The constant battle of what to post on Instagram can often see people not posting at all!
We know that posting consistently on Instagram is key to growing our account, gaining followers and increasing engagement, if only we had the time.
In this blog post, I will show you how to schedule Instagram posts and reels for free.
I am always amazed that people do not know you can schedule your posts directly on Instagram or on the Facebook Creator Studio (soon to be Business Suite Platform) and instead, use paid 3rd party apps.
Having a content strategy is the best way to keep up with Instagram.
For years I just posted what I felt like at the time, but I slowly found that my content wasn’t up to scratch, and I would go days without posting because I really didn’t know what to post.
Now I plan my content at the beginning of the month, so I have a clear posting strategy and I know where I am going with it.
Why should we schedule Instagram posts and Reels?
- Ensures you post at optimal times
- It saves time in the long run
- It helps you stay consistent
- Encourages people to create a content strategy
- Helps you to organise your content strategy
- Helps with a cohesive aesthetic
Ensures you post at optimal times
We probably all know (or should know) what the optimal time to post is. It can vary hugely depending on the account, location, and niche.
Posting at a time when our audience is most active and online will help our posts to be seen more and encourage more engagement.
Every day there are millions of new posts being published on Instagram, so we have to give ourselves a head start and know when our audience is likely to see our posts.
If not, you’ll get pushed straight to the bottom of the queue.
I have missed posting at the best time for my audience several times over and it really does influence how well the post does.
By scheduling each post, I am guaranteed to post at optimal times.
It saves time in the long run
If you don’t have a content strategy in place, you may often find that in the social media and blogging world, there is so much to do!
For every blog post I write, I promote it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.
I create multiple Pinterest Pins for the blog post and stories on Instagram to direct people to my new content.
Promoting your blog posts, and products and keeping on top of social media can become overwhelming, especially if you are a one-man band.
I find scheduling my Instagram posts in one go, not only saves time in the long run but also helps me plan content for the following month which can then influence what I post on other platforms.
It helps you stay consistent
We always hear that consistency is key when it comes to posting on social media and creating a content schedule.
If you stop posting new content, you will get less engagement, and this will signify to Instagram that your account isn’t worth pushing to audiences new and old.
Scheduling your Instagram posts not only helps with consistency, it also flags up what needs to be done so you always stay on top of your posting schedule and most importantly, stay consistent!
Encourages people to create a content strategy
Having a content strategy is key for Influencers and Businesses.
If you are posting about your lunch one week and your new sofa the next, you have no niche consistency and people may stop engaging with your account.
It is all about creating a strong brand if you want to be in the social media world and thrive, so scheduling your posts will mean you have to take a good look (and create) a content strategy.
What is your brand?
What do you want to post about?
Having clear goals and knowing when you’re going to post pulls a content strategy, scheduling, and consistency all together.
Helps you to organise your content strategy
The most important thing about having a content strategy, is knowing what to post and when.
By setting aside some time to plan your content and scheduling it in advance, you can see how many posts and reels you have to come up with, where there are gaps in the schedule and take into consideration current World or National events to try and coincide your content with these dates.
Helps with a cohesive aesthetic
If you start scheduling your Instagram posts a few weeks in advance, it makes you sit and look at your content and create it all in one go.
This gives you a brilliant opportunity to take a good look at the aesthetic of your posts and how they will look on your Instagram page.
You can then move and juggle your content around, so it sits perfectly alongside each other when you go to post.
Everyone likes an aesthetically pleasing Instagram profile page!
How to schedule Instagram Reels for free
You don’t really need to schedule Instagram posts with a 3rd party app.
They may have extras that might seem appealing, but I think it just makes the whole content strategy planning noisier when all you want to do is schedule Instagram posts.
Keeping it simple is the way forward.
Schedule Instagram posts in Facebook Creator Studio
If you have a business or creator account (and let’s be honest, if you have a personal account, why would you want to schedule Instagram posts?), you can use Facebook Creator Studio for pretty much all your scheduling needs.
