How to Post on Instagram & Schedule for Later

How to Post on Instagram & Schedule for Later

Learn how to post on Instagram, step by step:

  1. Sign Into the Instagram App or Website
  2. Tap the “+” Icon
  3. Select Images
  4. Edit Images
  5. Add a Caption
  6. Tag People and Locations
  7. Add Alt Text
  8. Review Settings
  9. Publish or Schedule Your Post

This is how you add photos (and other kinds of images) to your Instagram feed and profile grid. It’s one of the most popular ways to engage followers and expand your reach.

an image showing Instagram feed and profile grid

Alternatively, learn how to post on Instagram with Semrush. This can be a huge time-saver for social media managers.

1. Sign Into the Instagram App or Website

If you don’t have the Instagram app, download it from your device’s app store:

How do you post on Instagram without an app?

Open in a web browser. Instagram recommends using the latest version of Google ChromeMozilla FirefoxSafari, or Microsoft Edge.

Or use a third-party tool like Semrush’s Social Poster.

The following steps explain how to post to Instagram via the mobile app (as of July 2023). But similar instructions apply when posting via other official apps or the Instagram website.

Tip: If you use Instagram for marketing purposes, switch to a Business account via “Settings” > “Account” > “Switch to a Professional account.” It provides access to additional features, like scheduling.

2. Tap the “+” Icon

Tap the “+” icon to start creating your Instagram post. (The “Post” option is selected by default.)

an image showing “+” icon on Instagram

Posting on Instagram allows you to share one image. Or create a photo carousel containing multiple images.

an image showing examples of Instagram´s profile grid, single-photo post and carousel post

Side note: Check out these resources to learn about other types of Instagram content:

  • Story: Post photos and videos that disappear within 24 hours
  • Reel: Share a video up to 90 seconds long
  • Live: Livestream through Instagram

3. Select Images

Next, select the image(s) you want to post on Instagram.

You have three options:


You can post square, horizontal, and vertical photos on Instagram. But they may be resized or cropped to fit the supported resolutions and ratios:

  • Instagram post size resolution: From 320 to 1,080 pixels wide
  • Instagram post size ratio: Between 1.91:1 and 4:5
Instagram post size guidelines

Option 1: Upload One Image

Tap the photo you want to post to Instagram. Or use the drop-down to browse other albums.

Option 1: uploading one image on Instagram

Instagram crops horizontal and vertical photos to squares by default. Tap the expand icon to view your photo in full.

use the expand icon to view your photo in full when posting on Instagram

To adjust the crop, pinch and move your image within the frame.

Tap “Next” or “” when you’re done.

an image showing how to adjust the crop of Instagram image

Use the Instagram upload feature to create a photo carousel that users can swipe through.

Tap the “Select Multiple” text or icon. Then select up to 10 pictures in the order you want them to appear.

Switch between albums using the drop-down menu.

Option 2: creating a photo carousel on Instagram

Tap “Next” or “” when you’re done.

Option 3: Take a New Photo

Tap the camera icon to take a new photo. And turn it into an Insta post.

The rotate icon switches between front and rear cameras. The lightning symbol changes flash settings.

Option 3: taking a new photo for Instagram post

You can also double tap anywhere on your screen to switch cameras.

Capture the shot when you’re ready. You can always go back if you’re not happy with it.

Now that you know how to add photos to Instagram, let’s learn how to edit them:

4. Edit Images

You can edit your Instagram photo(s) via the magic wand icon“Filter” tab, and “Edit” tab. To make your images more eye-catching and engaging.

If you’re posting a photo carousel, you can apply a filter to all pics first. Tap any image to access its individual settings. Then tap “Done” or “” when you’re finished editing.

Magic Wand Icon (Lux)

The magic wand icon at the top of the page opens “Lux” settings. This affects the contrast and saturation of your Instagram photo.

Use the slider to experiment. Then click “Cancel” or “Done” when you’re finished.

using magic wand icon at the top of the page opens “Lux” settings

Filter Tab

In the “Filter” tab, you can apply a filter to your image. Instagram filters combine a number of effects (such as brightness and color) to give photos a particular look.

Tap any option to see what the filtered image looks like.

