Laptop on a table surrounded by books, a modern black journal, and a black coffee mug. On the screen is the Later content calendar, with an Instagram post being edited.

Instagram Tips & Resources

How to Schedule Instagram Posts: The Ultimate Guide


By Monique Thomas

Updated on February 7, 2022

11 minute read

If you want to learn how to schedule Instagram content in 2022, bookmark this guide.

Published February 7, 2022

Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!

Scheduling your Instagram posts in advance is one of the most effective ways to save time and post consistently.

In this guide, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about planning for the ‘gram – including the best Instagram Scheduler in 2022. 

And the best part? You can do it all for free. Let’s get into it.

Why You Should Schedule Instagram Posts in 2022 

Before we show you how to schedule Instagram posts, we quickly need to cover the why

Here are the top six reasons why using an Instagram scheduler should be a priority this year:

  1. Save Time

  2. Be Consistent

  3. Write Stronger Captions

  4. Craft a Cohesive Visual Story

  5. Keep Your Content Calendar Organized

  6. Post From Your PC or Mac 

Benefit #1: Save Time 

Whether you’re a business owner, creator, or social media manager, you’re likely juggling many hats – and with only so many hours in a day, time is money. 

Saving time is the biggest reason for scheduling your Instagram posts in advance

It leaves more room for strategic brainstorms, content creation, and other business needs.

Plus, you won’t be rushing to whip up a post in real-time, and can plan ahead instead.

Did you know: you can schedule Instagram posts with Later – for free? It’s the handiest tool trusted by over 4M creators, brands, and small businesses. Sign up today:

Benefit #2: Be Consistent 

Ask any social media manager or creator, and they’ll say one key reason for their success is having a consistent posting cadence

While it doesn’t have to be every day (we know that’s not always realistic!), it’s important to post content throughout the week that your audience can engage with. 

Benefit #3: Write Stronger Captions

Crafting captions on-the-fly is difficult. 

You may experience writer’s block, it’s easy to make a spelling mistake, and you’ll miss the opportunity to tell your brand’s story in the best way possible. 

By planning and scheduling your posts in advance, you can set time aside to brainstorm and write stronger captions

This includes optimizing your post to include highly-searched keywords for SEO, and relevant hashtags to increase reach. 

Goodbye, overwhelm. 

Benefit #4: Craft a Cohesive Visual Story

In 2022, the Instagram aesthetic may no longer be “picture-perfect,” but users are still drawn to grids that tell a cohesive visual story.

This could be a grid that makes use of complementary colors, or one that mixes up memes and lifestyle posts:

Instagram feed aesthetic examples

You only have a few seconds to make a first impression, so planning a visually appealing grid can help someone new to your profile understand who you are and what you do right off the bat.  

TIP: Visual Planner, Later's Instagram feed planner, lets you preview your Instagram grid and see how your scheduled posts will look!  Start planning: 

#Benefit 5: Keep Your Content Calendar Organized 

Another reason for scheduling your Instagram posts? 

To keep your content calendar organized

This way, you’ll have a holistic view of your content, and can spot any gaps or opportunities for the upcoming weeks. 

Are there any social media events or holidays that you can capitalize on?

Are you posting a healthy balance of product and lifestyle shots?

Are your posts aligned with your overall social media and business goals

It’s an easy (and effective) way to make sure you aren’t posting for the sake of posting, and that your content is always on point. 

Benefit #6: Post From Your PC or Mac 

Posting to Instagram from your desktop is a great way to be efficient – especially if you’re already creating graphics and social media assets on your PC or Mac. 

Scheduling via your desktop also means you can review upcoming posts on a bigger screen, write your captions with a full keyboard, and easily toggle back and forth between your tabs.

Hello, multitasker! 

With Later for desktop, you can batch prep your content in advance and schedule it to go live at your best posting time. Check it out today:

Okay, now that you know why you should schedule content, let’s discuss the fun part – the how

How to Schedule Instagram Posts With Later (for Business and Creator Profiles) 

Later is trusted by millions of brands, creators, and social media managers – making it the best Instagram Scheduler in 2022. 

