Many business owners are at a loss when it comes to choosing the best app for Instagram post scheduling.

Which functions are most important? Should you be using a scheduler that can automatically post for you? What about reporting and analysis?

We'll cover you. In our Ultimate Guide to Scheduling Instagram PostsWe'll explain exactly how to save time, increase engagement, grow your fan base, and schedule free Instagram posts:

Woman using Later's calendar feature on her laptop. Text overlay:

Table of Contents:

  1. Why Schedule Instagram Posts?
  2. How to schedule Instagram posts
  3. Create and curate your Instagram content
  4. Find your best time to post on Instagram
  5. Schedule your Instagram feed
  6. Quickly schedule your Instagram posts
  7. Optimize your subtitles and hashtags
  8. Publish your Instagram posts automatically
  9. Use Linkin.bio to get more traffic and sales

Why Schedule Instagram Posts?

Every business owner knows that time is money. And if you want to make better use of this precious commodity, it makes sense to enlist the help of a free Instagram scheduler.

Think of it this way: would you rather spend 30 minutes each day browsing your photos, creating a caption, adding hashtags, and more? Or do you spend 1-2 hours in a day planning your Instagram posts for the entire week?

We are ready to bet that this is the second option.

If you're still not convinced, there are three more reasons to plan Instagram posts for business:

# 1: schedule Instagram posts to save time

With Later you can quickly Drag and drop all of your photos and videos into your media library and instantly schedule your Instagram posts in minutes.

Schedule Instagram posts

Just think of all the things you can do with that time saved!

Whether you're expanding your reach with an effective Instagram hashtag strategy, hosting an Instagram contest or giveaway, or curating a great Instagram feed, a free Instagram planner can help you focus more on your strategy and less on the logistics.

Schedule Instagram Posts: Later

# 2: Schedule Instagram Posts to Create Better Captions

Good Instagram caption can make all the difference between someone clicking the link in your bio or engaging with your post. However, creating high-quality Instagram captions can be a challenge – especially if you are writing them on the fly.

Instead of creating new, clever subtitles every day, it is better to sign up for a free account later and write your subtitles in advance from your desktop!

That way, when you're feeling creative or in the "writing zone," you can sit down at your computer and spend a few minutes writing your captions for the entire week.

Schedule Instagram Posts: Post Later

If you want to share your Instagram content with other social networks like Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, you can also use it later to easily customize, schedule and optimize your subtitles for each social network.

To do this, just click the plus sign (+) at the top of your future calendar to select the social profiles you plan to post on.

Next, drag and drop the photo you want to schedule and adjust the caption to optimize each post for Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Later, you can easily shorten your caption for Twitter or remove the highlighted @username in your Instagram caption for Facebook.

Schedule Instagram posts

As with your Instagram captions, it's important to spend a lot of time looking for Instagram hashtags. And luckily, this is another area that using a free Instagram scheduler can help!

For example, Later's Saved Captions feature lets you create multiple hashtag lists based on your frequently used hashtag categories and then add them to your subtitles with just one click.

Schedule Instagram posts

Let's say you're a travel brand that shares photos of beautiful places around the world. Instead of trying to save (or find) relevant hashtags for each post, you can use saved subtitles to organize them all so you can add them quickly as you plan for the future.

Schedule Instagram Posts: Saved Captions

If you need help finding niche and industry specific hashtags, you can use Later Hashtag suggestions Feature that automatically finds hashtags for your posts based on other hashtags you have used.

For example, if you post a photo of a dog wearing your new line of bandanas, all you have to do is include a relevant hashtag (like #westie), insert it into hashtag suggestions, click "Suggest" and the feature will instantly generate 30 more hashtags , sorted by relevance.

You can then choose which of these hashtags to add to your post. All you have to do is click "Insert Hashtags". These will be added at the end of your label.

Schedule Instagram Posts: Hashtag Suggestions

# 3: schedule Instagram posts to plan a beautiful Instagram feed

When someone new lands on your profile, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention and convince them to follow your account.

Having a curated look and feel of your Instagram profile is one of the best ways to get more followers. Fortunately, this is another area where using a free Instagram scheduler can be helpful!

Scheduling Instagram Posts: Visual Instagram Planner

The later Instagram visual planner makes it easy to plan and design your feed by dragging and re-arranging photos that you will use in future posts onto your planner until you find the perfect look or aesthetic.

It can also give a better overview of your social media strategy and your feed as a whole. For example, you can determine if you are posting too many product and promotional photos and too few lifestyle shots, or if you need to compensate for your darker photos with lighter ones.

This can help you create a more consistent branding experience on your Instagram feed. This is the key to getting more Instagram followers.

