“Content marketing is really like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won’t be a second date.”David Beebe
Without a doubt, IG has become the number one tool for content creation and distribution. But to use all its features like a pro, you need to master your skills in Instagram content planning and learn how to analyze its performance.
However, if the word “strategy” sounds intimidating and you go into panic mode each time when it comes to scheduling and analyzing, this article is what you really need!
Below you’ll find a go-to guide on how to tame your Instagram and create a killing content strategy. Step-by-step, we’ll cover the aspects that will help you get all the puzzle pieces together and turn the Insta routine into real fun.
Here we go!
How to set marketing goals
“Your goal should be to own quality time in your customer’s inbox.”Andrew Davis
You’ll be surprised to know that not all popular content formats are useful for your specific audience. So, to generate content for the sake of content is nothing but a waste of time and money.
That’s why before experimenting with different content formats, you should set your marketing objectives. Because only when you know for sure what you want to achieve, you’ll be able to pick up the right Instagram tools.
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Check out some possible marketing goals you may set before getting down to your Instagram content strategy and the KPIs that help measure your success:
- Boost your brand recognition. KPIs: followers, impressions, traffic, reach
- Improve customer engagement. KPIs: clicks, likes, shares, comments, mentions
- Generate new leads. KPIs: lead conversion rate, email-sign ups
- Build customer loyalty or customer retention. KPIs: CRR (customer retention rate), repurchase ratio or repeat customer rate, CCR (customer churn rate), CLV ( customer lifetime value), CLI (customer loyalty index)
- Drive targeted traffic to your website, store, or a landing page. KPIs: link clicks, conversions, email sign-ups
- Generate sales. sales revenue, non-revenue conversions
- Leverage customer support service. KPIs: number of issues resolved, the number of new issues per day, average response time, average resolution time, etc.
SMART approach for Instagram content planning
The SMART framework for goals and task setting has become incredibly popular due to its simplicity and utilization flexibility. It is widely used in a great variety of spheres starting from personal plans and ending with work tasks. And of course, it is excellent for Instagram content planning.
In case you haven’t used this tool so far or still unfamiliar with it, let’s delve into details:
- Specific – Generic goals won’t do a lot of good as they don’t suit you personally. So, make your goals clear and simple.
- Measurable – All your objectives should be measured by one or several metrics. That’s why make sure they are quantitative.
- Achievable – Too high goals may cause stress, while too easy goals demotivate. Therefore, your objectives should be challenging and achievable with the available resources.
- Relevant – Your goals should align with your values and long-term plans.
- Time-bound (time-limited) – Set a time frame for each goal and make sure that you’ve correctly estimate the performance period.
Here is a simple example of a SMART goal: Create graphics and write texts for 2 static giveaway posts for the Instagram feed by December, 21.
Where Specific: creation of static giveaway posts (texts & graphics), Measurable: 2 posts, Achievable: it’s should be achievable if it fits your task flow, Relevant: it’s relevant if it is a part of your holiday marketing campaign, Time-bound: the task should be fulfilled by the 21st of December.
We recommend using this approach for more global marketing objectives as well.
What types of Instagram content to create
“Content marketing is more than a buzzword. It is the hottest trend in marketing because it is the biggest gap between what buyers want and brands produce.”Michael Brenner
Once the goal or several goals are set, it’s high time to figure out what types of content work in your particular case.
Strictly speaking, there are 3 main Instagram formats for which you can generate content: feed, stories, and IG TV. Oh yes, there is one more relatively new format called Reels, introduced in August 2020. But in this article, we’ll concentrate on the first two formats.
Let’s categorize Instagram content. It will help find out which types will perfectly match your goals.
- Product images, GIFs, videos, stories attract customers’ attention to a specific product or service.
- Branded content builds brand awareness by highlighting your company values.
- Polls and quizzes raise customer engagement.
- Giveaways grow customer loyalty and increase satisfaction.
- Tutorials reveal hidden product powers and increase its value for customers.
- Backstage and corporate event recaps help to become closer to subscribers by demonstrating your brand culture.
- How-tos and hacks create additional values for your audience.
- Useful listicles and expert reviews – it’s also about extra values and trust-building.
- Question-answer sessions help to learn more about your audience or assist your subscribers, thus increasing their loyalty.
- User-generated content improves customer engagement, builds trust, and motivates other followers to enter your sales funnel.
Use carousels for better content organization
Yes, this format deserves to be mentioned separately. It is absolutely indispensable for effective Instagram content planning. The option allows packing up to 10 images or videos in one post, thus preventing you from spamming your followers.
