Let me give it to you straight– listening to this episode will save you HOURS every week.
Did I get your attention? Good!
We all know that each hour of an entrepreneurs life counts, and I want to ensure you are spending your social media time wisely! Whether you are a social media guru or not, there’s no denying that Instagram can change the game of your business. In my opinion, there’s nothing better than free advertising, and Instagram is one of the best, most authentic ways to reach your tribe day after day.
That said, it’s not always easy. Social media strategy takes time, thought, and energy to maximize your impact. I used to spend hours per week just trying to find the perfect photo of that’s night dinner (….while it was sitting there, getting cold) and trying to come up with the perfect, witty caption on the spot.
Hello?! What was I thinking?! In every other facet of my business, I plan nearly everything in advance: launches, weddings, conferences- why should my social media be any different? It took me a while to learn how to batch your content for Instagram, but now I can say that I can dream up an entire month’s worth of Instagram content in just a handful of hours. That’s right- no digging, searching, or feeling rushed to post. Every single day I wake up knowing exactly what photo is going up, what the caption is going to read, and when I am posting it. You ready to hear my fool-proof system and save yourself hours every week? Let’s dig in!
Style Photos In advance!
Alright kids, ya ready? First step: Build your ammo! That’s right, it’s amazing how easy planning your instagram is when you have a bank of photos you love! Now, if you’ve been around the Insta world for a while, you know what an aesthetic is… Basically, an aesthetic is your Instagram “vibe” and style: Are you woodsy and rustic, fresh and bright, black and white? There are so many directions you can go, and it’s time to figure out YOURS!
For me, I love stark white backdrops, bright lighting, and pops of pale pink, blue, and green! I often share photos of the beaches of Maui, pretty interiors, and office spaces, inspiring quotes, and photos of my sweet husband. These are my go-to Instagram posts so therefore I want to ensure that I have many options to mix and match on my feed. Therefore, I have amassed a GIANT collection of images that fit these requirements over the years. Having this consistency ensures that my photo collection is on brand, cohesive, and recognizable.
So how do you build this bank of photos? It’s simple, you commit to it and own it! Dedicate an afternoon to getting photos in different outfits, settings, and scenarios that fit your vibe. Use a self-timer, book a photographer, stage a cooking shoot– whatever you have to do to build a lot of options! These photos will become the foundation of your Instagram, and having them all in one place (just waiting to be mixed and matched!) is what makes planning an instagram ahead so easy!
This step may sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Say you did your hair and makeup on an average Tuesday- just throw on a cute outfit and take a few quick pictures! Who knows if you’ll use them, but at least they’ll be there as options. I’ve learned to capitalize on “average” day moments that can easily turn into material.
So, to summarize step 1: Think about your “vibe”. What are the things you love sharing? Clothes, food, nature, travel… Whatever it is, make sure you have a plethora of choices to share in each domain! This may take some planning ahead, but it sets the stage for a stress-free Instagram planning!
Determine the stories you want to tell and who you want to reach
Next up! What are the stories you want to tell and who do you want to reach? Really, really think about your following and who your ideal client is!
It doesn’t have to be a narrow, pigeon-holed topic whatsoever. For me, my ideal follower is a mid twenties to mid thirties woman who has big dreams, a big heart, and is always willing to bet on herself. She may relate to me in my journey with body insecurity or infertility, or she may be showing up for business inspiration. But whatever facet she is there for, I want to ensure that I am serving her wholeheartedly!
To ensure I am doing this, I want to make sure I am hitting my “big” topics frequently: a post about body image, a business tip, an encouraging quote… whatever it may be, it’s easy to use these topics to create a general “pattern” to post in to ensure you are reaching your whole audience fully!
So, how can we get the most out of this? I want you to think about who follows you- what do you they check in you week after week? What do you offer them? Use this knowledge to build your messaging! Pick 5 general topics that you feel like you are known for and think about how you can cycle through them in a way that is authentic, true to you, and serves your audience in the process!