Want to learn how to plan your Instagram content like the pros? We have teamed up with Puno, Founder of ilovecreatives to show how you can personalize your content. Check out our free video course:

How to schedule Instagram posts in 7 steps:

Now that we've explained why you should schedule Instagram posts, let's look at a few ways you can maximize your Instagram posting potential:

# 1: create and curate your Instagram content

The best way to maximize your time when creating your own content for Instagram is to create a range of content for your Instagram account in a single day on "shooting days".

Whether you're creating filler content for your account or doing an in-depth product photoshoot, thinking ahead can help you plan and create a better flow on your Instagram feed.

Once you've gathered all of your photos and videos, you can use Later to easily upload your content in bulk to your media library and store it there until you're ready to post.

Scheduling Instagram posts: drag and drop

You can also add captions to better organize your content, whether it's a campaign, photo shoot, color, or theme. This makes it a lot easier to get the right photo or video when you need it.

Schedule Instagram Posts: Labels

When curating content for Instagram or creating a mix of both, it is important to gather all of your content in one place so that you can view it together before posting it to Instagram.

To help you with this, we've released a collection of User Generated Content (UGC) features that make getting, sharing, and crediting content a breeze!

Now you can find in-brand content and add it to your future media library with just a few clicks to share again – whether it's photos and videos you tagged on Instagram or images from the Internet.

And don't worry, we'll help you get the right credit every time.

Sharing UGC not only adds an authentic voice to your content, it also keeps you updated on your tags and mentions. This means you will never miss an opportunity to engage with your fans and followers.

# 2: Find your best time to post on Instagram

If you want to outperform the Instagram algorithm in 2021, you need to optimize your publish time when the majority of your followers are online.

Think of it this way: Now that Instagram is prioritizing "new" content in users' feeds, the best way to get your content in front of your followers is to post it when most of them are actively scrolling the app.

This is why it's so important to find your personal best time to post on Instagram. You can hack the algorithm to increase your reach and get more likes and followers.

How you do that?

One way is to go into your Instagram Insights (you'll need an Instagram business account to do this), check your audience metrics to find your best times, and then remember to post at those times each day. However, this is far from ideal if you are running a business!

If you want to skip the experiments and get straight to the good data, an Instagram marketing platform like Later can do the job for you!

Best time to post later Automatically calculates your 7 top posting times based on your top performing posts from the last month:

Since every Instagram account is different, we created a feature that allows you to get your personal best post times – and that is exactly what Best Time to Post does!

If you have one of Later's paid plans, your best times to post are automatically highlighted on your weekly content calendar, making it easy for you to schedule your Instagram posts to keep your audience most active!

# 3: schedule your Instagram feed

Now that you know when your Instagram audience is most active and you've gathered a number of great graphics that really represent your brand, the final step before planning your Instagram posts is planning your Instagram feed.

Planning the appearance of your feed is important if you want to get more engagement and increase your number of followers. You can do this very easily with Later's free Visual Instagram Planner.

Schedule Instagram posts

All you have to do is drag and drop your photos onto the visual planner, rearrange them to see how they look in your feed, and hit save.

This makes it easier for you to create a seamless and visually cohesive Instagram feed that you can use to get more followers.

But how do you order your photos to create a seamless feed?

Check out your entire Instagram feed: how do all of your photos fit together? The best feeds have a good variety of themes that are evenly spaced. The goal is to create balance and depth of field with your Instagram feed, just like in a photo.

If you're posting a busy photo, you'll want to balance it out with a lighter photo or a photo with lots of white space. Avoid posting the same recordings close together. So switch the flat-lay photos from top to bottom with different content or a different angle.

# 4: quickly schedule your Instagram posts

After you've spent time figuring out the best time to post to Instagram, gathering content, and planning your feed, the last thing you want to do is spend a ton of time actually planning your posts.

Fortunately, there is an easier solution: Later's free quick planning feature. You can create your own Instagram queue based on your best post times and then easily schedule multiple posts at once:

best times to post on Instagram

To quickly schedule Instagram posts, the first thing to do is to create your Instagram queue on the Weekly tab of Later's content calendar. To create your queue, just double click on the time slot you want to add. A gray box will appear. To adjust your time, just drag the time slot to the time you want.

When you've created a queue with your personal bests, simply select multiple photos or videos from your media library and drag and drop them at the top of your calendar.

Schedule Instagram Posts: Faster Schedule

And what about Instagram Stories? Yes, you are planning that too!

First, plan them out visually using our storyboard tool. Drag and drop stories onto the storyboard tool, then rearrange them to match the order and look you want.

You can also crop and resize images to fit the Instagram Stories 9:16 ratio.

Next, add links or captions to your scheduled stories, which will be copied to your phone when you post.

TIP: Create trackable links for your Instagram Stories to monitor Instagram traffic and sales. Later, it's easy to keep track of those long URLs so you never have to look for the right link again.

