Do you have an Instagram plan and editorial calendar? Editorial calendars make a blogger’s life so much easier: They keep us on track, allow an overview of content, and prepare us to research/write/photograph in advance. The same holds true for Instagram, and savvy online pet influencers should consider an Instagram editorial calendar for images, video, and even Instagram Stories. Here are 10 tips to create one:
Go Behind the Scenes
When planning your content calendar, doing so for Instagram works very much the same way as other social media calendars. When adding a new social media channel to your mix, it’s important to use unique content that your followers can’t obtain somewhere else. Be unique. Give a glimpse of your pet or brand’s life that isn’t seen elsewhere.
Stories Vs. Page
Mix up the percentage of content between your wall (page) vs Instagram Stories. Some content can be spontaneous in Stories, but other content should be planned. Consider this example from Ryan Carter, excerpted from his BlogPaws 2017 Instagram presentation. Ryan, incidentally, is the guru behind Camping with Dogs and Camping with Cats, both highly successful accounts on Instagram.
Notice how the brand knocks it out of the ballpark with a carefully executed and strategic series of vignettes in their Stories?
Get Hashtag Savvy
How many hashtags are too many? Too many can annoy followers. If you lose followers after posting a certain photo or post, take a peek at the hashtag usage. Generic hashtags are important so that folks can find your content and identify with it under certain hashtags.
Here’s a primer on using hashtags to your advantage.
Outline Your Content Calendar
In the same way you design a content calendar for a blog, an Instagram editorial calendar is set up similarly. Consider using Excel or Google Sheets, or whatever tool is best for you and outline:
- The type of content you want to publish: Got a review coming up for cat treats? What image will resonate with your followers and beckon potential new followers?
- What do you need to do to create the above image? Canva? Filters? Watermark?
- Who is your target audience? The answer is not “everyone.” The answer is who your demographic is, who your reader is, and who would be most interested in the visuals you have to offer.
- Will you use location tags? What about hashtags? (Ninja tip: Store a variety of hashtags in your phone’s notepad feature for easy cut and paste.)
- Caption your image: Populate this in your social media calendar.
- Will there be a corresponding Instagram Story to support the image?
Bonus: Here is a free Instagram printable content calendar from the folks at Tailwind.
Use Social Media Analytics to Your Benefit
If you know what works, do more of it. If it doesn’t work, stop it. Pull all of your unique social media analytics into one spreadsheet for a view of the content that works in your favor. A business account on Instagram allows for some basic analytics. Google Analytics is a must for bloggers. Some social media scheduling tools, like Sprout Social, allow for an in-depth view of social analytics (there are paid versions available).
Decide How Often To Post
Everyone’s formula is different. There are right and wrong times to post, but it all depends on when your fans and followers are engaging. Keep track over time and adjust based on your audience’s engagement.
Use Tools To Create Relevant Content
In his keynote address at the BlogPaws 2017 Conference, the world’s most re-tweeted digital marketer, Jay Baer, informed the audience to “be useful.” It sounds easy, but take a peek at your Instagram feed. Is it what you want and find engaging, or is it what your audience wants and engages with? There’s a big difference.
Instagram Stories Scheduling
Instagram Stories is by far one of the most creative, easiest, and most powerful tools an online influencer has at their disposal. Here is how bloggers can use Instagram Stories for Success.
Yes, you can save your Instagram Stories or even a slice of the story. Open the story, and click the three dots at the bottom right, and a screen pops up for a variety of options. If you add it to your timeline feed, then your account’s privacy settings apply. You can share on your other social media channels, too!
Consider using a tool that allows you to schedule your social messages and visualize your entire content calendar. Some options are Co-Schedule, Sprout Social, Hootsuite, and Buffer.
Where to Get Editorial Content Ideas
- Pet holidays
- Themed months
- Piggyback on current events
- Google Alerts
- Follow 4 and do more: Click to see what this means.
Bonus: A Year Long Calendar of Pet Related Holidays and Themes
Remember, the name of the game is engagement on Instagram. Put the social in social media!
How are you using Instagram for success? How can BlogPaws help you? Drop your Instagram name in the comments and we will follow back, so stop by and say hello to @BlogPaws on Instagram.
Carol Bryant is the Marketing and Social Media Manager for BlogPaws and runs her own dog blog, Fidose of Reality and its fundraising arm, Wigglebutt Warriors. When not busy playing with her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, she stays far away from cooking. Her trademark is her mantra and is tattooed on her arm: My Heart Beats Dog.®