The Ultimate Guide to Plan and Schedule Your Instagram For Free To Live Your Life A Little
This post is a part of “Helping Me, Helping You”, a blogging series created to help new bloggers to be the best that they can be on their blogging space. You can find helpful tips, tools, real examples & experience plus downloadable worksheets that can help you achieve your blogging career.
P.S. This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase products through my links I will get a few bucks out of it. This is how I make a living. Thank you for your support! xoxo ?
I don’t want to get you into a serious topic just yet so I have something behind the scenes to tell you! It might sound funny to some of you. ? My husband and I were planning to do a photoshoot one afternoon. You know, we really can’t predict when the sun would set in Fall/ Winter, right. Except for asking Siri for the exact time. We thought we were going to beat the sun and to be able to catch the best lighting of the day. The traffic was pretty bad that day but we still believed that we would be there before sun down.
Without any better luck as we were driving, I happened to checked my SD card, right in front of the place that we planned to take photos. Oh my, my SD card stopped working. “Should we use the phone instead?” I asked my husband. Nope, we ended up not using the phone but instead we went to Walgreens to buy a new SD card while dark sky creeped over our heads?
After we got the SD card, we headed back to the same spot and started to take pictures. I gave up after a few shots because the pictures were turning out pretty bad. But, I remembered a beautiful evening picture I saw on Cristina’s Instragram post, so I decided to keep going, change the settings and try it all over again. It was frustrating at first then it started to get a lot more fun! My husband and I are still new to it but we’re definitely learning more! You might see a lot of evening pictures on my content in the near future! 🙂 That’s my behind the scenes story of this photoshoot. If you have any suggestions on “How To Take A better Evening Picture” feel free to let me know. Thank you in advance! ?
Alright, why don’t we get into our content today, shall we?
How is your life lately after committing to blogging and Instagramming very seriously? As much as I wanted to hear All About Good Vibes answers like “I’m doing amazing.” or “It couldn’t be better than this!”, I actually want to hear your true story. Let’s cut the *rap and be honest to your feelings right at this moment.
- Are you frustrated?
- Are you confused?
- Aren’t you more busy than ever?
- Aren’t your significant others worrying about your emotional rollercoaster all day everyday?
- Don’t you feel unimportant sometimes?
- Upset when someone unfollows you on Instagram?
- Couldn’t really pay attention to anything after you’ve posted the picture on Instagram?
- Waiting to see how many likes you will get?
- You feel like quitting because nobody cares?
- Wishing to have 24+10 more hours a day?
- Stressed to the max?
and a lot more than what I’ve just listed. Listen to me carefully, my love! You might have either Social Media Syndrome or Social Media Anxiety Disorder. But don’t panic, you might just want to turn your passion into a career.
Good news is you’re still here and trying to figure out how to live your normal life again. I have to say that most of us are felling this way because we truly believe in ourselves that we can be an impact somehow. But when the results didn’t come up like what we expected, we tend to loose ourselves. Most of us who are using online platforms, frankly love to share and express ourselves, that’s for sure. We love to make new friends. We love how easy it is to connect with others from anywhere in the world.
But how Social Media has flipped our emotions upside down over and over again is because we forgot to live our lives to the fullest. We forgot the fact that it’s no need to be stressed if we’re doing the best we can and we’re doing it the right way.
When I say the RIGHT way, I’m not talking about what type of content nor picture you have to publish. I’m talking about balancing your life. Too much of one thing has never been good. Too much of everything isn’t good neither. If you can live your real life and your social medial life in a good balance you will feel much better. You will enjoy both lives even more.
But who am I to tell you what to do? Why do you need to listen to me? I once was struggling in this cycle and I finally figured out how I could handle my social and real life better. I’m not saying that my life is always balanced. I have ups and downs, twists and turns, laughs and tears since I started my blog and Instagram account in mid 2016. My husband had to become my photographer, never in his life was he thinking about being able to take good pictures! Lol! ? And as we both are brand new parents, dealing with new responsibilities weren’t easy. In my case dealing with the lack of sleep and trying to feel my best in my own skin again wasn’t easy too.
My husband and I had a lot of conversations along my journey. Until one day, I was tired of doing it all. I took a break from everything online, enjoyed every moment with my family. It was the best time that made me realize that I needed to do something to keep being happy.
So I started to work on planning my blog post and Instagram content once or twice a week. Not 24/7 like I used to do. My life started getting better from that point forward. I feel more productive, satisfyed and I have more time for my family and myself.
I had published an Instagram Planning And Scheduling Handbook about 2 months ago. Almost 200 copies have been downloaded. I didn’t even promote it as much as I wanted to and I know if you’re using my guide you will be a lot more organized and happy about your content.
