30.7.18

#Discussion: Planning Your Instagram Feed // #Instagram101

There have been a lot of articles written about the pros and cons of Instagram, how to "hack" the new Instagram algorithm, and anything else you can think of regarding the largest photo sharing social media platform. Whether you're using Instagram for business or personal, here are some tips for creating a feed that everyone wants to follow - and have "post notifications" for.

Today's post is about how to plan your feed, which includes a bit of foresight into how you want to take your pictures.

Read the whole series to upgrade and maintain your Instagram feed by clicking on the different links below!

I'm no expert in growing your audience because I have just over 1600 followers on Instagram but I have a good ratio of interaction and am growing consistently considering I haven't been as active on Instagram of late as I should be. However, here are what people like when perusing Instagram.

Inspiration Searching

All artists use some sort of inspiration for their creative works and taking photos is no different. It’s important to look to other accounts for inspiration but do not just copy their feed –and especially do not steal other people’s photos.

I run a book blog, so I look at other "bookstagram" accounts, but I also like to look to other niche blogging accounts like beauty accounts, DIY accounts, and home renovation accounts. These let me see how other people use space, lighting, and highlight their chosen topic in a way that isn't "typical" for books.

Find a few people who you like their entire feed – not just one photo. Then determine what it is about those photos you like and try to recreate it using your own personal touch. 

Remember that this is about personal branding. If you look like you are just strictly copying someone else, your engagement will not be very high – and you could make someone very angry.

Consistency

If you want to (and have the time), you can post once, twice, three times a day. Or you can only post on specific days. As long as your followers know when they can expect your photos, that's what is most important. I try to post around 9:30am EDT and 2:00pm EDT every day. That means I need to plan at least 14 photos on Sunday so that I know I have something for the entire week.

Choose what day(s) and time(s) you want to post at, do that for a bit, and then check your Instagram Analytics (because you are an Influencer, you have a Business account and can do so!). If you need to adjust based on your audience and their preferences.

Consistency also goes into the types of photos that you are posting. Not every shot has to be set up perfectly – you can include some “behind the scenes” – but if you are running a specific type of blog or account, make sure you aren’t posting pictures that go beyond your brand. 

Schedule

Please Note: I talk about three applications in this section but it is not sponsored and choosing to download these apps will not help me in any way shape or form. Thank you!

I use Trello for my Instagram schedule which allows me to put the photo, caption, and hashtags into one spot and set a specific date for posting it. It also reminds me when I need to post but I make sure to set a reminder on Todoist for that as well. In addition, I use two other apps, Buffer and Planoly, both of which post directly to Instagram for you (as long as you are only using one photo, they can’t do multiple photos, but both make the process easy).

I’m going to break down what I do with each app so you can understand my process. This doesn’t mean it will work for you, so try out different scheduling apps and see what does!

Trello

Trello is my starting point for everything with my blog. I keep track of what books I need to read, the features I run, the posts I have to still write, and, of course, my Instagram schedule. I like to participate in Instagram challenges, but also post other books and bookmail I get so that I can feature a bunch of different books on my feed. This means I need to make sure I am posting twice a day.

By using different cards, I can plan out what the theme of the photo should be for that day before actually taking it. This helps when I am gathering the books I need when I go out to take any nature pictures so I don’t have to drive home and reload because I forgot a book.

There are free and paid versions to Trello. I use the free version.

Planoly

Planoly is a new step in my process but man am I not sure how I got things done before it. Planoly allows you to upload pictures to the app and plan out your grid before it goes live to Instagram so you can see if you like the upload order. You can create “draft grids” that you can work and play around with before moving them to the “scheduled” section of the app.

Planoly does allow you to schedule the post and it will automatically upload and post to Instagram for you. It also shows you analytics and compares weeks, months, or years depending on whether or not you have the free or paid version. It also lets you see, in a calendar view, when you have things scheduled for the whole month. By clicking on a specific day, you can see what posts are going live, whether they will be auto-posted, or if there needs to be something adjusted.

The only downfall is that scheduling can be a bit difficult, in my opinion. You have to put in the specific date and time for the post and since I do it twice a day and schedule for a whole week at a time – sometimes I get confused. I did it once for the week and had to keep counting to make sure I wasn’t accidentally double posting. Also, if you have more than one account logged into Instagram, it could potentially post to the wrong account for you. So be cautious!

These are the reasons that for the actual scheduling of the post – and allowing the auto post – I use Buffer. However, I am thinking about upgrading my Planoly account to the next level for the Analytics. It has more in depth Analytics than what you get on the Business Instagram account and I love seeing data.

Buffer

Buffer has been my rock for my blog since I started. Being able to schedule on different accounts has been fantastic. I like that I can choose dates and times for posting, then as I populate “new” pictures and captions, it will auto select the dates from my schedule. This means I don’t have to wonder if I put in the wrong date or time (like on Planoly).

In addition, Buffer auto-posts to Instagram for you and you don’t have to worry if it is to the right account because you can log into as many accounts as you want (with a paid version – with the free version you can have 3 accounts logged in. I have Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn).

Combined

Using these three apps combined, I am able to plan and determine the best way to show off my books to my audience members. Does the algorithm still suck? Yes. But at least with a consistent and aesthetically pleasing feed, people will appreciate all your hard work.

Next Time... I talk about how to take the “perfect” photo! Tune in next Monday for that!


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