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.

instagram-reposting-twitter2x-1

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:

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.

instagram-repost-buffer

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’:

ig-repost
On Android, tap ‘Copy Share URL’:

ig-repost-android

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:

instagram-repost-buffer-step-3

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.

regram

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).

regram-image

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.

instagram-repost-eventbrite

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.

instagram-repost-buffer-example

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.

hello-bc-instagram-repost

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.

national-park-service-regram

line-section

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

line-section

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

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:

everlane-instagram

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

Content

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.

instagram-repost-gopro

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:

momondo-instagram

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

instagram-repost-momondo

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:

instagram-repost-belkin

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.

instagram-repost-poler

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:

designtip-instagram-repost

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:

mailchimp-instagram-repost

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:

instagram-repost-wework

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!

The simplest social media tool for businesses

Schedule posts across the top social networks, collaborate with your team, and measure the performance of your content — all in one place.

Start a 14-Day Free Trial
Written by Ash Read

Content crafter at Buffer. I’m fascinated by storytelling, entrepreneurship, and travel. When I’m not writing, you’ll usually find me on a football pitch or basketball court.

  • Aligned Design Co.

    This is great timing, I’m just now using Instagram more to reflect what my brand styling business does and my creative style, thanks for the info 🙂

    • Really awesome to hear it! Thanks so much for your support. Hope you see some great results on Instagram!

  • Matt Barker

    Hey Ash,

    Great article, really excited to see this feature on buffer.

    I’ve been re-posting with my brand for the past year with great success, we’ve grown to over 50k followers pretty quickly. In fact, we grew by nearly 1k followers in one day a couple of days ago so it’s a great strategy when done right.

    For us, instagram is about building a community. At first, we just wanted to create a user generated content strategy for instagram that saved us time but actually what we’ve seen is that instagram is a great drive for that community element. We’re showcasing creators in our niche that don’t always have a huge platform themselves and when a photo does well on our account and is credited, it has the knock on effect of growing the creators account too. I don’t think that can be underestimated. If we share your picture and that gets you an extra few hundred followers, we just levelled up our brand affiliation!

    Matt

    • That’s really cool to hear, Matt! 50k is incredible!

  • I think it’s very important that you include ” Ask for permission”. However, I don’t see that as a best practice – I see that as a legal requirement. When you share somebody else’s photo, you upload it to your account and doing that without permission is just plain illegal. I’m a little concerned that most people who will use your new feature will not be aware of that.

    • Thanks so much for pointing this out @Timoluege:disqus! Completely our fault for missing this important element. I’ve gone in and added this to the post, ahead of any mention of the reposting workflow.

      Thanks, too, for making the distinction between “best practice” and “legal requirement.” I attempted to capture this in the text. Would love to hear how this sounds or any other suggestions you have to make this clear!

  • While cool, what about copyright infringement here? Twitter’s way of sharing just reshares the actual content. People taking my photos and putting them on their feed is where I start legal action unless it’s removed. I understand this isn’t your problem, but as Buffer is such a popular product, this makes it so much easier for more people to do. I’m assuming if someone removes credit from the caption I have no idea if they’ve used my images.

    • Really great point, Stephen! Thanks so much for keeping us accountable here to explain this one fully.

      You’re exactly right — we trust and hope that this feature will only be used after the person has received explicit permission from the original poster. I added a longer section to the post about this and how to go about receiving permission. Would love to hear how that sounds to you! At the same time, you’re right also that it’s possible for people to remove the credit and then there being no attribution back to the OP. We’re working on some product iterations to see what we can do about this also, or to further educate people about what’s legally correct in this case!

    • Sue Lowe

      I completely agree, Stephen. And I really wish this wasn’t part of peoples social content “strategy”.

