With over 600 million users across the globe, Instagram is quickly becoming a focal point for businesses of all sizes who use social media.
600 million! That’s a huge number. And the impressive stats don’t stop there…
Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform and around half of its user base (more than 300 million people) use it every day.
Brands on Instagram are also seeing huge amounts of engagement on Instagram. According to Forrester Research, per-follower interaction rate is 2.3 percent- way above Facebook (0.2%) and Twitter (0.02%).
That all sounds incredible, right? But how do you find time to dedicate to growing your brand on Instagram? From planning and editing to posting and engaging with your followers, there’s a lot on your plate when it comes to Instagram marketing.
We’d love to help you achieve more with less on Instagram.
In this post, we’re sharing nine time-saving Instagram marketing tips to help you achieve incredible results with less time and effort.
Let’s get started.
Buffer for Instagram now comes with direct scheduling! Schedule single-image or video posts at your best times to grow your Instagram following. Learn more today.
1. Create Instagram posts on desktop instead of mobile
Thanks to the great amount of tools out there, social media management has become much easier than it was a few years ago. While Instagram still doesn’t allow publishing through its web application, there are many tools that allow you to create your Instagram posts on desktop first.
Creating Instagram posts on desktop can be a massive time saver. Here’s why:
- Creating and editing your photos and videos on your desktop can be much faster than doing so on your mobile.
- Most Instagram scheduling tools save you from the hassle of transferring your multimedia files from your desktop to your mobile.
With Buffer for Instagram, you can upload your photo or video and schedule a post on your desktop. Then we’ll either automatically post it for you or send you a notification at your chosen time.
If you’re preparing your Instagram posts on desktop, here are some useful images sizes to ensure your content always looks great:
- Square image: 1,080px in width by 1,080px in height
- Vertical image: 1,080px in width by 1,350px in height
- Horizontal image: 1,080px in width by 566px in height
Editor’s note: For more on the perfect images sizes for Instagram (and all other major social media channels) check out this post.
2. Repost quickly with permission
A study by marketing startup, Crowdtap, and the global research company, Ipsos, found that user-generated content is 35 percent more memorable and 50 percent more trusted than traditional and non-user-generated media.
A great way we’ve found to share user-generated content on Instagram is to repost images from our community. This strategy has helped us grow our Instagram following by 500 percent under six months. (If you want to learn how we find the best user-generated content for our account, here’s a short video by Brian Peters, our social media manager.)
A typical way of reposting an image after asking for permission looks something like this:
- Take a screenshot on your mobile
- Crop away everything apart from the image
- Copy and paste or type out the caption
- Add your own caption
- Finally, publish the user-generated content
Apps like Buffer and Repost allow you to skip all the tedious steps. Simply copy the Share URL of the Instagram post you want to repost and open the reposting app. The post, with both the image and original caption, will be generated for you in the app.
You can read more about how to repost in Instagram here.
Quick reminder: Before you repost, it is best to request permission from the original poster.
3. Plan the layout of your gallery
Instead of thinking about what you want to post every day on the day itself, a good approach might be to plan your posts with your overall social media strategy in mind.
Also, Instagram is becoming a curated platform where businesses and individuals only post their best photos according to specific themes instead of every photo they take. So, it’s important to have a well-curated and consistent profile gallery.
At Buffer, the themes we chose for our Instagram account are:
- User-generated content
- Digital nomad lifestyle
- Productivity and motivation
Knowing these in mind allows us to plan how we want our gallery to look like. Hope our gallery is giving off these vibes!
There are many Instagram planning tools out there that can help you with this. At Buffer, this is one of the top requests we hear for Buffer for Instagram. So now, we have a grid preview feature on our Business plans!
4. Use tools to separate content creation and engagement
One of the most common productivity advice is to do one thing at a time.
Research by New York University business professor, Sophie Leroy, discovered that there’s a cost to switching your attention from one task to another — even if the switch is brief. Whenever our brains switch to a new task, the old task leaves an “attention residue” that reduces our cognitive performance for a non-trivial amount of time.
Multitasking actually causes us to take a longer time to complete all the tasks because our brains have to constantly switch between those tasks.
(Image by Dean Yeong)
For Instagram marketing, there are usually two main things you would do:
- Creating or scheduling content
- Responding to comments and engaging with others
It is easy to be distracted by the notifications when you only want to publish a post.
A trick can be to use a tool solely for scheduling so that you can focus on creating content when you want to. Then, when you are in the Instagram app, you can focus on replying and engaging.
Taking this a step further, you could…
5. Create a week’s worth of posts in one go
Batching is a popular time management technique that aims to maximize concentration and increase productivity. The idea is to do similar tasks that require similar resources together.
Cal Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown University and author of Deep Work, experimented with a day when he forced himself to batch tasks. He found that while batching was tough, his quality of work increased because he was able to focus on them for a good amount of time:
I ended up spending 2.5 hours focused on my writing project and 3.5 hours focused on my research paper. That’s six hours, in one day, of focused work with zero interruptions; not even one quick glance at email.
