Instagram is a mobile-first platform but you can post from Desktop to Instagram in a number of easy ways. In this post we update the many ways you can post from desktop to Instagram without breaking any rules … and while keeping Instagram happy. Use these tools and you'll be sorted!
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We updated this post in 2020 to reflect the new ways that you can now post from Desktop to Instagram and stay out of hot water. I will always love using Instagram on mobile. But there are times when you want to be able to use a desktop to schedule ahead your posts… and get organized.
This post will help you know how to post from a desktop to Instagram in the best way that suits your business.
Why the 2020 update?
Up until recently there were very few ways to post from desktop to Instagram, and all of the options pretty much relied on using third-party tools. The problem with this was that it was hard to know which tools were approved by Instagram. The good news is that now we have a few legit choices for being able to manage your Instagram from a desktop computer.
So let's jump in and take a look at the tools, starting with a quick list of the main ways to post from desktop to Instagram:
- Use an approved Marketing Partner tool to schedule your post from desktop to Instagram (and publish it automatically or manually with a reminder sent via mobile app to your phone).
- Use the Facebook Creator Studio to upload IGTV or Instagam posts from your desktop.
- Use a Microsoft Surface Device to Post from Desktop to Instagram.
There may be more ways than this, but for now these methods are the ones that I am going to share and I'll explain why below. Some of the tools I'lI mention are actually quite amazing to use and give you extra features that you might not use with Instagram directly!
A quick warning about Instagram
Instagram has strict terms of service about how you post to the app. This means that Instagram's API is highly prohibitive to certain actions around auto-posting and scheduling right through to bots and auto-commenting.
Any tool that ‘gets around the API' puts you (and your employer or client or business) at risk of being shut down.
So for now, I'm sticking with these 3 methods below (and the tools along with them). This way, you're sure to be able to share from a desktop computer to Instagram without breaking any rules.
Basically, if a tool claims that it can
- post automatically by emulating a mobile phone without pressing any buttons OR
- post directly to Instagram from a desktop (by emulating Instagram in some way)
then it's possible you are contravening Instagram's Terms and Conditions.
Don't do that. Your account may be shut down.
There are only two methods that I recommend if you want to post from Desktop to Instagram:
- Posting legitimately from your computer – laptop or desktop. Until now has not been possible. But now it is! You just need to have the right device or method, which I will show you below.
- Setting up your post using a 3rd party ‘Instagram-approved' tool on your laptop or desktop which is cleared to post automatically or via you receiving a reminder to post the final image and description from your phone.
Below are the tools I use to post to Instagram from a Desktop. I'll also share how I follow up to engage with comments.
3 Ways to Post from Desktop to Instagram
1. Schedule Posts with an approved Instagram Partner Tool
I love to use the native Instagram app to post images spontaneously. But when it comes to productivity, it's great to schedule ahead and batch my images or stories.
That's where Instagram's Approved Marketing Partner Apps come in. I have 3 favorites which I will share with you below.
Note: The three tools I am sharing all allow you to post manually but also now to post automatically using their automatic posting via the Instagram API. And they are all approved Instagram Marketing Partners.
Later has always been one of my favorite tools for scheduling to Instagram. Part of the beauty of Later is that it is a tool that was focused purely on Instagram, but now you can also use it to post to Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter as well. Later has always been, first and foremost, a tool for users who want to build their business on Instagram.
Here's a quick overview of Later:
As you can see, Later has some cool features, with more being added all the time. Here's just a few of the things that I love about Later:
- Plan, Schedule and Publish – You can schedule and post to multiple Instagram accounts (with a reminder to post the final image from your phone or auto-post at a pre-determined time). It's calendar-based with a grid preview tool to plan out your posts. Later also posts directly to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
- Store and Organize your Media – You can organise your images in a media library with bulk image upload and the ability to organise your images with groups and labels.
- “Link in Bio” – I have used this feature to send people to a special landing page where followers can click on any image and go to whatever link you allocate. No more invalid links! This makes Instagram clickable and shoppable.
- Analytics and Team Members – You can add team members to your Later account. Also, Later's Analytics help you to understand the success of your images or campaigns, including the best time to post.
- Bulk post features – this gives you drag and drop functionality so you can add images to pre-determined time-slots that you know will attract engagement.
- Saved Hashtag Groups – save your best hashtags to use easily for any post – in a single click you have all the hashtags you need! This is a time saver and one of my favourite parts of Later.
All in all, Later is one of the best tools for Instagram scheduling that allows you to post from desktop to Instagram – either manually or automatically.
Agorapulse also allows you to plan your content ahead of time and click to post on your phone when you are ready – or auto-post. If you are looking for a great all-round tool for scheduling, posting and engagement, Agorapulse would be my pick. Why? It does so much more than just post to Instagram.
But for now, let's focus on posting from desktop to Instagram. Here are some of the features to love for Instagram Management:
- Manage all your Instagram conversations from one simple inbox
- Reply to all the comments on your organic and paid Instagram posts.
- Community management features
- Ability to hide and delete comments on posts – either manually or automatically
- Respond to posts quickly with saved replies and “assign to” features
- direct or scheduled posting (single image or video newsfeed posts)
- Publishing to Stories and Carousel posts (or schedule if using push notifications)
- Choice of user (if in a team) to receive push notifications
- Tagging of users, adding location for single-image or video posts
- Create edit, and use groups of your best-performing hashtags.
- and loads more….
As you can see there are loads of features just with Instagram alone. When you consider Agorapulse has similar features (and more) across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and even You Tube, it's worth checking out. One benefit of Agorapulse is that it replaces some other tools.
Tailwind has always been my go-to tool for scheduling content to Pinterest. But did you know that Tailwind is also an Instagram marketing Partner? Tailwind's platform for scheduling to Instagram is one of the best third party apps or software you can use.
