How to Schedule Instagram Stories: A Step-by-Step Guide with 5 Steps

If you’re using stories as part of your Instagram marketing mix, you’ve probably asked yourself: can I schedule Instagram stories?

Good news. With the new Instagram Story Scheduler in Hootsuite, the answer is yes! You can now create, edit, and schedule your stories in advance.

In this post, we’re going to cover a ton of benefits of scheduling Instagram Stories instead of posting them on the fly, such as:

  • save a lot of time
  • This makes it easy to customize stories with editing tools and templates
  • Avoiding typos and autocorrection errors

We’ll also walk you through the exact process of scheduling Instagram stories. Let’s dive right in.

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Is there an app for scheduling Instagram stories?

You can’t schedule stories directly in Instagram. However, you can use the Hootsuite app or dashboard to schedule Instagram stories.

Due to a limitation in the Instagram API, third-party apps and software cannot be published directly to Instagram Stories. Once you’ve created and planned your story, there are just a few additional steps left to do right in the Instagram app.

If you’ve ever used the mobile notification workflow to schedule posts for your Instagram feed, you already know how to do it. If you’re used to posting your Instagram posts directly, the process is a little different.

This is exactly how it works.

How to Schedule Instagram Stories

Before you begin, make sure you are using the latest versions of the Hootsuite and Instagram apps.

You can create and schedule Instagram Stories on your desktop, but you’ll need both mobile apps to complete the posting process.

Step 1: create and plan your Instagram story

1. On the Hootsuite dashboard, click the drop-down arrow next to the green New article Button and select New story.

2. In the Mail to In the field, select which Instagram profiles you want to share the story with.

3. Drag up to 10 pictures and videos for your story into the media area and click choose files upload.

Or click on Open the media library Create a story using free stock images or imagery from your enterprise content library.

Note that each image file can be a maximum of 5MB and videos can be a maximum of 60 seconds.

You can always change the order in which your photos and videos appear in your story. Just drag and drop them into the correct list on the left side of the dashboard.

4. Click on Edit picture under each file to prepare your story assets using the Hootsuite image editor.

5. In the Transform menu, click history on Instagram to crop your photo to size.

6. Make other changes to your image using filters and the To adjust and focus Tools.

Editing tools in the Hootsuite Instagram Story Scheduler

7. Get creative with frames, stickers and the brush tool and add your overlay text.

Screenshot of the framing option in Hootsuite's Instagram scheduler

Note that stickers and text that you apply using the image editing tool are not clickable in stories. In a later step, you’ll add hashtags, links, and other interactive elements.

When you are happy with your picture, click save up.

8. Use the preview window to the right to check your story components and make sure everything looks good.

9. If you want to add links, hashtags, or other interactive text components to your story, enter them in the Clipboard text box. This will save the text so you can easily copy and paste it when you finish your story in the Instagram app.

10. If you have not yet set up the mobile notification workflow, click Bell symbol and follow the steps when prompted. You only need to do this the first time you are planning a story. Remember, you cannot use the direct posting option with Instagram Stories as Instagram does not allow it.

click Schedule for laterSelect the date and time and click Done. Click the green Time schedule Button to plan your story.

Step 2: finalize and publish your story

When your story is about to go online, you will receive a push notification from the Hootsuite app. From here you can publish your story with just a few clicks.

1. Tap the notification to preview your story, then click Open in Instagram. This will open the Instagram app.

Important: The story will be published on the account you are signed in to. If you have more than one Instagram profile, make sure you are signed in to the correct one.

2. On the Instagram app, tap Camera icon Tap in the upper left corner Gallery icon bottom right. The pictures and videos you prepared for your story will appear as the newest items on your camera roll.

3. If your story contains multiple photos and videos, tap Choose MultipleThen select all the components of your story and tap Next. If your story only has a photo or video, just tap that item.

4. You can now add any interactive text component to your story. All of the text you entered into Hootsuite has been added to your clipboard so you can easily paste it in the right place. For example, to add your hashtag text, either add a hashtag sticker or open a text box. Then tap and hold and select Insert insert into your text.

5. If you want to further edit your pictures, you can use Instagram’s stickers, drawing tools, and filters. When you’re done, tap Send to. This is a good opportunity to check your profile picture to make sure you’re signed in to the correct Instagram account.

6. Tap divide next to your story to publish your story.

Benefits of Planning Instagram Stories

to save time

Learning how to schedule Instagram stories will save you tons of time and make sharing stories less of a hassle for your work day. Instead of having to spontaneously create and post stories several times a day, you can sit down and prepare your stories all at once for the week.

If you want your planned stories to go online, you can publish them with just a few clicks.

Of course, you can also share live stories between your scheduled ones if you want to keep your audience updated on current events.

Upload Instagram Stories from your desktop or laptop

How many times have you had to send a photo or file to your phone to post on Stories? And then dig around in your camera roll trying to find the right posts in the right order?

Using an Instagram story planner can eliminate this step. You can upload your stories files directly from your desktop or laptop. When your story is about to go live, the components will automatically appear in the correct order on top of your camera roll and are ready to use right out of the box.

More editing options

When you schedule Instagram Stories with Hootsuite, you get access to all of the editing tools built into the Hootsuite dashboard. That said, you can create stories using fonts, stickers, and frames that aren’t available in the Instagram app. You can even upload your own stickers to give your story a unique look and feel.

And as mentioned in the last point, you can do this editing on your desktop or laptop. You can use a full-size keyboard and monitor to tweak your changes, increasing your creative control.

Maintain a uniform appearance with templates

Using Instagram templates is a great way to create consistent story posts that match the overall look and feel of your brand. Templates are especially useful when you are sharing non-visual content like text, quotes, or links to your blog posts.

Screenshot of the Instagram Stories template used by HootsuiteAlternative version of the Instagram Stories template used by Hootsuite

The challenge is that many Instagram templates require you to use a computerized software program such as Adobe Photoshop to create your posts. And it is a tedious process to get your finished posts from Photoshop to your phone for publication.

The ability to upload your posts directly from your computer makes working with templates a lot easier. This means that you are more likely to incorporate these valuable tools into your Instagram Stories posts.

New to templates? We created an entire post on how to use them, which includes a number of free Instagram Stories templates to get you started.

Avoid typing errors and broken links

Thumb typing isn’t the best way to create flawless content. No matter when autocorrect is involved.

Planning your posts in advance gives you the opportunity to plan your text and links more precisely. Enter your subtitles on a suitable keyboard. Take them through a spelling and grammar checker. Test your links. See what other posts are being approved for the hashtags you want to use.

It’s always a good idea to take the time to step away from your content for a minute and then reread it with fresher eyes. (Or even have a coworker take a look.) This is difficult when you post on the fly. If you’ve scheduled stories, you can always review them in the Hootsuite scheduler before they go live.

Promote engagement

Once you master Instagram story scheduling, you will likely find yourself posting more stories, and doing so more consistently. If your audience knows what type of content to expect from you and when to expect it, they are more likely to watch your stories and get engaged.

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