At the same time, the careful pre-planning required to satisfy my batching rules increased the efficiency of my small task completion. Even though I dedicated 6 hours in one 10 hour work day to uninterrupted focus, another 1.5 hours to exercise and eating, and another 1 hour to a doctors appointment, I still managed to accomplish an impressive collection of logistical tasks both urgent and non-urgent.
Taking this technique to Instagram marketing, it could mean grouping content creation and scheduling together instead of creating and publishing posts on a daily basis or even several times a day. Creating the posts from scratch on a daily basis can be very interruptive to your schedule.
Here are some things you can try:
- Plan a photo-taking session to take multiple photos that can be used for a series of Instagram posts
- Create and edit all the images you want to post for the upcoming week altogether since you are already in the image editor
- Upload all the images onto a scheduling tool and add captions to all of them in one setting
The additional benefit of creating a week’s worth of posts at a go is that your Instagram posts will be more consistent as you will be thinking ahead.
6. Schedule time to engage
Another task you can batch is responding and engaging with others on Instagram. By batching them and scheduling the time to do that, you gain control over your schedule instead of being dictated by notifications.
In the experiment above, professor and author, Cal Newport set himself a simple rule:
All work must be done in blocks of at least 30 minutes. If I start editing a paper, for example, I have to spend at least 30 minutes editing. If I need to complete a small task, like handing in a form, I have to spend at least 30 minutes doing small tasks. Crucially, checking email and looking up information online count as small tasks. If I need to check my inbox or grab a quick stat from the web, I have to spend at least 30 minutes dedicated to similarly small diversions.
Here’s what you can try:
- Turn off notifications for your Instagram account.
- Schedule 30 minutes to an hour on your calendar every day to reply to comments, like, and comment on your followers’ posts.
- You could also schedule up to a few sessions like this in a day if you want to have a faster response time on Instagram.
This will prevent the notifications from disrupting your day when you are working on other tasks.
7. Prepare commonly used hashtags in an Evernote note
After analyzing over 65,000 social media posts for their study on hashtags, TrackMaven found that:
Instagram posts with nine hashtags perform best, with an average engagement of 28,548 interactions per post.
While engagement starts to decrease after this peak, posts with more than nine hashtags still have higher engagement than posts with fewer than eight hashtags. This suggests that on Instagram, it’s always better to err on the side of more hashtags rather than fewer.
However, typing nine or more hashtags every time you want to publish a post can be very time-consuming. A solution is to create a few sets of commonly used hashtags for different themes in an Evernote note or your preferred note-taking app.
It could look something like this:
This way, you can simply copy and paste the hashtags without having to re-type them every time. Then, you can also add more hashtags that are specific to each post.
If you are creating the post using a desktop (as mentioned in the first tip above), this process becomes even easier as it is much faster to copy and paste on the desktop than to switch between apps on mobile, selecting, copying, and pasting the hashtags.
8. Use the same filter and/or edits
Here’s another trick to help you save time and create a consistent profile gallery: use the same filter and/or edits for most — or even all — your images.
A lot of the time spent on publishing an Instagram post is usually spent on editing the image. By using the same filter and/or edits for every image, you can drastically reduce the editing time. This not only saves you time but also helps to keep your Instagram posts consistent.
If you use a photo editing application on your desktop like Lightroom, you can save a filter and the edits as a custom template.
If you prefer to edit your photos on your mobile, apps like VSCO or Instagram itself allows you to rearrange the filters and toolkits so that the most commonly used options appear first. VSCO even allows you to copy the edits made on one image and paste them onto other images.
9. Repurpose posts on other platforms for Instagram (and vice versa)
Your Instagram posts don’t have to exist on Instagram only, and that’s the same for your other social media content.
Instead of re-creating new content for each social media platform, you could repurpose your posts on other platforms for Instagram and vice versa. This increases the impact of your content and saves you time from creating new content.
A great example is Gary Vaynerchuk’s VaynerTalent Content Machine framework:
His strategy is to record a video or audio every week and turn it into four long-form articles and 40 social media images. The concept is that a Facebook or YouTube video can be turned into numerous multi-media content for all other platforms. I think this is a great way to make full use of your content.
Using Buffer, you can easily schedule the content you have made for other social media platforms for Instagram as well. For example, if you have created a short clip for Facebook, you can also cross-post it onto your Instagram profile.
Similarly, you can do it the other way round. If you have prepared a photo for an Instagram post, you can also schedule it for your other social media profiles.
Over to you
And that’s the nine time-saving Instagram marketing tips to help you achieve results for your business with less time and effort. As a recap, here are the nine tips:
- Create Instagram posts on desktop instead of mobile
- Repost quickly with permission
- Plan how you want your gallery to look like
- Use a tool to separate content creation and engagement
- Create a week’s worth of posts at a go
- Schedule time to engage
- Prepare commonly used hashtags in an Evernote note
- Use the same filter and edits
- Repurpose posts on other platforms for Instagram (and vice versa)
Are there any productivity tips you have for fellow Instagram marketers?
It’d be great to hear from you!
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