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Instagram can be a full time job on it’s own when it comes to planning, implementing, hash-tagging, and socializing. It’s no surprise that Social Media Managers are popping up like weeds in the entrepreneurial world! We all have a to-do list rolling out the front door, so dealing with Instagram can sometimes be overwhelming.
Some businesses have the funds and can hire someone to run their social media, but if you are a small business keeping that personal touch and doing it yourself is the best way to go. So how can you make it easier on yourself and better balance it with all your other business needs?
Well, keep scrolling….
It’s a good idea to choose 4-6 or even 12 categories that you plan to post on your Instagram. It can be anything from your portfolio, pets, interior photos, plants, quotes, selfies, etc. Pick a handful of things that you love and want to talk about. This allows people to start learning and getting a feel for the things they can find on your feed. They KNOW you are a coffee lover, or a pet lover, and so on because it’s consistent throughout those squares.
After you have chosen the categories, it is time to plan them out in a grid.
Get a piece of paper and draw three columns, then draw however many rows you need depending on how many categories you have. Let’s say you have 9 different categories. You would then draw 3 columns and 3 rows.
Next, write out all your content categories and put numbers next to them. Then plug those numbers into your grid (use a pencil)! Keep in mind the overall look of these categories, and be sure to break up similar styles. If you have 2 types of content that are solid white backgrounds, maybe place them on either sides of more complex images.
Once you’re happy with your grid, then stick to it! It helps you figure out what to plan out and what to post, and also creates a sense of consistency and comfort for your followers.
I know you’ve heard it before, but pre-planning your content is an absolute must. It may take you only a couple of hours to plan out a few weeks, so write that into your schedule.
Now that we have categories already picked out, it’s just a matter of finding the images you want for those spots. If you plan to repost other IG account imagery, then have your phone handy. For example, one of my categories is minimal interior design. It isn’t something I do, but it is something that I love and inspires me. I can go out and bookmark images that I think will fit nicely in my feed, and that I would love to share with my followers.
I use the app Regrann to save these photos from Instagram to my phone. Be sure to keep them bookmarked so you can go back and reference who you are reposting when you are crediting them in your caption and tagging them.
For all of your other images, schedule a creation day. Drag out all your props and take a bunch of pictures in one day, swapping out items and changing it just enough to make several different images. If you need to create graphics or quotes, sit down and make a bunch in advance as well.
Now that you have a bunch of images to choose from, follow your grid and make sure to pull an image for each square. Depending on how many times you post a day, and how many categories you have, you will decide how much you need to plan out.
For me, if I plan out 1 session of all 12 categories, and post once a day, then I have 2 weeks ready to go. If you only have 4 categories, you might need to plan out at least 3 sessions in advance to make it worth your while.
Because Instagram is a mobile app, you need to find a way to easily transport all those images to your mobile device.
One great (and free) option is Google Drive. If you have a Gmail then you already have a GDrive, you just have to start using it. You can download the app to your phone and it will give you access to all the images you upload on your computer.
Another resource I like to use is Dropbox. Because I have a lot of client files that I want to back up in the cloud, but also have available on my desktop, I use Dropbox. I have it synced to my computer, my phone, and their cloud storage. Download the app on your phone, and you can grab any images you want just like GDrive.
Dropbox has a free version if you only need a little bit of storage.
Now that you’ve transferred all the files from your computer to your phone, it’s time to plan out your feed.
There are a few apps that allow you to plan out your Instagram feed. I personally use Preview . It pulls my most recent Instagram posts, and lets me build on top of those. Planoly is another one, and I’m sure you probably have some already.
Pick one of these apps, and start dragging your imagery into it. Arrange them in the order you planned out with your Grid, and in no time you’ll have a couple weeks laid out.
This is also a great time to SEE your grid with your actual photographs. If you decide to rearrange your grid to better suit your needs, do that here and then tweak your paper grid to reflect it.
Using this Grid system allows you to stop worrying about what to post and when to fit it into your feed. You can stock up on your images, content, and work and then just place it into the mold.
Now comes the more time consuming aspect. If you aren’t a writer, prepping your Instagram captions can be a pain. Especially if you are trying to do it on the spot. You end up writing something impersonal or vague just to get a post out there. Not worth it.
Writing the captions for your posts ahead of time allows you to think on what you are writing, make sure it is targeted to your ideal clients, and is benefiting your current audience in some form or another.
You can write out your verbiage in a few different ways. If you have a Instagram planning app, you can write them out in there.
You could even open up your email and start writing them out in there, and email them to yourself so that you have access to it on your phone.
I use Google Docs personally. It auto-saves as you write, has a phone app, and mostly because it’s way faster for me to type then to peck. When the time comes to post I can open the app, copy, and paste. I even throw in the graphics that I’m writing for above the captions, so I can write with them in mind and also keep my captions organized for easy reference.
Now don’t forget about hashtags! Under each description I’ll post the hashtags that I want to go with the post. Planning this out in advance is also a huge time saver.
If you have a set of the same hashtags, that’s fine. But don’t forget to utilize specific ones for the type of content you are posting. Relevant hashtags are always a good idea.
So there you have it! You’ve planned out the type of content you want to post, created a grid system, collected the content, planned it out, written for it and pulled relevant hashtags. Now all you have to do is drop all that information into Instagram at your chosen time on specified days.
Most Instagram Apps will allow you to schedule a prompt to remind you to post on your phone. Or you can wing it, like I do most days.
So which part of this post was the most helpful for you? Share in the comments below.
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