Instagram is a powerful marketing channel, but consistently posting engaging content requires planning. The right scheduling app saves time and makes Instagram’s success achievable. In this guide, we cover the top free Instagram schedulers and provide actionable tips for developing an effective scheduling strategy.
Table of Contents
- Introduction to Instagram Scheduling
- Top Free Scheduling Apps
- Key Features to Look For
- Setting Up Your Chosen App
- Developing an Effective Scheduling Strategy
- Scheduling Best Practices
- Maximizing Your Instagram Presence
Introduction to Instagram Scheduling
Scheduling apps allow you to easily plan and schedule Instagram posts in advance for optimal timing.
Overview of Instagram Scheduling
An Instagram scheduler lets you upload content, customize captions, add hashtags, and schedule posts to publish automatically at your chosen date and time. This allows consistent posting without constant manual effort.
Benefits of Using an Instagram Scheduler
Scheduling streamlines your workflow, saves time, allows collaboration, and facilitates thoughtful posting when your audience is most active. Overall, it enhances consistency.
Top Free Scheduling Apps
With many options available, we compare the features of the top free Instagram schedulers:
Later provides robust scheduling abilities with an intuitive calendar interface, hashtag suggestions, and Instagram analytics integration. It’s easy to use with flexible plans.
Preview offers customizable scheduling features and analysis of your posting performance over time. It enables collaborating with others on schedules.
Planoly focuses on visually planning your Instagram grid with drag-and-drop functionality. It also auto-suggests ideal posting times.
Hopper makes scheduling quick and simple through its streamlined mobile interface. It provides posting insights and guidance.
Buffer isn’t Instagram-specific but allows easy social media scheduling across platforms including Instagram. Posting queues can be managed from anywhere.
Key Features to Look For
The best schedulers make posting to Instagram uncomplicated. Prioritize these features:
The platform should have a clean, easy-to-navigate interface for scheduling posts in a calendar view.
Flexible Scheduling Options
The ability to schedule posts weeks or months in advance as well as quickly schedule new posts is ideal.
Tools to manage reusable caption templates can save time composing posts.
Built-in hashtag research helps you optimize discoverability.
Viewing Instagram data like best posting times within your scheduler informs scheduling decisions.
Setting Up Your Chosen App
Getting started with your selected scheduling app only takes a few minutes:
Downloading and Creating an Account
Download the mobile app or access the web interface. Sign up for your free account.
Connecting to Instagram
Follow the provided instructions to securely connect the tool to your Instagram profile. Grant any requested access permissions.
Getting Familiar with the Platform
Take some time to get comfortable with the app’s interface and test scheduling some draft posts.
Developing an Effective Scheduling Strategy
Leverage your scheduling app to implement an optimized Instagram strategy:
When to Post
Use analytics to determine when your followers are most active, then schedule content for those high-traffic times.
Planning and Varying Content
Plan posts weeks in advance and mix up content types – photos, videos, carousels, etc. Add seasonal posts or tie content to events.
Craft engaging, branded captions focused on what interests your audience. Include strategic hashtags and emojis.
Research relevant niche and trending hashtags to include – but don’t over-tag. Balance consistency with variety.
When appropriate, enable location tagging on posts to aid local discoverability for your brand.
Scheduling Best Practices
Refine your approach over time by embracing these best practices:
Develop an editorial calendar mapping out planned content themes weeks in advance. Draft posts in your scheduler as ideas arise.
Avoiding Instagram Limits
Be aware of limits on posts per day and hashtags per caption. Use limits strategically in your schedule.
Check back on your posted content to see engagement. Refine your strategy based on top-performing post types and times.
Collaborating with Others
Let colleagues or team members contribute to scheduling by collaborating within a shared account.
Maximizing Your Instagram Presence
Scheduling establishes a strong foundation. Now enhance your broader presence:
Ensure your grid, Stories, and profile present a polished, consistent brand aesthetic tailored to your niche.
Engaging Your Audience
Foster engagement by responding to comments, asking questions in captions, running polls and contests, and sharing user photos.
Driving Traffic and Conversions
Include strategic links to products, blogs, or special offers to drive traffic to your website and convert Instagram followers.
A scheduling app like Later or Preview streamlines Instagram’s success. Consistent posting keeps your brand top of mind. Save time, optimize your strategy, and grow your audience by embracing the convenience of an Instagram scheduler.
- Use a free app like Later to easily schedule Instagram posts in advance.
- Analyze posting insights to determine optimal scheduling times and strategies.
- Plan varied, captivating content and use hashtags and locations strategically.
Consistency Is Key
Scheduling Instagram posts consistently, not constantly, is key for engaging your audience and achieving your brand goals on the platform.
What are the disadvantages of scheduling Instagram posts?
The main drawback is that scheduled posts can feel impersonal or robotic if not carefully planned and crafted. Also, you have less flexibility to react in real-time to trends.
Can I schedule both feed posts and Stories?
Yes, many scheduling apps like Later allow you to plan both feed posts and Stories in advance and set publishing times for each.
What happens if a scheduled post fails to publish?
Most schedulers will send you a notification if a post fails to go live. You can then quickly delete or re-schedule that post. Checking your schedule daily helps catch any issues.
Is scheduling on Instagram against the platform’s policies?
No – Instagram allows scheduling apps as long as they follow proper API guidelines. However, overly-automated posting can get your account suspended.
How many posts per day should I schedule?
Aim to schedule no more than 1-2 posts per day spaced throughout peak times for your audience. Avoid scheduling posts too close together or at clearly low-traffic times.