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Scheduling to Instagram via Direct Publishing

This guide will get Instagram Direct Publishing setup for you. It will take up to 15-20 minutes but will be quicker if your Instagram Profile is already converted to a Business Profile.

👉 Step 1 - Setting up accounts

You need 2 free services to power Direct Publishing. Please create accounts for these first before continuing onto the other steps...

1) Zapier - For sending posts to Buffer

Create an account here:

The free plan is a great place to start. If you start on a trial, you can downgrade to free by going to Settings → Billing & Usage → Change Plan.

2) Buffer - For Direct Publishing

Create an account here:

Since we don't need the "Queue" in Buffer, the Free plan should be just fine for most needs. At the end of your trial, you can downgrade to the Free plan.

👉 Step 2 - Adding your Instagram Profile to Buffer

In the Buffer Dashboard, click Connect your social accounts, then Instagram Business . You will then be asked to login to Facebook. After this you should be all connected 🎉

Don't have an Instagram Business Profile? You'll need to convert your Profile using the below steps.

  • How to convert to a Business Profile via Facebook
    • Head over to Facebook and navigate to the Page that you would like to be connected to your Instagram Business Profile.
    • Click Settings at the top of the Page and then click Instagram on the left hand side.
    • Click Log In towards the top of the screen (screenshot here).
    • Enter your Instagram username and password.
    • You'll see a pop up window prompting you to set up your Instagram Business Profile (screenshot here). Follow the on-screen instructions. If you've dismissed the pop up window, click Get Started to the right of "Switch to a business profile" (screenshot here), and then follow the on-screen instructions.



👉 Step 3 - Adding an Instagram Planning Channel

  • In ContentCal, head into a Calendar, then into Setup
  • Scroll down to the Planning Channels area, then create a new Planning Channel. You are free to name this whatever you like, but to be clear we recommend something like "Instagram" or "Instagram Publishing".
  • Choose a color and the Instagram icon to make things clear for your team.
  • Keep the visibility on (ticked)
Toptip Callout Icon

Top tip: You can scroll up to the Connections panel and unselect the 'visibility' of the Instagram Channel. We won't be needing this for automatic publishing since we are using a Planning Channel.


👉 Step 4 - Adding your first post

If you don't want to do this now you can skip this step and return to it after everything is setup.

Exit from Setup to get to the Calendar. What we need to do next is create a post, so that Zapier has some information to read. You need to set the post to Approved.

Note Callout Icon

Note: Please upload 1 image to the post. If you are unsure on dimensions for posts, please check the FAQ section on dimensions below


👉 Step 5 - Connecting to Zapier

Now that we have a post added ✨💪, it's time to head to ContentCal's Zapier template for Automatic Instagram Publishing: Click here to go to the template, then click TRY IT on the Zapier page. It should take you to a login page for both ContentCal and Buffer. Please login to both ContentCal and Buffer using the buttons.


👉 Step 6 - Setting up the Template

Here you need to fill out the fields to create the connections between ContentCal and Buffer....


  • For Organisation , select your Organization from the Dropdown (if you have multiple, select the one that you add Planning Channel into.)
  • For Calendar , select the Calendar that you add Planning Channel into.
  • For Planning Channel select the Planning Channel you created earlier, possibly called "Instagram" or "Instagram Publishing" if you followed our recommendation above.


  • For Profile , select your Instagram Profile that you added to Buffer earlier.
Note Callout Icon

Note: Please upload 1 image to the post. If you are unsure on dimensions for posts, please check the FAQ section on dimensions below

When ready, please click Turn on Zap , then you've completed setup 🎉🎉🎉


👉 Extra Step - Checking in on the Zaps

Your first Zap (which sends your post from ContentCal through to Buffer for Direct Publishing) will be dependent on the time + day you set when you setup your first post on the steps above. You can check your Zap history here:

If you think a post should have sent through to Zapier but hasn't already, you can check to see if there are any posts to pull through manually, by heading to My Zaps in Zapier, then find your ContentCal → Buffer Zap. In the arrow menu, click the Run option.



Happy (direct) publishing 😀



Everything is setup correctly, but the post isn't publishing?

Here's some quick troubleshooting tips...

1) Check the post has 1 image and is set as Approved in ContentCal. Also check the date and time, because ContentCal only sends the post to Buffer at the scheduled time, and only if the post is approved.

2) Be aware that there could be a delay in the publishing, depending on your Zapier plan (

3) In some rarer cases, it could be that the image was not accepted by Buffer because of odd dimensions.

4) Double check you defintely have Direct Scheduling setup.

Why is Zapier saying the Template has errors?

Zapier may say there are errors if you do not have at least 1 post in ContentCal that it can read. This issue should correct itself once your first post in ContentCal sends through to Zapier.

What sizes do my images and need to be?


  • Any size square image (same width and height), e.g. 600 x 600 pixels, 800 x 800 pixels, 1200 x 1200 pixels


For portrait images, the aspect ratio must be between 0.8 and 0.99.

  • 800 x 1000 pixels (aspect ratio 0.8)
  • 1200 x 1500 pixels (aspect ratio 0.8)
  • 1500 x 1800 pixels (aspect ratio 0.84)


For landscape images, the aspect ratio must be between 1.01 and 1.91, and for landscape videos, the aspect ratio must be between 1.01 and 1.78.

  • 800 x 600 pixels (aspect ratio 1.33)
  • 1200 x 800 pixels (aspect ratio 1.5)
  • 1500 x 1200 pixels (aspect ratio 1.25)

Why doesn't my post say it's published like on my Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin Channels?

Planning Channels currently work a little differently to direct integrations. However we are proactively working to improve this.

Can you help me?

Whilst we strongly advise to follow all steps above, if you are still having issues, please reach out to us on live chat or by emailing us at and we can help :)

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