Here's an overview of how Tailwind for Instagram works:
Some of the features of Tailwind for Instagram include:
- Schedule Photos & Videos – manually via push notifications or use Auto-post
- 1-Click Hashtag Suggestions – these pop up as you type a hashtag, with suggestions for popular through to unique hashtags
- Use SmartSchedule to pick the times when your audience is most engaged.
- Visually plan your Instagram feed using built-in ‘Content Plans'
- Smart.Bio lets you send your followers to a landing page of links and content, and it auto-updates your links in the background
- Create captions easily and quickly with hashtag lists, tag users and the ability to add locations all in one place.
2. Use the Facebook Creator Studio
Facebook Creator Studio Allows users to manage and publish content to Facebook. But then this feature was opened up to Instagram as well. Now creators can post, manage, check analytics and even monetize content across their Facebook Pages and now Instagram accounts.
To link your Instagram account to the Creator Studio you will need to make sure you have an Instagram account and Facebook page. Your Instagram account will need to be connected to the Facebook Page that you manage, and your Instagram account will need to be switched to a business profile or a creator account.
Creator studio doesn't give you as many functions as some of the third party apps we have mentioned. But you can do the following:
- Check your content library for an overview of all your videos, photos, carousels, stories, and IGTV posts.
- Basic Analytics on views, engagement and interactions on your posts
- Post Instagram and IGTV content. You can tag people on posts and Carousel posts.
- Schedule posts and IGTV video (but not Instagram Stories at the time of writing this)
It's a great option for one-off posts that you need to schedule immediately or maybe scheduling an IGTV video. Most apps still can't do this so if you schedule a lot of IGTV, then Creator Studio might be a good option.
You also can't plan your feed or manage comments or post to multiple social platforms. So for now, for many of us, one of the Instagram scheduling tools is still the best way to go for full functionality.
3. Use a Microsoft Surface Device to Post from Desktop to Instagram
This method is my secret way that you can post from a laptop to Instagram without ANY 3rd party tools.
It's Instagram, pure and simple, just like on a mobile…only on your Surface Device.
On a Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book laptop (or even, I believe, the Surface Studio Desktop) you can post natively to Instagram using the Microsoft Instagram App on Windows 10.
Completely legit! You're using an official INSTAGRAM App so there is no third party tool or hack required to get this to work.
The device is key. Why? Because the Surface products, while acting like desktop tools, are also tablets in essence, so you can use the Instagram App similarly to your mobile app.
Here's how it works:
You simply open the Instagram App and that's it. Use it just like Instagram (seriously, it's almost that simple!).
But yes, there are a few things to know:
It only works on Microsoft devices running Windows 10 or above with a touch screen.
Boom! The Surface devices (yes, laptops and desktops) have touch screens. I was gifted my Surface Pro to test by Microsoft and although I'm overall an Apple girl, it's been a decent device.
The user interface that you see has everything you normally see on your Instagram Mobile app – from Instagram Stories to your camera (front and back facing) to your messages, notifications, comments and likes.
This is what I see when I open the app (just like on my mobile phone!).
You can do many things that you would normally do on your mobile phone:
- Watch and record Instagram Stories, add text, draw on the screen and add stickers
- Comment, like and follow
- Check, send and comment on messages
- Upload photos and post to Instagram
The Instagram App on a Surface Device will allow you to click on the camera icon to use your device's inbuilt camera. You can also click on “Your Stories” to start an Instagram Story with pictures or video.
Just like this:
or if you like it better in reverse, go face-to-camera:
And… ta dah… you can use your existing images from your saved images or camera uploads!
This is huge for those Instagrammers that want to take photos with an DSLR Camera or something other than a mobile phone (or do bulk uploads.It's also great if you want to have more control over photo editing before uploading to Instagram.
There is just one thing to remember: You can upload previously taken photos but they need to be stored in your Pictures >> Camera Roll folder. Which works perfectly if you are uploading from a camera or external device.
You just need to click on the + button at the bottom of your screen and you'll come to the usual screen with active camera, and an option for Library, Photo or Video.
After that, it's just a matter of either taking a photo, making a video or choosing a photo to upload. If it's a photo you are after, you simply upload it your Camera Roll via the Library (or Pictures or Screenshots).
You can also add filters or edit your images as you normally would on a mobile phone:
Note – As much as this provides an option for posting from desktop to Instagram, I really still prefer to use one of the third-party tools and my mobile phone. For me, Instagram is all about mobile and the apps I've mentioned above work perfectly for me to schedule ahead from my desktop computer. So while I think this is a cool feature, I honestly don't use it that much. I think this was more exciting before we had a lot more functionality come through Instagram’s partner tools.
Don't Forget to Engage after you post from Desktop to Instagram!
There's a big reason why I like posting “live” or using Later to post my scheduled images (with a quick click of a button or two).
Most of your comments and likes will come up in the minutes immediately after you post. If you auto-schedule, you still have to remember to be there to respond. When you post by using push notifications, you're ready and waiting for comments immediately after you post the image.
Again, I do NOT recommend that you use any tool that contravenes Instagram's terms.
To engage with my community on posts, I will either respond live or use Agorapulse after the fact. Agorapulse is my go-to tool for social media management and responding to comments.
The advantage of Agorapulse is that it allows you to view more than the minimum 50 comments you see on Instagram.
So, if your comments move fast or you have a big account and usually get hundreds of comments, Agorapulse can be a lifesaver.
Be sure to check out Agorapulse as a way to manage your Instagram feed in your own time – and never miss a comment again!
Over to You
How do you post to Instagram? Will you be checking out any of these tools to post from Desktop to Instagram?
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