Create an Instagram post

You can create, publish, and manage your Instagram content with Hootsuite. When you create a post, you can:

  • Attach up to 10 images and videos
  • Edit and apply filters to your images
  • Choose whether to publish your post right away or to schedule it for a specific day and time

See also Create an Instagram story.

Watch How to take Instagram photos on your phone for composition tips and Best practices for sharing content on Instagram for great publishing guidance. Visit Hootsuite Academy to watch more videos, take courses, or earn industry-recognized certifications.

Before you begin

Make sure you’ve already added an Instagram account to Hootsuite. To learn how, see Add an Instagram account.

How you publish to Instagram depends on your profile type, and what you're publishing:

Instagram business profiles:

  • You can publish a single image or video directly to Instagram if your profile is connected to a Facebook Page. For more details, see Add an Instagram account.
  • To publish multiple images or videos (carousels), you must publish via mobile notification. This is a manual publishing process using your mobile device.

Instagram personal and creator profiles: Instagram requires you to publish via mobile notification for all posts. This is a manual publishing process using your mobile device.

To learn more, see Overview of Instagram profiles.

Create an Instagram post

To get started, select Create new post . Then follow the numbered steps in this example to create your post.

A sample Instagram post in the composer with numbers corresponding to the following steps

  1. Under Post to, select an Instagram profile or type a keyword to search for an Instagram profile.
  2. In the Text area, enter your post caption, including up to 30 hashtags. (For hashtag best practices, see our Instagram hashtag guide.) To mention someone, enter @ followed by their exact username. Mentions remain in plain text until the post is published. To learn more, see Mention a user or Page.

    Tip: To retain paragraph spacing when the post is published, remove spaces at the end of each line. These can often appear if you copy and paste text into the Text area.

    Note: Links in Instagram captions appear as text only, so if you include a link in your post, you won't see a link preview in your post preview.

  3. Above the Text area, the character count updates as you type. Instagram allows a maximum of 2,200 characters per post.
  4. Below the Text area, select the smiley face to add emojis.
  5. In the Media area, add up to 10 images or videos to your post.
    Media upload options
    • Drag and drop files from your computer into the Media area.
    • Select the Select files to upload link.
    • Select Open media library, and then select Free Images from the drop-down. Select a media file, and then select Close Media Library.
      • The maximum file size for images is 5MB, and maximum video length is 60 seconds.
      • Instagram direct publishing requires that your photo have an aspect ratio between 1.91:1 and 4:5. Use the Instagram-specific square, landscape, or portrait crop options in the image editor to resize the image appropriately.
      • IGTV videos are not supported.

      To learn more about media file requirements and editing images, see Image file requirements and Work with videos.

  6. To edit an image, add filters, or make other adjustments, select Edit image. For detailed instruction on using the image editor, see Work with images.
  7. If your post has multiple images or videos, it will be published via mobile notification, and you can select Add next to Notes for the publisher to enter additional guidance or instructions to the person who will be publishing the post on Instagram.

Advanced options for Business and Enterprise organizations

If your organization has a Business or Enterprise plan, you can take advantage of additional options, such as specifying a campaign or using tags for analytics.

Specify a campaign

Select your organization, and then select Select campaign to associate your post with a current or future campaign. To learn more, see Create and manage content campaigns.

Upload images from your content library

In the Media area, select Open media library, and then select Content Library Images from the drop-down to select an image from your pre-approved media files.

Apply a tag
  • Publishing a single video directly - Select Add next to Tags to apply tags to your posts and analyze their performance in Hootsuite Analytics. Select the tags to add to your post, and then select Apply. To learn more, see Add tags to track your outbound posts.
  • Publishing via mobile notification - Tags won't be applied during publishing. Apply tags to your posts from the "My posts" stream after publishing.

Preview and publish your post

When you’re finished creating your post, review it in the preview on the right to see how it will look. You'll be alerted to any issues with your post. To learn more, see Preview a post.

