The Ultimate Guide to Scheduling Instagram Posts

Learning how to schedule Instagram posts is one of the best ways to save time, increase your productivity, and stay connected with your Instagram followers. Unfortunately, a lot of social media marketers are at a loss when it comes to selecting the best app for scheduling Instagram posts.

The Ultimate Guide to Scheduling Instagram Posts teaches you how to save time, increase engagement, the difference between free Instagram schedulers, and the best way to schedule your Instagram posts for free:

how to schedule instagram posts

Why schedule posts to Instagram?

Every business owner knows that time is money. So, if you’re looking to make better use of that ever-so-precious commodity, it makes sense for you to save yourself time and enlist the help of a free Instagram scheduler. Taking 30 minutes to an hour one day to schedule Instagram posts for the whole week will make your life less stressful, and it will save you a lot of time each day. But that’s not the only reason you should schedule Instagram posts! Here are 3 more reasons to schedule Instagram posts for business:  

1. Upload Instagram Posts From Your PC or Desktop

If you’re using a camera to take your photos for Instagram, you’re most likely editing your photos on your computer too! Using an Instagram scheduler that lets you upload Instagram posts from your desktop will save you a ton of time, not to mention the frustration of trying to get your photos from your computer to your phone. Later is a free Instagram scheduler that lets you upload and schedule Instagram posts from your desktop, tablet, or phone — so you can work wherever, whenever.

scheduling instagram posts

Free Instagram Scheduler

2. Create Better Instagram Captions

Coming up with good Instagram captions is a challenge for everyone, but it’s even harder if you have to write the caption on the fly, every single day. It’s also often more time-consuming to come up with new content ideas, hashtags, and captions on the spot, instead of sitting down to write them all when you’re in a creative or “writing” mood. By writing your Instagram captions ahead of time, you can save yourself the daily stress and dedicate your time and energy to other important tasks.


3. Plan a Beautiful Instagram Feed

Scheduling your Instagram posts ahead of time can also give you a better ‘big picture’ perspective of your  Instagram feed and social media strategy as a whole. By planning Instagram posts ahead of time, you can also choose the order of your photos and rearrange them to design the perfect Instagram feed.

schedule instagram posts

For example, you can easily see if you’re posting too many product and promotional photos and not enough lifestyle shots, or if you should space out your darker photos with some brighter ones. This overview can help you get an overall feel for the brand voice and style you’re projecting. Later’s new visual Instagram planner lets you easily drag and drop photos to arrange your Instagram feed to your liking, and then help you quickly schedule Instagram posts!

Free Visual Instagram Planner

How to Schedule Instagram Posts in 4 Steps:

Now that you’ve decided to schedule Instagram posts, there are a few things you’ll have to do first in order to really maximize your Instagram posting potential:

1. Find the best time to post on Instagram

Before you start scheduling Instagram posts, you need to find out more about your followers and target market. When are they online? When are they most active on Instagram? When do they engage with your posts the most?

Earlier this year, Instagram announced that they would be replacing the chronological feed with an algorithm that gives priority to posts with higher engagement. What this means it that the more likes and comments your post receives, the more people will see your post! So it’s super important to post at optimal times when your followers are most active. Scheduling Instagram posts for these times is one of the best things you can do to grow your Instagram account!


So the big question is, when is the best time to post to Instagram? Well, the secret is that there is no single best time to post to Instagram. Different audiences will be active at different times, and in different time zones, and content will perform differently depending on a variety of factors. In general, however, Instagram users are very active in the morning, at lunch time, and in the evenings.

To find your personal best time to post on Instagram, take a look at your Instagram analytics to see when your followers are active the most. You can sort by day of the week, or hour of the day. Combine this with your top locations, and you’ll have a good sense of the best times and time zones to post in. 

2. Create & Curate Instagram content

Once you know the best time to post on Instagram for your business, it’s time to collect all the content for your Instagram feed!

schedule instagram posts

If you’re creating your own content for Instagram, a great idea to maximize your time is to have “shoot days” where you can create a ton of content for your Instagram at one time. Whether you’re doing a bunch of different flat lays at home to have on hand as extra content, or doing full photography shoots with your product, thinking ahead will help you not only plan better, but it will also make your photos flow better in your Instagram feed.

