Publications Resources

How to Repost on Instagram: Introducing Instagram Reposting by Buffer

12 min read Social Media Marketing
Ash Read
Ash Read Head of Content at Buffer
How to Repost on Instagram: Introducing Instagram Reposting by Buffer

In this post, we’ll share exactly how to repost on Instagram.

One of the best aspects of social media is being able to share something with your followers.

On Twitter, you can retweet. On Facebook, there’s the option to share a post. And on Instagram, you can repost, which is essentially a way to share a picture from another Instagram user with your followers.

Though reposting isn’t an official feature of Instagram’s apps or website, it’s something that many brands and users have been doing for a while now. And it’s a tactic that has delivered great success, too. Here at Buffer, reposting was a key factor in our growing our Instagram audience by over 60 percent.

Today, we’re excited to announce a new way to make Instagram reposting easy for you, with Buffer!

Learning how to repost on Instagram is the key to taking your marketing strategy on the photo-sharing platform to the next level. We’d love to help get you started! Keep reading for advice and tips on the best ways to add reposting to your social strategy and the ideal workflows for doing it quickly and efficiently.

Buffer for Instagram now comes with direct scheduling! Schedule single-image posts or set reminders to post videos and multi-image posts at your best times to grow your Instagram following. Learn more today.


How to Repost on Instagram, using Buffer

First things first, before you repost …

With other social networks, reposting is a native feature that comes baked into the product experience and expectations. On Instagram, since this isn’t a native part of the app, there needs to be an additional step:

Before you repost, it is best to request permission from the original poster so that you can repost their work.

You can do this in a few ways:

  • Send the original poster a direct message in Instagram
  • Comment on their photo to start the conversation
  • Connect via email to iron out the details and get explicit permission

Instagram’s terms of use are quite specific about your posts not infringing on the rights of others. In this case, requesting permission to repost content goes beyond best practice and is a necessity for staying in compliance with Instagram’s terms and also doing right by the amazing creators, photographers, brands, and businesses posting the original content.

Any questions on this? Let us know in the comments. There’s some great discussion happening there already.

Once you have permission, you can move ahead with the reposting flow.

For our reposting strategy at Buffer, we use two methods of outreach to request permission:

  1. Comment directly on the original photo, and tag the original poster with a comment like: “We love this photo! May we share this on our account? We’ll be sure to give full photo credit and tag your account before posting.”
  2. Take a screenshot of the photo, and DM the person within Instagram using similar wording to ask permission to use the photo. Then we send over the screenshot of the photo we would like to use.

To repost on Instagram, find the picture you’d like to repost within the Instagram app, then tap on the three dots ‘…’ icon next to the image and then tap ‘Copy Share URL’. Now, open up Buffer for Android or iOS on your phone and tap the ‘Tap here to repost your image from Instagram’ notification.

Here’s that process broken out into 4 quick steps:

(If you would like to follow along, feel free to download our Buffer for Android or Buffer for iOS mobile apps.)

1. Find the photo you’d like to repost

Note: Before reposting any content on Instagram, you should always reach out to the original sharer of the content and ask permission to repost.


The first step is to open up Instagram and find the photo you’d like to repost. Once you’ve located the photo, ensure you reach out to the original sharer and ask their permission to repost it to your account.

Then, once you have permission, on iOS tap on the ‘…’ icon and tap the ‘Share’ option and then tap ‘Copy Link’:


On Android, tap ‘Copy Share URL’:


2. Open Buffer’s iOS or Android app

Next, you’ll need to open up Buffer for iOS or Android on your phone. Once the app is open, it’ll recognize the Instagram link saved to your clipboard and ask if you’d like to repost that content to your own Instagram account:


3. Edit the caption and schedule a reminder

Once you’ve tapped on the option to repost the Instagram post, Buffer will automatically pre-fill the caption field based on the caption from the original post and give credit to the image creator by adding their @username (you can add in your own comment just like with any other post.) Now, select which profiles you want it to go to and schedule your reminder.

4. Post the photo

When it’s time to post your image to Instagram, Buffer will send you a handy reminder and help you get the post published.

(Since Instagram’s API doesn’t yet allow full scheduling and auto-posting, Buffer for Instagram works using reminders and notifications on your phone. Set your desired time, and the Buffer app will send you a notification when it’s time to post.)

