One of the most significant challenges for Instagram is that it is only mobile, and a lot of people just get stuck on “I just don't even know what to post or how to post.” They don't know any great shortcuts or have a workflow. My goal for you when you are done with this post is to have an idea how to create shortcuts for yourself and get into the habit of regularly posting on Instagram. You'll be to be ready to roll with your Instagram productivity.
We're going to talk about the right tools and apps that you can use to help you create an excellent, organized workflow. Organizing your world to get the pieces together is crucial, because, honestly, being organized is the essential part of being successful with social media. You could know a lot, you could be online a lot, but if you are not organized and have all the pieces together, you're not going to be able to be successful. So get ready to get organized for you people that have been doing it all on the fly.
First, why would you post on Instagram?
That's the first thing that you need to think about. Why are you going to post? You need to have your why. For example, if you're Social Media Examiner, you can see that they are posting their excellent blog content — “Instagram Strategy: How to Grow a Loyal Following with Instagram” and “How to Create Fan Content Campaign.” These things are all set up to gain blog traffic, website traffic because that's what social media marketing is all about. We're marketing ourselves. We're marketing our products. We're marketing our blog.
So, for example, Social Media Examiner is sharing their content from their blog to hope that people will lead back to their website. That's their why. That's why they're going to post on Instagram. So you need to come up with the reason why you're going to post before you move forward to creating all the other things. Make a little list of things that you're going to come up with for your brand.
Your second one is: Who is your target Instagram audience?
That is also very important because you want to be sharing the right kind of content and the right quantity of material. All those different things are going to go into who is your target audience.
From Rebekah Radice, CMO of Post Planner:
You need to know your market – not everyone is your ultimate customer or client, your first step is to define who they are. This is where you’re going to get hyper-specific.
You’re going to build a customer persona and identify what problems you solve. Then determine what solutions you can provide to ease their pain, make their life easier or simplify the buying process.
How to Get to Know Your Market
You must be laser beam focused when describing your market.
It’s easier to earn business through targeted marketing.
It’s great to get into the heads of your potential buyers, but even better to get into their hearts.
You’ll need to put yourself in the shoes of your buyer to truly understand their needs.
More reading: How to Develop a Target Audience
Creating an editorial calendar is important, because as a small business owner or entrepreneur, you need to plan for your success. You need to think about how many days a week you'll publish, what goals you want to reach with the content that you publish, and what type of content will you post. Then how many days a week you're going to publish, these things are going to depend on your schedule, how much content you have, and how many people are working on your content. I'm a one girl show, so I'm doing all my own content, and I have clients.
So I shoot for once a day, and if I hit it, amen. If I'm out doing a bunch of stuff, maybe it's more. But I shoot for one great post a day, and if I hit that, I'm happy. Maybe you will post less. Maybe you will be more.
Think about the industry you're in, the type of content you're posting, and what's going to fit in with what you do. All the questions that I'm asking you is because you need to come up with your own personal goals, your own editorial calendar. I can't say, “Do XYZ,” because I don't know every single thing about your business. I don't know anything about your business. So what I want to do is give you the questions you can ask yourself and your team so you can work out all the details yourself to create an amazing Instagram calendar. I could tell you “do XYZ,” but maybe that wouldn't be right. That's why you're getting the questions thrown at you. You're going to get a little homework, and that's going to help you be better on Instagram.
Get into a workflow with Trello
For your editorial calendar, I'm going to suggest that you create a Trello board. Trello is a free service. You can open up an account, and you can create these awesome little boards. I think it's unlimited at this point. I haven't reached a limit on mine. You'll find that when you set your Trello boards up, you don't need a ton of them, because you can create really focused boards. This example is one that I created called Instagram Workflow.
I created this Trello board for Instagram posts specifically. What I do is I've created my image, and I'm going to write all my text. I'm going to organize all my materials right here on this one Trello board, so it's going to be ready when I need it.
In Trello, I can create different little rows of cards. The first one is just called Instagram Posts. The second column is called Hashtags. The next column is Editing and Graphics, and the last one is Published. So this is like the little workflow. Say, for example, I know I'm going to publish a blog post on Monday, because I publish every Monday. The idea for the Instagram post would be how to create a Trello board, for example. So I would write that into the Instagram Post, and I would write some text in there.
