The Ultimate Instagram Hack
Three Tools to be Twice as Effective in Half the Time
Instagram can be a very powerful tool to help anyone reach a large audience for a relatively low cost but, like many of us running a small business or start-up, it’s not always easy to give your Instagram account the time and energy it needs to be successful.
In the process of trying to understand how to be as efficient as possible when running my own small business, @pinlord, as well as talking to countless of other Instagram-enthusiasts about the issues they encounter when managing their accounts, I’ve noticed three main efficiency pain-points that most of us come across:
1. Content planning and creation is very time consuming. Well executed grid visuals is one of the most important factors when it comes to increasing your audience growth, but the process of continually planning your Instagram’s “look”, as well as creating the content to execute that at a high level, can take up a lot of time.
2. Staying consistent with day to day posting schedules disrupts your work-flow. It’s essential to post often and to be consistent with posting times to get noticed on Instagram. The problem is that figuring out a system to remind yourself when to post and having to stop everything you’re doing several times a day to stick to that schedule is very disruptive to your work-flow.
3. Optimizing content to increase engagement is not an easy nut to crack. With Instagram’s constant algorithm tweaking, the way content is surfaced to your audience is continually changing, which usually lowers engagement rates and negatively impacts business. The problem is that it’s not always easy to identify what has changed and how to adapt your content to best coincide with those changes.
If you’re dealing with similar issues, as a lot of us are, here are three tools you can use to help alleviate those pain-points and be twice as effective in half the time:
UNUM is an Instagram grid planner that facilitates your content visualization and creation process. It imports your last 20 Instagram images so you can then upload and rearrange photos of future posts, which allows you to easily plan out your layout and ensure top-notch visuals. Best of all, it’s free.
- How to use it: If you already have content prepared, just upload your photos to the grid and drag and drop to find your ideal grid visuals. If you’re in the planning stage and haven’t shot all of your content yet, I’d recommend using inspiration imagery you find online as placeholders and use those to test different variations of what your feed might look like. Once you find a layout that you’re happy with, it’ll be much simpler for you to be efficient when creating your content because you’ll know exactly what you need to shoot and how it should look. In addition to this, when you have the tools to plan out your grid for several days or even weeks in advance, you can set a couple of hours aside one day per week to shoot everything all-at-once, instead of having to frequently improvise what you’re going to post each day/making the time to shoot it/executing that well, etc. That process tends to be very inefficient and makes it much harder for you to have a consistent and visually appealing grid.
- Option B: Planoly is another product that also solves this problem. They have web browser accessibility (UNUM does not), which might work best for your work-flow. I’d recommend also trying them out.
OnlyPult makes it painless for you to stick to your daily posting schedule by allowing you to create and schedule your posts from your web browser and then uploads them directly to your Instagram, so you don’t have to. Using OnlyPult in combination with UNUM has streamlined my workflow enough to cut my Instagram hours in half, so the $12/month price-tag is well worth it. Another benefit is that Onlypult will make it effortless for you to post more often and test out different types of content, which will help you grow faster.
- How to use it: Once you plan out your Instagram feed days or weeks in advance through your UNUM grid, set aside one morning to upload all your photos, create the captions for each and schedule the days/times you’ll post them through your OnlyPult account. Within an hour or less, you can schedule all of your week’s posts and not have to worry about uploading to Instagram on the daily. That is A LOT of time saved. Also, make sure to take advantage of their “Add first comment” feature to include your 30 hashtags in the first comment of each of post (they don’t show up on people’s feeds that way), as well as the “Photo tag” option so you don’t have to do it by hand through your Instagram app.
Now that you have the tools to significantly lower your time per post, having accurate and timely data about how your audience responds to those posts is necessary to optimize your engagement and growth over time.
Instagram Insights is by far the best option for this since it’s free, accessible directly through your account and will give you engagement numbers that are correct and comparable across all of your posts over time (most other 3rd party data options aren’t as accurate). Paired with a grid planner (UNUM) and an efficient post automation tool (OnlyPult), it’ll be the only source of information you’ll need to to have your finger on the pulse of what your audience wants and tailor your content around that, in a timely manner.
- How to use it: This one is easy. Check your insights as often as possible, measure what content gets the best engagement and plan your future content based on that! To compare effectively, use the “Posts” section of your insights and filter by “All”, then “Engagement” and “30 days” to be able to see which of your posts received the highest engagement. Over time, you’ll find certain common characteristics within the posts that get the highest engagement, which will help you give your audience more of what they want in the future. Are they being posted at similar times? Do they touch upon a specific topic? Do they look a certain way? This is all very valuable information and should act as the blueprint for the content you’re publishing.
Now that you know what each of these tools does, use them together for optimal results!
Evaluate your Instagram Insights engagement data to identify what type of content your audience likes and then use your UNUM visual planner to visualize how that content should look to increase your Instagram’s visual appeal. Once you know exactly what your posts will look like days or weeks in advance, you can shoot everything at once and then set aside a few hours one day of the week to create the captions and schedule posting times for all of your content. Now, instead of having to worry about when and what you’ll post each day, Onlypult will take care of that for you, freeing up time to focus on other parts of your business.
Over time, this process (Instagram Insights → UNUM → Onlypult → Instagram Insights) will help you be twice as effective on Instagram in half the time.