How to Repost on Instagram (manually)

Reposting has been around as a strategy on Instagram for quite some time, long before tools like Buffer for Instagram came around. Certain third-party apps allowed for particular repost functions, often including watermarks or @-mention credits on the reposted photo. The absolute simplest way, though, was with a screengrab — a process that can still be replicated today.

Here’s how to manually repost photos in 4 easy steps:

1. Screenshot a photo

Find the photo you’d like to repost with your audience and take a screenshot of it.

2. Select the camera button on Instagram and upload your screenshot

Once you have your image saved to your camera roll, tap on the camera icon within Instagram and select your screenshot as you would any other image you wanted to share on Instagram.


3. Resize the image

Next, you’ll want to resize your post so that only the image remains. You can do this using the resize functionality within Instagram, or if you’d like to crop before you upload the photo, this can also be done using your phone’s camera roll editing functionality.

4. Add a caption

Be sure to credit the original sharer of the image within your caption and tag their account using their Instagram handle (@buffer, for example).


Why reposting can be important for brands

Instagram is used by nearly half of all brands and generates engagement rates that are 10 times higher than Facebook.

Instagram has become an incredibly important network for brands. In fact, 48.8% of brands are on Instagram. And by 2017, this figure is predicted to rise to 70.7%.

What’s more, those brands already using Instagram are seeing great engagement. A recent Forrester study showed that engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter.

But how does reposting come into play here?

According to research from marketing startup Crowdtap and the global research company Ipsos, millennials and other generations trust UGC 50% more than other types of media. Furthermore, 84% of millennials report that user-generated content on company websites has at least some influence on what they buy and where.

How we use reposting at Buffer
Here at Buffer, we’ve also made reposting a key part of our Instagram strategy and this tactic has helped us to significantly grow our account. In under 3 months after implementing a user generated content campaign on Instagram, our account grew by 60%  – 5,850 to 9,400 followers and counting.

How reposting can fit into your Instagram strategy

Here are 4 ways to make reposting a part of your strategy.

1. Share user generated content from events

Live events, meetups and talks are great times to create and curate content. If you’re running your own event, or maybe a member of your team is giving a talk at an event, this is a golden opportunity to repost some content on Instagram.

Eventbrite use a branded hashtag, #EBevents, to share and follow content from events that use Eventbrite to sell tickets and they also repost content from some Instagram users who attened Eventbrite events.


2. Monitor brand mentions, tags, and hashtags

Your Instagram notifications can also be a great source of user generated content. Keep an eye out for any new mentions and tags as these can be great sources of content for your own Instagram feed.

At Buffer, we also use a few branded hashtags on Instagram. One of the hashtags we use is #bufferlove and we frequently reach out to others who use the hashtag and repost their content with our own feed.


3. Acknowledge and share content from community members

People enjoy being acknowledged for their content and efforts on social media. And sometimes, reaching out and asking about sharing some of their content on your brand’s profile can be a great way to acknowledge their work and also discover new brand ambasasdors.

Destination British Columbia is the Official tourism organization for British Columbia, Canada, and they often feature guest Instagrammers within their feed.


4. Celebrate milestones and events to inspire user generated content

Addressing big milestones or celebrating key events and moments, can be a great strategy to inspire your followers to share some user generated content.

A great example of this is the National Park Service, who recently celebrated their 100th birthday using the hashtag #nps100. On Instagram alone, this hashtag has been used in over 175,000 posts, giving theNational Park Service an amazing choice of beautiful, engaging photos to repost.


Discover more about how we use reposting and UGC as part of our Instagram strategy here at Buffer:

How We Grew Our Instagram Followers by 60% with User Generated Content

How to decide what you should repost on Instagram

Cool, so you’re ready to repost some content on Instagram, but which photos should you share?

It’s important to ensure you have a strategy in place when it comes to reposting and also an idea on how the content you repost fits into your wider Instagram strategy. A few factors it’s important to think about include:


Composition refers to the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art, as distinct from the subject of a work.

When it comes to sharing images from other Instagram accounts, think about your brand’s style of composition and whether each image fits in here. For example, if all of your images feature a solid background, it might not fit in with your visual style to repost an image with a textured background.

