If you’ve been on Instagram a while, you’ll notice there are a few common elements that are shared by the more popular accounts on the platform. Their grids look cohesive, their branding message is clear, and they seem to share content every single day!
Now, here’s a little industry secret: they did not achieve all of this by randomly posting things day to day. Whether they’re a nice micro influencer or a famous brand, you can attribute their killer Instagram presence to this: planning their Instagram content ahead of time.
If you want to make the most out of your Instagram, you need to start planning and scheduling your Instagram content ahead of time! If you’re ready to take Instagram more seriously, here are 9 things you need to consider when planning your Instagram content.
Words: Adriana Thani
Why it’s important to plan your Instagram content
You can create your Instagram content in batches
This saves time and allows you to take full advantage of being in flow state. We’ve chatted with many business owners who find that they’re at their most efficient when they do things in batches, so we definitely recommend approaching your Instagram content planning this way!
You’ll have a more cohesive and consistent presence
The key to an Instagram that is attractive, engaging, and inviting to your audience is keeping things cohesive and showing up on Instagram consistently. There are no shortcuts for this! Building a cohesive and consistent Instagram presence takes time, and planning ahead will make it that much easier for you to create the perfect Instagram for your brand.
You’ll be using your Instagram more effectively as a marketing asset
Instagram is more than just a social media platform – it’s a powerful way to market your brand and connect with your community. Just like any other marketing asset, you need to nurture your Instagram presence with a strategy in place if you want to make it an effective asset for your business growth.
Things to consider when planning your Instagram content
1. Balance your Content Pillars
We’ve discussed content pillars before, and they’re definitely something you need to identify ASAP if you haven’t yet!
In a nutshell, defining your content pillars will allow you to create content around key topics that are relevant to your brand and your audience. This will keep your Instagram much more balanced, and allow for you to reach people in different ways.
2. Determine your tone of voice
You need to start thinking of your Instagram as an expression of your brand, not just visually but in the way you communicate as well. Depending on your business and your core values, your tone of voice might be feminine and flirty, or sassy and fun, or even serious and authoritative.
The most important thing is to choose a distinctive voice and stick with it! Use this tone of voice in your captions, your comments (on your own posts as well as other accounts), and even your Stories and Reels. Staying consistent will make sure your audience knows exactly what to expect when they see your content, which goes a long way in brand recognition.
3. Showcase your brand identity
If you’re running a business, it’s highly likely that you’ve got a branding kit. This may be just a logo, or a whole kit that includes a colour palette and typography. We recommend that you use this to your advantage when planning your Instagram!
Let us be clear, though – we don’t mean plastering your logo on everything. No, the more effective way to showcase your brand identity is by subtly introducing your brand colours and fonts in your content. This can be done really easily if you share products with distinctive packaging, but can also be done if you’re a service-based business.
For example, you can share graphics made with your brand font and colours. You could even colour correct your photography so that it falls in the same colour family as your key brand colours. You should also take the time to add your brand colours to your Stories and Reels. It’ll take time to figure out what’s right for you, but if you consider your branding kit a roadmap, it makes the road a little clearer!
4. Share various types of content
Instagram is more than just static images. GIFs, videos, and graphics will add a bit of spice to your Instagram grid, and allows you to share your key messages in different ways!
It’s also important to remember that different people have different preferences for how they take in information – some (like us!) love a gorgeous photo paired with a long caption, while others may be better able to absorb information via video. So creating different types of content will allow you to reach a larger variety of folks.
It’s not just people that have a preference – Instagram seems to heavily favour content that uses their latest features. For example, Reels are all the rage right now! So mixing in some fresh format into your Instagram content is something you really need to consider.
5. Schedule your posts more effectively
“How frequently should I post on Instagram?” – this is a question we get asked very often! The truth is, the best thing to do is to post once daily. However, this is pretty much impossible to do for most people, particularly busy entrepreneurs who are managing their Instagram on their own!
A more realistic solution is to post 3-4 times a week, which will often just mean you’re posting content on alternate days. The key is consistency. It’s better if you post 3 times a week with a day or two between each post, instead of posting 3 posts in a day and then not posting for a whole week!
We should mention one caveat: you should absolutely be sharing Stories every single day. While posts and Reels don’t have to be shared daily, you should be showing up on Stories at least three times a day, and engage with your followers through comments and DMs daily as well.
6. Find the best time to post
Something we always remind clients is that their audience is unique, with their own needs and preferences. This includes how and when they use Instagram too! Depending on your audience’s preferences, your ideal times to post on Instagram will be different from everyone else’s. You need to be able to capture your audience’s attention when they’re active on Instagram, or you might risk them not even seeing your posts when you share them!
Figuring out the perfect time to post will take time. If you want to do it yourself, we generally recommend experimenting with different timings for a month, and then looking at the performance of your posts to see what times your audience seems to respond the most.
If you’d rather not DIY this, there are apps like Plann (which is what we use). Plann tells you the best daily time to post based on your last 30 days of activity, and you’ll even be able to schedule your future posts based on these insights. Students partaking in our Instagram Savvy 8 week online course will receive a one-off 25% discount code to use on their first Plann purchase – be sure to send us an email to find out more!
7. Keep it relevant
Even though you’re planning your Instagram content strategy 2 weeks or a month in advance, you should still do your best to stay on topic with everything you share.
Sometimes it’s really obvious, like sharing a few Mother’s Day posts just before the big day, or creating holiday-themed posts close to Christmas. Other times, it may be a little less obvious, like planning posts around a new product launch but not knowing when exactly that product is ready to sell.
We recommend that you stay flexible and allow for some leeway in your content for when you need to post something that’s quite unexpected. For example, quite a few of our clients had to come up with new content when government-mandated lockdowns became a thing due to COVID-19! So just be aware that you may need to shift your approach to Instagram unexpectedly due to circumstances out of your control, and be prepared just in case.
8. Keep your audience’s attention
There are many ways to stop the scroll and grab someone’s attention, but how to you keep their attention? Obviously, you need to make sure your Instagram looks good and contains high quality, engaging content. However, the real way to make sure they keep interacting with your brand is by, well, telling them to!
Calls to actions (CTAs) are basically instructions to your audience to lead them to what you need them to do next. Here are a few examples:
- Comment below with your thoughts!
- Tag someone who might find this helpful
- Head to our website to read our latest blog
- Shop our range via the link in bio
Commit to adding CTAs to every single caption in the following weeks, and you’ll quickly see growth in your engagement rates. Even better, you may be seeing a lot more clicks on your website too.
9. Use relevant hashtags
Hashtags are the best way for people to discover your content, even when they’re not following you. It’s an effective way to increase the reach and engagement for all your posts, so you should make an effort to include them in every post, Reels, or Stories!
You can use our guide to using hashtags to help you discover hashtags that are relevant to your business and content, or get in touch with us so we can develop hashtag sets for you to use.
Plan ahead to stay ahead on Instagram!
There’s no other way to say it – when you neglect to plan your Instagram content strategy, you’re not using this powerful platform effectively. It would be a waste of your time and effort to produce beautiful imagery and create engaging captions without having a clear plan on how you’re going to use this amazing content!
So if you want to make your Instagram perform well and help grow your biz, make sure you keep the previous points in mind.
Want to do more with your Instagram but not sure where to start? Get in touch with us to book an Instagram Strategy Consultation so you’ll have a clearer idea of what you need to do to really make your Instagram shine! Alternatively, you might like to join our waitlist for the next intake of the Instagram Savvy Online Course.