How to Schedule Instagram Reels for Free?

6 min read

Table of Contents

Introduction to Scheduling Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels have become a popular way for creators and brands to make short, entertaining video content. While you can currently only post Reels natively in the Instagram app, many users want to schedule Reels in advance to save time and plan content more strategically. But with most scheduling apps requiring paid plans, is it possible to schedule Instagram Reels for free?

Benefits of Scheduling Reels

Reasons you may want to schedule Reels include:

  • Post at optimal high-traffic times
  • Plan out content and spacing in advance
  • Manage multiple accounts more easily
  • Allow time for editing and approvals
  • Queue content when you’re unavailable
  • Analyze the best times to post Reels
  • Promote key content at strategic times
  • Maintain a consistent posting schedule

Challenges of Scheduling Reels for Free

  • Most social media schedulers require paid plans for Reels
  • Instagram currently prohibits third-party posting of Reels
  • Difficult to analyze reel performance without analytics
  • Harder to optimize timing without data
  • Requires alternative workaround solutions

Tips for Scheduling Reels Without Paid Tools

If you don’t want to pay for a social media scheduling subscription, alternatives include:

Use the Instagram Mobile App

Schedule posts natively in advance up to 75 days.

Leverage Third-Party Apps with Free Plans

Schedule natively or use limited scheduling queues.

Schedule as Regular Videos

Export Reels and schedule them as videos using free scheduling tools.

Use Reminders and Calendar Scheduling

Set reminders on your calendar to manually post Reels.

Collaborate with a Team or Assistant

Have someone else post scheduled Reels for you.

Use Multiple Accounts as a Workaround

Schedule posts from a second account and then repost.

Analyze the Performance of Posted Reels

Review engagement data on Reels once posted natively.

Top Free Tools for Scheduling Reels

While reel capability is limited on free plans, tools like these can help:

Buffer Free Plan

Schedule 10 posts with basic analytics.

Hootsuite Free Plan

Schedule 30 messages per month across social networks.

Preview App Free Plan

Schedule 20 posts per month with Instagram integration.

Later Free Plan

One Instagram profile and 30 posts per month.

Step-by-Step Guide to Scheduling Reels for Free

Sign Up for a Free Scheduling Account

Choose a provider like Buffer or Hootsuite and create an account.

Connect Instagram Account

Give the tool permission to access your Instagram profile.

Create and Edit Reels

Use Instagram to record and edit Reels, downloading final versions.

Schedule Reels in Advance

Upload Reels to the queue and pick post dates and times.

Monitor Scheduling Queue

Check back on how scheduled Reels are performing once posted.

Best Practices for Free Scheduling of Reels

Optimize Video Length

Aim for 30 seconds or less to maximize reach and engagement.

Use Popular Music and Effects

Increase visibility by leveraging trends and viral sounds.

Engage with Trending Sounds

Use hashtags and interact with popular sounds.

Experiment with Timing

Try different days and times to determine what resonates best with your audience.

Closely Monitor Performance

Analyze native Reels engagement insights to optimize the approach.

Content Ideas for Scheduled Reels

Short Tutorials or Tips

Fun mini how-to videos offer value to audiences.

Montages and Compilations

Cobble together event highlights, best moments, etc.

Polls and Questions

Engage your audience by prompting responses.

Sneak Peeks and Announcements

Build excitement for launches and releases.

Limitations of Free Reel Scheduling Tools

  • Can’t schedule natively in advance
  • Posting requires manual workarounds
  • Lack of robust analytics compared to paid tools
  • Possible restrictions on the number of Reels queued
  • Difficult to optimize timing and performance

Should You Pay for Premium Reel Scheduling?

The key considerations are:

  • How many accounts do you need to schedule for?
  • What volume of Reels do you need to schedule?
  • Do you require robust analytics?
  • How important is automation and simplicity?

For power users, a paid tool like Later or Planoly may provide helpful productivity, efficiency, and data. But more casual users may be fine with free workarounds.

The Future of Scheduling Instagram Reels

Ideally, Instagram would integrate native Reels scheduling capabilities in its mobile apps, as Facebook has done for Stories. This would make scheduling seamless.

Third-party scheduling apps are also likely to expand Reels support, including testing workarounds for auto-posting. More competition and capabilities will empower schedulers.


  • Scheduling Reels in advance can optimize timing and content planning but currently requires workarounds.
  • Free alternatives rely on manual scheduling, calendar reminders, re-posting from other accounts, and analyzing posted Reels.
  • Simple free tools like Buffer’s free plan provide basic scheduling queues and analytics.
  • Carefully evaluate whether investing in paid solutions is worthwhile based on your volume, resources and needs.
  • As demand for scheduling Reels rises, expect better native and third-party solutions.


What’s the best completely free Instagram Reels scheduler?

Preview App offers the most robust free scheduling for up to 20 Instagram posts per month, including Reels.

Is it against Instagram’s terms of service to use a third-party app to auto-post Reels?

Yes, auto-posting Reels via third-party apps currently goes against Instagram’s policies. Free workarounds rely on manually re-posting content.

Can I schedule Reels further than 1 week out with a free scheduler?

It depends on the tool, but most free scheduling queues are capped at scheduling 7-10 days in advance.

Do any free Reel schedulers provide analytics?

Limited analytics may be available, like Buffer’s free plan. But robust Reels analytics requires paid tools.

What are the top paid tools for scheduling Reels?

Top paid tools with more advanced Reels scheduling include Later, Planoly, Hopper HQ, and Hootsuite’s paid tiers.

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