Last Updated on April 10, 2021 by Jason
Instagram is one of the most widely used social media networks on a global scale; not only does it allow you to connect with friends and family all over the world, it also allows businesses, brands, influencers, creators, and more to expand their reach and generate more opportunity for monetization of the platform.
With almost 1 billion monthly active users, gaining traction on the platform can be tough to do. Marketing efforts on Instagram don’t go unnoticed, but it’s vital to create a viable strategy that helps you to build a solid, credible reputation on Instagram.
While gaining more followers and increasing conversion is the ultimate goal, there’s a lot that goes into achieving it. Content strategy, hashtag strategy, and analytics are all non-negotiables when it comes to Instagram success.
Social media is a true balancing act these days; luckily, there are plenty of tools out there to help you with a variety of elements of your Instagram. One of the most sought-after tools is an Instagram scheduler, which can help you to be more effective in getting content out to your followers on time.
How can you find an effective Instagram scheduler that won’t break the bank? It can be daunting to go through all the services out there and make the right decision— don’t worry, we’re here to help make that process a lot easier.
After reading our guide, you’ll know:
- What an Instagram scheduler does
- The benefits of an Instagram scheduler
- Top Instagram Schedulers
- Tips for optimizing your Instagram scheduling
We’re sure that you’ll have the confidence to take your Instagram strategy to the next level through the use of an Instagram scheduler. Let’s get started!
What is an Instagram Scheduler?
An Instagram scheduler is an app or a platform that allows you to schedule Instagram content for posting, and in some cases, even auto-post your content. This type of tool is known as back end automation; in other words, this is a tool that users will not know that you are using.
Back end Instagram automation is a great way to save time and optimize your Instagram workflow, and that’s exactly what an Instagram scheduler will allow you to do.
In addition, a good Instagram scheduler will have a variety of other features, including but not limited to hashtag generation, analytics, visual content viewer, and more.
If you’re looking to boost your Instagram performance and increase your followers and engagement on Instagram, using a content scheduler will help you to get your content out on time and in front of your target audience at the optimal opportunity for engagement.
Benefits of Scheduling Instagram Posts
There are a variety of benefits that you’ll enjoy when you use an Instagram scheduler, and here we’ll touch on a few of them:
- Save time: it can be tedious to have to open Instagram and get posts ready one by one. When you use an IG scheduler, you can do this all at once, and even on desktop if you’re more comfortable with that, helping to streamline your process and have things ready right at the moment that you want your content to go live. In some cases, you can even have the scheduler post the content for you, which saves even more time.
- View your content before it goes live: Instagram schedulers allow you to see how your content is going to appear on Instagram, and you’ll also be able to see how your posts will look on your main profile, giving you the chance to check out your overall aesthetic. It’s good to have a consistent Instagram profile image and aesthetic, so seeing these content pieces altogether before you go live is a benefit.
- Plan hashtags and captions: another important part of your Instagram content is the hashtags you use as well as the captions; your content is only half ready if you don’t create both of these strategically. Hashtags get your content out to more people and captions can prompt engagement as well as gain you new followers, so using an Instagram scheduler to have this planned and ready to go is ideal.
- Get your content out consistently: there are certain posting times that work better on Instagram, and if you always have your content going out at high visibility times, you’ll be more likely to get more people looking at your content. This can increase your overall engagement levels as well as help your content to be seen more frequently by both current followers and potential followers. Having consistent content will also help your account to look professional, organized, and active.
- Increase follower count and engagement: when you have more people looking at your content on a consistent basis, you’re likely to experience higher levels of engagement and follower growth. Through the use of an Instagram scheduler you can help to establish the authority of your content and increase both.
These are just some of the benefits that you can expect from using an Instagram scheduler. Each Instagram scheduler has its own unique user platform and features, so understanding which Instagram schedulers are best and which one offers the functionality that you’re looking for is your next step.
In the following section, we will review the best Instagram schedulers.
List of the Best Free Instagram Schedulers
- Sprout Social
- Sked Social
- Task Ant
The Best Free Instagram Schedulers, Examined
It’s rare to find awesome tools for social media platforms that are completely free. While many of the Instagram schedulers below have at least a free trial or a free basic plan, you’ll be able to access many more features and functionality, as well as higher posting volume, when you use a paid plan.
We’ll discuss what each of these Instagram schedulers offers as well as their pricing options and what their free service entails. It’s a worthwhile investment to contract tools that will help your overall Instagram performance, so think about a viable budget for your scheduling needs so that you can choose services that may fit for you.
