When I first started using Instagram, I got into the habit of taking a photo just about every day. Later, as I started posting for my professional accounts and for clients, I realized that my current methods for posting and engaging were time consuming. I needed to be an Instagrammer with great strategy and great time management.
Here are the five Instagram timesaving tips that saved me hours in the long run.
1. Plan content ahead of time
It seems simple: take a few minutes each day to think of something clever, create the post, and publish it. However, as your business grows, you can’t keep doing everything in the moment. I changed my tune and started thinking ahead. What content am I going to post this week? Will I have a theme? What do my customers need? What do my clients’ audiences need?
It takes less time to plan out a week’s worth of posts than it does to start thinking about content every time I need a post. It may seem like the parts add up to the whole when it comes to how much time you take to create each post, but working on content in batches instead of one-by-one really does save a lot of time.
What helps is to use an Instagram scheduling tool. Currently, Instagram scheduling tools cannot post for you. They send an alert to your phone and load content into Instagram for you, but then you must publish manually. Different tools approach scheduling in different ways. Later and Planoly both show a visual representation of what your content stream will look like once all scheduled posts go out. They also have a calendar view so you can drag posts from one day to another. Agorapulse also has a calendar feature with the same drag-and-drop simplicity for rearranging content. The tool has both week and month views. In addition to scheduling, you can use the “queue” feature and the tool will auto-schedule content for you (much like what Buffer does for Twitter). Crowdfire allows you to schedule content for a specific time or a “best” time that it determines.
2. Use a tool to separate comments from likes
A mistake I made early on was my effort to find comments directly on Instagram, where comments and likes are jumbled together as they occur chronologically. I would spend time scrolling through likes to find the comments and respond to them. As the number of my followers grows, and as the amount of engagements increases, replying on Instagram isn’t scalable.
It helps to use a tool for this. Agorapulse allows me to see just comments in an inbox-style feed and get to “inbox zero.” I can reply to comments and mark them as reviewed so I know which comments I have addressed.
3. Don’t type captions with your thumbs
When you’re typing on a tiny screen with your thumbs, you’re losing valuable time. Even if you’re a fast texter, adding hashtags and even going back through some text to edit words can be a pain. Typing captions on a laptop or desktop keyboard is a great way to save time, especially if you’re already using a tool like Later, Planoly, Agorapulse, or Crowdfire to plan content.
If you’re not keen on adding yet another tool to your social media toolbox, you can even use Evernote to type text ahead of time, then open the Evernote app on your phone to copy and paste text into the Instagram app.
Another way to save time is to use the voice-to-text feature on your phone. (Most phones have the little microphone icon on the keyboard to activate voice-to-text.). Dictating a caption saves some time, and then you just have to add your hashtags afterward. If you’re working with just your phone, you might buy a small Bluetooth keyboard to type straight into the Instagram app.
4. Organize your photos
Have you ever wanted to post a certain photo on Instagram, and you find yourself scrolling through your camera roll to find it? Those days are over. Set up an album where you can save photos you’d like to use on Instagram. If you’re on an iPhone, this might mean an iOS album. This is a helpful tactic for quickly pulling photos into apps for editing and adding text, such as Over or VSCO.
Since I like to plan ahead (as I pointed out in #1 of this list), using an Instagram planning and scheduling tool like Later is even better because you can host your images in the tool and schedule them from there. Later will separate “unused media” (images you haven’t scheduled yet) from “used media” (images you’ve already scheduled), and will allow you to add labels to your images so that you can find specific types of images quickly.
Whether you choose an iPhone album, Later, or another tool, separating your Instagram-worthy content from the rest of your photos can help you find content quickly.
5. Carefully monitor your engagement and metrics
Opening the Instagram app every time your phone notifies you that you got a like or a comment is similar to trying to work while keeping one eye on your email client and reading each email while it comes in. If you’re constantly distracted by each engagement as it happens, you’ll never get anything done.
It’s also not a great way to be aware of your success; the metrics are coming to you in the form of anecdotal evidence and you won’t see the whole picture. One tip is to turn off your phone notifications (on the iPhone you could turn off banners and alerts, but turn on the badge app icon). Then set times to engage and review metrics. You could do this once per day or multiple times per day, depending on how many comments your Instagram profile receives and at what frequency.
Review your analytics on a weekly and monthly basis to take note of trends you can learn from. What types of content, hashtags, and times of day lead to the most engagement? When did you get the most clicks on the link in your profile? Schedule a time to review your analytics.
What Instagram timesaving tips do you find useful? Where do you feel like you’re wasting the most time? Share your thoughts in the comments.