      • can we be honest here. it’s 2017. people can simply screen shot and go. This isn’t some magic. This tool actually makes it easier to re-share without ruining the original image. My work is constantly reshared and I HATE the stupid reshare on my work. People who want to steal your work will steal it. That’s the nature of the internet. I think Buffer did an annoyingly good job above telling people to get permission. Going so far to do a step by step guide. lol

  • This is very cool new add on, so glad to see Buffer grow so much. When you do riposting, does it add a little icon to the image with original user’s account? I think riposting is great, but if it does not attribute to the original source it can make it appear as stealing images,

    • It’s still not legal even if you give credit though.

    • Great point, Boris! The Buffer reposting feature adds the attribution to the comment, rather than including an icon to the image. I’ve seen some other apps that go the icon route, which is a really awesome addition. There’s definitely a bit of accountability involved with a reposting strategy where 1) you’d ask permission and 2) you’d keep the attribution in the comment. Very keen to hear how that all feels to you or how you see yourself using this feature moving forward 🙂

      • Sue Lowe

        Needs to be on the photo not in the comments 🙁 Speaking as someone who consistently gets her content shared as part of other accounts formal “content strategy”, I am so over seeing my posts, that take a lot of creative thought and time, on other peoples accounts with NO proper attribution. Think of the stamp ON the photo as a signature on a painting or as a cartoonist would sign in the NY Times (they don’t crop that part out or put it in the comments…. My handle is my signature and people just crop out a watermark. Please, think of a another system Buffer.

  • Won’t this encourage a breach of Instagram Terms of Use?

    Rights: 4(ii)
    >The posting and use of your Content on or through the Service does not violate, misappropriate or infringe on the rights of any third party, including, without limitation, privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, trademark and/or other intellectual property rights;

    EDIT: Don’t get me wrong, it’s a cool feature. Just wondering if IP rights have been considered here.

    • It does. I get that apps that do this exist already, but it still doesn’t make it legal to repost other’s images without permission. Even if they give credit.

    • Really appreciate your digging up the IG terms, Matt! You’re exactly right. Without permission, this is not an acceptable strategy. We definitely want to honor the great work done by the original creator. I added some thoughts to the post about how to go about requesting permission – would love to hear how that feels to you!

      • Feels much better Kevan. Like I say, it’s a great feature and I’m excited to see how this develops. I see you’ve mentioned on another comment about having trust and “educating users”. It could be cool to see if there were a way to request permission to share from the OP as part of the app workflow, and then post/ not post depending on official approval from them, perhaps with a “Buffered subject to approval” status in the Buffer queue.

        • Oh, very interesting product idea, Matt! Thanks so much for sharing it. I’ll give it to the team to think on. 🙂

        • Sue Lowe

          Great idea!

  • Thank you thank you thank you for adding the explicit permission! A must.

    • Great! Thanks, Lindsay. Really glad this feels good from your side. 🙂

  • Crystal

    Is there any way to repost on desktop? ie: Grab the links you want to repost and do this on Desktop? I don’t see that option at the moment and would love to have that feature because I like to write my captions on desktop, not mobile. Thanks!

  • Does it mark the photo at all? Other reposting apps mark photos with something like “Reposted using AppX” and a goofy recycled arrow mark. This of course looks terrible and comes across as very amateur. Please say it doesn’t change the original photo…

    • Brian

      Hey there, Rick! Great question 🙂 It does not add any sort of watermark or mark to the photo – Full HD and crystal clear quality. Happy to answer any more questions you may have! – Brian

  • tres cool!

  • Sandy Gennrich

    When my images are reposted with permission, I ask that they give me credit in the way you have noted in the article. I always appreciate when they also tag me in the photo as well using the Tag People box just under the caption. It would be cool if Buffer automatically added that, too.

  • Sue Lowe

    This is why we started watermarking all of our photos 🙁 I don’t mind a repost with no edits and a proper citation, AND a repost on the image but otherwise because it is not the original photo post it’s a no go. No, nope, never.

  • jmleclercq

    Great new feature ! Thanks !

  • I’m mostly sad that the term “regram” hasn’t really stuck.

  • Bilal El-kiri
  • Joshua Allen

    I really loved this article! It gave me some new insights I never really thought about before.