Updated: August 3, 2022
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, videos, and even Instagram Stories. Here are 10 tips to create your own editorial calendar today.
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 your followers can’t obtain elsewhere. Be unique.
If you’re looking for some easy Instagram content calendar ideas, try giving your followers a behind-the-scenes look. Show your daily routine or reveal the “employee of the month” (your pet, obviously). Give a glimpse of your pet or brand’s life that isn’t seen elsewhere.
Stories, Posts & Reels
When creating your Instagram editorial calendar, try to include a variety of different content forms leveraging standard Instagram posts, Reels, and Stories. Each of these options will provide you with unique benefits, reaching different people and helping to grow your account.
Instagram stories can be more spontaneous, while posts on your wall are usually planned with captions that encourage engagement.
Each content type will also reach a different audience. Instagram stories are exclusively seen by those who follow you or visit your profile. Instagram posts and Reels are shown to both your followers as well as to new people, helping you attract new followers. Keep this in mind when deciding what to post.
Get Hashtag Savvy
How many hashtags are too many? While Instagram limits the number of hashtags to 30, you will need to decide whether or not to use all 30 on your posts. Too many can annoy followers. If you lose followers after posting a certain photo or post, take a peek at the hashtag usage. On the other hand, too few hashtags may limit how many new people discover your content.
Try experimenting with different types of hashtags. Generic hashtags can help increase your reach, but they are sometimes so popular that your content is lost in the shuffle. Location-specific hashtags and niche hashtags are often seen by fewer people but they can help you reach your ideal audience if chosen strategically.
Outline Your Content Calendar
In the same way that 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?
Airtable, a tool that is loved and used by the BlogPaws team, has put together a free Instagram content calendar template to help you get started.
Use Social Media Analytics to Your Benefit
Creating an editorial calendar for Instagram is only the first step. A full editorial plan for Instagram also involves tracking and assessing how well your efforts are performing. 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. Instagram’s analytics will give you some insight into when your audience is most active. This is a great starting point. Keep track over time and adjust based on what you can see working.
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.
The goal is to create a social media plan that will deliver value to your ideal audience. This will give them a good reason to follow you and engage with your content.
Instagram Stories Scheduling
Instagram Stories are a powerful tool that is often overlooked. When used strategically, they can help to boost your efforts on the platform. You can also save your Instagram Stories to use on other social medial channels, repurposing your content.
Open the story, 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, your account’s privacy settings apply.
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, Later, Hootsuite, and Buffer. Not only will this help you in creating your Instagram editorial calendar, but it will also save you time.
Where to Get Editorial Content Ideas
- Pet holidays
- Themed months
- Piggyback on current events and trends
- Google Alerts
If you have an editorial calendar in place for other platforms, like Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, or your blog, don’t do more work than you have to. Repurpose content and content ideas across the various platforms. Not only will it help you come up with content ideas, but it will also create a sense of unity across your brand’s full online presence.
Remember, the name of the game is engagement on Instagram. Put the social in social media!
Do you have an Instagram editorial calendar? If so, what is your favorite part of using a calendar to plan out your posting?
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.®