How to Create Your Instagram Strategy
We just can't get enough of ...
Behind-the-scene glimpses on Instagram and Instagram stories. Am I right?
And although it takes time to nail your Instagram Strategy. The best thing you can do is to plan and then refine until you find a design and posting style that works best for you.
Planning in advance will help with the dreaded "what do I post question" and help you create a more consistent and cohesive feed.
Before Planoly*, I used to create my monthly strategy in Canva. I find it helpful to see how my quotes, tips or desk-selfies and life shots were all working together to give my peeps a feel for who I am. And just like your Mood Board, it helps you see what needs some adjusting.
If you want to use Canva to plan out your IG feed, here's how I suggest you do it!
1. DO SOME BIG PICTURE PLANNING
Create a Pinterest Board and Pin ideas you like and that feel on brand.
Instagrammers want value from your IG posts, but they also want a visual treat.
They want to recognize your post in their feed, so start thinking about what you want to share (behind-the-scenes shots, motivational tips, product features, styled looks, or quotes, etc.). How do you want things to look? How can you best capture your everyday inspirations and surroundings?
2. TAKE SOME PICTURES
I usually schedule 30-60 minutes once every two weeks when the light is good at home (I find that the west and south west windows give the best lighting). I take a few shots of things I’d like to share during the upcoming month. I take inspiration from my surroundings, some desk selfies, some behind-the-scenes images, etc.
Before I start batching my pictures, I always remind myself of who I’m sharing my content with, who my followers are, and what parallels there might be in their lives.
I make sure that I’ve done my research ahead of time and know a few things about them.
For instance, my tribe (like me) loves:
Fresh flowers, Kate Spade, pretty notepads, unique tea and coffee mugs, and coffee dates with friends. They strive for a balanced, holistic life (sometimes in nature or the addition of a green juice), they like Apple Mac products, stationery galore, inspiring books, macaroons or good-quality chocolate. They enjoy listening to audiobooks or podcasts when they run errands or tidy up around the house, they might lose track of time in Target and love to devour a Netflix season once a week.
Knowing these details helps me to pick out things in my environment that I know my peeps will be able to relate to, but I also leave room for spontaneous photos.
Planning my images allows me to keep my feed coherent and helps me save time from wondering what to share every day. It helps to keep my posts relevant and valuable to my followers.
Experiment with different images to see which receive the most engagement from your audience.
Take better pictures:
If you want to practice taking your own photos, here's a great free course by Rosemary Watson, called "Elevate your iPhone Photos" and some more tips by Lucie from White Hart Design.
Have a go-to stock image library:
High-quality images are important in the IG world, but if you feel that taking your own images is not your strong suit, I recommend adding in or using relevant and current stock images. My friend Rachel from Haute Stock* has some great options.
Batch your editing:
While I batch my images, I also take some time to batch-edit my images in PicTapGo or Afterlight. You want to use a similar setting or filter (editing recipe) each time you edit a photo and stick to similar palettes that reflect your brand.
Once I’m done with my images, I sync them to my Dropbox Folder.
3. CREATE SOME QUOTES
I create some quotes or tips that will inspire my tribe. I have a Quote Card Template that I re-use to keep my images consistent. If you're just getting started, go to Canva and select the Social Media Graphic. Add your own fonts, graphics, and overlays.
I sync all my images (quote cards created in Canva or even desk selfies) to Dropbox and import it from there (you can label your folder by month if it's helpful). You want your images to sync easily between your mobile and computer. I have folders for my designs, images from my phone and even ideas for my idea bank. There are also other cloud storage and file backup services available, like Google Drive.
Use Canva to map out your plan
Watch the video to see how you can use Canva to create your own Instagram Strategy.
STEP 1: SELECT YOUR CANVA LAYOUT
I use the Presentation layout (1024 x 768)
STEP 2: IMPORT IMAGES TO CANVA
Using Canva for work, I create an Instagram Photo folder to house all my IG images.
Vary your images. I try to share a balance of fun and business photos. Share images and content that are relevant to your brand and followers. Remember to use your feed to tell a story with your images.
STEP 3. PREP YOUR GRID
I think of my IG strategy as a puzzle and I want every piece to make an impact, while my bigger grid (and especially your the 9-12 images) tells followers a story. The bigger grid says a lot about you and sums up who you are and what you can offer your followers. As we only have a few seconds to capture their attention, the overall “picture” is important.
If you take anything away from this post it’s this question:
What is your overall IG feed and picture saying about you and your business?
By taking a screenshot of my IG Profile, I can see how my images will go with my profile image and if my images and Bio match. It gives me feedback about what my viewers will see when they click on my profile.
STEP 4: COPY THE GRIDS
Make space for 12 images. Just like on your IG feed.
STEP 5: CREATE A NOTES SECTION
One of the biggest reasons I like planning out my IG feed is because my mind is fully present on creating it and ideas will often come up while I do it. I’m able to make notes on things I’d want to share and hashtags I’d like to use.
You can create a notes section directly in Canva for this (see template) and add text and relevant hashtags to Trello or Evernote to easily copy and paste it from your phone. With Planoly I can type out my caption and do a last-minute edit before posting.
Trello, just like Dropbox, syncs between my mobile and computer. I can’t live without it!
STEP 6: DRAG IN YOUR IMAGES
Keep your post days in mind, and start adding your images. Move them around. See how they work as a whole. Remember to note anything that comes to mind that you’d like to share with your tribe in the future.
STEP 7: COPY THE PAGE
Modify the second page, so you play around with even more ideas.
It doesn’t matter if you plan your feed top to bottom, or the other way around. You’ll still end up swopping things around, adding in last-minute images, etc. This Canva Strategy is designed to help you be consistent, cohesive, organized, and help you save time and improve your feed and quality of posts from month to month – but leaving room for spontaneity is good!
Want to learn how to utilize Instagram even more?
For tips on posting times, hashtags, using apps and more, I recommend heading to Pinterest. Type > Instagram Strategy. Try to implement a few of the new strategies.
Remember to take it one step at a time, friend.
My fave IG experts and courses are:
The 21-day Insta-course by Melissa Camillleri
The Instagram Intensive by Rosemary Watson