All brands have their editorial content calendars for the whole year, and it’s a pretty important part of every business. It’s crucial because a brand without a strategy is not going very far.
Now, when it comes to having social media content calendars, some brands swear by it and have massive schedules where they fit all their socials in the same place. While other brands don’t even have a dedicated social content calendar at all and operate only with an editorial calendar.
Both ways can work for you, it all comes down to the size of your brand and how you choose to operate it. But today, I wanted to talk specifically about how to create a content calendar dedicated to one platform only – Instagram.
While you might be thinking that having one big social content calendar would be better, let me convince you otherwise. Growing on Instagram, organically, is a big task on its own. This platform depends on the most attention out of all if you want to be successful, and it deserves a separate content calendar.
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While it might sound like making it more difficult for you and being more work, it’s actually quite the opposite. By having your Instagram content in one place, appropriately organized will save you time in the long run and make it easier to grow. Instagram has more features than let’s say Twitter; it has IGTV, stories, and regular posts, so you have a lot of materials to fit into your calendar.
Now, if this hasn’t convinced you to have a dedicated Instagram content calendar, then let me give you 3 more reasons:
#1: It minimizes stress and headache
Instagram can be a pain in the ass to grow as it requires a lot of attention from you. Now, if you create a dedicated content calendar for Instagram, you’ll save yourself the headache of always trying to keep up with all its features. In this calendar, you can plan and organize your IGTV’s, stories, and regular posts, and they’ll be clear and won’t get lost in the sea of other social posts for different platforms.
You see, it’s all about being the most efficient with your time and efforts. When you see your plans clearly and visually easy to process, you don’t get overwhelmed with the amount of information you have to handle. Instagram requires you to be consistent if you want to grow, so having all your content plans in one place dedicated only to Instagram will make it easier to be consistent.
#2: It helps to create more valuable content
With so many people putting content out there every single day, it’s crucial to keep your content valuable and high quality. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in; if you can’t produce valuable content for your audience, they’ll unfollow and go find someone else. People don’t have time with brands that don’t inspire, entertain, or educate them.
Now, with a dedicated Instagram content calendar, you can plan and produce higher quality valuable content as you only focus on one thing at the time. You’re not overwhelmed with your other social platforms, so the planning and creation process is more precise.
While you do need to keep up with your editorial content calendar, as it’s crucial to have a cohesive strategy as a brand, it’s easier to focus on one platform at the time, instead of all of them.
#3: It helps your team work more productive
This point is critical because if you want to see good results from your team, you have to make things as clear as possible to them. By having a dedicated content calendar that shows only content for Instagram, your team will be able to work more efficiently. They won’t have to try to decipher which content idea is for what platforms, and it will save time for everyone.
Making everything as simple and easy for everyone in your team will bring more results as people won’t be busy trying to understand things, but instead working on those things. Simple yet effective tactic.
Now that I’ve given you many reasons why you should have a dedicated content calendar for your Instagram let’s take a look at how to create one. It’s essential to stay organized as it directly affects your work quality (can you see I’m an obsessive organizer?).
#1: Establish what content theme and aesthetic you’re going for
Let’s start with the fact that you have to be very clear with what kind of look for your feed you’re going for. Millennials and Generation Z are the primary users of Instagram, and they care about aesthetics and look very much.
Spend time carefully crafting your feed look and decide what colors, images, and texts go well together. It’s essential to plan everything in a way that tells a story of your brand. When people find you on their Explore page or though someone’s recommendation, they’ll look at your feed to see if they can resonate with your visual brand story.
Some of the brands that tell their visual brand story very well are The Line by K:
Their brand is all about simple, yet the sexy feminine design, and they show it very well with aesthetically pleasing images of people wearing their clothing. Their color palette always matches their brand, and silhouettes and forms always tell their story.
Another great example is Glossier:
Their feed looks like a pink Millennial dream, and it tells everything about their brand. You know they’re into beauty, effortless looks, and pink. I’ve already covered Glossier in my Badass Marketing segment and how good they’re on the branding side of the business.
Another beauty brand that’s rocking the whole Instagram feed game is Rose Inc.:
They stick with their color palette, content type, and tell their visual brand story beautifully. You can see that they’re a beauty brand that celebrates that natural, model-off-duty look.
So, as you can see, spending time crafting a feed that tells your brand’s visual story is crucial when curating your content calendar. Don’t be afraid to show what your brand stands for, it will attract the right people in no time.
#2: Look at your overall content calendar (editorial calendar) and mark out what topics you want to post about
Now, as I’ve mentioned before, you must pay attention to your editorial calendar to have a cohesive strategy all around. You should mark important dates, like International Woman’s Day or your 5th brand anniversary or anything, that need to be celebrated with an Instagram post.