Best for: individual Instagram users or small to large businesses
Features: Later brands itself as an Instagram marketing platform, so you’ll see that they have a variety of different elements to their platform. They include features for:
- Instagram analytics
- User-generated content
- Instagram Stories
- Instagram Hashtags
In terms of scheduling, you have a variety of functionalities. You can access a grid preview, drag-and-drop calendar, adding captions and hashtags, adding Linkin.bio, scheduling IG stories and carousel posts, and more.
Price: Later is free for individuals, and it includes one social set, 30 posts per social profile, and one user. You can’t have any add-ons, so if you’re looking for other features, you’ll have to go to a paid plan. They have other paid plans that range from $12.50 a month up to $3.33 a month when paid yearly. You can add on additional services and users if needed, and you can also pay monthly, which will raise the price just a bit.
Verdict: Later has been around for a while and has a great user interface. It’s a good place to start. They can also service platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Their analytics tools are also great in order to gain insight about optimal posting times, engagement rates, and more.
Best for: Individuals or small businesses
Features: Plann describes itself as an Instagram scheduler and social media suite, allowing you to design and create your tailored content calendar and create the ideal social media strategy.
It has built-in tools such as Canva, giving you free templates, as well as stock images and videos that can help to enhance your on-brand content. Here are some of the features you’ll get with Plann:
- Post and story scheduling
- Plann with team members
- Advanced analytics
- Image editing tools
- Custom strategy creation
- Brand calendar and content planner
- Media manager
You can use Plann on mobile or desktop, which is great for those that want to have flexibility in how they work.
Price: when it comes to price, you can choose whether or not to pay yearly or monthly. They have a free option that allows 30 posts per month and 1 user with access to canva included. If you want access to some of their other advanced features, you’ll have to choose between their paid plans. They range from $7 to 105 / month, billed yearly.
Verdict: Plann has some affordable options and it’s great that they incorporate the use of canva and a visual calendar. They offer services for Facebook and LinkedIn as well, making it an optimal tool for those that want support for other platforms.
Best for: individuals or small businesses; users of multiple social media platforms; support for both iPhone and Android
Features: Planoly offers apps for both iPhone and Android, as well as desktop support. You can use Planoly to schedule as well as create and edit content. Here are some features of Planoly:
- Create and customize social content
- Beautiful designer templates and stickers
- Drafts for creating multiple content buckets
- Save your favorite templates
- Save and import to Planoly for post scheduling
- Work via mobile
- Track analytics
They offer a planning calendar with set post times; you can draft, plan, schedule, and publish content with a drag-and-drop editor. You can even share to other platforms and implement hashtags on your posts.
Price: Planoly offers four different plans, one of which is free; the free plan will support two social profiles, one for IG and one for Pinterest. It will also allow for 30 posts per profile and 1 user access. If you need more and want advanced features such as sharing, auto post first comment, and more, you’ll have to choose another plan; the paid plans range from $7-$23, paid yearly.
Verdict: Planoly does what it’s supposed to do and it’s reasonably priced with free and low-cost options. If you like flexibility and don’t have a huge amount of media, Planoly is a good choice.
Best for: Small to large businesses and freelancers
Features: Hootsuite is one of the most well-known Instagram schedulers and analytics tools, and they have an expansive platform that is best for established businesses and those that want to have a big impact on their social media strategy.
Hootsuite has expansive features, some of which include:
- Bulk scheduling, including uploading, editing, and scheduling social media posts
- Interactive, media-rich content planner that allows you to see all of your scheduled posts together at a glance; this helps to streamline approvals and add comments or collaborate with your team right there at once.
- Create search streams by hashtag or location
- Content library
- Support for multiple platforms
Price: Hootsuite offers a free trial of 30 days, but they don’t offer any long-term free plans. After 30 days you’ll have to decide on a paid plan, and they offer 4 options: the professional plan ($29/mo), Team ($129/mo), Business ($599/mo) and Enterprise (quotes only). Hootsuite is suitable for larger-scale operations.
Verdict: If you have multiple team members that are running or giving input on your social media strategy, Hootsuite is awesome. It has tons of capabilities and works for many different social media networks. In addition, you can export reports in a variety of formats for analysis.
