Instagram is one of my favorite platforms. I love the creative aspect of it with photography, and now, with the robust video capabilities, it’s taken the app to a whole new level. I’m diving into reels and stories and having so much fun!
It’s easy to fall into the never-ending scroll of Instagram. Which, I don’t know about you, but for me, it leaves me feeling overwhelmed, counterproductive, and with serious FOMO and imposter syndrome. It seems like everyone is kicking butt, yet I’m a gallon of ice cream deep into my 2+ hour scroll. So, to help you get the most out of your enjoyment of Instagram, AND to make it work for your business, here are my top 5 time-saving tips to maintaining a relevant presence and strategy on Instagram.
1. Set a usage limit in your Instagram settings
Before the endless scroll, you want to use Instagram intentionally. I like to catch up on family, friends, and the industry, but I also like to use this scroll time for R&D! Time is your most precious asset so use it wisely! To set a timer:
- Go to your profile
- Click on the hamburger icon in the top right corner
- Go to ‘your activity
- Click ‘time’
- Click ‘set daily reminder’
- Set a duration
It’s important to obey the timer; when time’s up, log off!
2. Use Your Instagram Scrolling Time to Discover and Document Trends
As mentioned above, I have turned my useless scroll time into R&D time for my business. While I’m scrolling, I keep in mind what I’m seeing, from story designs and ideas to reels ideas and transitions. If I see something I like, I save it.
For reels: click the three dots, then click save. This will store it in a general ‘saved’ folder. For feed posts: click the save icon at the bottom right of the post. You can file it into a general ‘saved’ folder, or make your own folder. I like to make my own folders so that my saved content is as organized as possible. As a social media manager, some folders I have created are photography ideas, social media tips, etc.
This is a quick and easy way to dip your toes into what’s trending, and store your ideas in an organized manner, to come back to when you’re ready to strategize, and batch- create, content (more on that below!)
3. Keep Your Instagram Strategy Simple — Show Up and Provide Value
Your Instagram strategy doesn’t have to be super robust, especially if you’re just starting out. Your #1 job is to show up. Your #2 job is to provide value. When you’re leading with value, and educating and/or entertaining your audience, you don’t need much but YOURSELF. Yes, your strategy revolves around YOU. You don’t need any fancy tools to showcase your personality and expertise. You need a smartphone and some time. Chances are, you have both. You’re probably reading this on a smartphone (now quickly finish reading this post and get to work!). This is why I love my 5-minute strategy.
How to craft a 5 min strategy:
1. Personality: Write down 2-5 core aspects of your personal life or events/things coming up this month that you’re comfortable sharing online
2. Business: Write down 2-5 core functions of your business that you want more attention on/ want people to know about this month
3. Define: 1 common ground or overarching topic that marries personal and business that you can focus on this month
4. Brain dump: personal and business post ideas that fall under the overarching topic (i.e. QUOTES: You remember you saw a quote about being a busy mom that read something like “If you need something urgent done, ask a busy person. If you need something urgent done right, ask a mom.”) and you dump this idea down to change the text a bit to be relevant for fellow web-designing moms.
HOW-TOs: You just spent 15 minutes the other day doing a beta feature for your favorite project management software and learned something new. Take what you learned and teach your audience how to do the same! (There are a few steps, so you dump this idea down as a carousel post.)
5. Finalize and organize: ~12 posts (3 posts/ week) for your Instagram feed (these can be carousel ideas or reels), and ~20 posts or prompts (1 story/ day) for your stories. If some of these are bound-to-time, like a specific date or day of the week, organize them accordingly.
Now you’ve got a calendar going, and you have ideas on what, and when, you can post.
4. Batch Your Content Creation
Batch content creation is when you grind out allllll the content for the month in one shot. Now, this can sound daunting, BUT, once you’re in your creative flow, there’s no going back! Plus, when it’s done, it’s done! You don’t have to think about it for another month. Now, doesn’t that sounds amazing?! You can do this directly in Instagram or you can use a tool like Monday or Later or any other scheduling tool.
So, now that you’ve done your research and you have your post ideas in a calendar format, it’s time to create. Make sure you’re presentable if you’re doing photos or videos, then get to work. Open up the saved items that match with your post ideas, and recreate them. Have fun! Once you’re done with the actual creation, hit the computer, pull up Canva or Adobe, and make those quotes or graphics. Take a break for 5-10 mins, and come back to give it a once-over and spell-check. Then, YOU’RE DONE!
5. Plan so that Your Instagram Time is Always Useful
Time blocking is easier said than done. Time blocking is essentially blocking off chunks of time for specific work. I encourage everyone, especially if you’re just starting out, to block off a few chunks of time for Instagram management. The above 4 time-saving tips still require some time, but at least it’s not left to chance or the mercy of your ever-changing schedule. Plus, it’s intentional, with specific parameters and timeframes set to hold you accountable, get it done, AND not take up any more time than it should. Below are my recommended time chunks for each task. Think about it, in 3 hours a week you can have a-rockin’, kick-ass presence on Instagram.
- 10 mins/ day: Engagement on Instagram
- 30 mins/ week: Scrolling and R&D
- 1 hour/ week: Batch-creating content
- 30 mins/ week: Scheduling content so that your posts are published on autopilot!
- 1 hour/ month: Visiting your strategy and optimizing your plan
So, tell me, are you going to try this? Shoot me an email with your thoughts or hesitations.
Written by Laura Cheek, FikaMediaHouse