Trying to come up with ideas for Instagram…does this sound familiar?
8AM: Oh man…it’s been awhile, I should probably post something on Instagram
2PM: Ok seriously, I really need to take some photos so I have stuff to post on Instagram
8PM: Crap. Totally forgot to take photos. Can’t think of anything interesting to share. Instagram will have to wait until tomorrow…again.
Wash. Rinse. REPEAT.
While I’m constantly pinning and Facebooking and tweeting up a storm, Instagram is one of the few platforms I don’t generally have a solid plan for. And yes, I have that exact conversation with myself multiple times/week.
If I’ve learned anything in my social media experimentation it’s that . . .
A plan always equals more Instagram likes, more comments, and more followers.
But me + my workspace (aka my couch) aren’t always terribly Instagramable.
And it’s not for the lack of makeup or throw pillow-styling, but because most days I’m doing the same exact things. And 30 photos of me, on my couch, eating a burrito, while my dog sleeps isn’t all that interesting.
Ok – let’s fix that!
First up, you’ll want to set up a social media scheduler so you never again have to come up with Instagram ideas and captions on the fly. If you do – that’s totally fine – add them right in! But for the rest of your month (ok…probably most of it) you need to have content in place to be interesting, engaging and growing all of the time.
Planoly is my go-to tool for scheduling Instagram content in advance because it allows me to make sure I’m not scheduling three selfies all in one column and reminds me when I need to be posting. (Generally early in the morning or late at night when I’m not always focused on work + marketing stuff.)
Here’s a plan for an entire month of Instagram ideas that (BEST PART) you can totally repeat month after month after month.
1 | Your workspace: Take a wide shot of the whole thing, a close up of what you’re working on, and little details that include you, your face, or your hands.
2 | Your morning routine: What did you have for breakfast? Did you workout? Meditate? Chase the kids or dogs around the house? What makes your morning hella awesome or hella stressful?
3 | Currently reading / watching / listening to: I know you’re binging something on Netflix or just had a stack of books delivered from Amazon – tell us what you’re loving lately.
4 | Your latest blog post: Share one tip, a photo, a reader comment, the content upgrade, or a branded image.
5 | Something that helps you stay motivated: What gets you out of bed in the morning? Helps you stay energized? Reminds you to keep going on a regular basis?
6 | Your favorite spot / shop / restaurant: Where is the best place to grab lunch, brunch, or coffee if people come to your town?
7 | A selfie: The photos that get the most likes on my Instagram are always of my face. #truestory It feels narcissistic, do it anyway.
8 | Something that didn’t work: What’s the last thing you tried that was a total fail? Flaws make us human, and luckily, make other people feel more connected to us too.
9 | A promo for a product or service: Don’t forget to promote your own stuff. Last time I shared The Productive Solopreneur on my profile I made two sales!
10 | Favorite tools: What are your go-to tools, apps, resources to get the job done?
11 | Your WHY: You’re getting new followers all the time. Share why you started your blog or business.
12 | Something that matches your brand colors: Literally ANYTHING. Take photos of anything that matches your brand colors. Flowers, glassware, books, buildings. It’s an easy way to add content and keep your Instagram well branded.
13 | Feature a client/customer/reader: Who’s been rocking your courses, sharing your wares on their profile, or generally being awesome and supportive? Give them a personalized shout out.
14 | A tip or trick: Keep it simple. Something your followers can try today.
15 | A blog post from your archive: Don’t let your older posts sit there, waiting to be discovered. Dig up something awesome for your readers.
16 | Your goal for that day/week/month: What are you working on today or trying to accomplish in the near future?
17 | Ask your followers to share their opinion: On anything. Doesn’t have to relate directly to your niche. Maybe you’re wondering whether they prefer waffles or pancakes. (Waffles, definitely waffles)
18 | A reminder to join your email list: There’s no guarantee your Insta followers have made their way to your blog, other social platforms, or your list so they may be missing out on lots of good stuff. I like to let my Instagram peeps know what I’m going to be sending next week and remind them to get on the list so they don’t miss out.
19 | Someone you admire: Who has made a difference in your life? A teacher? Another blogger? Your sassy grandma who believes you’re never too old for glitter eye shadow? #agreed
20 | What you’re planning: Instagram is a great space to get your audience curious about what’s coming up. Give them a sneak peek at what you’re getting ready to share or launch.
21 | How people can connect with you elsewhere: Are you on Twitter, Pinterest, run a FB group? Tell your followers what you share and why they should join you over there too.
22 | A quote: The text doesn’t have to be on the image, but if it is, make your own image. Don’t just grab something from another Insta account.
23 | Something your audience should try: What’s something small your followers can try to overcome a challenge?
24 | Friends / family: Personal posts help your followers see the real you. So, who do you hang out with all day?
25 | Client / customer photos: Have your clients or customers shared a testimonial or photo of themselves using or benefitting from your blog posts, products, or services?
26 | Your experience / training: What makes you qualified to share what you share or do what you do? New followers might not yet know why they should trust + learn from you.
27 | Blast from the past: Show/share where you were before you got to where you are now.
28 | A giveaway: People love free stuff. Ask your followers to tag a friend in the comments and give them both something awesome.
29 | A recommendation: What’s something you learned recently that was really helpful?
30 | Introduce yourself: It’s good to do this every once in a while as you’ll gain new followers every day who think your Instagram profile is awesome, but have no idea who you are.
Now, not all of these things will work for all blogs, so feel free to repeat the things that work best for your blog/brand. You can probably rotate 10 of them and be good to go for months.
And if you’re worried about not having enough photos . . .
Take photos of EVERYTHING that matches your brand. The coffee mug at brunch, the wall on the way to the post office, your new swimsuit.
Head over to the Target dollar bins, T.J. Maxx/Marshalls, the office supply store and pick up a few knickknacks that match your brand. Photograph them on a shelf, table, or a piece of white foam core. I’ve been doing this for years and I have a pretty good stockpile for when I don’t have any photos to share. (If you’re not feeling great about your photo skills head over to this post)
DON’T wander Instagram, grabbing images you like. This is called stealing and your feed will end up looking like any random feed in any random niche and it will not help your audience feed connected and get to know YOU. Your profile should be all about you and your business/blog which means you have to take your own photos and create your own graphics.
The only exception to this rule is if someone has tagged you, photographed your product, or used your brand hashtag.
Lastly, schedule a date into your calendar to put on makeup, force your dog to sit for photos, make something appetizing-looking for lunch, and leave the house to shoot something other than office supplies. Bloggers with large Instagram followings don’t get there by accident. They plan and take photos purposely so they have something interesting to share every single day.
You (and I) can totally do it too!