Instagram can be such a time suck if you’re not careful, especially if you don’t have a strategy in place. I’m constantly looking for new ways to save myself time, because as you know, time is our most precious commodity. That’s why I’m sharing with you, today, how I save myself a TON of time on the ‘gram.
So, if you’d like to save time with your Instagram marketing, then you’ll want to read on!
Five Ways to Save Time on Instagram
#1 – Batch EVERYthing.
If you’ve never batched anything in the past, I’m here to tell you that batching will quickly become your BFF in biz. If you’re new to batching, you can listen to my recent podcast episode on it here.
Here’s what I like to batch when it comes to Instagram:
- Writing your captions – To batch your captions, you can open a Google doc and set a timer for 60 minutes. Then you can write as many captions as you possibly can during that time. Don’t worry about editing. You can edit after you’ve written as many captions as you can. I can typically write the “rough draft” of a month’s worth of captions in just an hour or two. Keep in mind that these captions won’t be the final product, as I’ll go back and make them better later. Just focus on the drafting part of the process and save editing for the next time you sit down to work on Instagram.
- Finding Hashtags – My biggest tip with batching hashtag research is to do this on the computer. Open up your Instagram account in your Internet browser and then open up a few tabs with hashtags that you think might be relevant to your audience. I like to then search through the relevant hashtags, plus look through hashtags in some of the recent posts. Then, when you find a new potential hashtag, open it up in another tab (try not to look at it right away). I try to open up about 20-30 hashtags at a time before I go through and look at them more carefully. Once I have 20-30 tabs open with potential hashtags, I’ll go back through them to rate their relevancy. If the hashtag looks spammy, I’ll close out that tab. If the hashtag has too many posts, I’ll close out that tab. I only look for relevant hashtags that I feel will grow my audience on IG the best. If you use any and every hashtag, you won’t get the traffic to your posts and your profile that you want. Again, set a timer when you do this. I like to set the timer for about an hour. I usually come away with a few hashtag sets that I can rotate my content through during this time.
- Taking Photos – When it comes to taking photos for my Instagram, I first like to scrounge up or buy a few props, and then set aside a full day to take photos. I use the same props together in one session to create cohesion. By keeping similar props together during a session, those props will pop up here and there in my feed. Over time, it creates that branded look, as it’s clear that my photos go together. If you create products, make sure that you have a few on hand for the session, so you can include those in your photos. If you don’t want to take your own photos, I recommend hiring a brand photographer like Sheila of SheilaJoy.co. Don’t forget to let her know that I sent yah!
- Research & Brainstorming – I do most of my brainstorming through Pinterest and IG itself. I’ll look through what others are doing, not to copy them but to spark ideas. I usually try to look outside of my niche whenever I’m feeling like “what can I do that’s different?” or whenever I have any sorta negative feelings about my own brand. Sometimes ideas spark because of one word or one sentence that I see from someone else. Understand that the ideas of others can ignite something inside of you, but always remember to bring your own creativity to the table. I usually write down all the ideas that come to me when I do this, and I always realize that I’m not going to execute every single idea. Some ideas will be better suited for one type of content (i.e. some ideas work better for Stories, some work better for the feed, some work better for video so you can use those ideas for IGTV, or for a video that you record for your Youtube or blog). If I need time to get more familiar with a topic, I typically set the idea aside so I can do more research. I don’t ever like to execute an idea before it’s ready. You can even categorize your ideas into “ready to create” and “it’s still percolating.”
- Filming videos for IGTV or Stories – I’m not always camera ready, so it’s helpful for me to batch film my Stories or IGTV. Whenever I can do this, it always saves me a lot of time in the long run.
#2 – Use a scheduler.
There are a lot of scheduling apps for Instagram. I personally use either Planoly or Later.com. These apps are really easy to use and they save you a lot of time. I highly recommend getting in the habit of planning and scheduling your content out this way. Both of these apps give you 30 free Instagram posts per month, so if you’re posting once a week or even a few times a week, then the app is free.
#3 – Create a library of photos and ideas.
When you batch your photos, be sure to store them in a Google Drive folder or in your scheduling app so you’ll never have to hunt down those photos. A little organization will go a long way. If you have professional headshots taken, you can do the same thing with these photos. My photographer took over 100 photos of me, which I stored in my Later account. Now, it’s very easy for me to use those photos over and over. All I have to do is add the captions that I batched!
I also like to store all of my content ideas inside of my Notion App. If you use Trello or Asana to keep track of your projects, you can store your ideas in those accounts, instead. I like to add my ideas originally in a notebook, so my ideas can be messy and I can scratch things out. But I eventually add them to Notion so that I don’t lose those ideas (like I lose all of my notebooks). Don’t forget to add to this list on an ongoing basis. I love me a good brainstorming sesh, so I do this on the regular. What this translates to is a never ending list of ideas of what to post. So, on those days where I’m scratching my head and saying, “I don’t know what to say,” I can pull out my ideas and do the easiest one.
If you need some help thinking of ideas, you can grab my free IG Stories Ideas PDF here.
#4 – Create theme days.
Creating theme days can help you to have consistent content and to always know what you’re going to post when you go to post something. (I recommend planning your feed out ahead of time, but realize that Stories are sometimes much easier in the moment.)
Half the time, my clients and students don’t know what to post so they are wasting time trying to figure that out. I love to recommend to them to create theme days, because then they take the guessing out of content creation and they make it easier to create the content they want to create throughout the week.
Theme days can look something like this:
- Mondays – could be the day where you share what you’re working on this week.
- Tuesdays – could be the day where you share tips with your followers.
- Wednesdays – could be a behind-the-scenes day where you show your followers what you do throughout the day