Prepare your grid in advance
Okay, onto the next step! Once you have a general topic in mind for business purposes, build your “grid”! PSSST: Your grid is what your instagram feed looks like!
It can be hard to picture what your feed will look like without seeing it before hand and when you’re posting one photo at a time without a greater plan. To ensure I love the way my photos look by one another, I love to use the app PLANN to mix and match different photos to find the order of posting I want to do ! When I lay it out in advance I can see if I am going overboard on any certain type of photo, if my color scheme aligns, and if the picture makes sense for my content needs!
This is yet another benefit of planning your instagram account ahead of time– it allows your feed to be beautiful, cohesive, and attract new followers and grow your impact!
While planning your grid, go into your super amazing photo library that you’ve created, upload the photos you need based on predetermined content needs and upload! Rearrange and change them out until you love what you see! And boom, you have a beautiful feed WITH strategy behind it!
Once you are satisfied with the grid, it’s time for captions!
Planning your instagram in advance allows you to be MEGA strategic when it comes to your business- if you have a launch in a month, you can subtly cater your captions towards that topic for the weeks prior. If a new project launching soon, do a fun countdown! If there is a big announcement coming up- change your messaging to take your followers on a ride with you! While planning ahead seems daunting, it makes being strategic SO much easier because you have a clear map of what topic you should be posting and when! This doesn’t mean that personal posts go out the window, it just means that there is a time and place to implement strategy (and you’ll be ready!)
Once you have your topics mapped out, write out your captions week by week! Breaking it up into week long chunks is super manageable and does not take long at all. It’s amazing how easy this is when you know what facet of your business you should be focusing on on a given day!
After writing a caption, ask yourself: Who is this reaching? And what is the purpose of this caption? If it feels totally empty and lacking purpose, you should try again! While people may stop and stare at a pretty picture, it is the caption and the story that creates true connection!
THE FINAL STEPS!
Okay, a beautiful picture, a predetermined message, and a perfect caption! You’re ready, right? … Not quite!
There’s a few last minute steps that ensure you are getting maximum likes, comments, and exposure on your post. You want as many eyes as possible on the post you worked so hard on, don’t you? I thought so!
One small things that makes a world of difference in your posts is a “call to action!” What do I mean by this? I simply mean, I am asking my audience something small in each post… It could be a “double tap if…”, “tag a friend who this reminded you of…”, “comment your top recommendations for…” Not only does this boost engagement to your post and allows more eyes to see it, but it organically allows you to connect with your audience, hear their thoughts, and create true community!
One other small thing that is often overlooked when you are posting one-off photos is the TIMING of the post! What hour you post each day majorly impacts engagement and subsequent “success” of the post! The timing of an instagram post is a key part of social media strategy, and I for one want to do everything I can to maximize Instagram’s impact!
So what time is best? It is different for every person! I personally like to use WhenToPost, which is an app that predicts what time of day is best for you to post on a specific day! With your captions laid out and ready to go, you can look ahead to the week and simply just see what time you should post each day of that week! Having this in your schedule makes it even less stressful because you know exactly what the week has in store content wise!
And the LAST tip to ensure your post is successful is to ENGAGE! It’s not enough to ask people to to comment and like your best without giving them anything in return! I always do my best to block of 20-30 minutes after a post to read people’s comments, look at their profiles, and truly connect with them! Not only does this help your post, but way more importantly, you get to truly interact with your followers! Isn’t that what these little apps are about after all?
There you have it, Goal Diggers! My personal method of ensuring that my Instagram game is as strong as possible. While it does take a little work on the back end and takes some getting used to, this method undoubtedly saves me HOURS every week compared to posting one photo at a time without a plan! If you’re interested in my other Instagram secrets, I have a list of the 5 Instagram apps I CANNOT live without linked below!
Forget the days of rushing to post, scrambling for a caption, or not knowing what to say. Because with this method, you now know exactly what photo you are picking, who you are reaching, and what your caption is! All that’s left to do is press post! I hope this helps you batch your content for Instagram, see you on the ‘gram!