How to use Creator Studio >>>
1. Log into the Creator Studio page
Your Instagram account should be connected to a Facebook account (if you have a business or creator Instagram account), so go to www.facebook.com/creatorstudio and log on with the account details that you would like to schedule Instagram posts for.
Note: this is soon due to change to Meta Business Suite so I will update it when the time comes
2. Select the Instagram icon at the top of the page
3. Log on if you haven’t already and if you have multiple accounts, select the one you want to schedule.
4. To create a new post, select Create from the top left hand corner and select either Post or Reel.
5. Start creating
Depending on whether you choose a Reel or Post, you get a pop-up to start creating your content.
Here you can write your caption, enter all your hashtags (it will prompt you with relevant hashtags and tell you how many hashtags you’ve used) and add location.
6. Upload your content
When you come to upload your content, choose either an image or video depending on what content you are creating.
You can select up to 10 different images or 90 seconds worth of videos for Reels.
From here you can crop your image, so it is optimised on Instagram and tag accounts (up to 20).
Once you are happy with your content, you can start scheduling.
You can also schedule to your Facebook account if you have an active one.
Click the arrow to the right of the blue Publish button in the bottom right-hand corner and select schedule.
Here you can select a time and date for when you want your content to post.
8. View your posts
Check you are happy with your scheduled Instagram post and you’re good to go!
You can schedule a maximum of 350 posts at once, although I will take my hat off to you if you manage to create this much content in advance!
9. View your scheduled Instagram posts in Calendar
To view all your posts, scheduled, drafts and published, go to your Calendar on the left-hand menu.
Here you can check for gaps in your calendar and plan ahead.
How to schedule Instagram reels and posts on Instagram
You can now schedule Instagram posts directly within Instagram itself.
Plan ahead by scheduling reels, photos and carousel posts all within the Instagram app.
Here’s what you need to know about scheduling within Instagram –
- This can only be done on the Instagram mobile app
- You must have a Professional Instagram account – Business or Creator
- You can schedule up to 25 posts a day
- You can schedule up to 75 days in advance.
It is quite simple to do –
- Open up the Instagram app and click on the + sign to create new content
- Decide whether you want to post a Reel or a Post
- Create your post or Reel, add a caption, and select Advanced Settings at the bottom
4. Toggle Schedule this post and set a time and date. Then select Set Time
5. Use the arrow in the top left corner to go back to your post and select Schedule in the top right corner
6. This will then save your post to your scheduled content area in Instagram.
To view your scheduled content or amend, go to your settings and click on Scheduled content. All your scheduled content will be listed in here.
These are two very quick and simple ways to schedule Instagram posts and reels and can help you create a very effective content strategy, without any money leaving your bank account!
I often create a batch of content for my @besocialwithmedia Instagram account and above all, I have found it helps me to stay consistent and keep showing up.
I think the best way to grow at the moment on Instagram is to keep posting content regularly and finding out what your audience wants to see.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Does Instagram allow scheduled posts from 3rd party apps?
A. Yes! As long as they are allowed via Instagram’s API (like later.com and hootsuite.com) you can find brilliant and totally free 3rd party apps that will allow you to schedule Instagram posts.
Q. Will my scheduled posts also be shared on Facebook?
A. Unfortunately not. At the moment, if you schedule Instagram posts within the app, it will not schedule to Facebook as well, as it does when you create and publish a post from scratch.
As it says when you go to schedule Instagram posts –
“Some features, such as cross-posting to other accounts, are unavailable for scheduled content”.
I always make sure my content is shared on Facebook as this can mean a difference in 10s or 100s thousands of more views. Therefore, this is the reason I don’t currently schedule Instagram posts directly in the app and do it via the Facebook Creator Studio instead.
Q. Do I need a business account to do this?
A. As long as your account is a Professional account – Business or Creator – you will be able to schedule in Creator Studio and Instagram directly.
Q. How far in advance can you schedule content?
A. On the Instagram app, you have to schedule reels at least 20 minutes in advance, and you can schedule up to 75 days in the future. On Creator Studio, you can plan as far ahead as 6 months. Although I wouldn’t recommend it! The social media world moves fast and if you plan that far ahead, what was trending when you created it, will be consigned to the outdated bin after a month or so!