When you're ready, choose your publishing method from the following options:

  • Publish directly to Instagram - This option is available to business profiles connected to Facebook Pages for posts with a single image or video. If you're not set up for direct publishing, you'll be prompted to do so. After you select Post now or Schedule, your post is published directly from Hootsuite and there are no additional steps.
    Select to publish post directly to Instagram

    Note: Instagram limits business profiles to 25 posts in a 24-hour period with direct publishing from Hootsuite (or any other third-party publisher). If you need to publish more than 25 posts in 24 hours, you can go to Instagram, or switch to the mobile notification workflow. Stories and posts published using that workflow aren't included in the limit.

  • Publish via mobile notification - Instagram requires that personal and creator profiles use this method for all posts. If you have a business profile, you can choose this method if you want to use features in the Instagram app like filters or tagging, or if you’re publishing a post with multiple images or videos. If push notifications for your account aren't set up, you'll be prompted to do so. After you select Post now or Schedule, see the section Finish publishing via mobile notification.
    Select the mobile notification publishing method

Now you can choose whether to publish, schedule, or save the post as a draft from the following options in the bottom right:
The publishing options in the composer with the expanded Post now menu opened

  • Post now - Publish the post right away.
  • Save draft - Save the post as a draft and return to polish or review it at another time.
  • Schedule for later - Schedule a time and date for the post to publish. Scheduling your posts allows you to keep your social presence active and publish your posts at high audience-engagement time. To learn more, see Schedule a post.
    Schedule for later calendar with autoschedule option highlighted

    Tip: Professional, Team, Business, and Enterprise plan members can also set posts to automatically publish when there are gaps in scheduled content. See Automatically schedule a post.

If you want to create, publish, or schedule another post, select the arrow next to Post now (or Schedule), and then select one of the following options:

  • Select Post and reuse accounts (or Schedule and reuse accounts) if you want to publish your post, retain your social account choices, and begin a new post to those same social accounts.
  • Select Post and duplicate (or Schedule and duplicate) if you want to publish or schedule your post and then retain it to edit and create a new, similar post, with a unique post ID.

If you get the error "Your Instagram account requires a paired device," the post is being published via mobile notification but push notifications are not enabled in the Hootsuite app for the Instagram account you are sending content to (see Enable Instagram publishing notifications).

Finish publishing via mobile notification

With this publishing workflow, your prepared post is sent to your mobile device for you to publish via the Instagram app. When it’s time to publish (either right away or at the scheduled time), all devices that have notifications for the profile enabled in the Hootsuite mobile app receive a push notification. See Enable Instagram publishing notifications.

From the notification, any team member with Hootsuite publishing permissions and Instagram login credentials for the profile can finish publishing the post in Instagram.

  1. To open the notification in your Hootsuite mobile app, go to Streams , and then select Notifications .
  2. Select the new publishing notification. If any notes for the publisher were included with the post, you can see them here.
  3. Select Open in Instagram. Your caption text is copied to your clipboard and the Instagram app opens.

    Important: Hootsuite does not detect which Instagram profile is signed in to your Instagram app. If you publish to more than one Instagram profile, make sure you're signed in to the Instagram app with the same profile you selected in Hootsuite.

    If you get the error "Unable to publish to Instagram," check the Hootsuite app permissions in your device settings. Hootsuite needs access to All Photos.
  4. In the Instagram app, select Create to create a new post. The first photo or video saved on your device is selected by default. If your post has multiple images or videos, choose Select multiple so that you can select them all.
  5. Select Next to edit, add filters, and make other adjustments to your media files, and then select Next.
  6. Select Write a caption, tap-and-hold and then release, select Paste to paste in your caption, and then select OK.
    copy and paste caption from Hootsuite mobile notification to Instagram app
  7. Optionally, select Tag People to tag other Instagram accounts in your post and Add Location to add a location.
  8. Select Share to publish your post.

When more than one user receives an Instagram notification in the Hootsuite app, you should select the notification to see if it has already been acted on. Open in Instagram will change to Opened by (name) if the post has already been opened in the Instagram app. Select Opened by (name) to mark the post as not opened or to open it in Instagram again.
The Opened by (name) button selected, showing further actions