I remember when I first started marketing my business on Instagram. I knew that maintaining a consistent posting was going to be key to my success. Brands that post content on a consistent basis report higher levels of engagement and follower growth. Armed with those important facts, I was determined to post new content on Instagram every single day. But then – something happened. Life got in the way. I had the best of intentions but some days due to my ever-growing to-do list, sleeping through my alarm, or just plain forgetfulness (gulp) I didn’t post. Late last year, I realized that if I was going to get serious about marketing my brand on Instagram I needed a plan. Simply posting to Instagram on the fly was clearly not a recipe for success.
Here’s my foolproof process for planning Instagram content:
1. Find the right postING cadence for Instagram content
2. Keep your Instagram content current
3. Batch Instagram photos in advance
4. Visually plan your Instagram feed
5. Schedule your Instagram content
6. Insert your Instagram content
7. Add/Plan hashtags for captions or first comment
8. Set it and (sort of) forget it!
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Find the right posting cadence for your Instagram content.
I initially thought that planning my content a week or two in advance would work for me – but then I realized I needed more lead time in order to truly plan strong content. After all, I wanted to use Instagram to promote my services, latest blog posts, and of course share more about myself. I first started by planning my content 30 days in advance, but quickly moved to a 60-day strategy. I like the 60-day strategy because I only worry about planning content every other month. I find that by having a break from planning content, I’m more refreshed when it’s time to plan content. Additionally, I’m usually brimming with ideas for new posts by that time.
Keep your Instagram content current
Although I plan my content well in advance, it’s important that my content feels “in the moment”. Due to this I always consider factors like a holiday, day of posts, weather, etc… Additionally, I leave a few posts without captions (details to follow) so that I can occasionally provide real-time captions for a new post I’m publishing.
Batch photos for your Instagram posts
Obviously, photos are crucial on Instagram. I also find that batching photos is one of the more timely aspects of planning my feed. My photos typically consist of original content, stock photos, and curated photos. I will spend a day or two batching original content and stock photos that I’d like to include in my upcoming content calendar. I typically will curate content on a daily basis while I’m on Instagram by using the Instagram bookmarking feature.
RELATED POST: WHERE TO GET COOL STOCK PHOTOS FOR YOUR WEBSITE
Visually plan your Instagram content
Once I have batched all of my photos, I will begin the visual planning process. There are several tools on the market that allow you to plan your Instagram content visually, but I prefer Planoly. Once I have all of my photos uploaded in Planoly I can easily rearrange them to get the right balance and create a feed that is aesthetically pleasing.
Prefer to plan out your content in a more analog fashion? Check out Kat Gaskin’s The Content Planner, the only physical social media planner. If you’re a big fan of bullet journaling and day planners, you are going to love this beautiful planner complete with customized stickers and devoted to social media planning.
Schedule your Instagram content
Once I have all my photos in an appealing order, I will start scheduling my posts. I like to use Iconosquare analytics to determine the best time to schedule my posts.
Insert caption here
My next step is to enter my Instagram captions. I typically will leave a few posts captionless, so I can insert a caption on the fly (typically 1 per week). For the rest of the posts, I’ll spend some time during my morning commute writing captions for posts. I can usually bang through this process in a week.
By now you already know that hashtags are a crucial part of getting your posts exposed to the right audience on Instagram. I love the fact that Planoly’s Hashtag Manager now allows you to create and manage hashtag groups so that you can switch up your hashtags depending on your post content. Need help finding hashtags for your brand, grab our free Ultimate Instagram Hashtag Guide!
RELATED POST: THE NEW INSTAGRAM HASHTAG RULES
Set it (and sort of) forget it!
Rejoice! Instagram now allows users with business accounts to schedule posts automatically to Instagram. No more phone notifications and then going into post manually! It’s still important to make sure that your logging into Instagram every day and interacting with your followers and responding to comments to maximize post engagement.