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  Article updated: March 19, 2023

Create an Instagram post

You can create and publish Instagram posts from Composer. How you publish your posts depends on your Instagram profile type.

Instagram Business profiles: You can publish all posts directly to Instagram as long as your profile is connected to a Facebook Page. For more details, see Add an Instagram account. Want to create shoppable Instagram posts? See Tag products in your Instagram posts.

Instagram Personal and Creator profiles: Instagram requires you to publish all posts manually using your mobile device. To learn how it works, see Finish publishing via mobile notification.

See also Create an Instagram story or Create an Instagram reel.

Watch 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.

Video: Publishing to Instagram accounts with Hootsuite.

Before you begin

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

Create your post

To get started, select Composer . Then follow the steps in this article to create your post.

A sample Instagram post in Composer.

  1. Under Publish to, select an Instagram account you want to publish to.
  2. In the Content area, enter your post caption. You can proofread your text using Grammarly. The character limit for Instagram captions is 2,200. You can include the following in your caption:
    • Up to 30 hashtags - Select the hashtag icon to get some hashtag suggestions. The suggestion list is powered by AI (artificial intelligence), based on your post text and media (for hashtag best practices, see our Instagram hashtag guide).
    • Emoji - Select the smiley face to add emoji (see also Add more inclusive emoji).
    • Mentions - 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 keep 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 Content area.

  3. Add up to 10 images or videos to your post.
    Media upload options
    • Drag files from your computer into the Content area.
    • Select Upload media.
    • Select Design with Canva (see Design images with Canva in Composer for details).
    • Select Media library , and then select Free Images from the list. Select a media file, and then select Close media library.
      • The maximum file size for images is 8 MB, and maximum video length is 60 seconds.
      • Instagram direct publishing requires that your photo have an aspect ratio between 1:1.90 and 1.91:1. Use the Instagram-specific square, landscape, or portrait crop options in the image editor to resize the image.
      • The Composer preview for Instagram may crop portrait images, but your published post will include the full image.

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

  4. To edit an image, add filters, or make other adjustments, point to the image thumbnail and select Edit image . For detailed instructions on using the image editor, see Work with images.
  5. To choose a custom thumbnail for a video, point to it and select Video settings.
    Edit video settings

    You can do the following in video settings:

    • View the video file's properties.
    • Customize the thumbnail cover for Instagram Business posts. Select from the thumbnail options provided and then select Apply.

      Note: Facebook Pages and Instagram Business accounts use the same thumbnail. Choosing a custom thumbnail for Instagram will override any uploaded thumbnails for Facebook.

  6. Publishing via mobile notification: You can select Add next to Notes for the publisher to enter instructions for the person who will be publishing the post on Instagram.

Advanced options

Here are some more things you can do with your post:

Tag products to make your posts shoppable
Promote a post

If your post contains a single image or video, select Promote this post under Promotion to boost your post on Instagram. Instagram doesn’t support boosting for posts with multiple media files. For more details, see Boost an Instagram post.

Specify a campaign (Business and Enterprise organizations)

Select Campaign to associate your post with one of your organization's campaigns. To find out more, see Create and manage content campaigns.

Upload images from your content library (Business and Enterprise organizations)

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

Apply a tag (Business and Enterprise organizations)

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 Add. To find out more, see Add tags to track your outbound posts.

Important: Tags are not applied to posts published via mobile notification. 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. Hootsuite alerts you to any issues with your post. Then choose your publishing method from the following options:

  • Publish directly to Instagram
    Available only to Instagram Business profiles. Select Post now or Schedule to publish your post directly from Hootsuite.
    Publish directly highlighted on the Instagram publishing toggle.

    Note: Instagram limits Business profiles to 25 posts or reels in any rolling 24-hour period when using direct publishing from Hootsuite (or any other third-party publisher). To publish more than 25 posts in 24 hours, you can switch to publishing via mobile notification, or go to Instagram. Stories and mobile notification posts aren't included in the limit.

  • Publish via mobile notification
    Instagram requires that Personal and Creator profiles use this method for all posts. Business profiles can opt to publish this way to add final touches in Instagram such as filters or tags.

    If push notifications for your account aren't set up, Hootsuite prompts you to do so. Select Post now or Schedule, and then go to Finish publishing via mobile notification for your final steps.
    Publish via mobile notification highlighted on the Instagram publishing toggle.

    If you get the error "Your Instagram account requires a paired device," it means that no one has push notifications enabled in their Hootsuite app for the Instagram account you're sending content to. Enable Instagram publishing notifications, and then try again.
  • If you're not ready to publish or schedule your post, select the arrow next to Post now, and then select Save draft.

Tip: Find and manage your drafts, published posts, and scheduled posts in Planner .

If you want to create another post right away, you can also select one of the following options:

  • Post and reuse accounts (or Schedule and reuse accounts) - Publish your current post and begin a new one to the same social accounts.
  • Post and duplicate (or Schedule and duplicate) - Publish your current post and retain its content to create a new, similar post with a unique post ID.

Finish publishing via mobile notification

With this publishing method, you get a push notification on your Hootsuite mobile app when it’s time to publish your post (either right away or at the scheduled time). All mobile devices that are set up to get notifications for that Instagram profile will get one. See Enable Instagram publishing notifications for more information.

Hootsuite sends your prepared post, including all media files, to your mobile device for you to post in the Instagram app. Make sure Instagram has permission to access All Photos on your device. Completing the workflow in Instagram gives you the ability to add final touches to your post like filters or tagging people in the photo.

Any team member with Hootsuite publishing permissions and Instagram login credentials for the profile can publish the post in Instagram from the notification.

  1. To open the notification in your Hootsuite mobile app, go to Streams , and then select Notifications .
  2. Select Publish in Instagram on the new publishing notification. If there are any notes for the publisher with the post, you can see them when the notification opens.
  3. Select Open to publish in Instagram. Your caption text is copied to your device clipboard and the Instagram app opens (you'll paste your caption into Instagram in step 6).

    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 (carousel), press and hold one of the images in your camera roll to 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, long press in the caption area, select Paste to paste in your caption, and then select OK.
    The Paste option in the caption area of the 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.

The Notifications list tells you if a notification has already been opened by a team member. Opened by (name) means the post has already been opened in the Instagram app.

An Instagram publishing notification, showing that a team member has already opened it.

You can open the notification, select Opened by (name), and then either mark the post as not opened or open it in Instagram again.

The Opened by (name) button selected, showing further actions.


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