HOW TO CREATE AN EFFECTIVE INSTAGRAM MARKETING CONTENT PLAN
Do you think Instagram marketing is all about well-edited pictures and using a few hashtags? Think again.
And I want you to think twice as hard if you use Instagram to promote yourself in some way.
When I first started promoting my services on Instagram, I was stuck for a few reasons in particular:
I wasn’t sure how to go about it
I didn’t know what people wanted to see
Striking a balance between promoting myself and sharing my life was tricky
I manage other brands Instagram accounts as part of my job and I always manage to create a solid Instagram marketing plan for them. For my own brand? It used to be really difficult. But now I’ve accepted my progress and developed my own content plan, I absolutely love using Instagram again.
This post is going to be a complete guide to creating an Instagram marketing content plan, covering a few topics in particular:
Elements of an effective content plan
How to come up with a month’s worth of Instagram ideas
Content that works well on the platform
If there’s a section that interests you, you can just skip to that!
And as an added bonus, you can also get access to the workbook I’ve created for you which includes not 1, not 2...but 61 whole Instagram content ideas for bloggers and creatives!
Let’s dig into the first step.
WHAT MAKES AN EFFECTIVE INSTAGRAM MARKETING CONTENT PLAN?
This is broken down into two points:
You need to know WHY you’re on Instagram
And WHAT you’re trying to accomplish with this platform
Basically, what’s your end goal? Is it to build brand awareness? Build relationships? Get more clients?
Once you have the answer to this, your mind will become clearer, because it’s your purpose that dictates your content.
Let’s say you offer an online interior design service. You should be posting moodboards and images of rooms that you’ve designed. But it’s not as straightforward as that.
For starters, Instagram is a visual platform, so your pictures need to look good. There’s no two ways about it. If you want to promotional strategies on Instagram to pay off, you need to make sure your images are of a high quality. This is the same if you offer products too.
If you’re a service based business or a blogger, this is where things are different. Your marketing strategy should be based on sharing content that your audience would want to see or learn before they hire you or visit your blog.
So let’s go back to the interior design service. Although the purpose of this Instagram account might be to “get more clients”, that doesn’t mean that every single caption should read, “hey, here’s a picture of a room I designed for a client, isn’t it great?” Instead, you want to share posts that build the know, like, trust factor and show how you can help your audience.
Sticking with this example, an interior designer might share examples of her projects, why she loves working in interior design, tips for decorating your own home, testimonials from clients, behind-the-scenes shots, trends - there are so many ideas. The most important thing is that all these content ideas relate to her brand and her purpose of getting more clients through educating and inspiring them, not selling to them.
Knowing your purpose is going to make it easier for you to come up with content ideas AND will help when it comes to growing your following.
While I used to think Twitter was the most personal platform out there, I’m definitely leaning more towards Instagram now. I’m loving Instagram and you can get as personal as you want.
Most of you reading this are bloggers or business owners, which means your Instagram content is going to be more personal. People like people and they want to see the face behind the brand. That’s why it’s important for you to share personal stories and behind-the-scenes snaps that allow people to relate to you. I love teaching, so I share tips and tricks along with personal stories mixed in.
What I want you to understand is there is no single right way to do it. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. Remember - your Instagram marketing plan is your own.
If you’re planning your content and struggling to find the balance between personal and professional, go back to your purpose. What is it you’re trying to achieve? Most of your content should be related to that.
The reason I try and mix personal and professional is because I want to show my coaching clients that I know what I’m talking about, but also build a personal relationship with them too. Think about what types of content relate to your purpose and which don’t. The lunch you had at that cafe might’ve looked amazing, but only share it if you can create it in a way that links to your purpose.
You’ve got your purpose and you’ve thought about your audience. Next is making sure your content is branded. What do I mean by this? Well, Instagram is essentially another channel to promote your content. When a new follower lands on your profile, they should be able to recognise your brand immediately from the colours, fonts and styling.
Is your brand fun, colourful and bold? Your style needs to reflect that. Is it neutral, minimal and paired back? Your style needs to reflect that.
Your whole online presence should link together through branded features across all your platforms. When creating your content, ensure that everything is consistent and aligned, including your:
Tone of voice
I bet you knew this was coming! The best Instagram marketing content plans revolve around consistency. And I don’t just mean consistency of what we’ve just talked about - I mean consistency of your content.
I’m not saying you should share the same thing every day. But people should know what to expect from your Instagram feed, just like they should know what to expect from your blog content. So plan it out in advance.
Take advantage of themes like Tuesday Tip or Friday Introductions. Give each day a theme or each week so you can create your content around a particular message. By being consistent you’ll attract more people and you’ll keep them more engaged.
Now you know what a content plan needs, let’s dig into how you can create one.
HOW TO COME UP WITH A MONTH’S WORTH OF INSTAGRAM CONTENT (IN ONE DAY)
Yep, it is possible!
