Instagram is now a proper eCommerce platform with 25 million brand accounts and 80% of users following them. And against all ambitious goals to make leads, conversions and boost sales, content seems like something very casual.
Each day, everyone hears about the importance of content, but not many marketers and entrepreneurs take the relevance of its planning seriously. No matter what your goal is, Instagram content scheduling is a big deal.
Let’s start with the most obvious one. Digital agencies and other businesses that consider Instagram as a critical eCommerce space always have lots of content. And you know how challenging this is to publish content in bulk from a smartphone manually.
But when you schedule a handful of posts, it saves you a plethora of time. You don’t have to find hours to schedule a bunch of posts each day. You only need to spend your time planning the content; then forget about it and do something more meaningful.
This is relevant when you and the lion’s share of your audience are in different timezones. With content scheduling, you plan posts that will show up when your followers are more likely to be online even if you have no access to Instagram.
For that, of course, you need to know when your followers are ready to see your content. You can easily find these insights in the Instagram analytics.
Naturally, you can schedule the posts with drafts within the native Instagram app, but that’s not very convenient. Most solutions for Instagram content scheduling are available for desktop.
Those who love writing long captions will also appreciate this opportunity. It’s rather challenging to create captions without formatting features on Instagram so that the text does not slide into a long unreadable story.
Besides, most brands, influencers, businesses, photographers, or designers have lots of content on their computers or in storage like Google Drive, Dropbox, and others. So publishing from a desktop is a solution, since there’s no necessity to transfer the content between the phone and a PC – you keep everything in one place.
When you’re planning out content, you see how your whole grid looks. Instagram is a visual social network, so the aesthetic concept is vital. If your content is beautiful, people will love to see this in their feed.
Content planning aids you to control the visual perception of your page by seeing a preview before you post.
But consistency isn’t about the visual look only. Content scheduling helps your captions sound consistent, as well. This streamlines the building of your unique brand voice.
When you plan a bunch of posts, you can make sure you don’t write similar captions or post identical photos in a row.
Content scheduling allows you to post more often. Imagine what happens when you post frequently and pick the right time for your audience?
More people will see your posts, and if this content is of high quality, there’s a large possibility they will interact with this – like, comment, and share.
Then the power of Instagram’s smart algorithm joins the game. The more of your followers that engage with your post, the more other followers will see your content. If those new people find your content interesting, you could be discovered by other users and even get on the Explore Page.
This leads to new followers, new taps on the link in your bio, and if they like what you offer, new traffic, conversions, and customers.
And remember, you can plan not only posts but Stories in bulk, as well. If you’ve chosen the right time for them to appear, it will surely elevate your accounts engagement.
This is a common struggle – Creating a caption on the fly once you’ve picked a nice image or a video.
Content scheduling allows you to think through each caption in advance and come up with ideas for upcoming posts.
When you see your campaign entirely, you don’t have to create captions from scratch every time.
While planning, you have a proper perception of your campaign. This lets you analyze and improve things in advance, not hours or minutes before actual publication.
For instance, if you’re not quite happy with the images or captions you planned to publish for a week ahead. You can take your time to improve them.
Having multiple Instagram accounts can be hard to manage. Whether you’re a business owner with various pages for each of your projects or a social media manager working with several businesses, content scheduling solutions allow you to keep each of your accounts in one place.
This streamlines the content publishing process and prevents you from forgetting about any of the accounts to post regularly and consistently.
Obviously, there’s no universal answer to this question. The right time of when your audience is online depends on the type of your audience.
For instance, accounts with a large number of teenagers will have other activity hours than those accounts with people working full-time.
To learn the time when your audience is active, head over to Insights, Audience, and at the bottom of the page, you’ll see the tab Followers that contains information about the hours and days when your audience is active.
Knowing the time of your audience being online is vital, even though Instagram doesn’t rank publications chronologically. This influences the whole algorithm for showing your content to followers.
If you know the time when your audience is active, you can assume when a similar target audience that doesn’t yet follow you is active as well. Then, if your followers engage with your post, it has all the chances to appear on the Explore Page and attract a new audience that will find your content interesting.
Another tip to get new genuine followers similar to yours is to add hashtags to a post. To do so, you need to know what hashtags your audience uses to search for content. After you research and use relevant hashtags, you’ll grow your following.
But avoid adding banned or hidden hashtags. Otherwise, you might get shadowbanned.
You could get on hashtag search top results if people interact with the post you’ve uploaded. Three factors seem to provide you with a top spot in the hashtag results – posting time, size and speed of engagement. The faster people respond to your content, the more chance it gets to appear in top hashtag search results.
This tip works well along with the properly chosen timing.
Speaking of the post frequency, it’s all up to you. Some businesses post up to three times a day but the following and engagement are low. Others publish three times a week and nail it with their content.
Quantity is secondary. What you need to focus on is the quality and diversity of the content.
Once you’ve set your content scheduling rhythm, try to maintain this. If you start posting lest often, your engagement rate is at risk of falling.
If you have a large following, and the audiences live in different timezones, you can try three approaches I suggest below.
Strategy 1. Post regularly at different hours. For instance, three times a day – in the morning, mid-day and evening in your timezone. These posts, obviously, will appear at different hours in the feeds of those followers living in different countries and continents.
This strategy will work if some of your followers live in the same timezone as you do. Utilizing this approach, make sure you pick the “active hours” of your timezone.
Strategy 2. Track the hours when the majority of your audience is active, and publish content at the time.
Strategy 3. Analyze what time is preferable for your most valuable audience. To discover this audience, you can use Google Analytics. Figure out who visits your website, buys your products/services more often, and where they are from. Then, based on these insights, publish posts closer to a timezone of your profitable area. This strategy is rather flexible and depends on your goals. For instance, if your most-active audience lives in the UK, and you want to attract customers from New Zealand, publish content in the NZ timezone.
To achieve better results, test all of these strategies and find out which one works best for you. While testing, pay attention to the engagement to impressions ratio.
Remember this, you can’t plan all the content for your Instagram, so don’t. Find a comfortable window of time for planning and fill the gaps.
Besides, you need to remain flexible and keep an eye on what’s going on in the world. It may be awkward when you publish a funny post announcing your new product, but the whole world is busy discussing some global tragedy.
Too frequent posting is spam from Instagram’s and your audience’s perspectives.
When you schedule your posts using a third-party tool, and they’re auto-published, you are good to go and do other tasks. Sure, you can forget about content planning for a while, but it doesn’t mean you can forget about your followers. What do you make content for, in the first place? People. Talk to these people when they respond to your content.
Auto-publishing and scheduling are effortless with tools like Combin Scheduler. This software allows you to plan posts and stories in bulk and auto-publishes them for you.
Within the app, you can easily edit your content, control the visual concept of your grid layout, and make sure your posts will attract your audience’s attention. Add a location, hashtags, and tag other users to stay on top of people’s feeds.
If you have more than one Instagram account, you can easily manage several of them.
Content scheduling is an essential step in the development of an Instagram marketing strategy. It saves you time, allows you to control the aesthetics of your profile, builds a loyal community around your business, and lets you maintain the quality over quantity principle.
Content scheduling isn’t rocket science, and with apps like Combin Scheduler, it is even more accessible.
Try Combin Scheduler for free to power up your Instagram content strategy.
Tip: Looking to hire an Instagram expert or freelancer, try Fiverr.
Guest author: Klara Alexeeva is a content editor at Combin.com. She is keen on writing about social media marketing and is always up-to-date with the latest digital marketing trends.