Best for: Individuals, small or medium businesses
Features: With Combin you can schedule Instagram posts and stories for auto-publishing. You can download the platform for your desktop, which is great for those who prefer to work off of a computer. They also have a separate plan for Instagram growth.
For scheduling, Combin offers:
- Scheduling ahead and Instant posting
- Fully automated publishing
- Image size editing
- Locations tagging
- Hashtags and account mentions
- Bulk stories uploading
It’s a nice feature that they offer this support for Instagram stories as not all schedulers are capable of doing so.
Price: Combin offers a free plan that gives you access to most features, they also offer a free trial. Their pricing starts at $10/month, but they don’t show their full pricing scale on their website, which is a bit of a turn off.
Verdict: Combin isn’t as developed as some of the other tools on the list, but they have a free option, which may work for individuals or small-scale operations. They also offer Instagram growth services which may be of interest if you need a boost in followers or engagement.
Best for: Medium to large businesses, freelancers
Features: Tailwind is a social media scheduling tool that claims to get you “real results in less time.” They have a variety of different features for both Instagram as well as Pinterest, including some of the following:
- Schedule posts and videos
- Auto post
- 1-click hashtag suggestions
- SmartSchedule posting time suggestor
- Trend analysis
- Content discovery
- Comment monitoring
- Presaved hashtag lists
You can use Tailwind on desktop, mobile app, or tablet, making it a versatile tool that can cater to many preferences.
Price: Tailwind offers a free trial for its service, as well as a very basic free plan. They also have paid plans. As with most other schedulers, you can pay yearly for a discounted rate, with the cheapest plan starting at $9.99 monthly (paid yearly), which includes 1 Pinterest profile and 1 IG profile. This covers 100 posts per month which is more than other services. The Max plan is the highest at $39.99/mo.
Verdict: Tailwind is an awesome tool for those that need more guidance when selecting posting times as well as hashtags. It also helps if you use both Pinterest and Instagram since it supports both. It’s an all-in-one platform that makes Instagram scheduling easy.
Best for: Small to large businesses, freelancers
Features: Iconosquare is known as one of the top tools for Instagram analytics and management to help your Instagram performance take off and build your presence in a big way. It’s mostly used by brands, businesses, and management agencies due to its high level of efficiency.
Some of the standout features are:
- Visual content calendar and planner
- Best time to post tool
- Geo-location and user tagging
- Tools to evaluate and optimize content reach
- XLS and PDF reports
- Multi-profile management on one dashboard
- Schedule first comment in advance
- Drag-and-drop planning
The goal of Iconosquare is to make your workflow more streamlined while providing analytics that are actionable. You can also see your content at a glance before you post it to make sure it fits your vibe.
Price: Iconosquare has a 14-day free trial; once that ends, you’ll have to choose between one of their paid plans, including Pro ($29/mo), Advanced ($59/mo), and Agency (quote only). These are the annual billing prices; you can pay monthly at slightly higher prices.
Verdict: If you’re looking for a scheduler that seamlessly incorporates easy-to-understand analytics, Iconosquare is for you. You can customize it to make it as effective as possible for your particular needs.
Best for: small to large businesses, freelancers
Features: Self-described as a social media management platform, you’ll have a variety of features that you can access when you use Buffer’s platform. They allow you to manage multiple accounts and aim to help you solidify and build your brand on IG.
Some features you can enjoy include:
- In-depth social analytics
- Scheduling posts with notifications for posting
- Drafting posts
- Advanced reporting
- Strategy recommendations
- Team collaboration features
Buffer is designed with teamwork in mind, so if you need approvals or feedback from other people, Buffer makes it easy.
Price: Buffer has a free trial which is different depending on which plan you choose. They offer four plans for publishing: Free, Pro, Premium, and Business. These plans range from $0-$99 billed monthly. They also have analytics, which you pay for separately. There are 2 options, Pro and Premium ($35, $50 / mo. You can pay yearly and get a discount.
Verdict: If you’re looking to collaborate with other team members, Buffer can be a great choice. You’ll be able to plan and publish your content not only on Instagram but also on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. The goal is to help drive sales and traffic from your IG bio to your eCommerce site.
Best for: Individuals, small businesses, brands
Features: ViralTag is described as an Instagram marketing tool and they have a heavy focus on visuals. They claim that you can do a variety of different tasks from one single dashboard, including the following:
- Schedule unlimited posts
- Manage multiple social media networks
- Recycle evergreen content
- Collaborate with your team
- Analyze performance
- Clone posts
- Suggested hashtags
- Visual content planner
You’ll be able to have team workflows, access to Google Analytics, UTM tracking, as well as social analytics for up to a 1 year period. You can cross-post between social media networks and use their tools to create and curate visual content for social media.