If you’re curating content for Instagram, or doing a mix of both, it’s still important to gather all your content in one place so you can view it all together before you post to Instagram. An easy way to collect user-generated content from Instagram is to use Later’s Search & Repost feature, which lets you search Instagram hashtags, users, and locations to find content from your community. You can then repost it to build a curated feed that truly represents your brand. 

scheduling instagram posts

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3. Plan Your Instagram Feed

Now that you know when your Instagram audience is most active, and you’ve collected a bunch of awesome visuals that truly represent your brand, the last step before scheduling Instagram posts is to to plan out your Instagram feed!

One of the hardest parts of making your Instagram feed look amazing is figuring out how to make all your individual photos look good beside each other. Later’s  Visual Instagram Planner lets you easily plan and move around your Instagram feed before you schedule your posts, but how do you know which order you should post your photos in to make it look amazing? 


Take a step back from posting one photo, and look at your Instagram feed as a whole: how do all of your photos fit together? The prettiest feeds have a good variety of subjects that are evenly spaced out. The goal is to create balance and depth of field with your Instagram feed as a whole, just like you would in a photo. If you post a busy photo, you’ll want to balance it out with a lighter photo or a photo with a lot of white space around it. Avoid posting the same shots close together, so switch up the top-down flat-lay photos with other content or a different angle.

grid-autoscheduleYou can easily rearrange your Instagram content using Later’s visual planner by dragging around your photos to create the look and feel you want. Once you like what you see, it’s on to the next step – scheduling your Instagram posts!

4. Auto-Schedule Instagram posts

After you’ve spent time finding the best time to post on Instagram, collecting Instagram content, and planning your feed, the last thing you want to do is spend a ton of time actually scheduling your posts. Manually entering the time to post for every single Instagram post is not only boring, it’s unnecessary!

Creating your own Instagram queue based on your best times to post makes your life a lot easier — you just have to select your posting times once, and then when you queue up your Instagram posts they will automatically be scheduled for your desired timeslots.


To AutoSchedule Instagram posts, you’ll want to start by creating your Instagram queue on the “weekly” tab of Later’s content calendar. To create your queue, simply double-click on the timeslot that you’d like to add, and a grey box will appear. To adjust your time, just drag the timeslot to the desired time.

Now that you’ve created a queue of your personal best times to post, you’re all set to AutoSchedule Instagram posts! Select multiple photos or videos from your media library, and just drag and drop them at the top of your calendar to AutoSchedule. It’s that easy!


Writing a good Instagram caption is also important because it could be the key to having your post seen by your followers. The new Instagram algorithm feed favors posts with high engagement, so the more likes and comments your post receives, the more people will see your post! Instagram captions with calls-to-action can help you get more comments, which directly affects your overall Instagram marketing strategy.

When you draft your captions for your photos in the Later app, they will automatically copy over into the caption field when the photo is scheduled! Once you receive your alert, simply open your photo in the Instagram app and paste the caption. 


Best Apps for Scheduling Instagram Posts:

Scheduling Instagram posts isn’t the same experience as scheduling a tweet or Facebook post. It’s very important that you use the right kind of Instagram scheduling app, otherwise you could risk your account getting banned!


The best way to schedule Instagram posts is to use an Instagram scheduler that sends you a push notification when it’s time to post. Instagram’s API doesn’t allow third-party apps to post for you, which means that any app that auto-posts to Instagram is going against Instagram’s terms of service. What does that mean for you? Your account could be banned from Instagram! Unfortunately, we have heard so many stories from users of auto-posting apps that have lost their entire Instagram account because they were using these apps.

The best apps for scheduling Instagram posts are ones that send you a push notification when it’s time to post. After you schedule your posts with Later, you’ll get a notification when it’s time to post. All you have to do is open the notification and Later automatically pulls in your scheduled photo to Instagram, and it automatically copies your pre-written caption. Just hit “paste” in the caption field and you’re all set to post to Instagram.


Start scheduling your Instagram posts with Later now!

STart scheduling Instagram Posts

Written By

Benjamin Chacon

Benjamin is a Content Writer at Later and recent transplant from Toronto. You can follow his day-to-day exploits on Instagram @benjaminchacs.