All marketing professionals are well aware as to how social media plays a crucial role in interacting with your audience and becoming a part of the conversation happening around your brand is the need of the hour. Nowadays, every business, small or big needs some marketing presence on social media. We often see marketers claiming they don’t have enough time for social media marketing, and that is why we have brought to you a guide on How to schedule Instagram posts for free.
For business owners and marketers, staying at the top of the game and maintaining consistency on social platforms is the key to nailing their marketing strategy. But it is not as simple as it seems. Social media never sleeps and to win the race; you are expected to have a 24×7 commitment.
Coming to social media marketing, can you think of any business that doesn’t require Instagram? With over 8 million business accounts and highest engagement rates, leaving behind Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, marketing on Instagram is highly competitive.
(Image source: RivalHQ)
Waking up at absurd hours or skipping posting an update while you’re busy in some other work is not a viable option. What if you could make this tedious activity a lot easier and convenient by scheduling your posts at a particular date and time in advance and saving some of your valuable time?
Why is Scheduling important for marketers?
- Time saver: Often, the best time to reach out to your audience is not a convenient time for you. You might be busy with some other activity or enjoying your sunny Sunday. Scheduling your posts ahead of time can save you from last-minute panic and give you enough time to optimize the content. It is evident that skipping a media post upload for a day or two is not what your audience likes.
- Eases management of multiple social accounts: Businesses often have multiple social media handles. Scheduling ensures that you don’t end up mixing the styles of these handles in a hurry as each has its own target audience and niche. It also gives you the flexibility to schedule a social media calendar in sync with important days and events.
- Maintains consistency: There is no shortcut for overnight success on social media. To have an effective marketing strategy, posting regularly, and showing up on your followers and potential audience’s feed is vital. Thus, scheduling helps in delivering credible and quality content on the platform.
- Invest your time in social engagements: Instagram algorithm’s primary goal is to maximize the time users spend on the platform, which is possible through high engagement. High engagement directly depends on posting at the best suited time for your business to get enough bandwidth to engage with the audience. Therefore, merely posting won’t reap any benefits.
- Post counts and followers are related: Brands that post once a day have more followers and engagement than brands posting on a weekly basis. Scheduling helps with the work and saves time to focus on attracting new followers which definitely takes a whole lot of time.
So, How to schedule Instagram posts for free?
We will begin with the best option to do so, which is free of course, the most reliable of all is a tool by Facebook itself. We are talking about the newly launched Facebook creator studio which allows the creator to post, schedule, watch insights and manage all your accounts in one place. So let us start with a step guide:
- Go to https://business.facebook.com/creatorstudio
- Start by connecting Instagram account to Facebook Creator Studio (for details on how to connect, see article)
- Now go to the Instagram Dashboard in Creator Studio by clicking on the Instagram icon available at the top of Creator studio.
Now, we are on the Main Dashboard where you will be having options like Content Library, Posts, Insights, and Instagram Accounts on the left menu.
Scheduling Instagram Post & IGTV Content
- Just above the aforementioned options, there will be a button named Create post. Click on the same, and that will open up a dialog box with two options, namely Instagram Feed and IGTV.
- Choose the option as per your needs and this will take you to a window on the right side of the screen where you will have options to write a caption, upload image or images in case of carousel post and add location. (While uploading an image, you can crop the image and choose Square, Landscape and Vertical view)
- After finalizing the image or video, click on the down arrow beside the Publish button and select “Schedule” to choose a date and time to publish the post. Once done, click on “Schedule” button and the post will be published at the set time by the Creator Studio.
Wasn’t that easy?
Admittedly, it is an all-time free option to schedule your Instagram post. Though we have shared the best option with you, we will now share information about some other tools that provide you the facility to schedule your post. The drawback with these tools are:
- they are not completely free
- they often have bugs
- they have limits on the number of posts
Apart from the Facebook Creator tool, Third-party tools allow scheduling of Instagram posts after Instagram made its API open to developers through the “marketing partner program.” To schedule Instagram posts via direct publishing tools, your content aspect ratio must match with Instagram’s acceptable ratio range. If your post content fails to fit Instagram’s dimension ratio, an automated scheduling post will give a reminder to fix it. Instagram square images [1:1] can be automatically published as usual.
In this section of the article on How to schedule Instagram posts for free, you will discover a bunch of automated scheduling tools that will not only boost your next marketing strategy on Instagram but will give you ample amount of time to invest in processing and interacting with the posts.
Hootsuite offers a single dashboard to schedule and publish content to Instagram and keeps track of your competitors, customers, and industry hashtags. From the Hootsuite dashboard or mobile app, you can directly post videos and images to your Instagram Business account. It analyzes the performance of your posts and gives a visual report of your content showing what’s working on Instagram
Hootsuite offers a free 30-day trial with plans starting at Rs. 1915/month
Instagram post scheduled through Sprout Social saves time, simplifies content planning and scheduling with intuitive workflows, creative tools, and a bunch of added functionalities such as Image Asset Library and Image Editor. The tool offers Instagram analytics to help improve your content strategy by keeping track of likes, comments, hashtags, followers growth, engagements, and other parameters
Sprout Social pricing starts at $99 with a free 30-day trial
Instagram post scheduling is effortless with quick drag and drop of photos and media to the media library in just a few minutes. Later offers easy caption customization, creates multiple hashtags list and inserts them in your captions in a single click, suggests hashtags, automatically calculates top seven posting times each week and more
With Later, you can preview your posts before scheduling them, plus images to be uploaded can be directly synchronized from services like Google Drive and Dropbox. The plan range varies from free to $49 per month.
Instagram Analytics tool, Iconosquare allows automated scheduling of both single-image posts and videos. Apart from offering an automatic scheduler, Iconosquare gives extra add-ons such as social media calendar, integrated media library, geolocation, user tagging and the best time to post media on Instagram with a little yellow star indicator
The tool offers insights into your Instagram account and manages your account activities based on posting history. It also measures your post’s performance by tracking comments, likes, engagements, followers’ growth, location, and more.
The tool gives 14-days free trial followed by plans starting at $29/month
Just like the other tools, you can use buffer to plan and publish your content for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, with its easy to use UI. You can draft your posts and coordinate with your team to boost your social media marketing campaigns. Also, the tool provides you analytics to track the engagement on your post.
Buffer can be used for free for seven days, and after that, the lowest plan is of $15/month which is lower than the top competitors, and that is why people prefer buffer.
So, that was all about How to schedule Instagram posts for free. If you have any suggestions or additional information related to the post, then please post them in the comments section below.
Vishal is a tech writer for Vidooly and a fan of everything related to Android. He loves exploring the nexus between tech, culture, space, and politics. He lies awake at night pondering over the myriad facets of life while also having an adventurous side to him. In his spare time, he enjoys watching sci-fi and drama series, reading psychology/politics fiction and playing brain games.