Then tap the same filter again to adjust its intensity. Select “Cancel” or “Done” once you’re finished.

using “Filter Settings” and selecting a filter on Instagram

To undo your changes, go back to “Normal” at any time. (Many users tag these photos #nofilter.)

using “Normal” filter on Instagram images reverts your image to its original form

Edit Tab

In the “Edit” tab, you can apply various effects to your Instagram photo:

Effect Description
Adjust Change the photo’s horizontal or vertical perspective
Brightness Make your photo brighter or darker
Contrast Change the variation between light and dark colors
Structure Amplify the details in your picture (similar to Sharpen)
Warmth Shift colors toward warm orange tones or cool blue tones
Saturation Adjust the intensity of your photo’s colors
Color Give shadows or highlights a colorful tint
Fade Give your image a washed-out look
Highlights Make the lightest areas of your image lighter or darker
Shadows Make the darkest areas of your image lighter or darker
Vignette Darken the outer edges of your picture
Tilt Shift Apply a radial or linear tilt shift to change your image’s focus
Sharpen Amplify the details in your picture (similar to Structure)

Tap any effect to start making changes. When you’re finished, tap “Cancel” or “Done.”

using “Edit” tab to edit Instagram images

Once you’re happy with your photos, click “Next” or “” in the upper-right. This will take you to the “New post” page.

“New post” page on Instagram

5. Add a Caption

Write a caption for your Instagram post in the corresponding field. This allows you to add context to your photo.

The character limit is 2,200 characters. But short and snappy descriptions are usually best for engaging users.

Plus, Instagram truncates captions, depending on context:

an example of Instagram post with "truncated caption in-feed" and "full caption on profile"

Some creators add extra context via comments:

an example of Instagram post with short caption and more info added in comments by poster

Include relevant keywords and hashtags in your caption—not the comments. This helps users discover your post through search.

an example of using hashtags in Instagram caption

Tip: See which hashtags drive the most engagement by analyzing your Instagram posts in Semrush’s Social Tracker tool. You can also see which hashtags your competitors use.

tracking hashtags in Semrush’s Social Tracker tool

Track Instagram Engagement

with the Social Tracker

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You can also include emojis and tag users. But it’s not possible to add clickable links to captions or comments. Many creators get around this by directing users to the link in their bio.

an example of Instagram post with "Full recipe linked in bio" caption and poster’s profile containing the link

Tip: When you create Instagram posts in Semrush’s Social Poster tool, you can easily update the link in your bio. There’s no need to edit your bio each time.

Schedule Posts

with the Social Poster Tool

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6. Tag People and Locations

If your photo features another Instagram user (either a person or a brand), tap “Tag people.”

Then tap the relevant part of the image, search for their handle, and select the correct result from the list.

an example showing how to “Tag people” on Instagram post

After publishing, the tagged user will receive a notification. They might be more likely to engage (i.e., like, comment, or share) as a result.

If they approve your tag, your post will appear in their “Tagged” section.

All of these elements can improve your post’s reach.

an example of Instagram post appearing in “Tagged” section

If the location in your image could interest users, tap “Add location.” Then choose or search for a place to tag. This can be a city, attraction, area, etc.

Instagram users can search for photos by place. So location tags are great for connecting with local residents and tourists.

an example of searching for photos by place on Instagram

7. Add Alt Text

Add custom alt text to your image(s) via “Advanced settings” > “Write alt text.”

Alt text acts as an image substitute for users with visual impairments or learning differences who use screen-reading software. It makes Instagram posts more accessible.

an example of using “Advanced settings” to add alt text to Instagram posts

Instagram uses AI to generate alt text automatically. But custom alt text can be more accurate and effective.

Plus, including keywords in your alt text could help your posts show up in search results and suggestions.

8. Review Settings

The “New post” page offers other options depending on your device, post type, and account settings.

For example, you might be able to cross-post your Instagram photo to your Facebook page. Add music. Or turn off commenting by clicking “Advanced settings.”

an image showing “Advanced settings” when posting on Instagram

Review these settings before posting on Instagram.

Tip: When you create Instagram posts with Semrush’s Social Poster tool, you can cross-post to Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google Business Profile.

