An Instagram Content Plan is a strategic approach to creating content for businesses and brands. Instead of posting content randomly and hoping something sticks an IG content plan helps you produce better content faster.
In this article, we’ll teach you how to create a strategic Instagram Content Plan for your business faster and with fewer headaches than you imagined.
How To Start Planning Your Instagram Content
Every great plan starts with research, don’t you agree? If you’re going to invest time into building your Instagram business account research is definitely in order.
Don’t fret this does not have to be an excrutiating process. Instead, consider it any opportunity to get your ducks in a row.
The research process is quite simple. Start by answering these questions
- Who are your competitors or industry leaders and what are they doing?
- What assets or resources do you have in place to either produce content or repurpose content?
- What is your primary goal in the upcoming quarter?
- How often can you post realistically?
Once you ask and answer these fundamental questions you can move to the next stage of planning. Note: When doing competitor or industry research take the opportunity to document data. This will give you some ease of mind in terms of industry standards, benchmarks, and setting realistic goals. The data I would collect for at least 10 similar accounts include:
- Account URL
- Number of Posts
- Average Posts Per Month
- # of Followers
- # of Following
- Link to Post With the Highest Engagement
- Feed Observations
This will give you a good foundation for planning. More importantly, it will help you answer the questions above intelligently.
Plan Your IG Content Strategy
Now that you peeled the onion back you’re in a great position to start crafting a strategic Instagram content plan. At this point most people will jump into designs.
Hold Your Horses, Step on the Brakes, Take a Breather!
A Strategic feed is more than just pretty images. Infact, the image should come last. Trust us, we do this a lot!
Rather than worrying about aesthetic let’s worry about how content will move the needle in your business. Now that you know what your primary goal is you can craft a feed that supports that goal. While there are some nuances, in general your Instagram account will likely have one of the following primary goals:
- Build Awareness
- Build Authority
- Drive Sales
- Amplify Influence
Based on your goal we like to craft prompt patterns that support brand strategy. These prompt patterns help you tell a story in your feed that supports your business goals and takes into account realistic production capabilities. Ampfluence’s Content Craft Social Calendar provides prompt types you can use to create strategic feed patterns. Take a look below.
Once you compose a prompt pattern you can now outline your content. Keep in mind you can do this process every month, every quarter, or even every year. Imagine that.
Establish Your Visual Identity
If you do not have brand guidelines or a lookbook then establish your visual identity on Instagram might be a bit more challenging but definitely feasible. Start with what you have. For example, if you have an existing logo, color scheme, and font that’s a good place to begin.
You’ll want to ensure the your visual identity also falls in line with other business branding assets like your website, business cards, or even car stickers.
At this point you’ll also want to decide on a design motif or theme. We created an awesome post a couple years ago that walks you through this entire process. Find that post below. It includes a bunch of really great examples as well.
Prepare Your Calendar Assets
Most people will tell you that the best way to create a content calendar is inside some kind of software or tool. However, the contrary is true. If you jump into software before your assets are created you’ll find yourself slumping over your computer day after day.
Instead, use your prompts to craft captions and images. If you want to be really meta (which is advisable) create context behind each design by asking yourself the following questions:
- How does this post add value to my audience?
- How does this post support my overall goal?
- What’s one creative thing I can do to make this piece standout?
If you have a designer or copywriter or team this simple guidance will help you get what you need in a shorter amount of time (e.g. fewer edits = decreased production cycle).
Need a hand on preparing your content calendar? We got your back! Checkout our Content Craft Social Calendar for 731+ days on content inspiration.
Craft IG Captions Before Publishing
Preparing assets before jumping into a scheduling tool is essential. There are few rules to keep in mind when writing an Instagram caption so it would be a great one.
1. Write down a few drafts
The visibility of posts in the Instagram feed depends on the number of likes, comments, and some other factors. We recommend using another platform to write drafts. It would be easier to go back and edit the draft before publishing to make sure you got your caption right.
2. Put the important information at the beginning
Instagram shortens the caption after 3-4 rows. That is why you need to put the most relevant information in the front row. Intrigue followers with interesting captions or statistics, provoke emotional responses, or share an exclusive offer!
3. Include a Call-To-Action (CTA)
A great way to engage your audience is to include a CTA in your “headline”. The type of CTA depends on the goal of your post. You can ask followers to leave a comment, share the post, tag some friends, or follow some guidelines for a giveaway.
4. Limit the number of hashtags
Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags. Always use a minimum of 5-10 hashtags that are relevant to the topic of your post. You can incorporate them within the description space if the #hashtag fits your sentence, or put it at the end of the caption.
5. Adjust the voice of your brand
Keep in mind to always have a consistent approach and tone in the posts. It will help you to build larger audiences on Instagram.
6. Use emojis
Emojis are a great way to attract attention and are available to the majority of smartphone users. Most of the brands all over the world use emojis because of their availability.
7. Promote your Instagram profile on other social networks
Tweedledum and Tweedledee! Use descriptions to promote your other business accounts so followers can subscribe to your YouTube channel, follow you on other social networks, and visit your website.
