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I don’t advocate being on every single social media channel, especially when you are starting out. I think it’s better to pick two, really master them and then start to add in new ones. Instagram is a really popular way for people to get to know you and start to interact with your brand if you’re marketing yourself well there. If people feel like they have a good understanding for you, your tone of voice and what you believe in, they are much more likely to actually want to do business with you.
Follow these steps to make planning your Instagram content easier and more efficient:
Make sure your Instagram account is set up as a business account.
You need to know the insights on your Instagram account to get the most bang for your buck with your posts. In order to see insights on your posts, you have to be set up as a business account.
Look at your account insights to learn when people are most likely to see your content.
Once that is set up, you can view your insights by going to the upper right corner (3 lines) when you are on your profile and click Insights. Then click on Audience. Here you can figure out the demographics of who is looking at your posts and where most of your traffic is coming from by cities, age, or sex. This information can help you down the road to figure out your target audience even better since you can see who is actually looking. You can also look at the times and the days of the week when people are actually seeing your stuff the most. This way when you go to schedule your posts with a scheduler like Planoly,* you can schedule things around the time when most of your followers are on. By doing this you can get the most eyeballs on it in the moment and are more likely to get good engagement, rather than scheduling at some arbitrary time.
If you want to see how many people are looking at a given time, you can tap the bar graph at the bottom and it will show you specific numbers during that time. It’s a good idea to go back and check this periodically because it can change over time. As it is not a static thing and does fluctuate, make it a habit to go in every few weeks and check as you’re batching and make sure that you are still posting at the optimal time.
In the Instagram app, click on Content in the Insights area. At the top right of the posts you will see an option to “See all.” By clicking here, you can then click at the very top to change the metrics you are seeing. Since Instagram moves pretty fast, it’s a good idea to just look at the last 30 days of posts. If you’ve been posting sporadically, you should review a longer time range.
Look at what types of content are resonating the most with your audience, which things they are liking the most and which things are they commenting on the most. Look for patterns. Are you getting the most engagement when you post flat lays of objects? Is it when you post pictures of yourself? Is it when you post inspirational quotes? You want to find out what is the actual content that they seem to be resonating with the most.
Include some hashtags.
One of the ways other users can find you is through hashtags. You’re allowed to use up to 30 in each post. There’s a lot that can be said about hashtags, but the short version is you want them to be relevant to you, your brand, and your ideal client. You also want a mix of general to slightly more specific hashtags, and try to avoid using too many of the most highly used ones. As you start to type them in, Instagram will sort of auto-fill what it thinks you are typing and will show you a number after each hashtag. If that number is well over a million, your post will probably get lost in the “noise” when someone searches that hashtag. I try to include some for my location as well. If you need help getting started thinking up hashtags, I recommend Social Maggie’s Extensive Hashtag List.
Figure out your strategy plan.
Do you want to have posts 7 days a week? 5 days a week? 3 days a week? What are some of your goals? To grow your reach? To get people to an opt-in in your bio to get on your email list? To get them to register for a free training going on? Whatever it is, you want to figure out what you want to be driving them to, what type of content you want to put out, and when you are going to do it. For example, I alternate with real-life pictures of myself, which is what my analytics say people really seem to like to interact with, mixed with inspirational quotes from women since I mostly work with women. I also post about blog posts for when I want to let people know I have new content up on my blog.
My favorite tool to plan and batch my Instagram posts is a program called Planoly.* Check out how I use the desktop app to easily plan and schedule my posts in advance based on the information I’ve collected with my analytics:
One of the things I help my clients with is developing their own social media content buckets. You can learn more about how to do that in my post on content creation. I help my clients streamline what they are putting out by figuring out content buckets and ways to repurpose content, saving them time.