Schedule Instagram Posts

with the Social Poster Tool

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9. Publish or Schedule Your Post

To publish your Instagram post immediately, tap “Share” or “” in the upper-right.

“Share” button lets users publish an Instagram post immediately

To schedule your Instagram post for later, tap “Advanced settings” > “Schedule this post.” Select a date and time up to 75 days in advance, then tap “Set time.”

images showing how to schedule an Instagram post for later

Go back to the “New post” page then tap “Schedule” to confirm your post.

“New post” page with “Schedule” button highlighted in the top right corner

Note: You must use the mobile app and have a Professional account to schedule Instagram posts like this. Alternatively, use a social media scheduling tool like Semrush’s Social Poster: 

How to Post on Instagram with Semrush

Semrush’s Social Poster tool can make it quicker and easier to add a post on Instagram. And schedule posts for later.

✓ Create and preview your post on one page

✓ Edit your photos with filters, effects, overlays, stickers, and more

✓ Publish your post alongside a comment and new bio link

✓ Cross-post to Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google Business Profile

✓ See how Insta posts fit into your wider social media calendar

Especially if you’re posting on Instagram for multiple clients.

✓ Get client approval before posting

✓ Manage multiple accounts in one place

✓ Use Social Analytics to share reports via the Client Portal

After signing up, follow the prompts to connect your Instagram for Business account.

(Don’t have a Business account? Go to “Settings” > “Account” > “Switch to Professional account” in Instagram to get started.)

Then, go to the “Social Poster” and click “New post.”

“New post” button highlighted in Semrush’s Social Poster

Check the Instagram icon at the top. And any other connected profiles you’d like to cross-post to.

check the Instagram icon in Social Poster

Now you’re ready to draft your Instagram post.

Enter a caption at the top. Click the smiley face icon to add emojis.

entering a caption for Instagram post in Social Poster tool

Then drag and drop your photo(s) into the box. Or click to open your file explorer.

an image showing how to add Instagram photo to Social Poster

To edit an image, hover on the thumbnail and click the pen icon.

an image showing where to find a pen icon to edit your Instagram post

There are many ways to enhance your photos:

Tool Description
Library Replace your image by uploading another image, opening your webcam to take a photo, or choosing a picture from our library
Transform Crop, rotate, and realign your image
Filters Apply a filter from our library and adjust its intensity
Adjust Change brightness, contrast, saturation, and much more
Focus Apply a blurred effect to certain parts of your photo
Frames Add a border to your image
Overlays Apply an image overlay and adjust its opacity
Text Add highly customized text to your image
Stickers Apply emoticons and shapes to your picture
Brush Draw on your picture using the adjustable tool

Make sure to click “Save” when you’re done.

an image highlighting the “Save” button in Social Poster tool

If you want to update the link in your bio when the post goes out, click “Link in bio” and enter the URL.

(The first time you do this, you need to set up the process. Click “Learn more” and copy the magic link. Then go to Instagram > “Edit Profile” > “Add Link” > “Add external link” and save it there.)

“Link in bio” section in Social Poster explaining how to update the link in your bio when the post goes out

If you want to publish a comment alongside your post, click “First comment” and enter your text.

“First comment” section in Social Poster

Next, decide when your Instagram post should be published:

  • Post now: Publish your post as soon as you confirm
  • Schedule: Schedule your post for a set time in the future—use the toggle and copy the secret link if your “Post needs approval” first
  • Publish regularly: Republish your post at a regular interval
  • Save as draft: Save your draft in Semrush and work on it later

Check the “Calendar” on the right to see where the post fits into your social schedule.

“Calendar” section in the Social Poster

Once you’re happy with your settings (and the “Post preview” on the right), click the blue button to confirm.

Or click the gray button to confirm and start your next post. This is handy if you want to schedule Instagram posts in bulk.

last step in publishing and scheduling Instagram posts in Social Poster is choosing "Schedule" or "Schedule & create another" option

And that’s how to post on Instagram via Semrush! You can follow a similar process to publish and schedule video reels.

Check out the rest of our Social Media Toolkit for more ways to elevate your social strategy. Or pick up some extra tips and tricks from our social media management guide.


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