Then I could move that card over to the next row, which would be Hashtags. I could add in the hashtags that would be appropriate. Then I could move it over to the next one for Editing and Graphics. Then when I'm done, after I've posted, it can go into the Published.
I like to keep them in there for a little bit, because sometimes I use my old posts for inspiration and ideas. If there was a format to the text that worked really well, I like to replay those hits. When you create a card in Trello, it has all these great categories that you can use, and you can actually create these super cool little checklists.
I don't know how you are, but I love checklists. They help me remember all the steps. They help me be more organized. You create this little card in Trello, and you can actually just copy that little card each time. So you set this up once, and then every Instagram post, you just hit Copy. You could also use this for Pinterest pins, blog posts. There are a million different ways that you could use these little Trello cards.
You can copy your own boards and your own cards. You can also share the cards with other people and add other members to it. You can add labels to sort them, and you can assign due dates. So if you have a calendar that you're going to follow, you can schedule things to go out, and then Trello will actually remind you that the due date is coming up. So you could remember what days you wanted to post things for your editorial calendar. The little actions, the Move tab is the one that moves it to the next column. So after I have all my text, I can move it to Hashtags, I can move it to Editing and Graphics, and then over finally to when I post it. So every time I go into the cards, I can see everything that's done, everything I need to do, and you can also work with a team. So if you're working with a team, you can leave comments and have a conversation about content right in here. It's a great way to work with teams, but also just to keep yourself organized.
The cards guide your workflow, as I mentioned. You can move the cards from row to row, add due dates, team members, and coworkers. It's a very easy system to use. It's very organized, very linear.
When you get to the image part when you need to create images, I'd like to recommend that you batch process your images. You can just create a whole bunch at one time. You can put them right into Trello and save them. You don't need to worry about: will I have time to create the image today? You will save yourself so much time. If you're going to do like I do and have, say, five days, you're going to work on Monday through Friday, you could set all of your cards up for the week, you could add all of your images in for the week, and you could pick the due dates.
This can keep everything right on track and it saves you so time. You can work with a designer that could actually download your images for you, or you can actually do them yourself. I also like to save the Canva link right in there. Even though I download the image and upload it into Trello, I like to keep the link in there, in case it's an image that I want to recreate later, so I can remix it.
Once I have everything done in Trello, when I have created all the different steps and I'm ready to post, the due date comes up, you can use Trello on your tablet or smartphone. Trello is cloud-based. I can do everything on my desktop, which is how I like to write my longer Instagram posts. I can have everything set up on my desktop. Then I can just pick up my phone, go into Trello, copy the photo right from Trello, cut and paste the text, and I can bring that right into Instagram and post it right then and there.
It's so easy to keep everything perfectly organized, and then you can optimize it any way you want for posting with spaces. You can add emojis or whatever you want. You can use Trello on your tablet, your smartphone, and your desktop, so everything moves everywhere that you are and keeps it super easy.
This is my process: open Instagram, add the photo, paste the text, add emojis, and post. Totally doable, right?
Tools to rock your Instagram Productivity
Lots of great analytics and ways to use Iconosquare to grow your Instagram account! Each week you should check your account to find the best time to post on your Instagram account for the upcoming week.
From the Hootsuite blog, “Instagram is integrated within the Hootsuite platform, you can manage, schedule, and monitor your Instagram activity in a whole new way.
Schedule a month’s worth of Throwback Thursday posts in advance, for example, and publish them in just a few taps when the time comes. You can also set up streams to monitor your own Instagram posts, your scheduled posts, specific users or hashtags, locations, and more—all from the same Hootsuite dashboard you use to manage your other social networks.
Do you have multiple team members managing your Instagram strategy? With Hootsuite Pro and Enterprise, you can now share access to Instagram profiles without sharing passwords, and collaborate through assignments. There is an additional approval function as well for Enterprise customers.
Note: As Instagram requires posts to be published through its mobile app, you need to have both the Instagram app, as well as the latest Hootsuite mobile app to publish to Instagram. You can download it on the iTunes App Store or the Google Play Store.”
My favorite apps for Instagram
Editing and cropping can make or break your photos. Nailing down your style for Instagram can take some time but once you find what works for you, stick with it. These tips will help you create picture perfect Instagram posts.