I’ve received a lot of messages and emails from my awesome readers talking about how they like the handbook. And I feel like it might benefit more people if I publish a blog post about it, that’s why I’m putting almost everything from the book in this blog post today. A few things that are missing are the exercises and the step by step guide on how I schedule my Instagram posts without spending any money.
If you want to have the handbook and exercises with you while reading, you can download it by filling your information below.
If you aren’t sure that this FREE handbook is right for you or not, read the below sentences and evaluate yourself before deciding to download.
- You have a love hate relationship with Instagram.
- You want to be present on Instagram but you don’t want Instagram to take over your life. Because life is too BUSY and VALUABLE for only one thing.
- You just started using Instagram as an Influencer, or would like to become one soon and need someone to guide you.
- You’re already an influencer and want to make the most out of your time.
- You’re saving up for your Gucci Bag!, or saving up in general.
- You need a real effective plan, the one that wasn’t made up for you just to buy.
- You want to be happier! 🙂
Totally you? Don’t wait any longer, you can download your FREE Instagram Planning and Scheduling handbook now.
Don’t want this Free handbook but want to know whats inside, keep on reading. The content in this book starts from here!
INSTAGRAM PLANNER AND SCHEDULER
When it comes to planning my Instagram feed and content, I love to do it all in one day. By doing all my planning time in one day, I am all set for a whole week or even two. I can spend more time with my family and I can focus on other important areas of my business and life. I don’t have to keep freaking out over and over again on what I have to post on my Instagram account.
No more trying to make myself present at all times. With this Instagram planning guide, my posting activity is still going on everyday but that I am only planning and scheduling once a week.
Before we get started, I have to say that I am not an Instagram expert but I consider myself above a beginner level of this IG game. After trying to figure out how in the world I could make my life normal (again), still generate income and receive more collaboration opportunities through an effective Instagram account I had to plan an effective feed without spending a lot of my time and money. After one year of figuring it out all by myself I finally GOT it, I now have my plan out for you to enjoy.
Today, I’ll share with you how to plan and schedule your Instagram posts like a pro without spending your money. To get the best out of this handbook, you can go through each of the exercises at the end of the chapter, (download the handbook for exercises!).
The benefits of planning your Instagram content in advance can not only help save your valuable time, but also help you to be more organized. This will also help you with your feed aesthetic, as you know Instagram is a visual portal where every post counts. If you can plan and make your Instagram feed look pretty, people will be more likely to support you. Brands will be more likely to want to work with you. You are more likely to have less stress and be able to enjoy your life. That’s why planning your Instagram content is very important and you should consider making it a priority today.
To be able to get your content planning started, you will need some pictures. It’s a good idea to use your own pictures but I can understand that sometimes you might run out of ideas on what to share with your followers and instead use something new. This is my trick when I don’t know what to post. I would go on Pinterest and download about 9 pictures that have similar content like mine. I would then put them in order in a photo collage app. I like using Muzy (Android | iOS).
Depending on the type of content you share, you would want to download pictures that are similar to what you normally post on your Instagram account. For me, I would find pictures of outfits, at falt lays and sometimes scenery.
Another trick is that I would go on Instagram and screenshot pictures from my favorite accounts. In this case if I end up using some of the pictures I found, I would give the owners credit and would also direct my followers to those accounts as well.
Those tricks are just to get your idea cap on. The collage picture will give you somewhat of an idea on what pictures you need, where to put them and what to talk about. The nine pictures will help you plan your future content for about 3-9 days. If you post 3 pictures a day, you will be good for 3 days. I personally post 1-2 pictures a day, or sometimes I would post every other day. With this plan I’m normally good for a week or two.
But when I have sponsored content that I have to post on a specific timeframe, I would squeeze them in-between those pictures that I already had planned out.
I would also take all of my flat lay pictures at once which would take me about 30 minutes. If I went out and took some outfit photos, this would take me a couple of hours but I would get about 20 useable pictures.
Once I have all of my pictures I would edit them all at once with the same settings and filters. I use Lightroom, VSCO, and Snapseed to edit all my pictures. All of these apps are free to download.
When you have all of your pictures, now it’s time to move on to the next Instagram planning step but before that, don’t forget about the Picture Perfect Exercise at the end of this chapter in the Handbook.
DESCRIBE IT RIGHT
Writing your caption is also as important as having a good picture. Make your first sentence count! Why’s that? It’s because Instagram only shows your first 3 lines of your text that’s why it’s important to attract attention at first.
I know some of you might think this part is going to take a long time to implement but No, not long at all if you know what you’re doing.
A lot of suggestions out there are to try to include some sentences that can get your followers to comment, like putting a question at the end of your post. I’m not against it but it might hurt your feelings at times. It’s your choice to decide to do that on your post or not. I want to say one quick thing, if you decide to do so, please don’t get discouraged if no one answers your questions.