Carousels are great for product demonstration, event recaps, panoramas, or customer reviews showcase.
All in all, to see which formats and content types hit the target, you’ll have to experiment with all of them. And then, after a thorough analysis, you’ll be able to generate an eye-popping mix of posts tailored to your subscribers’ needs.
How to develop your visual identity
O’K, you’ve set marketing goals, determined the metrics to measure your success, and found out which content types work for your brand. What’s next? Just take a critical look at your profile page. Does its aesthetics aligns with your brand philosophy? Does it look edgy?
Instagram visual trends change too fast. Thus, to keep the fingers on the pulse, you need to regularly review your approaches and change them accordingly.
Decided to polish your feed? Excellent! There is a great variety of methods and ready-to-use tools created to breathe a new life into your Instagram account. But before applying trendy filters or changing your layout, answer the following questions:
- What are your core brand colors? Do you want followers to associate your business with them? If yes, make them dominate in your Instagram posts. If no, pick up the ones that also correspond to your brand culture.
- What content are you going to share? When you are certain about the content, it’s much easier to choose the layout type allowing your posts to come out in all their glory. Will it be only product pictures or photos with models, or natural landscapes. Are you going to post quotes? Different content types require different approaches.
- What filters will you use? Once chosen, the filters’ set should be applied to all your posts to create a neat stylish Instagram feed. While using randomly chosen filters for each new picture will make your feed look messy and unprofessional.
Depending on your brand specifics, you may pick up one of the following creative ways to brighten up your posts:
- Use the same background for all your posts;
- Pick up a ready-made color theme;
- Apply the same filters for the whole feed;
- Be minimalistic;
- Try mini-grids (2-3 tile grids placed either vertically or horizontally);
- Utilize design sets for endless grids;
- Use quotes;
- Organize your feed layout in horizontal or vertical lines;
- Use white/black frames for each your post;
- Try giant squares;
- Use design templates for your stories.
All these methods will definitely turn your feed into eye candy, helping attract new followers and retain existing fans. Just pick up the approach that allows your particular feed shine.
How to plan Instagram Posts
And now we’ve come up to the trickiest part of your content plan for Instagram. In the ideal world, you’d have to create a strict schedule and keep on posting according to this schedule no matter what the cost. Sounds stressful? To prevent yourself from being worn out and remain consistent, be realistic while planning your content calendar. Yes, it’s much better to post less than to share 10 posts in 24 hours and then take a week’s break.
That’s why we recommend to accurately estimate your resources beforehand and pay attention to the following aspects:
- What is your time resource? How much time a day/week are you ready to devote to your IG activities?
- How many people will manage your account and create content?
- What is your budget?
Only after a thorough resource analysis, you’ll be able to create a realistic content program adjusted to your specific needs and potential. Now you can plan the following activities with a peace of mind:
- Posting frequency
- What to post
- Who will post
Apart from that, pay attention to the geographical distribution of your audience. It will help you to pick up the most “fruitful” time for posting.
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Tip: Be consistent! If you are not consistent in your posting, no classy filter or a catchy layout will work properly. By regularly updating your content, you’ll increase user engagement and build trust in your brand.
Handy tools to help you with Instagram content planning
Believe it or not, but no brilliant blogger or a content editor keeps all ideas, useful links, and posting schedule in his/her head. Therefore, to stay productive and spend less time on your Instagram channel management, don’t neglect the tools and services specially developed to make your life easier.
- Download ready-made editorial calendars
- Utilize social media scheduling tools
- Use analytics tools
Tip: Batch! It’s always great to have ready-to-post content. Batching, or preparing massive content as a reserve, is an excellent way out for situations when you can’t follow your plan for some reason. It optimizes your time spent on content generation, reducing your distraction, and helps to stay consistent.
How to analyze content performance
And finally, a couple of words about analyzing. We’ve already mentioned the importance of goal setting and correct KPIs to measure the success of your marketing activities. Why do you need it? Because frequent data analysis helps stay flexible and adapt your Instagram content strategy to the needs of your audience.
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With the accurately finetuned analytics, you will easily answer the questions below and improve your content plan accordingly:
- Which content types hit the target?
- Which posts and Stories perform better than others, and why?
- What amount of targeted traffic do you get from Instagram?
As you can see, customer needs should become the number one priority for all your content activities. Only when you hear your audience and deliver what it really needs, you will achieve all your content marketing goals.
In this article, we’ve accumulated the essential steps of Instagram content planning. Yes, a well-thought-out strategy requires a complex approach where none of the steps should be ignored. And you’ll have to come a long way to learn how to feel your followers and make data-driven decisions. But the result really worth the cost!