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Are you wondering how to plan Instagram content in advance, without spending hours at your laptop? You’re not alone!

For busy brands trying to leave their mark on Instagram, finding time to plan, prepare, schedule, and optimize your Instagram content can be tough!

Luckily, there are several ways to streamline your process and save valuable time.

We partnered with Puno, Founder of PeopleMap.co and ilovecreatives, to get her best tips on how to plan Instagram content for your feed and stories. Here’s what we learned:

How to Plan Instagram Content Tip #1: Build a Visual Identity Board

Most people think about brand books or style guides as just font and color choices — and that does make up a large part of it.

However, unlike traditional marketing, Instagram is rooted in social, so your style guide becomes a lot more complex. That’s why you need a visual identity board for Instagram!

Puno describes a brand as “a combination of dialogues through photos, video, copy, and even GIFs”.

With this in mind, it’s important to create a visual identity board to help you better plan Instagram content, that’s not just about images, but outlines what you want to share that will spark the conversations your audience is interested in.

The goal of your visual identity board is to be able to use it as a reference for when you’re creating your content plan. So for every image, GIF, caption, video, and even meme post, you can check-in to see it aligns with your brand identity.

TIP: You can create a digital visual identity board on Pinterest! Share it with your whole team or keep it on file for easy access when you’re planning your content.

Once you have your visual identity locked in, people will naturally begin engaging with your content, sharing it with their friends, liking your photos, and interacting with your profile. All because it’s an identity and brand they can relate to!

The first thing you’ll want to do is decide on the theme of your Instagram profile and a great way to do this is just by looking at other accounts for inspiration.

Start by searching for people that make you excited to be on the platform, or you just really admire. Are they someone who is a part of your community, or you want them to be?

Here are a few of the Instagram accounts Puno finds her own personal inspiration from: 

As you can see, her examples include other female creatives, small business owners, and have a similar aesthetic.

Puno suggests using photos from your community, clients, partners and competitors. Instead of solely focusing on colors and fonts, it’s important to see what other people in your community are posting about to help you tap into that context — then put your own personal spin on it!

And feel free to go wild with your board! Do you love graphic design and illustrations? Are bang-on-trend GIFs your thing? What about product shots — how do you like to show off your best sellers? All these are questions you can ask yourself when designing your visual identity board.

By taking the time to create a visual identity board in advance, you can create cohesive, on-brand content that aligns with your business as a whole and continue growing a unique community of followers.

Ready to learn how to get started with your board and create an awesome content plan?

We teamed up with Puno to create a free 6-part video workshop that teaches you how to find your people, get in on the conversation, and put a personal spin on your content.

Sign up and start building your very own personalized visual identity board and grow your following with a killer content plan — especially for Instagram!

How to Plan Instagram Content Tip #2: Get to Know Your Community

A crucial part of planning your Instagram content is figuring out who you’re talking to.

One of the easiest ways to get started is by going to your Instagram profile, selecting “followers” and clicking through different profiles to see who you’re talking to.

Puno suggests taking note of words used in your followers’ bios to get an idea of what they’re all about.

Another quick way to learn more about your audience is by digging into your Instagram Insights.

Start by viewing “All Posts”, sort by comments, and click on your most commented post. This can help you easily identify who is a “part of the conversation” and is actively engaging with your content.

Next, check your “Audience Insights”. This will show you things like where the majority of your audience are based, age demographics, and gender split.

For example, you may find 70% of your followers are women between the age of 25-35. After clicking through a few of your followers’ profiles, you notice many are self-starters, founders, or aspiring business owners. These are the words that you should start paying attention to so you can understand who you are attracting.

If you’re looking for an easier way to start “efficiently stalking” your audience, PeopleMap (which was actually created by Puno and her husband) is a great tool to help you do this.

PeopleMap is an Instagram marketing tool that allows you to better analyze your Instagram marketing efforts and strategically build an organic community:

It’s important to keep your audience keywords in mind as you plan your Instagram content. Puno suggests thinking of the keywords as navigation markers for where you should keep going. Or as she likes to call them, “the bread crumbs” for your content plan!

Finally, it’s important to think about the community you want to attract. Are they someone who is a part of your community or you want them to be?

Including these types of people in your Instagram visual identity board or brand book is a great way to remind yourself of the types of content you should be posting and keep yourself inspired!

Interested in learning more about how to start identifying your community quickly and efficiently? It’s all in our course with Puno — watch it here:

How to Plan Instagram Content Tip #3: Curate Your Instagram Feed Up to 3 Weeks in Advance

While there’s no right or wrong way to plan your content, making sure your Instagram feed is planned in advance is a no-brainer in our eyes!

And if you really want to deliver a feed that wows, you need to start thinking in “grid” format and start planning your Instagram posts about 2 or 3 weeks in advance.

Plus, when you plan in advance you’re able to take a bird’s-eye view of your efforts. Have you posted too many product posts side-by-side? When was the last video you posted? Maybe you need to think about diversifying your content?

All these questions come to light when you plan your content in advance!

And when we talk about Instagram aesthetic, planning your content is the only way to nail your grid look and feel.

This way, you’ll be able to easily see what your images look like side-by-side, on top of and below one another, and even diagonally across.

@ritual

What’s important is that you start looking at your feed from all angles, so you can easily plan what and when to post to Instagram.

One of the easiest ways to do this is with a tool like Later’s Visual Planner. It allows you to quickly drag and drop your photos and videos around your feed so you can select the layout that looks best.

And if you want to be extra-organized, you can even use the Visual Planner to schedule and automatically publish to your Instagram grid — so posting to Instagram is one step closer!

Just remember: when you’re planning this far in advance, you want to give your schedule a little bit of wiggle room for any unforeseen events.

When you start planning your Instagram posts in advance, you’re giving yourself much more time to edit and be selective — so you can curate a beautiful feed that’s perfect for your brand.

All this planning in advance will result in a far more professional, curated, and aesthetically pleasing feed, which will help draw in more followers!

Ready to get started? Later’s Visual Planner and Auto Publish tools are FREE — always was, always will be! Sign up today to begin planning your Instagram grid and nailing your aesthetic:



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