COME UP WITH TOPICS
This is going to help you identify what sort of content you’re going to create and what you’re going to talk about. For instance, my Instagram feed mainly consists of:
Promotion of blog posts and videos
Behind-the-scenes of my life
Pick 3-5 topics that you can focus on for your Instagram, which relate to your online presence as a whole. For instance, if you’re a health and wellness blogger, your topics could be:
Physical and mental health tips
Behind-the-scenes of your fitness journey
Ways to practice self-care
COME UP WITH IDEAS FOR EACH TOPIC
A great way to start is to list your main topics and just write as many ideas as you can under each one. For instance, my first topic is “sharing tips”, so I could share tips about…
But you could go even deeper than that and get more specific.
Give yourself 5 minutes of writing out ideas for each of your main topics so you get a good idea of the types of content you’ll be creating.
THINK ABOUT YOUR GRID SET UP
This can be such a fun part of the process if you don’t over-think it! I have a pattern that I follow for my feed at the moment that’s really working well. I’ll post a quote graphic and then I’ll post a photo, so it goes quote >> photo >> quote >> photo and so on. This will really help you create some consistency.
You could also do it in a way where you follow the pattern of your topics, for instance: affirmation >> tip >> behind-the-scenes >> self-care. Or another way is focusing on the days of the week like this:
Wednesday: what you’re working on
Friday: ask a question
Think about what you want your grid to look like. I love using Planoly for this. They also have loads of tips and free content to help you with your Instagram marketing which is super useful.
Now it’s time to get creative! I love looking at my favourite Instagram accounts for inspiration, saving them to a collection and then creating my own ideas. I also use Evernote to write down some ideas for images if I’ve got some particular ideas in my head.
Grab your props, get set up and go go go!
(Top tip: If you do a quote every other photo, that also means you have to take less photos...winner 😉 )
P.S. If you’re stuck on what kind of content to actually create for your Instagram feed, you’ll love the workbook that comes with this post! Enter your details below to get instant access.
Create your content in advance so you’ve got a library of images to choose from. If you add all your photos to an app like Planoly you can see them altogether and rearrange them to style them how you want.
PLAN SOME OF YOUR CAPTIONS
Writing your captions is one of the most important parts of your Instagram marketing plan. Your caption is what you use to generate engagement from your audience. Now some of these you’ll want to do in the moment which is fine. But when it comes to affirmations, stories or tips, you can plan all these in advance.
For my “teaching” content, I usually base this around the theme of the blog post that’s going live that week, as that’s my cornerstone piece of content. Let’s take this post as an example. Some ideas for captions could be:
How to fall back in love with Instagram
The #1 tip you need to move forward with Instagram
This hashtag time saver will change your life
My favourite tool to manage Instagram
Promoting this specific blog post
That’s one post for each day of the week!
I can then intertwine those with more personal posts from my day-to-day life.
When you plan your content, try and write some of your captions in advance, even if it’s just in note form. This will save you so much time in the longrun.
GET YOUR HASHTAGS SORTED
Now you need your hashtags. There are two different ways to go about this:
Have a different set of hashtags for each topic
Have a different set of hashtags for each picture you post on each day of the week
In terms of how you find hashtags, I highly recommend Zoe’s Instagram hashtag database.
This was key when it came to improving my Instagram hashtag strategy. It includes hashtags for 35+ categories, handpicked hashtags you won’t find anywhere else and a video walkthrough to show you how to use the database. I LOVE this tool and it’s so affordable.
SCHEDULE YOUR CONTENT
Scheduling as much content as possible will make things so much easier for you. Use a tool like Squarelovin to analyse your optimal posting times and adjust your strategy as you move forward (I find that 8am and 8pm work well).
Try a free tool like Planoly to schedule out your Instagram content and see how you get on.
ENGAGE AND REPEAT
When you plan out your content for 30 days, that’s when you get more time to engage. And that’s how you’ll really get results on the platform. Respond to comments, leave comments on other accounts and like photos. Be genuine and you’ll reap the benefits. You only need 20 minutes a day!
CONTENT THAT WORKS WELL ON INSTAGRAM
As we said earlier, Instagram is a visual platform. You speak through your images. And one of the best things about this platform is that is can be used for many reasons. You can use it to:
Engage with your audience
Market a campaign
Build brand awareness
Form a community
Notice how these relate back to choosing your purpose?
Instagram is a direct source of communication and with your Instagram marketing plan you can really get to know your audience better. Plus it has so many other features you can take advantage of.
But the bulk of your Instagram feed comes from having a collection of content ideas. And I want to provide you with the inspiration for those ideas.
In this free workbook you’ll find a list of 61 different types of Instagram content ideas - that’s TWO whole months worth of content!
Enter your details below to get access.
Pin this post for future reference so you can use these ideas and match them up with your monthly content plan.
And if you’re looking for more one-on-one support with growing your Instagram, be sure to check out my coaching packages here.
Do you have an Instagram marketing plan? Will you create one now you’ve read this post? Feel free to share your ideas and leave your Instagram handle in the comments!