Through lockdown and furlough, I’ve really been putting in the extra effort when it comes to my blog and also my Instagram, and I’m beginning to see some really positive results from it. As I have completely overhauled how I research and plan my Instagram content, I wanted to share to tips with you guys too in the hope it helps you if you’re wanting to up your Instagram further.
Continue reading to see my tips on how I research and plan my Instagram content…
For some time now I have wanted to up my game when it comes to Instagram, but being honest it’s not easy to juggle blogging, Instagram and everything else in between around a full time job, so you can imagine then having twelve weeks off work due to furlough has left me with a lot of spare time on my hands. Since December last year, I have been trying to focus more on planning my Instagram content prior to posting it to ensure that my grid flows, but I wanted to do more than that, so I have been trying to do just that. Thankfully the changes began to implement are beginning to pay off and i’m seeing some really positive feedback. So without trailing off on a tangent, here is what I have been applying to my Instagram content over the last few months..
Figure out Your Niche
Instagram is a massive pool of amazing creatives and nowadays it can be quite hard to get yourself and content noticed. The first thing I did when I began to think of ways in which to put more effort into my content, was to think about what I actually want to share. For me I began looking at content that typically does well on my Instagram in terms of likes, impressions etc and for me currently it is more photos featuring myself/my face, which years ago would absolutely flop. From that I knew that I wanted to mix up my usual beauty flat lay style content to include more content featuring myself, and some more fashion style content but still staying true to my more beauty/lifestyle content. So really think about what style of content you want to be posting, what content your audience want to see and remember that you also need to enjoy creating this content.
Plan Your Grid
One thing I have done here and there through the majority of my Instagram years is loosely plan my content prior to posting it, but I had kind of trailed off from this over the last couple of years and from that my feed has really suffered. Now I know some people don’t care about what their grid looks like, but for me I personally follow people based on the content they produce, but also how it looks and flows. My favourite app for planning my content is Preview but i’ve also started using Feed Preview. Both of which have free account options, and they work by connecting your Instagram account to show you the posts you have on your feed already, and you can then add upcoming posts to plan how you basically want your grid to look. This way you can make sure your content flows how you want it to. For example, I hate it when I have an outfit style photo sits directly above another, so I make sure that I stagger my outfit style posts around my flat lays etc to ensure it flows nicely and looks cohesive.
Do Your Research To Plan Future Content
Once you’ve began to plan your content using the apps I’ve mentioned above, you may want to go ahead and also use the apps to plan content ideas which is exactly what I have began to do, similarly to how I plan blog content. Currently I have around a week or two of photos in the bank, but I am always thinking ahead and thinking of what content I want to create in the future. There are a few ways in which you can do this and I’m going to list a few below.
Pinterest – Like a lot of creatives, we all use Pinterest to research any kind of visual idea. Whether its a flat lay that you love and you want to take inspiration from with your flat lays, or it’s an outfit that you take inspiration from in terms of styling your outfit. Through lockdown I have been loving Pinterest more in many ways, but I have been using it to help plan ideas for Instagram content that I want to create and share. Typically what I do is take a screenshot of an image I want to take inspo from, add it into my planning app, and then I know what I need to be shooting when I come to do my next batch of photos.
Fellow Instagrammers – Similarly to Pinterest, I also take inspiration from fellow Instagram creatives that I follow. There are often trends on Instagram in terms of props, backdrops, poses etc and often many other jump on this also. For example, currently a lot of creatives are using a simple white bed sheet as a back drop for their photos because we haven’t been able to go out and shoot photos in locations, or a lot of people are taking styled photos of themselves on a their picnic. These are just a few examples, but taking inspiration and then creating your own content is another great way to plan ahead.
Own Content – As well as the above to points, also using your own content to inspire you is another fab way to plan ahead. Say I know I want a flat lay to go in a certain position on my grid, adding in an old flat lay instantly creates a marker for this and I can then go off a recreate a similar flat lay using similar props etc.
Now one thing to remember is to make sure you are not directly copying when taking inspiration from other content resources. It is purely for you take inspiration when it comes to how you style your photos, but ensuring you are putting your own spin on them and making them personal to you, and your audience.
Ensure Your Editing Style Stays Cohesive
A major tip in how I research & plan Instagram content, is to ensure the way in which you edit your photo’s stays cohesive throughout. For some they like a really white and bright look to their feed, whilst other like their feed to be a little warmer. Now for me personally I have always quite liked my feed to be more of the white and bright side of life, but I have begun to mix things up but still ensuring it looks cohesive. The easiest way to ensure your photo editing is cohesive is to essentially edit your photos in the same way. Now sometimes this may not work based on the lighting of the original image, but you can achieve the same ‘look’ through clever editing. Most creatives use things like Photoshop or Lightroom, but there are some other amazing free apps out there that allow you to edit your photos exactly how you want. Over the last six months I have really focused on my editing and the biggest turning point for me what using ready made presets on Lightroom. Again, I just downloaded a couple of free ones to get me started and have since created my own presets for different styles of photos.
Plan Your Captions & Hashtags
Another amazing tip, one that I have been very guilty of not doing is planning out your captions and your hashtags! Gone are the days of me literally whipping up some random caption just so I can get a post up on the grid! Whether its a small caption or a long caption, planning ahead what you want to say I find makes your content come across more thought out but also more interact-able for your audience. Same goes for hashtags. Actually planning out what hashtags you want to use and ensuring you’ve got a good mix of hashtags that relate to the image at hand will also go a long way! One post that I have found SO useful is Lucy Cole’s post, The ultimate Instagram hashtag list for every fashion influencer as it is crammed full of some amazing hashtags, and since using them i’ve really seen my content perform so much better!
So there you have it! A little insight into how I research & plan Instagram content! I hope this post has been helpful to those who are wanting to up their Instagram game a little more, and get more out of their content.
How do you plan your Instagram content?