When I started my online business, one of the most overwhelming parts of it all was social media. Especially Instagram.
I’ve managed plenty of Instagram accounts for others, but I was drawing a blank when it came to my own Instagram account. I’d spend hours staring at an empty Excel spreadsheet, trying to generate post ideas and captions. I’d spend way too long designing individual posts for my feed.
The analysis paralysis as a self-employed person is REAL. It feels like we can’t put anything out there at all unless it’s perfect, and that’s what was stopping me from posting on Instagram for FOREVER. I needed a solid strategy to save time on Instagram content creation. And so do you – your time is important!
If you can relate, here are the three best tips I have for saving time on Instagram content creation. I’ve read through tons of time-saving tips for Instagram and these are the three that move the needle the most as far as productivity goes. More tips is not necessarily better, in my opinion. You don’t need a list of 50 – just the ones that work!
1.) Use templates to design posts quicker than ever
Templates are absolutely my first recommendation to you if you’re spending too much time crafting your Instagram posts or if you’re struggling to maintain a cohesive look and feel in your feed. Using templates is honestly a game-changer because it will usually cut the time you spend designing posts down by al least half.
Using templates was the number one thing that caused me to start feeling like I could finally get on top of the amount of content I knew I needed to be putting out there.
Templates are reusable designs that you can create or purchase. All you need to do is switch the colors and fonts over to your own brand colors and fonts. Then, each time you sit down to make some posts, just paste in your text and images. And, bam – new posts. It seriously couldn’t be easier.
If you go the DIY route, developing a set of templates will take you a few hours of your time. It will save you infinitely more hours down the road, though. You can also choose to buy a set of premade templates.
I have a few Instagram template sets available in my online store if you’re not about that DIY life right now.
Whether you choose to buy or create, I recommend having at least 5 post templates to start with. That way you can have several layouts on hand and your posts won’t start to look crazy-similar. The idea with templates is to quickly create on-brand posts without having to design one from scratch each time.
My Instagram template sets have between 5 and 40 post templates, so you can start small or go big from the beginning. I’ve also got templates for other social media platforms.
2.) Batch your Instagram content + treat your own content like a client’s
Did you know that every time you switch from one task to another, you waste about 10-15 minutes on average? That adds up fast.
BATCHING IS SO IMPORTANT IF YOU’RE A BUSY PERSON. Let me say that again: You. Need. To. Be. Batching. Stuff.
Everything. Not just social media-related stuff. You will save so much time. Batching is just sitting down and committing to executing ONE TASK for a specific amount of time or until you complete a specific number of posts.
Create your Instagram content once a week, once every two weeks, or once a month. Whatever works for you! I do it every two weeks, for now, because that’s all I can take as far as planning out Instagram posts goes. Knocking out all of your Instagram posts for the month in a day will feel amazing and you won’t have to worry about what to post until you sit down to do it again next month.
Here’s some more info about batching content, if you’d like some tips from other creative business owners on how to utilize batching in your business.
And treat your content like a client’s! Schedule time into your calendar for it and get those posts written, designed, curated, and scheduled. If social media is a major way that you reach out to customers and find clients for your business, then you need to treat it like a priority – because it definitely is!
3.) Save major time on your Instagram content by scheduling posts ahead of time – almost always
Scheduling your content to be posted automatically is so freeing. Add this step in at the end of your content batching session and save even more time. Scheduling posts takes more time than you think it will, because you’ll paste in all of the captions (and sometimes hashtags) for each post.
Then, you’ll select a time for each post. You don’t want to keep it set on the default time, because you’ll want to experiment with different posting times to gather data about when your audience is actively using Instagram. If you post everything at 12PM, you’ll never be able to track these types of analytics effectively.
So, post at different times and let your app start collecting data about times work best for your account! I know you’ve probably seen infographics about the best times to post on each social media site, but the truth is that the best time to post is when your audience and target audience is on the app. You’ll get that data by varying the times that your posts go live and then checking your analytics every few months for the best times to post on each day.
Most scheduling tools come with analytics that you don’t get to see in the Instagram app, so that’s a nice bonus if you’ll be tracking KPIs for your account.
There are a million and a half different Instagram post schedulers out there, but I recommend Later (This is my affiliate link, by the way!) for most small business owners and bloggers, and here’s why:
- Their free forever plan includes unlimited image uploads. Comparable free plans (like Planoly’s, for example) only allows you to upload 30 images per month.
- You can visually plan out your feed before posting. No more deleting images because they don’t look “right”. Whip your grid into shape BEFORE a single new image is posted. Your feed will always look 100% and on-brand.
- You can tag and organize your posts. This is a great way to make sure you’re posting from each of your content buckets just about equally. If your account is about Instagram tips, proofreading, and working from home, for example, you don’t want to accidentally post JUST about working from home all the time or else you risk alienating part of your audience.
- Their plans are reasonably priced compared to other IG scheduling tools. Powerful social media scheduling tools like this one often run up to $99 per month for a basic plan. (See SmarterQueue, for example)
- You can also schedule posts for Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest with Later. Although, I recommend Tailwind for Pinterest.
No matter what scheduling tool you use, the trick is to not get lost in all of the bells and whistles until you have your content planned out for at least a month. This gives you time to do a deep dive on all the features and get the most out of the tool without worrying about manually posting on a daily basis.
Here are a couple more basic tips for using scheduling apps.
- Once you’ve got a month of scheduled posts lined up, do some research on each of the features your plan comes with and find out how you can get the most out of it. What analytics does it report? Can you do hashtag research on it? How well does your tool work as a content bank – will you have to organize your posts elsewhere as well? How many accounts are you allowed to use with your account?
- Make sure you’re happy with the features of your scheduling tool. If you’re not sure how you feel about your current tool, find some others and do a comparison. Or try asking people in a creative or business-related Facebook group about what their fav post scheduling tool is and why. There are so many options out there!
- Some scheduling apps have a desktop version. Some only have a desktop version, but no mobile app. If you prefer working from your desktop, (or if you hate it!) make sure you check out whether or not your app of choice works on your platform of preference before committing.
So there ya go! Those three things save me the most time on Instagram content creation, by far. Hope you found these tips useful – now get out there and batch some posts! 🙂
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