Are you tired of spending hours a day putting together fantastic content for Instagram, only to have it fade into the noise 24 hours later? Just in time to start the struggle again.
For business owners and entrepreneurs everywhere, the feeling is akin to drowning.
Even though you can see the direct payoff of your efforts, it can be frustrating to put so much energy and time into social media. Yet, you know you have to maintain the presence of your business.
Is it possible to deliver consistent, quality Instagram content to your audience without it consuming your life?
Absolutely. But only if you’re willing to let a content spreadsheet become your new best friend.
Luckily, you won’t have to look far or create one- we’ve included a free content planning spreadsheet at the end of this article.
Planning Your Instagram Content
For anyone who is still creating and publishing Instagram content on a day to day basis, you have come to the right place.
Let’s take a look at the main benefits of getting off the hamster wheel by using a content spreadsheet:
- You will save hours each week.
- Batching and automating work improves productivity.
- Planning ahead eliminates poor quality content created in a last minute rush.
Establish Your Goals
Before you can begin planning, you must nail down your strategy for the week or even the month. What are your goals? For example, if you are releasing a new product, you might set a goal to raise awareness about it and start making sales. In such a case, you will want to focus the week’s posts, stories, and videos around that product.
Remember, don’t be overly promotional. Only directly promote your product every third or fourth post, and use the rest of your Instagram posts to educate and entertain your audience.
One of the greatest benefits of using a content spreadsheet is that it helps you to visualize your content being dispersed throughout the week, ensuring it is consistent with your strategy.
Use These Instagram Post Ideas
An overwhelming part of the struggle is generating ideas. How do you fill out a content spreadsheet with content?
You need an arsenal of ideas to keep your content new, engaging, and well-rounded. As a starting point, use some of these “post types” to fill out your content spreadsheet.
People love people. It’s only natural to be drawn towards a human versus a faceless brand.
If you’re a solopreneur, show yourself in everyday life and share a story. This could be as simple as something funny that happened to you, or it could be a more personal reflection meant to strike a connection with your audience.
As a company, this can be accomplished by showing a photo of your employees at work and sharing a story about your business.
Products in Action
A subtle way to show off products without directly promoting them is to demonstrate your products in use. Share a photo of your product enhancing the life of someone using it.
It can’t all be serious. Making a light hearted joke or shooting a funny picture that your target audience would want to share is an excellent way to drive engagement. This tactic can break up the monotony of your feed and get potential customers to remember you.
Share The Love
For times when you run out of your own content ideas, you can share relevant content created by another person or business. Reposting content you know your audience would connect with is a great chance to network and build community. Remember- always give the original creator credit.
Take Advantage of IGTV
Video content is highly effective for reaching audiences. Though you can also use video content in your stories, IGTV allows you to dig deep on topics of interest to your audience by allowing you more time to educate them.
This is the place to let your expertise shine, so don’t waste it- make every second of your videos count. IGTV will benefit your business if you are releasing videos only when you have fresh, quality content to share. Whether it is once a month or three times a week, make sure you are planning for videos in your content spreadsheet.
How to Use a Content Spreadsheet for Instagram
Let’s look at how our Instagram content planner at HelloConvo is set up and how you can use it for your business.
In the content spreadsheet, you can see rows for your posts marked by time slots. Depending on how many times per day you post and at what times, you can edit these rows to help organize your post plan for Instagram. Typing a quick blurb about the photo you want to use or dropping a link to the photo’s file will make your life easy, ensuring you post the right content at the right time.
There are also rows for live video and IGTV. Type in a description of what you are covering in your live content or IGTV videos on each day. If you have notes, copy, or a video file for these, drop a link to them here.
You will also notice several rows for stories in the content spreadsheet. This is to keep you organized and on brand. Depending on your business, you can create consistent Instagram story content that is unique to you.
For example, the stories in the content spreadsheet are divided into “Question of The Day” “Community Feature” and “Promo.” Using these prompts, each day you can answer a customer question or address a pain point on your Instagram story. In addition, you can feature something of interest to your audience within your industry or community. On days you will be offering promos, make a note of it in this row so that you don’t forget to throw this into your story mix.
While these are just examples, your business can come up with original story categories to create content for. Sometimes it is good to add spontaneous or different content, but by having a level of consistency, you are providing your audience something to look forward to and “check in” with on a daily basis.
Scheduling your content using a content spreadsheet is a two-part process. As you collect content ideas for the coming weeks, drop them into your content planning spreadsheet. Then, once per week, set aside an hour or two to schedule the content in your spreadsheet using a scheduling tool such as Later.
This is where the beauty of automation comes into play. Your content will automatically go live at the perfect moment, freeing up more time for you to focus on your business.
Many of you likely already use scheduling software such as Later. Though it might be tempting to skip the content spreadsheet and simply drop your content into Later, your best ideas are probably not going to come to you all at once during the time you set aside to schedule.
The most efficient and effective way to serve your strategy is by using a content spreadsheet to collect and organize content before scheduling.
While the benefits of using a content spreadsheet are many, the best part is having the ability to look back on past weeks and highlight content that worked well. It is crucial to keep track of what your audience is loving and what content drives sales. Doing so will make it easy to repeat top performing content, so you can make more sales in the future.
To start planning your Instagram content, download HelloConvo’s content spreadsheet below.