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 app to schedule Instagram posts in 2022.
And the best part? You can do it all for free. Let’s get into it.
Scheduling content has got to be one of my favorite ways to prepare for the next month.— Niti Sarran (@NitiSarran) December 9, 2020
Batch your work. Schedule your content. Get ahead.
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:
Write Stronger Captions
Craft a Cohesive Visual Story
Keep Your Content Calendar Organized
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.
The reason your struggling with being consistent online is because you try to create content day by day— Ashley France (@theashleyfrance) September 15, 2021
Take time to batch create your content for a week or two & schedule it
This will save you time & stress
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.
Don't forget about Instagram SEO — write descriptive captions with relevant, highly-searched keywords throughout to boost you reach. ⚡— Later (@latermedia) May 18, 2021
This includes optimizing your post to include highly-searched keywords for SEO, and relevant hashtags to increase reach.
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:
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: Later’s free Visual 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.
My love language is a fully planned out content calendar. 🥰— Later (@latermedia) December 4, 2021
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.
With Later’s desktop app, 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 app to schedule Instagram posts 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’s desktop app and add content from your computer, Dropbox, or Google Drive.
You can also drag and drop files directly into the Media Library, for an even faster process!
Step #3 (Optional): Find User-generated Content
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:
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.
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:
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.
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!
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 free 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.
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:
Post at Your Best Time for Maximum Engagement
Use Relevant Hashtags for Optimal Reach
Include SEO Keywords in Your Captions
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.
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:
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’s desktop app, 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.
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 free 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
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)
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.