And it’s easy too! Here’s how to get started:

Step #1: Connect Instagram Business or Creator Profile

When you sign up for Later, you can connect your Instagram Business, Creator, or Personal profile. 

However, due to Instagram’s API limitations, each profile type has access to different Later features – which is why we recommend using an Instagram Business or Creator profile. 

To find out the difference between all three profiles, check out this helpful page, which includes the Later features you can use!

For the sake of the remaining steps, we’ll assume you have an Instagram Business profile. 

Step #2: Upload Content to Later’s Media Library

Click “Upload Media” on Later for desktop and add content from your computer, Dropbox, or Google Drive. 

A GIF showing how you can drag and drop content into Later's Media Library for Instagram scheduling

You can also drag and drop files directly into the Media Library, for an even faster process! 

Step #3 (Optional): Find User-generated Content

Later has a collection of paid tools to help you find user-generated content (UGC) to add to your library.

Using the "Collect Media" button, you can search for Instagram posts that have tagged or mentioned you, or search via a specific hashtag or profile:

GIF showing how you can collect user-generated content using Later's "Collect Media" feature.

Remember to:

  • Ask permission before you repost

  • Tag and credit the creator in your caption

TIP: No UGC? No problem. You can also find on-brand stock photography using Later’s Unsplash integration – for free!

Step #4: Select Content to Schedule 

Choose the Instagram profile you’d like to publish to – double-check the highlighted circle! 

Then, drag and drop selected content (single photo or video) from your Media Library to the content calendar. 

GIF showing how you can drag and drop content into Later's Content Calendar for Instagram scheduling.

Step #5: Optimize Your Instagram Post

Write your caption, include relevant emojis (if applicable), and insert relevant hashtags to help maximize your reach and engagement. 

With Later’s Saved Captions tool, you can save your favorite hashtags as a caption for easy copy and pasting – whenever you need them. 

Or, you could use the tool to save a great caption that you'll use in the future:

GIF showing the Saved Captions tool to help write captions when scheduling Instagram posts.

TIP: If you have a paid Later plan, you can also use Later’s Hashtag Suggestions tool to find relevant hashtags to add to your post. 

Step #6 (Optional): Edit Your Image or Video 

Tap “Edit Image” or “Edit Video” to add some additional design elements to your post.

With Later’s crop tool, you can make sure your content meets Instagram’s approved dimension sizes – whether it’s square, portrait, or landscape. 

GIF showing how you can use Later's editing tools to crop your image to fit Instagram's approved dimensions

With the filter tool, you can choose from an array of colorful filters to enhance your photo.

And the trim tool lets you trim the length of your videos. 

Click “Update Image”or “Update Video.”

Step #7: Choose the Date and Time to Schedule Your Post

If you have an Instagram Business profile, select “Auto Publish” from the dropdown list and select the date and time you want your post to go live. 

Click “Save” – and voila! 

Photo showing Later's Instagram schedule builder with an arrow pointing at the "Auto Publish" option

If you have an Instagram Creator or Personal profile, you cannot auto publish posts due to Instagram’s API limitations. 

Instead, when it’s time to post, you will receive a mobile notification. 

Once you open the notification and tap “Open in Instagram”, your caption (and hashtags) will be copied to your clipboard and the image uploaded to your camera roll.

TIP: Here's a full breakdown of how notification publishing works.

Step #8: Review How Your Grid Will Look With Later’s Visual Planner 

Later’s Instagram feed planner, Visual Planner is a user favorite – for good reason. 

With the feature, you can see exactly what your Instagram grid will look like. 

Not feeling its current lineup? Rearrange your posts directly in the Visual Planner to find the perfect balance for your grid.

Review How Your Grid Will Look With Later’s Visual Planner 

When you’re happy, click “Save Changes.” Your posts’ dates and times will automatically update based on their new order – as reflected in the Planner Scheduling sidebar. 

Two words: game changer. 