Price: Free 14-day trial. You’ll then need to select a paid plan; paying yearly will get you a discount, as per usual. They have 3 plans: Individual ($24/mo), Small Business ($79/mo), and Brand ($249/mo). All plans are no contract and can be cancelled anytime if you pay monthly.
Verdict: When you need to manage multiple social media networks and you want to post on a cross-platform basis, ViralTag can be very practical. It’s also great for recycling and cloning content as well as collaborating and performance analysis. Bulk uploading, editing, and scheduling is quite useful for larger companies or users.
10. Sprout Social
Best for: Small to large businesses, freelancers
Features: A comprehensive tool with a lot of impressive features, Sprout Social is a trusted provider of Instagram post scheduling. They offer other elements as well, including tools for engagement, publishing and scheduling, analytics, and listening.
Some things you can do with Sprout Social include:
- Paid social reporting for IG, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
- Incoming and outgoing message content tagging, custom workflows for multiple team members and/or approver, and suggested replies that can be saved.
- Content library
- Conversation management
- Campaign performance tracking
- Easy cross-platform posting integration
- Visual drag-and-drop content calendar
- Content creation
There is plenty to love about Sprout Social. Their platform is user-friendly and makes collaborating a breeze. Their analytics are also easy to understand and provide valuable insight into your overall social media strategy.
Price: You can try Sprout Social for free for 30 days. You’ll then be able to choose from 3 different pricing plans: Standard ($99/mo), Professional ($149/mo), Advanced ($249/mo). You’ll get more with each plan, so depending on the size of your operation and your needs, you can choose accordingly.
Verdict: If you run a lot of social media networks and/or work with multiple team members, Sprout Social can give you a streamlined base that makes your workflow simple and effective. Sprout Social offers a lot of valuable tips in their blog as well.
Website: Sprout Social
Best for: brands, small to large businesses, marketing managers
Features: Loomly aims to get your brand out there and help you gain more reach for your content. They offer a wide range of features that can help you to increase your Instagram performance and schedule out your content.
With Loomly, you’ll get:
- Post ideas and inspiration
- Content library
- Optimization tips
- Post and ad mockups
- Approval workflow
- Automated publishing
- Ads manager
- Advanced analytics
You can use the scheduler feature to auto-publish posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google My Business. You can also manage post scheduling for Snapchat and TikTok.
Price: Loomly offers a 15-day trial, and then you’ll choose between 4 different plans. The Standard plan begins at $57/mo when paid yearly, Advanced ($119/mo), Premium ($249/mo), or Enterprise (quote by request).
Verdict: If you’re a larger-scale operation that uses ads, Loomly can be great because it helps to push your ads on Facebook and Instagram. They also offer a plethora of engagement and collaboration tools. They are integrated with a wide variety of tools, including Slack and other collaboration platforms, making it great for those that don’t work on their own.
Best for: Freelancers, small to large businesses, brands, marketing managers and agencies
Features: Sendible claims to manage and amplify brands on social media, per their website. There are plenty of tools available for planning, engagement, collaboration, and more. You’ll be able to schedule posts in a variety of different ways, including individually or in bulk.
Here are some of the main features you’ll get with Sendible:
- Schedule view that allows you to see all posts, including drafts and pending approvals.
- Post preview before publishing
- Text personalization
- Posting to multiple networks
- Schedule into queues
- Shared visual calendar
- Task list
- Content suggestions
- Cloud integrations for visuals
- Canva template integration
This is just scraping the iceberg; Sendible truly has a wide range of tools that goes far beyond post scheduling. You can even send reports automatically to team members, clients, and stakeholders.
Price: You can try Sendible for 30 days before choosing one of its four plans. These plans range from $29/month and max out at $299/mo.
Verdict: Sendible is an expansive tool, and the sheer capabilities that Sendible houses makes it clearly designed for larger operations and multi-platform social media management. This is great for those that work with multiple clients or with multiple social media platforms. You’ll be able to easily see your posts on your calendar and set up tools for collaboration.
13. Sked Social
Best for: individuals, small businesses
Features: Sked Social says it’s the only Instagram scheduler you’ll ever need, allowing you to set up and auto-publish all of your content as well as analyze and learn from your performance.
