Social Media

Planning an Instagram Content Calendar

March 17, 2021

Today, we’re going to take a deep dive into my Instagram content strategy. I want to take you behind the scenes from creating my content calendar to creating the ideas and the strategy behind everything before I even schedule it. My hope is that you have a more holistic understanding and view of how I strategize for social media! 

Planning an Instagram Content Calendar: tips for small business owners

Pre-Planning Your Content

The first thing we need to talk about is the planning phase. I constantly remind myself that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. And here’s the thing I’ve learned about myself, if I don’t at least have a vague plan of what I’m going to share or post, then I won’t post anything at all! That means I’m not showing up consistently for my people on Instagram, so I know that I have to plan things out in advance. 

When I plan out my Instagram content calendar, I’m keeping 2 main things in mind. The first thing I’m thinking about is what upcoming launches or collaborations I have for the month. Those go onto my calendar first. The second thing I think about is rotating through a few themes I want to share about on Instagram (like me and Ember, me and Michael, tips for photographers or tips for social media). While I like to give people a glimpse of my life, I want to be sure I’m still being strategic about how I share everything. As far as the actual captions, I keep a running list of Instagram captions I can share. Personally, I have a list on my phone – but do it wherever makes sense to you! 

Creating Instagram Content

When it comes to creating the content, I think of two buckets of content I have to create: written or visual content. As I start to create content, I look back at the list of ideas I have and go through to find the right visual content to match. Remember, you don’t have to use each idea only once! It might work as a post and a Reel or something like that. The ideas that I’ve written out help frame what I’m trying to say in my caption. 

I always focus on three parts of a caption: hook, meat, and call to action (CTA). The hook grabs people’s attention and promises something or explains what I want to share. The meat is the answer to that hook I brought them in with. And the call to action is all about asking them to comment, share, or otherwise engage with the post. 

As far as visual content, we have a few options right now: Instagram feed photos (single or carousel), Instagram Stories, and Instagram Reels. One of my biggest tips here is to batch create this content as much as possible. Instead of creating just one piece of visual content when you’re all ready to go and in the zone, plan to do 5 or 10 at once. Change outfits and mix it up – but allow yourself to plan ahead. 

The same idea applies to when you have photos taken of yourself! Get as MUCH variety as you can in one photoshoot or sitting!! Seriously. Switch outfits or locations as many times as you can in the time you’re out getting photos done. Remember, you don’t have to constantly be churning out new pieces of content – do it at once so it’s easier on you! 

One other piece of advice I have for you: if you need to edit your photos, download and use the Lightroom Mobile app! If I’m being honest, most of the photos I share on my own feed are taken with my phone. PS, don’t forget I’m launching mobile presets on June 9th! Sign up here to be the first to know about them! 

Planning Instagram Posts

The biggest part of being consistent on Instagram for me is that I have to plan ahead. I know for me, I have to be in the right headspace and able to focus on what I’m doing. Personally, I LOVE using Later. It has so many amazing features and it’s helped me plan ahead quickly every few weeks. I have a full tutorial here, but it’s super easy to use and I’m seriously obsessed. 

For me, success and consistency on Instagram really just comes from planning ahead. Think about what YOU want to be sharing for your business and then determine the best way to develop both the written and visual components of those pieces. Once you create a system, sitting down and writing a handful of posts ahead of time comes more naturally. I hope these tips helped you think about your own Instagram Content calendar!

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