PS Express for iOS and Android
“Photo editing made fun, fast, and easy. Touch your way to better-looking iPhone pictures using slide bar adjustments, or let automatic one-touch fixes do it for you.”
“Perfect your photos in a snap with the new Snapseed 2.0. This app brings to your mobile device the power and control of professional photo editing software, previously only available on the desktop. Now with the tap of a finger you can retouch, adjust perspective, re-edit, and more.”
“Over is the app for adding text and artwork to your photos. Designed with mobile creatives in mind, Over features standard and custom-made fonts and well-crafted artwork combined with a sleek design, easy-to-use functionality, and immediate sharing ability.”
“Create amazing text layouts that would normally take minutes – or even hours in Photoshop – with just a tap.”
“Turn text into stunning animations. Put your words in motion. Inspire people. Make friends laugh. In just 2 taps.”
Hashtags for Instagram growth
Hashtags are the key to growth on Instagram. That's how other people are going to find you, you're going to connect with other people, and it's how you're going to really find success there. You want to build a hashtag strategy. You don't want to just randomly add hashtags. You could probably do well that way as long as you're choosing wisely, but we want to use our time in the smartest way possible.
You want to organize your hashtags in Evernote or Notes on your phone. I do like to use Evernote, because I like things that I can access anywhere. I am either on my Mac laptop, my iPad, or my iPhone and my Evernote accounts syncs automatically across all these devices. If you use your phone notes, you can't access them everywhere.
I like things that work across all of those platforms so I don't have to exchange things from one to the other, which is why I like Evernote. You can also keep them in your Trello boards, if that's where you want to do it. You can create a board for your hashtag strategy right in there. You can keep the different groups of hashtags. I like to do them in groups of 10 or 11. You can post hashtags in the original post or in the comments. It depends on what you feel comfortable with. I usually put mine in the comments section, because it looks better when you're scrolling through on Instagram. If you look on your phone, if you have a big huge group of hashtags in the original post, it could just overwhelm your post when you're scrolling through on your phone. It's your choice.
Please use only relevant hashtags. Never choose hashtags that are popular that have nothing at all to do with your post. That is very spammy, and Instagrammers will not enjoy that from your post. It will not get you more likes.
More reading The Philosophy of a Hashtag Strategy
I want you to plan for your success with a 15-minute challenge every day. I'm going to give you homework with the post because I really think that if you dive in and do it, that you're really going to love Instagram. Make a commitment and try 15 minutes twice a day for a week and see how it goes.
Please follow me on Instagram and let's connect there! My main account is @PegFitzpatrick and my @Artof.Social account for social media tips.
I've created a special Instagram checklist for you to help you get on track with daily and weekly Instagram tasks. I hope you like it!
I hope this Instagram productivity article inspires you to create an Instagram workflow that helps you growth and build your Instagram account! Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.
Stuart Davidson says
Great piece for being more productive with Instagram, Peg.
I’ll check out Trello too – I’ve not come across it before!
Thank you! I hope you look at Trello – it’s great for organizing all different kinds of things. It’s very easy to get started with it.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Thank you so much for this post! I got really into Instagram at one point but then my interest fizzled out and I’ve been really sporadic ever since. I’d love to get back into it, so I’m going to take you up on your 15 minute challenge – let’s see what happens!
This is so timely for me I’m just getting into trello, and instagram. Seeing how you created a workflow is really helpful. Hopefully this will get me to post more often. Thanks so much!
Oh my goodness, I found all of these tips so helpful Peg. I didn’t know that most of these tools/apps even existed.
I’m not good with Instagram. If I ever post there, the images are typically personal, and never business related (even though I link to this account on my website). I really want to start working towards making my account more professional and this post will really help!
Daniella Bien-Aime says
Peg, thank you so much for this post. I recently started paying attention to Instagram, so I will definitely spend some time reading your posts, so I can learn to be effective. As always, you offer some great practicals. I appreciate it. Enjoy the rest of your week.
Amazing article! Thanks so much!
Colin Myers says
Do you know any good articles on B to B products for instagram? most seems to be about building personal brand, tech, bloggers etc. Also with hash tags we find if you use small amounts your reach is very narrow and to the point. My question is when showing the world you new product is it better to spread the net wider at the start. More eyes, more interest etc
I am trying to download wordswag for Android, but can’t find it. Is it only through Apple? Thanks