When you use Sked Social, these are some of the features you’ll get:
- Schedule and automatically post everywhere, for any content type: feed posts, stories, carousels, etc.
- 360 visual marketing platform
- Plan, create, store, and find all of your visual marketing content
- Collaborate with other team members through approvals and internal comments
- Photo editor
- Queue for posting consistency
- Visual scheduler, drag and drop
- Day, week, and month filters
- Post previews
You can also upload in bulk and other platforms are supported, including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. You’ll also get in-depth reporting on your post performance and have a hashtag manager.
Price: Sked Social offers a free trial, but no free forever plans. You’ll have to choose between one of their 4 plans: Fundamentals ($25/mo), Essentials ($75/mo), Professional ($135/mo) or Enterprise ($260/mo).
Verdict: it’s great that Sked Social will allow you to see your insights for up to two years on their platform. The fact that they support multiple platforms is great, and the convenience of auto posting is always appreciated.
Website: Sked Social
Best for: Startups, Small to large businesses, freelancers
Features: Semrush aims to help you grow your online visibility through their single platform. They offer tools on SEO, content marketing, competitor research, PPC, as well as social media marketing, making them a pretty comprehensive tool.
Some features of Semrush include:
- Post scheduling for Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google My Business
- Performance tracking
- Social media ads with recommendations
- Post cross platform
- Track competition stats on social media data
- Schedule automation
- Tips for implement
Semrush ultimately has a wide range of features especially if you’re interested in SEO and content marketing. They also offer you a unique opportunity to understand what your competitors are doing and how you can get your content and Facebook ads performing better.
Price: Free trial available. There are 3 monthly plans, including Pro ($99/mo), Guru ($199.95/mo), and Business ($399.95/mo).
Verdict: If you are looking to increase conversion and edge out your competition, Semrush is a great tool to not only help you schedule your Instagram posts but also to build a larger strategy that goes beyond content.
15. Task Ant
Best for: Individuals, small to large businesses, freelancers
Features: Task Ant is known as the best Instagram hashtag generator, and it’s about time that people see all the other awesome stuff they can do for your Instagram. Task Ant will allow you to schedule out posts and auto-post, among other things.
Here’s what you can achieve with Task Ant:
- Schedule Instagram posts of all kinds
- Get a visual view of your Instagram content before it goes live
- Calendar content planner
- Optimize your hashtag use for all of your content
- Organize hashtags into sets and filter your hashtag searches
- Post hashtags and captions with your content
- Track post performance and analytics
As you can see, Task Ant is much more than just a hashtag generator; you can use it to enhance your overall content strategy and streamline your workflow. They’ve got a very easy-to-use interface that makes Instagram content strategy easier and more effective than ever.
Pricing: Task Ant has two affordable no-contract plans, Solo ($15/mo) and Growth ($49/mo).
Verdict: Task Ant is one of the best overall choices because it offers the best hashtag generator and management tool in addition to its powerful Instagram scheduler. It accommodates all types of users, from individuals to small and even large businesses or marketing managers. When you want to save time and increase the effectiveness of your IG content, Task Ant is a great choice.
Website: Task Ant
How to Optimize Your Instagram Post Scheduling
There are a few things you can do to make sure that your Instagram post scheduling is effective. While most of these tools will help you, make sure you’re ready in the following three areas.
Know Your Target Audience
The better you know your target audience, the more effectively you’ll be able to schedule your IG posts. If you know that your target audience is usually online between 5-6pm, you’ll want to set up your posts to go live at that time.
If you know the habits of your target audience, you can create your schedule around them as well as design content that’s valuable to them, helping you to increase engagement.
Most Instagram schedulers offer the chance to include hashtags and captions for a reason— you need them. You can find the hashtags you want to use directly on your Instagram scheduler or you can use a generator and do your own research.
Also make sure that you are clear about your captions and use them to add value to your visual content. Always preview your posts on your scheduler before they go live and make sure that everything ends up posting as you had anticipated it to look.
Conclusion: Best Instagram Post Schedulers
Now you’ve got no excuse to miss a post or two— these Instagram schedulers are the cream of the crop. With so many free and budget-friendly options, what are you waiting for?
Give yourself a competitive edge and take control of your workflow. Get the hashtags you need to increase your content’s reach. Use an Instagram scheduler to manage your Instagram content, boost engagement, and increase the overall quality of your Instagram profile.