4 Instagram Scheduling Tips and Best Practices

Instagram scheduling is packed full of benefits – here are our four best tips to make the most of it:

  1. Post at Your Best Time for Maximum Engagement 

  2. Use Relevant Hashtags for Optimal Reach 

  3. Include SEO Keywords in Your Captions

  4. Create a Strong Visual First Impression

#1: Post at Your Best Time 

Later analyzed over 35M posts and found that the best time to post on Instagram (in local time) is 6AM. 

However, this isn’t a one-size-fits all answer, so it’s important to experiment by using either:

  • A spreadsheet to manually track when you post on Instagram and analyzing each posts’ performance

  • Later’s Best Time to Post feature, which will automatically find your unique best times (and days) to post for maximum engagement

TIP: Remove the guesswork and find your personalized best posting times with Later’s Starter, Growth, or Advanced plan:

#2: Use Relevant Hashtags  

How many hashtags should you use on Instagram? It’s a question that’s caused much debate on social media – with everyone chiming in. 

After analyzing over 18M feed posts, we discovered that using 20-30 hashtags is best for optimal reach and engagement

Using a few hashtags is good, using 20-30 relevant and targeted hashtags is even better for your overall reach and engagement rates. 

But it’s important to make sure your hashtags are relevant to your content, audience, and business. 

TIP: Later’s Hashtag Suggestions tool can help you find new hashtags to use in your posts. Sign up today:

#3: Include SEO Keywords in Your Captions

Instagram’s Explore page is constantly evolving, with new advanced search functionalities being introduced throughout the year.

For example, you can now search by keywords (not just hashtags) to discover relevant content: 

Draw Inspiration from the Instagram Explore Page

This suggests the Explore page algorithm considers both the visual content and words in your caption. 

So, by using relevant keywords in your captions, there’s a chance your content could be more easily discovered by anyone searching on the app.

TIP: With Later for desktop, you can write your captions and schedule your posts in advance.

#4: Create a Strong Visual First Impression 

This goes without saying, but Instagram is first and foremost a visual platform. 

And while users no longer gravitate to super polished content, it’s still worth posting photos and videos that are high-res, on-brand, and easy on the eye.  

Branding on your Instagram should be recognizable regardless of whether you show up on the Reels feed or the Explore page

Whether it’s bold colors or branded illustrations, make sure you’re scheduling Instagram content that’ll make a good first impression to anyone who visits your profile. 

This way, you can convert them into a follower and potential customer. 

TIP: Later’s Visual Planner will help keep your profile looking on point. And the best part? It’s free.

So…Why Choose Later as Your Instagram Scheduler?

When picking the right Instagram scheduler for you, it’s important to think about what features meet your needs. 

And with Later’s Instagram scheduler you can:

  • Upload unlimited photos and videos to your Media Library 

  • Schedule up to 10 posts per month 

  • Find stock photography via Unsplash

  • Use the Saved Captions tool 

  • Crop, edit, and filter your content 

  • Access the Visual Planner feature to help design your Instagram grid  

  • Use Linkin.bio to easily drive traffic to your website

  • Track and measure your weekly and monthly growth with Later’s Analytics tool

And if you upgrade to a paid plan, you’ll get even more features including:

  • The ability to schedule carousel posts 

  • Hashtag Suggestions to find relevant hashtags 

  • Instagram location and user tagging 

  • The ability to schedule Instagram Stories (Starter, Growth, and Advanced plans only)

  • Best Time to Post – to find your personalized best posting times (Starter, Growth, and Advanced plans only)

  • A Shopify store integration with your Linkin.bio (Growth and Advanced plans only)

  • And more! 

In a nutshell, Later can help you spend less time posting on a whim, and more time growing your business and nurturing your community. 

Plus, with the extra time on your hands, you can take some well-deserved downtime too – especially on the weekends. 

Create a free account and start scheduling your Instagram posts with Later today – it’ll take less than five minutes. 

Plan, schedule, and automatically publish your social media posts with Later.

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