a list of hashtags to include in your posts and update this list frequently.
  • Create processes for Instagram content creation, approvals, and scheduling so that content doesn’t fall through the cracks or get published before it’s ready.

The more you use Instagram scheduling tools, the better you can hone your process to make posting faster and easier.

Choosing the Right Instagram Scheduling Tool

In addition to Instagram’s native scheduling tools, there are lots of third-party tools and platforms that can schedule social media posts. 

Here are some features you might find beneficial.

  • White-label branding (e.g., does the tool include its own branding on your posts?)
  • Central content calendars for all your social channels
  • Post analytics to monitor engagement rates and success metrics
  • Integrations with other tools and software

If you’re using multiple social media platforms in your strategy, ideally you’ll find a tool that can bring them all together. This will help you avoid toggling back and forth between multiple interfaces and analytics tools, giving you a bird’s eye view of your entire strategy.

Start Scheduling Your Instagram Posts with Meltwater Today

Meltwater Engage gives you a simple way to schedule Instagram posts. With an intuitive user interface and real-time analytics to show you the best posting days and times, you can streamline your IG strategy and have more time to come up with fresh, engaging content.

Learn more when you request a demo by filling out the form below.