How to Schedule Instagram Stories: A Step-by-Step Guide

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

Great news – the answer is yes! You can now create, edit, and schedule your stories in advance using the Instagram Story Scheduler in Hootsuite or Facebook Business Suite.

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. From May 2021 it will also be possible to plan Instagram Stories via the Facebook Business Suite.

How to schedule Instagram stories with Hootsuite

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 extra 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.

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.

* Instagram story scheduling is available to professional users and above

Step 1: create and plan your Instagram story

1. On the Hootsuite dashboard, click the drop-down arrow next to the green New Post button and select New Story.

2. In the "Post to" 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 Select files to upload.

Or click Open Media Library to create a story using free 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 Edit Image under each file to use the Hootsuite Image Editor to prepare your story assets.

5. On the Transform menu under Instagram, click Story to crop your photo to the correct size.

6. Make other changes to adjust your image using filters and the 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 with 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".

8. Use the preview window on 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, type 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 the bell icon 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 Later, select a date and time, and click Done. Click the green Schedule button to start planning your story.

Step 2: finalize and publish your story

When your story is about to go live, 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 in 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. In the Instagram app, tap the camera icon in the upper left corner, then tap the gallery icon in the lower right corner. 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 Select Multiple, then select all of the components of your story and tap Next. If your story only has a photo or video, just tap this item.

4. You are now ready to add any interactive text components to your story. All of the text 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 choose Paste to paste it into your text.

5. If you'd like 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. Next to your story, tap Share to publish your story.

Check out the video below to see the entire Instagram Stories planning process in action.

How to plan Instagram Stories with the Facebook Business Suite

If you want to schedule your Instagram Stories using the native Facebook solution, log into your account and follow the steps below.

Step 1: Navigate to Business Suite

Go to your page and choose Business suite from the menu on the left side of the screen.

Facebook page navigation menu

Once signed in, select your account from the drop-down menu in the top left corner of the dashboard.

Step 2: start by drafting your story

You can do this in three places on the dashboard:

  • The Posts and Stories item in the menu on the left side of the screen
  • Click the Create Post button in the menu on the left side of the screen
  • Click the Create Story button in the middle of the dashboard

Create an Instagram story in the Facebook Business Suite

As soon as you click on one of these options, a window for creating stories will appear. Here, select the account you'd like to share your story with and upload an image or video to start working on your story.

The editing options for stories in Business Suite are quite limited compared to the features in the Instagram app or in Hootsuite. You can only crop your media file and add text and stickers.

Create an Instagram story in the Facebook Business Suite

Step 3: plan your story

When you're happy with your creation, click the arrow next to the Publish story Plan options button.

Schedule Instagram Stories in the Facebook Business Suite

click Plan the story. Then choose a date and time to post your story.

Pick a date and time to schedule the Instagram story

Once you have saved the date and time, click on Plan the story, and you're done!

Plan the Instagram story in the Facebook Business Suite

You can confirm that your story has been planned by navigating Posts and stories, then Stories, then Planned.

View and manage scheduled Instagram stories in the Facebook Business Suite

Here you can also manage your post – reschedule, publish immediately, or delete it from your pipeline.

Benefits of Planning Instagram Stories

to save time

Learning how to schedule Instagram stories will save you a ton 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 at the 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 are not 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're 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 contributions directly from your computer makes working with templates a lot easier. That means that you're 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 typos 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 program. 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 have stories scheduled, 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 it 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.

Are you ready to plan Instagram Stories and save time? Use Hootsuite to manage all of your social networks (and post schedules) from a single dashboard.

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