Planning out my instagram in advance is wonderful for so many reasons. Because it’s been such a game changer for me, I wanted to share it with y’all in case it helps anyone else!
So, let’s start with the WHY behind what makes me want to plan things out ahead of time.
I used to put in so much more time and energy DAILY to what I was going to share on social media. Being a blogger, there’s a lot of pressure on what to post, when to post, how often to post…you get the idea. Planning it all out and creating a theme for my page saves me the time of worrying about all that.
By far the number 1 reason I plan everything out is the stress it saves me. A few months back, I got really stressed out over what I was posting on Instagram.
Planning ahead takes ALL the stress out of it for me. I was getting really close to 10k and I was putting WAY too much pressure on myself. I took a 3 month break from all social media because of that.
I just needed to take a step back and realize the numbers don’t actually matter. Yes, the swipe up is extremely desirable, but it is actually worth stressing yourself out over?
I don’t blog full time, this is a hobby. Something I love and do for fun. It doesn’t need a lot of pressure put on it.
Even if you DO blog full time (or want to!), I’m sure it’s STILL something you love, and therefore, it shouldn’t need pressure.
MAKE THINGS COHESIVE
When someone sees your feed, you have less than 10 seconds to make them want to click the follow button. Having a cohesive feed is much more pleasing to the eye is much more likely to make that happen. I’ll share more on how I do this this below.
My following has grown MUCH faster since I created a theme for my page. I read my analytics weekly so I know what people like, and that is what I base my theme on.
I also keep things cohesive by editing my photos the same. Planning things out in advance lets me make sure colors and angles and everything lines up like I want it to.
CULTIVATE A THEME & BRAND
Speaking of themes! Instagram is a very visual platform. Having a brand as a blogger is a big thing. People like to know what they can expect to see from you.
On my page, my main thing is chatting about all things capsule wardrobes. But I also talk about my life. My husband, our pups, my anxiety issues. I’m recently introducing more self love and natural hair care to embrace my curly hair (instead of straightening or curling it like I used to). The people that follow me know they can expect to hear about any of those things.
I don’t really talk about other topics very often because they’re not “on brand” for me. This might sound limiting but it’s actually really helpful! I don’t have to pick between a million topics, I just choose between a handful. And there are plenty of things to talk about in those topics.
GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT
As time has gone on, I’ve started to pay really close attention to my Instagram Insights. This has a huge factor in what I post because I like to share what is received the best.
I go off post engagement mostly, but it’s fun to look at all the options they give us. When I came back to IG, I was posting a variety of things. Then I started to post more specific capsule outfits, and I saw those were doing better so I started sharing more of those.
Planning ahead lets me figure out what to post to provide the best value to my followers which is the whole point.
So now that you know WHY it’s nice to plan ahead, now let me tell you how I do it!
My personal theme is a grid, but you can do whatever works for you. I focus on 3 kinds of pictures: individual outfit shots (highlighted in pink), 1 piece 3 ways (blue), and a wildcard slot (purple).
According to my analytics, my best performing posts are the individual looks and 1 piece 3 ways. I share individual looks more often because the 3 way pictures would look extremely cluttered on my feed sharing them so much. And my niche is capsule wardrobes, so sharing my outfits and ways to style everything in my closet is the main reason people follow me!
But instead of keeping them all with those two styles, I like having a place to post other pictures in there without it looking weird, which is why I keep the wildcard spot. I share a variety of pictures in that spot, especially if I have a sponsored post to share.
This is a big thing for me because I don’t really do much besides go to work. So many bloggers go out and do things all the time. Jake and I are really introverted and prefer to spend most of our time at home.
This used to make me feel bad until I decided to embrace it and go figure, those are always my most liked pictures. On weekends, I will figure out what looks to shoot, set up my tripod and shoot. Yes, I take all those pictures with my iPhone and a tripod.
After I take them all, I edit them all. I get it all done in one day, usually in 2-3 hours from start to finish.
For editing, I use Lightroom. I’ve developed my own presets I use and they keep my theme consistent. I love a light and bright look on my feed, so I edit the pictures to make them all have the same vibe. Here are some examples (before on the left, after on the right):
The before and afters show how much a simple preset can do! Both photos were taken on my iPhone and edited with my own presets. I also tweak a few things on each photos to make them fit together better. My main things are exposure, whites, shadows, and individual colors.
Now, the best part: configuring it all! I use the Preview App to upload all of my pictures and plan out when I’ll be posting what. I only have the free version and that works perfectly for me.
The paid version lets you schedule your posts which I can see as being nice but I prefer to still actually do the posting myself. If you want to save even more time, it’s a nice option. It also allows you to see extra analytics, like which of your hashtags are working best!
This is how my photos look in the preview app. I use the ombre photos to plan out the wildcard photos. I usually have enough of the outfit photos to plan ahead a good ways but the wildcard ones are more spur of the moment.
The 6 photos at the bottom with the IG logo in the corner are the ones that are already posted. The 9 above it are the planned ones.
You can also do additional editing in the preview app if you want. I really like the sharpening feature in there because I feel like it does better than Lightroom does. Preview also has their own filters they offer.
I find using this app most helpful in making sure my colors are all right in my edits. I like a bright and white theme, so if something I add in has too much yellow or orange in it, seeing it all together lets me know how I need to edit it to keep it all cohesive!
You can drag and drop your pictures around or tap them and switch them to see how things look. You can also pre-write your captions and save them in there, too.
Once I have it all laid out, I’ll save the picture to my phone for the next day. I post first thing in the morning when I get up to have it done and ready before I go to work. My posts tend to do the best posted first thing in the morning.
And that’s it!
I hope this post helps you plan ahead for your own Instagram and add some simplicity to your life! If you have any questions or tips for how you make IG easier for you, share them below!