After attending the session with Jasmine Star at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego, I could not wait to share my notes with you about saving time with Instagram.
We are living in a time-starved world. Every minute counts, especially when it comes to social media content. If Instagram, with its 800+ million users, is the platform for you, then be prepared to be wowed. I am going to show you how it only takes me ONE DAY to plan, create and execute a whole 30 days of Instagram posts.
I have nothing to post today
Do you know that sinking feeling when you look at your blank screen and think “I have nothing to post today?”. Or you have a cracking image and then the stumbling block is “but I can't think of anything interesting to add to this post”.
Are you ON Instagram, or are you USING Instagram?
The way you answer the above question will define how you succeed on this platform.
Here is how you can tell if you are ON Instagram
- You post only when you remember
- You only post “me, me, me, broadcast stuff”
- There is no consistency in the content (it is all over the place)
- You use Instagram without a strategy
Here is how you can tell if you are USING Instagram
- You post consistently
- You value every comment, every like and have 1-2-1 communication
- You post with intention. Everything is “on brand”, which relays not only the visual brand but also the tone of voice, the ethos and values of your business.
- You have a plan and a strategy that you are working with.
So, which camp are you in? Are you ON Instagram or are you USING Instagram? (Disclosure – I was certainly in the ON Instagram camp)
What Makes People Who Use Instagram Successful?
When Jasime said this next line it really resonated with me. In big words across the screen were written the words “THEY SHOW UP”. What makes people who use Instagram successful is that they are there for people. They post regularly, they post consistent content, they post with purpose but they also respond to every comment, DM and follow. THEY SHOW UP.
Once that sank in, then I was super interested in Jasmines five-step plan to getting organised on Instagram.
Five-Step Plan for Planning, Creating and Executing your Instagram Posts
Step #1 – Decide how many posts you will create for one month
As soon as she said this, my initial thought was “but how many times should I be posting?”. Then, as if she was hearing my very own thoughts, she said “you are probably thinking, but how many times should I be posting?”. The answer was “it is different for every business”. That was not very helpful. So, I decided that posting three times a week on Instagram would be a good starting point and then I would increase it to see if my engagement dropped until I found the sweet spot. On another Instagram account, I post once a day and the engagement has been fantastic.
Once you have decided on the volume of posts then you need to set one day in your calendar for content creation and scheduling! Yes, one full day to dedicate to Instagram, although you will need to show up every day to respond to comments, follow people, like other content etc.
Step #2 – List the types of categories that you will create content for
Categories are things that are connected as part of your business. These are topics that can be related back to your business. For example, the categories that I have for Julia Doherty are: Giraffes, Converse Trainers, Speaking, Quotes, Tips, Books that I am Reading, Podcasts, The Walking Dead, Coffee. Topics such as giraffes and converse trainers are very much “Julia Doherty”. People see a giraffe and they think of me. I am constantly getting tagged on Facebook and it's a great hook. I have no idea why I didn't think of using this before today! Genius.
Action: Choose between 9-12 categories
If you are scratching your head and wondering what categories are best suited for you, answer these questions:-
- What am I comfortable sharing? Are you ok talking about personal stuff?
- What am I selling? Not just the product, but the experience that you will be giving your client. Think of the emotion that you are selling.
- Who am I trying to attract? What does my customer want to see?
When you have answered all of the above questions, you will be able to create content that has purpose and intent.
By this stage, everything was falling into place for me. I hope it is for you as well. Onto step number three.
Step #3 – Get everything organised in advance
Take a look at your calendar. If you know you need to plan for 30 posts, and you have 10 categories, then you need three posts per category. It is also worth looking at your appointments calendar as you may want to plan some posts around forthcoming events (ie: I was on my way to San Diego for a social media conference and I should have planned content for Instagram around this trip).
Jasmine gave lots of tips for actually taking photos of products. One big takeaway for me was to lay out the products on big sheets of white paper. My brain was working overtime. I could perhaps set the scene for different types of coffee, different mugs, perhaps with the machine, a coffee press, a flower, etc. Set the scene on the white paper for clear crisp results.
Step #4 – Prepare your Camera
The tips for this section were very similar to Justin Brown's session when I wrote the blog on video recording with your iPhone.
- Do you have enough memory in your camera / iPhone?
- Is the lens clean (it is now a habit of mine to wipe the lens clean before taking any footage or photos).
Step #5 – Experiment and enjoy the process
Eyeballs work best! Photos of people or animals (anything with an eyeball) works 68% better than any other photo! Wow. Eyeballs it is from now on then!
With any object or person, try to place them in front of the natural light as much as possible. In front of a door or a window. Using whiteboard (like Foamex or something similar) to create a little white booth for your products which will reflect the light and showcase your items perfectly.
The list above is the five-step process. However, I also took additional notes which I found incredibly useful:-
- Use stock photos if you are unable to take your own photos. Add your branding and text on the images using either Wordswag, PicMonkey, Canva or something similar.
- Respond to comments in the first 30 minutes for the most exposure.
- Plan your grid. Make sure that all your images are either all square or rectangle, make your grid look attractive.
- Use scheduling software such as Onlypult, eClincher, Hootsuite, or HeyOrca to schedule your content.
- Always to respond to a post with four words or more.
- Create an image or a video to send to people as a DM to thank them for following.
I was certainly motivated to get my Instagram Account where it needs to be. If this means sacrificing one day a month to get myself organised then so be it! After writing this blog I am now even more motivated, so watch this space!