To schedule Instagram Stories, simply select the time and date from the drop-down menu next to the "Save Story" button.

When it's time to post, you'll get a notification on your phone!

Later, it's easy to post your stories in seconds: your photos, videos, captions and links will be sent to your phone at the time of posting. Now available to everyone paid plans::

# 5: tweak your subtitles and hashtags

Aside from planning the appearance of your feed, one of the most time-consuming (and challenging!) Parts of posting on Instagram is writing your captions.

This is another reason to use a free Instagram scheduler. If you're planning to post with Later, you can Take the time to write compelling captions and CTAs from your desktop instead of being on the go or on the go.

Indeed, many subsequent users I'll pick one day to sit at their computers and spend a few minutes writing down their captions for the whole week.

TIP: On the days when you struggle to write a caption, Content columns for reference can be of great help. Setting up pillars of content helps you stay organized, consistent, and creating content that your audience will love.

Schedule Instagram posts

And when it comes to finding highly relevant hashtags and niche hashtags for your posts, there is no better tool than Later's hashtag suggestions.

All you have to do is find a relevant hashtag (like #archdesign), paste it into hashtag suggestions, hit "Suggest", and the feature will instantly generate 30 more hashtags sorted by relevance.

You can then choose which of these hashtags to add to your post. All you have to do is click "Insert Hashtags". These will be added at the end of your label.

Schedule Instagram Posts: Hashtag Suggestions

Once you've found some really up-converting hashtags, you're ready to start using Later's S.aved captions to keep them organized and add them to future planning.

# 6: automatically publish your Instagram posts

Previously, you could only schedule videos on Instagram via push notifications as this wasn't offered in the official Instagram Graph API.

Now, thanks to several changes to the API, you can do so Schedule Instagram posts right on Instagram, no push notifications required! Simply upload your photo or video, choose a date and time and your post will be automatically published on Instagram.

Need help setting up your future account to auto-post on Instagram? Read our step-by-step help here or watch the video below:

There are restrictions on the Instagram API to be aware of. Notifications may still be required depending on the type of post you want to schedule. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Auto-posting to Instagram is only available for Instagram company profiles. To switch, you need to connect your Instagram account to a Facebook page. You can learn How to set up an Instagram company profile here.
  2. Instagram creator profiles are not connected to the Instagram APIThis means that they will not be able to use features such as automatic publishing.
  3. You can only plan individual photos and videos directly on Instagram. To schedule carousel posts or Instagram stories, you need to use notifications.
  4. Auto-posting to Instagram is available for all later plans and can be done from your desktop or mobile app. Note: Free plans cannot schedule videos.

Schedule your posts and videos directly on Instagram, without push notification!

# 7: use Linkin.bio to drive more sales and traffic

Now that your Instagram posts have been prepared and planned, the final step is to use Linkin.bio to optimize your posts for traffic and sales.

Since Instagram only has one clickable link in the app (the link in your bio), getting users to click on your website or online store can be a daunting task.

Although Instagram has some tools to help you with this, we recommend using Later's Linkin.bio feature.

Linkin.bio allows you to add links to any Instagram posts you've published through Later. This is ideal for driving your Instagram audience to the right content or product on your website.

When someone clicks the link in your bio, they'll be directed to one Web and mobile-optimized landing page that is similar to your Instagram feed (example: https://linkin.bio/latermedia). Clicking a photo will take them to a specific url like a product page or blog post.

Using "Link In Bio" CTAs in your Instagram captions will encourage your audience to browse your products, learn more about your brand, and buy your feed.

The best part? We have released a free version of Linkin.bio, in order to anyone can increase website traffic and achieve their sales goals through Instagram. It can also be set up on the web or in Later's iOS and Android apps!

To install Linkin.bio by Later now for free – no trials or credit card required!

Here is a quick summary:

How to schedule Instagram posts

  1. Find your best time to post on Instagram with Later's Best Time to Post feature
  2. Create and curate your Instagram content
  3. Plan the "look" of your Instagram feed with Later's Visual Planner
  4. Quickly schedule your Instagram posts to save time
  5. Tweak your subtitles and hashtags to get more engagement
  6. Publish your Instagram posts automatically
  7. Use Linkin.bio to get more traffic and sales

Scheduling your Instagram posts is one of the best ways to save time while achieving your bigger goals. This is double the win for businesses using Instagram to make sales or generate leads.

When choosing the right Instagram scheduler for you, it's important to consider which features will suit your needs, whether you're curating user-generated content, planning your Instagram aesthetic, or finding your best times to post.

Ready to schedule your feed, schedule your Instagram posts, save time, and more? Get started now for free!

Written by

Benjamin Chacon

Benjamin is a content marketing strategist at Later and recently performed a transplant from Toronto. You can follow his everyday life on Instagram @benjaminchacs.

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