Mark those dates and then curate the rest of your content ideas around those dates. Many brands like to mark special national and international holidays as well as their internal select dates. This way you can see if you need to start promoting something a week or two before, like Valentine’s Day for example. It’s easy to curate content and execute it when you can see all occasions in one place.
Also, create a list of posts that you want to post, depending on your industry. If you’re a beauty brand, create a few different categories: promo posts where you share your products, beauty tips where once a week you share a beauty hack, tutorials where you share how to fake fuller lips, and so on. It would be good to have different categories so that you don’t become boring and repetitive, but also to make it easier for you as a brand. Having set categories will make it easier when it’s time to brainstorm content.
#3: Create a google doc or excel sheet where you put all your ideas
Finally, we got to the most fun part (at least for me). It’s time to create an actual calendar sheet and start putting everything in one place. Now, I suggest using either Google Sheets or Excel, it really depends on what you prefer. I personally like using Numbers on my MacBook Pro, which equals Excel as it’s easy to create a table, and you can see it visually better.
Now, I suggest you highlight the days that you’re posting. Like if you’re posting Monday-Friday, highlight those days.
When it comes to planning content, I suggest you do it only 1-3 months in advance. Most brands like to plan their content in quarters, and it’s a reasonable amount of time for Instagram as well. Now, always remember that from time to time, you might have to move your scheduled content because if a natural disaster happens or something, you won’t be posting about the new product you’ll be releasing next week.
However, once you put your ideas into your content calendar, stick with the dates. Now, I find that it really makes the process of posting on Instagram easier for me, because any day I need to post, I simply open my content calendar, and I see what I need to post today. It simplifies the whole process and ensures that I post the best quality, valuable content.
#4: post and adjust as you go – track your results and eliminate different types of posts that are not performing great
Another thing to remember, when you’re curating your content calendar. While it’s essential to stick to the schedule and always be consistent, you need to adjust and make changes as you go. Now, it might sound stressful l, it’s the only way to truly succeed.
Every week or month, come back to your content calendar and evaluate if your strategy is doing well or if you need to adjust something. See what posts are doing the best and maybe change up posts that don’t perform well. I always say that when it comes to Instagram, you shouldn’t be looking at your likes or engagement, but rather about brand awareness.
How many people are you reaching with your brand? Sometimes it takes a few times for your posts to be seen before people consider following your brand. It’s all about being in front of people, and sometimes it doesn’t translate in numbers you can track.
#5: For posting, consider using various tools for scheduling
I recommend scheduling posts you already approved and have ready. This way, you don’t forget to post, and it’ll be easier to keep track. I have a few recommendations for the apps to use.
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Best scheduling apps
There are so many scheduling apps for all social media platforms; it makes my head hurt sometimes. When I was first starting, I honestly got ten different ones and tried scheduling my Instagram posts on each one. It was tiring, but it gave me a good understanding of each of them, and now I know which ones work best.
My all-time favorite Instagram scheduling app is PLANN. They have an excellent website that has a blog with many actionable tips, so if you’re a beginner, it’s worth checking out.
With their app, you can plan your feed and nicely arrange images, you can schedule stories, see your analytics, and they even have this feature that lets you see the performance of your competitors. You type in the handle of an account you want to see, and it shows their engagement and posts. This feature is unique and can be very useful.
I know that they recently launched the PLANN desktop version so that you can do all of your planning on a laptop as well as an app. I haven’t played with it much yet, so I can’t comment, but I think it’s fantastic.
When it comes to their pricing, they’re reasonably priced with plans starting at $0/month.
Now, if you want to find out more about PLANN, check out my blog post on the best social media management tools here. I go more in-depth about its features and pricing.
Later is another amazing scheduling tool that allows you to schedule not only Instagram posts, but other social media apps as well. They have all the usual features like scheduling calendar, feed planning tool, and analytics.
When I was using Later, I enjoyed their desktop version, it’s easy to use and is a great way to see your whole content plan in one place.
They also have a blog that has many valuable blog posts on everything Instagram marketing related. And when it comes to pricing, they also have a free option, and then prices start at $9/month, which is very reasonable how many things you can do with it.
I think Later is a great app to use if you’re new to scheduling apps and want something easy to use.
It’s essential to be organized and on top of things if you want to see results on Instagram. I work with clients who want to be on social media but have no idea how important it is to be organized and have a content calendar for social. You have to pay a lot of attention to Instagram, and it requires you to have a coordinated strategy.
Consistency is the name of the game, and creating a well-crafted content calendar will help you reach your goals easier.