Color palette

Many brands use a set color palette on Instagram and moving away from your brand style may make your reposted content feel a little out of place. For example, Everlane tends to use soft palette and grey/black/white colors:


If Everlane were to repost an image with a bright, vibrant color scheme it wouldn’t feel aligned with Everlane’s brand.


This is probably the most important factor of any reposting strategy. Before sharing a photo, think about whether the content is aligned with your brand. For example, at Buffer our Instagram content focuses on three main themes:

  1. User generated content
  2. Digital nomad lifestyle
  3. Productivity and motivation

Before reposting anything, we’ll ensure that the photo aligns with one of these three themes and helps us to execute on our strategy.

3 reposting best practices

1. Ask for permission

Once you’ve discovered a photo you’d like to share, it’s a best practice to ask the original creator before you go ahead and publish. Usually, the easiest way to do this is through using Instagram’s messaging feature and sending the creator a DM. If this approach doesn’t work, some Instagram accounts will include an email address in their bio, too.

We’ve also found that it’s best to include a thoughtful message in your outreach about why you’d like to share the photo.

2. Avoid edits

If you’ve picked out a photo you’d love to repost, it’s best practice to share it untouched and unedited. 99% of the time you’ll be able to go ahead and publish without any changes, but for those rare occasions where a slight edit may be needed, be sure to reach out original creator and ask before publishing an edited image.

3. Credit your source

This one is super important. If you choose to repost someone’s photo, ensure you give credit in your post. The best way to credit someone is to include their username within your caption.

Instagram captions become truncated with an ellipsis after three lines of text so, where possible, try to include the credit within those first three lines so it’s visible.

Here are a few ways you can give credit within your photo caption:

  • Credit: @username
  • Photo credit: @username
  • Moment captured by @username
  • ? by @username
  • Thanks to @username for sharing this image with us

7 Inspiring examples of reposting done right

Which brands are utilizing user generated content?

1. GoPro

GoPro is a brand built on user generated content. Their Instagram feed regularly features content from members of their community and showcases the amazing images you can capture using a GoPro camera.


2. Momondo

Travel search site, Momondo, use their bio to encourage users to tag them in photos and use hashtag  #staycurious for the chance to have your content featured on their profile:


The brand regularly features vibrant, colorful images that share the adventure of travel. Here’s an example of a photo they reposted:


3. Belkin

Belkin use reposting to showcase examples of their products out in the wild. For example, here’s a photo of their Clip-Fit band originally shared by one of their customers:


4. Poler Outdoor Stuff

Poler Outdoor Stuff produce outdoor adventure and camping accessories and clothing. On Instagram, they use user generated content to showcase their products being used by customers.


5. The Design Tip

The Design Tip is a must-follow account for anyone in the design space or anyone with a desire to learn a little about design. Every day the account features work submitted by its community of followers, such as this piece by Manuel Bortoletti:


6. Mailchimp

Mailchimp’s brand is incredibly fun and their brand personality carries over into the content they repost on Instagram. The email company has produced a number of cute accessories for office pets and repost photos of the accessories in action:


Side note: for more Mailchimp-inspired cuteness, check out #meowchimp on Instagram.

7. WeWork

WeWork use Instagram to showcase their co-working spaces and the amazing people and companies who are part of their community. WeWork often shares photos of their spaces that are shared by community members. For example, this post was originally shared by one of their members from a WeWork spot in Los Angles:


Over to You

Is reposting a part of your Instagram strategy?

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear whether you’ve had any success with reposting and user generated content on Instagram. If so, I’d love to learn from you!

What do you look for in a photo to repost? How do you reach out to the creator of the photo? What’s your engagement been like for repost? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

We recently launched Buffer for Instagram, to help you repost, plan, track and amplify your Instagram marketing. Get started now for free!

You might also enjoy these
Instagram marketing


How to Gain a Massive Following on Instagram: 10 Proven Tactics
Buffer for Instagram: 8 Ways to Get Your Best Instagram Marketing Results with Buffer
A Complete Guide to Instagram Marketing: Get the Playbook That Drives Results
Brought to you by

Never miss an update from us. Join 100,000+ marketers and leaders.

Join for free

Join 160,000+ small businesses like yours that use Buffer to build their brand on social media every month

Sign up for free
  • No credit card required
  • Cancel anytime