Instagram Publishing

New to Sprout Social? Learn more about our Instagram management tools here.

You can schedule and publish images and videos to Instagram using a variety of workflows. The publishing process may be different depending on the type of media you want to publish and we want to make it as easy as possible to plan and manage your content from within Sprout.

This article will cover the various Instagram Publishing workflows in Sprout Social.

Publishing a Single Photo or Video to Instagram

Accounts that have connected their Instagram Business Profile(s) to Sprout have the option to directly publish a single photo or video from Sprout to Instagram. This publishing workflow closely mirrors the experience you already have when publishing content to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn in Sprout.

Getting Started

The first things you'll need to make sure you've done is convert your Instagram profile to an Instagram Business Profile, and then connect that Business Profile to Sprout.

If you're not familiar with Instagram Business Profiles, the following articles will help you learn more:

Read about Instagram Business Profiles

Read about converting to an Instagram Business Profile

Publishing Directly to Instagram

Once your Instagram Business Profile is successfully connected to Sprout, you can directly publish images or videos to your profile using Sprout's Compose feature. Currently, you can only publishing a single image or video at a time. To directly publish one photo or video from Sprout desktop to Instagram follow these steps:

  1. Select an Instagram Business Profile from the Profile Picker in Sprout’s Compose window.
  2. Add a single image or video to your post.
  3. Add optional text for the post.
  4. Select your content delivery option (Immediately, Auto-Schedule with Sprout Queue or Specific Day & Time).
  5. You’re all set!

When publishing a video to Instagram in this way, you can choose a thumbnail from 20 frames that Sprout pulls from the video. The Instagram API only allows for choosing frames from the video. It's not possible to upload a custom thumbnail. 


Tip: A quick way to verify if your Instagram Business Profile has been successfully connected to Sprout is to check the Screen_Shot_2018-06-06_at_3.20.00_PM.png and see if it's gray. If it is, that means that choosing a Publisher for your Instagram post is optional and the image can be published directly to your profile.

Sprout Social Mobile App Publishing Workflow

You can schedule multiple photo posts, also known as Carousel posts, and Instagram Story posts through the Sprout mobile app publishing workflow.

This workflow allows you to compose your Carousel or Story post within Sprout Social's desktop or mobile app and then send that post to a designated Instagram Publisher who has the Sprout mobile app installed on their iOS or Android device. The Instagram Publisher will recieve a notification to complete the publishing process via the Sprout mobile app to the Instagram mobile app.

Instagram Publisher

The Instagram Publisher in Sprout Social is the person who will be responsible for actually publishing a post to Instagram. If a person shows up in the Instagram Publisher pop-up list in the Compose window, it means they have both Full Publishing permission for that Instagram profile and enabled push notifications in their Sprout Social mobile app. 


If a team member disables Sprout Social push notifications on their mobile device, they will no longer show up in the Instagram Publisher list.

Note: Only one person can be selected as a Publisher. Publishers can be changed prior to the scheduled posting time by editing the post.

Instagram Notifications on Mobile

When an Instagram post is ready to be published, the Instagram Publisher will be sent a push notification to their mobile device. 

Once a push notification arrives in the Sprout mobile app it can be found within the Notification Center by tapping bell_icon.jpeg on the top of the screen. Select the Publishing tab along the top to see any posts that are ready to publish.


Instagram Notifications on Desktop

The Instagram Notifications section under the Publishing tab will allow you to monitor and manage Instagram notifications in Sprout desktop.

Notifications can be deleted, resent or marked as complete, using the icons shown in the screenshot below.

If a push notification has been sent to the Instagram Publisher but not passed to the Instagram app, a purple clock icon notification will be shown at the bottom with the name of the publisher.


Once the Instagram Publisher sends the post to Instagram via the Sprout mobile app, the purple clock icon will switch to a green paper airplane, letting you know that the post has been shared.


Note: Instagram Publishers cannot be changed after the notification has been sent. If you need to choose a different Publisher after a notification has been sent, delete the notification and recreate the Instagram post.

Completing the Publishing Workflow from Sprout Mobile

After opening an Instagram publishing notification in Sprout mobile, tap Share on Instagram at the bottom of the screen.

The Instagram mobile app will open and your photos will automatically be pushed to the Instagram app. If your post contained any text, it will be copied to the clipboard.


To verify if a post was successfully published to Instagram, you can use the Post Performance Report. If the post was opened within the Instagram mobile app but publishing was not completed, you can resend a post notification from Sprout mobile or desktop apps once again. On Sprout mobile you can do this from the Reminders tab or the Notification Center. On Sprout desktop you can resend the notification from the Instagram Notifications tab.

Message Tagging

Customers on our Professional and Advanced plans can easily incorporate Instagram content as they plan out their content calendar by tagging messages as they're being composed. However, due to API limitations, Instagram posts that are tagged as they're composed will not retain their tags after they've been published. To gather reporting data for the Tag Report on these posts, they will need to be tagged from the Post Performance Report after they've been successfully published to Instagram.


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