Work smarter not harder on Instagram – a concept that may seem like the stuff of dreams and farfetched fairytales for a busy small business owner like yourself, but believe me – it’s actually possible! We all know how important being seen on social media is for our businesses, but with such a complicated algorithm that changes every time you just about get the hang of it, it can often feel like an impossible task. What’s more, the content creation, caption crafting, scheduling, posting, engaging and stories required for each post can often mount up to an unachievable number of hours that you simply don’t have time for.
I’m sure a lot of us all started our own businesses so that we could spend more time doing the things we love with our nearest and dearest, not so we could spend every waking hour on social media – right? Right! Have a read of my top tips below on how to work smarter not harder on Instagram so you can claim back some more of your precious hours each week while still delivering an effective social media strategy for your business.
1. Use a scheduling app
This may seem like a straightforward solution, but you’d be amazed at how many people’s social media strategy is to scroll through their camera roll each evening – pick an image, slap a caption together, hit post and hope for the best. Firstly, it’s not effective and secondly, it’s mega stressful having to do that every night and it takes up SO MUCH TIME! I use an amazing platform called Planoly. It allows you to…
- upload an unlimited number of images to your account (single posts, multi posts, videos and stories)
- drag and drop them in a grid format so you can preview how your feed is going to look visually
- create your captions and hashtags and save them with their relevant images
- schedule your posts and stories into your Planoly calendar and sync it up to your phone so that you receive a reminder when it’s time to post
- schedule in auto-posting for when you don’t have time to post yourself
- analyse your metrics and analytics
…plus, you can get a free trial before subscribing to a plan so you have nothing to lose from trying it! The thing I love most about it is it enables me to store all of my future images for posting in one place, without having to waste time searching through my huge camera roll (of pictures of my dog) trying to find them.
2. Plan each week in advance
Make the most of your new scheduling app by planning out a chunk of posts all at the same time, instead of using the app each day to pick your content and captions and having that awful “what the heck am I going to say” moment. You’ll find you save a heap of time if you sit down for one hour each week to plan out your posts for the next 7-14 days (at least!).
Pick a time for planning when you are feeling driven and creative, as this will help you write effective and valuable captions. Once you’ve finished – you are literally DONE with planning / captions / scheduling for a whole week or so. Now all you have to do is wait for your reminder from your scheduling app each day, copy and paste your prewritten caption and publish your post. Your future self will love you for it!
3. Batching content creation
Do you ever look at other accounts that post every day and wonder how they have time to keep their house so clean / their hair so perfect / their children so presentable? More often than not – they don’t! SO many accounts out there will dedicate a whole day to creating enough content to last them for months and then post the images over a stretched out period of time.
While these efforts might seem strange and slightly unauthentic at first, there is actually a lot of logic behind the madness. You save so much time, effort and headache by shooting a whole load of content in one session – especially if you are forking out some cash for a photographer / cleaner / stylist / props etc.
Take an interior styling account for example, they would get their house looking spick and span complete with fresh flowers and no kids in sight – then they take a day to capture hundred of photos around the home, moving furniture here and there until they have a big enough variety of images to last them for ages. Same with fashion bloggers, don’t let the outfit changes fool you 😉 a lot of the time they will get their hair and make up done for the day, then head out with a photographer and shoot different outfits in different spots. Maybe you own a clothing business and have created an epic set up for a flat-lay with props and all – it makes more sense to shoot all your products all at once than trying to recreate the flat-lay over and over again… You get the picture. (Pun intended).
4. Repurposing old content
Although the idea of posting something that you once posted before may seem shockingly scandalous, the reality is that no one *actually* scrolls all the way through your feed on a regular basis to check up on you. If you have posted product, branding or personal photos in the past that have received amazing engagement – there is absolutely nothing wrong with posting them again! Obviously you want to do this in moderation and make sure there is a decent sized gap in between the replicated posts, but overall it is an awesome way to work smarter not harder on Instagram. If you want to make this nice and subtle, try cropping or editing the image with a different filter to create a new effect.
5. Filler content – stock photos, quotes and memes
Using content such as stock photos, memes and quotes is a good way to build up your content bank quickly and easily, providing the content is in line with your branding and brings value to your target market by either entertaining, inspiring or educating them. I would recommend creating a brand specific template on Canva for your quotes with the same layout, colours and typography, to make sure they are uniform throughout your feed. For high quality stock photos, check out Creative Market or SC Stock Shop.
The @goaldiggerpodcast account (233k followers) shows how seamlessly and effectively you can fit both branded quotes and high quality stock photos into your feed:
While networking app @bumble (514k followers) and the vitamin supplement business @ritual (133k followers) both have feeds made up nearly entirely of quotes, memes and tweets that their target market can relate to, while consistently incorporating their branding colours:
6. User generated content
Last but definitely not least has got to be user generated content! What better way to work smarter not harder on Instagram than to use images and captions of your products or services that someone has created for you? There literally isn’t one! Whether you are sharing another story to your stories, sharing a post to your stories or regramming a post to your own feed – this technique is fast, effective, time saving and a great way to interact with your audience and customers – as well as demonstrate validation and reviews from your consumers.
Remember that amazing app I told you about in number 1? Well, you can upload other people’s posts to it too! Simply hit the ‘…’ next to a post you want to regram, click copy link, then hop over to Planoly, press the + add to grid icon, select instagram shareable link, paste the link and voila! That post is now uploaded to your feed and you haven’t had to compromise the quality by screenshotting it.
Here are a few of my favourite Instagram accounts that utilise UGC to perfection: @unicornsuperfoods @frank_bod @hunterandnomad @creativelysquared – click on their handles to take a closer look at the different ways they incorporate this technique into their strategies.
Tada! There you have it… 6 super easy ways that you can work smarter not harder on Instagram. As always if you have any questions or just fancy a chat, please reach out.