8. Keep it short and clear
Depending on your followers, your posts can be shorter or longer. Keep important information front row in your captions, and organize the layout to be easy to read.
Another great way to prepare your captions is to use our Content Craft Caption Catalog. It includes a few thousand captions that will save time, eliminate uncertainty, and amplify your influence on Instagram.
Creative Instagram Layout Ideas
There are many ways to organize layout for Instagram posts and we have prepared a few examples to get your creative engine running.
Simple grid allows you to upload images according to your needs and desires. Stay consistent with the type of filter and color you are using to make your post stand out.
Look at Michele Blanchard‘s Instagram profile. She is a professional photographer and her posts are vary from light to dark nonchalantly.
A diagonal grid is a type of grid that follows a similar object in a diagonal layout. It is easy to preview, and it creates a sense of balance and simplicity.
We took the @wehaveawish Instagram feed as an example since they have an awesome diagonal grid layout that could be a great reference.
The idea behind a picture-quote grid is visual contrast that enhanced with the combination of an image-quote order. Picture-quote grid allows double focus on the content and leaves space between images. If you have less content or need to accentuate some posts, this layout can be a perfect fit.
The @abundantbosbabes profile for young women entrepreneurs has a picture-perfect example of a picture-quote grid layout.
Mimicking rainbow lines and transitioning from colors between images can be a perfect choice for photographer content or someone who is into art and other visual media.
Danielle just started on Instagram but she has a few posts that nailed the layout of the rainbow grid!
There are many options of layout you can make and get creative. Research and brainstorm with the team can enrich the idea of how to create appealing and unique posts for your brand. Once you have the general layout planned, it is time to start preparing the written content.
Plan and Schedule Instagram Posts
The next step after everything is set up, it is time to plan and schedule your Instagram posts. See some of the tools to schedule the Instagram Posts list below.
Canva has a content planner feature for the Pro plan. It is like an all-in-one platform where you can design your Instagram post layout as well as schedule your Instagram content.
Canva is easy to use even for the beginners! Why don’t you give it a try?
Later is a social media scheduling tool that works with Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.
For a free user, Later give free for up to 30 scheduled posts per month which is a piece of good news if you’re posting once a day. Keep in mind that if you want to use video on your content, you will need to upgrade your plan to premium.
Agorapulse promises that their host of publishing options make it easy for you to publish content for maximum ROI.
You can start their free trial to see if their platform fits your brand. It is always worth the time to try and see which is best to plan Instagram content.
How to Create Instagram Content Your Audience Loves
Let’s be clear creating content your audience loves is no walk the park. It requires empathy, creativity, and social value. But don’t let the challenge stop you.
After all, you’re already knee-deep in the game so you might as well go all the way, right?
Below are a few ways you can dive deeper into your audience’s mind and create content they gravitate towards.
Get to Know Your Community
Learning about audiences that following you is important before planning Instagram content. Start some research by going through the followers’ list and check each account. Pay attention to those followers that have a significant amount of followers. Look at their bios to understand what these people are all about. Simple research like this will gain insight into what your content should be created.
Another research that is also important is knowing your followers’ demographic through Instagram Insights. Keep in mind that followers’ demographics data is essential in Instagram marketing strategy. This data is the basic information needed to target what kind of content will attract them.
Keywords from audiences are some of the few secret spices marketers will rarely mention. Consider creating a sample profile of your target audience on your visual identity board to stay reminded of the type of content you should post.
Manage Collaborators Centrally
If user-generated-content (UGC) is your thing, or if you work with photographers to make your feed stand out, keeping track of all the media may be a bit of a challenge.
Variety is important as many marketers decide to use several media sources. This can be a trap because you run the risk of posting the same image twice, or getting stuck with no material while waiting for your contributors. Planning a risk-free solution that will spare you of this inconvenience.
Curating Content is Social
There is no perfect recipe for how to plan Instagram content. But, preparing it in advance is crucial and non-negotiable. If you want to be successful and have a wow effect when people go to your Instagram page, consider thinking in a “grid” format.
If you randomly post images on your profile, the overview will look messy. Especially if you have many dark or light visuals. Remember to always make a visual balance to make your feed look appealing.
We highly recommend that you download the Preview app to your phone. It allows you to choose a specific layout for your Instagram images and the dominant colors. Doing this can make you create a unique visual specific to your brand that will make it stand out from the crowd.
Post at the Right Time
There is no such thing as “optimal times” on Instagram. Every brand can have different optimal times. If you want to know when will be the most optimal times for your brand to post, go to Instagram Insights and see the data there.
Once you opened the Instagram Insight, you will see the followers’ breakdown. You will also see the time of day and specific days your audience is most active. Note down the option and try posting each week on a different time frame for a month. After that, compare the time slots and post engagement numbers.
Voila! You have your personalized optimal time for posting on Instagram now!
Final Thought on Creating an Instagram Content Plan
Being successful on Instagram takes time and investment. The final formula to achieve great results requires a clear vision, strategy, and action. Keep in mind to always create interesting, useful, and quality content to grow your Instagram. Plan them well so audiences will get the excitement every time they visit your Instagram feed.