Become an Instagram Superstar – Part 2: Plan Content

Don’t be fooled into thinking top brands post whenever the mood hits. In truth, most of their posts are planned well in advance to meet specific goals. They’re created professionally, and scheduled to post at the best times for increased engagement from the company’s target audience. To optimize your time and effectiveness, consider working towards a similar plan and schedule. Here’s how:

Preparation

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Any brainstorming and planning should happen well before the actual posts are needed. Create the content with at least a one week buffer from the publish date. The more time you give yourself, the better off you’ll be. It will leave ample time to prep, shoot, and edit your images professionally.

To help organize this process, use a content calendar. You can create one in excel or use a free template to get started. Make sure you include important company dates, holidays, product releases, and anything else noteworthy. You’ll likely want to schedule content around these events.

Include marketing goals and deadlines in this calendar. As you brainstorm content, keep lists in a separate Excel page for easy access. Also, don’t forget to research hashtags related to your brand, products, and industry.

Marketing Goals

Your marketing goals should be S.M.A.R.T. to be effective:

Specific: Determine the what, why, when, and how. Why are you setting these goals — what do you hope to accomplish in the short term? Long term?

 Measurable: Use numbers to make your goals clearly defined and quantifiable. Think “gain X more followers” instead of “gain more followers,” or “post 5 days a week” instead of “post more.”

 Attainable: Make sure they’re something you have control over.

 Realistic: They should be realistically within your reach. While there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, actually achieving goals will allow you to build on them and set new goals in the future.

Timely: Set deadlines. Then, use checkpoints to stay on track of the deadlines.

Measuring Success

Once you’ve established your goals, you’ll want to make sure you’re tracking the metrics that define your success. Are you trying to increase website traffic? Are you working on building a bigger following? Do you want more email subscribers? Whatever your goals, make them about more than purchases. Sure, revenue is the bottom line, but there are also key indicators like influence and brand loyalty.

Shooting and Editing Beyond the Phone

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If you plan content in advance, you have the opportunity to shoot content with professional tools. A SLR (single-lens reflex) camera typically has a removable lens and will usually shoot much better images than your phone. If you’re willing to invest, you can find excellent digital cameras for mid-level professional photographers around $400-$600. You’ll have to do a bit of research to find out what camera is ideal for you. But investing in a good camera is like investing in a good laptop it’s a multi-year commitment and you want something reliable.

Once you’ve picked a camera, you’ll also want editing software. Lightroom by Adobe is a simple and novice-friendly program that makes for fast editing. After basic editing, you’ll want to brand your images by including logos, taglines, headlines and more. Branding images can dramatically increase engagement and conversion.

Are you ready to get your photos prepped for publish? Plan your content today and don’t flounder aimlessly in your posting tomorrow. Use Brandr to help you with branding your images so anything shared will always come back to you.