It’s better to write something that your followers will benefit from or can learn from your content. If they feel like commenting they will. Try to think about yourself, how likely are you to answer all of the questions on the accounts that you’re following. Maybe a handful but not all hundreds or thousands, am I right?
So you should post something that describes or at least represents your pictures that your followers will benefit from. If you don’t know what to post, I recommend posting a quote. It works like a charm.
Tagging / Crediting
This is the part that you can tag other accounts by giving them credit or tagging the brands.
This will help you to get larger amount of views. People can find you through their favorite brands when clicking the far right icon on brand’s page.
Also, you can find accounts that created Instagram pages to support a niche community. By tagging them, you have a chance to be featured on their page and that’s another way to get more views.
Hashtags are Key. Your post won’t get anywhere without hashtags. As you may know, using hashtags are a way for people to find you on Instagram. You can add up to 30 hashtags per post. The hashtag posting trick is to post the hashtags in your niche and try to pick the non popular ones, or not as popular. I always use the hashtags that are less than 200K posts.
To get your plan going, you will need to write (type) down a few sets of hashtags.
This is the hashtag set that will represent your Instagram account, who you are, where you are and what you do.
This is the hashtag set for your niche. This set will represent types of your pictures in your content. For example, outfit, flat lay, beauty, quote, food, scenery and etc.
You can include hashtags for each day of the week. I have some examples of some popular hashtags for each day on my Instagram Planning and Scheduling Handbook.
If you are working with brands and they require you to post their specific hashtags for their campaign, you should write them down.
For those of you who use a brand regularly, not for collaborating purposes, you can also add their hashtags into your post. You might get a chance to be featured on one of your favorite brands IG feed or website. You can include special events and holiday hashtags for pretty much any occasion.
P.S. Avoid banned hashtags. You can check that by typing down the hashtags you’re wishing to use on the search bar. I’m going to show you how to tell if a hashtag is banned below. I typed “beautyblogger“, “books” and “petite” on the search bar. This is what showed up after scrolling down a few rolls. If you see a message below from Instagram stating that the content doses not meet their guidelines, this is telling you that the hashtag is banned.
Now, is the fun part after you are done planning your post. Time to schedule! I personally use Apphi (iOS | Android) to schedule my posts. It’s not the alarm clock that will remind you it’s time to post, but it will actually post your content for you. The best part of all, it’s free.
What I also like about this app is that you can set the date and time of day to post your pictures. You can set the duration of your post as well. If you want to leave your post up only for 72 hours, you can set it and the app will delete your post for you. You will be able to see the screenshot of your post performance before it gets deleted.
You can pretty much do everything that you would normally do on your actual Instagram account. I am showing you how to do it, step by step in my Instagram Planning and Scheduling Handbook.
Pick the peak time that your followers hang out on Instagram when deciding when to post on your account. If you have a business account, you will be able to view the data that shows your peak times of the day. However, for personal accounts, you will just have to make a best guess of when you think your followers are most active. This could be before school/work, during lunch or after school/work.
The last part, and most important, is to engage with other people. Use the time that you have saved from planning out your schedule to start engaging with accounts in the same niche as yours.
Only 15-30 minutes a day can help you reach your new audience. You will begin to create new friendships with other Instagrammers who will support you and care about your content.
When it comes to having an effective Instagram account, you must be able to organize and prioritize your work properly. Through having your pictures ready, writing a great caption and making the proper hashtags, each step can be stream- lined. This will not only give you better quality posts, but more consistent content.
You should now be able to plan and schedule your Inastgram content effectively. The extra time saved can be used to invest back into your Instagram account or be spent with your loved ones. I hope this post (workbook) can be of bene t to you and that you have learned something new.
If you’re looking to try a paid Instagram schedule program. I recommend looking into Tailwind. They have a lot of cool features that you can play with and get all the benefits from.
You can try by signing up for their a one month free trial before you decide to use them.
Give it a try, you might like it or you can stick with my free planning and scheduling plan from this book.
That was the end of this handbook. You can find Instagram planning and scheduling worksheets at the end of the last chapter. It will help you to see the big picture of your plan.
I really hope you find this post helpful. At the end of the day, it’s not about the book that will change your lifestyle but it is YOU who can create the lifestyle you have always wanted. After reading through my guide, you will still need to prioritize and plan your day, your life (both social and real one) out. I can only guide you but I can’t do it for you. NOW it’s your turn to take action and make it happen.
Best of luck to you, my love! You can leave your message below, reach out to me via email or Instagram direct message, if you have any questions or comments.
Thank you for stopping by my blog today! Hope to see you again soon!
“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going to fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” – Eddie Cantor