Instagram marketing is an essential piece of most small business marketing plans. Used by one billion users each month, Instagram is not just for teenagers and selfies. According to a user survey, 60 percent of Instagram users say they discover new products on Instagram. More than 200 million users visit at least one business profile daily (based on internal Instagram data).
These stats are compelling reasons to incorporate Instagram marketing into your business plan. Although it’s most popular with younger (18-29-year-old) users, 47 percent of those between the ages of 30 and 49 also use Instagram, and even the 50- 64-year-old age group is represented with 23 percent. These older age groups are worth considering, as they may have more buying power than the younger groups.
This post assumes you have an existing Instagram business account, and that you are actively using Instagram marketing as part of your social media strategy.
As with your other social media profiles, sooner or later you’ll need to use scheduling software to streamline your Instagram marketing. My favorite tool for Instagram is Planoly. I use the free version, which allows you to connect both Pinterest and Instagram. You are limited to 30 uploads each month, which makes it difficult if you post daily and want to use both. The paid plan, billed annually at $7/month and monthly at $9/month, adds advanced analytics, image filters, best times to post and other helpful features.
How to Organize Your Instagram Marketing with Planoly
Planoly has both a web interface and an app. I use the web interface for planning my posts and use the app when I’m on the go and want to post something quickly.
The first thing you’ll notice in the web interface is your Instagram grid on the side of the page. It shows your previous posts and how many likes and comments each generated.
In the center of the left column, you see a plus icon and Add to Grid. This is where you’ll add your images — you have several options, from Dropbox to your computer. You can upload (up to 30 on the free plan) your images and drag and drop to arrange them how you like on your grid.
To schedule a post, click on an unscheduled image or drag it onto the calendar on the right side on the appropriate date. This dialog box will pop up and prompt you to add a time for your post. Before you schedule your posts, check your Instagram Insights to see what time your followers are most active — it may vary with different days of the week.
Once you’ve chosen your scheduled time, click on the Hashtag icon at the middle right of the scheduling box. This will open up your hashtag lists. If you haven’t already, set up hashtag lists — of course, Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post. You may have different lists for different types of posts. You can add lists here and edit them. This is my favorite Planoly feature and why I always use Planoly to post from my phone — it’s so easy to add the hashtag lists I’ve already created.
More About Social Media
You can set Planoly to post automatically to Instagram, rather than the old way, which would send a notification and you would post manually. To autopost to Facebook and Twitter requires a paid plan.
Under the image on the left side of the scheduling box, you’ll see a location icon that you can click to add location. You can also swap the image, tag other users, or crop the image (it must be square to autopost). The paid plan allows you to add filters here, and you can add your hashtags in the first comment if you like.
Once you’ve scheduled your images, you can click Scheduled at the top of the left column to see what your grid will look like when your images post.
It Works With Stories, Too
One-third of the most-viewed stories on Instagram are from businesses, and 62 percent of users say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories, so if you’re not using them regularly, you’re missing opportunities to connect with followers on a deeper level.
To create a story in Planoly, click Add Story at the top of the left column. Upload the images you want to use, then click on each image to add draft captions or notes on what you want to include in the story. Note that Instagram does not support autopost for stories at this time, so you’ll have to get the reminder and post manually. This actually works out well, as you’ll no doubt want to add elements to your stories before you post them anyway.
in the Add Story dialog box, you’ll be asked if you want to upload your images as separate stories or as a carousel. Choose Carousel, then make notes your notes on each image. You’ll be able to paste those notes and edit them when you post.
The mobile app lets you add and schedule posts from your phone or tablet. You can look at analytics, view your grid, add stories and feed posts, and view your history. It offers all the features of the web interface and is easy to use.
The ability to save my hashtag groups and have them in the app while I’m away from my computer makes this app a necessity for me.
Planoly and Instagram Marketing
Planoly and Buffer are my two go-to apps for social media scheduling. If you’re serious about Instagram, you need a planning app to help you plan the appearance of your grid and schedule posts in advance.
Although I tried a couple other services for Instagram scheduling, I came back to Planoly primarily because of the ease of using the hashtag groups.
Note: I’m not associated with Planoly in any way, other than being a satisfied user, and I get no compensation for this post or any other I may publish about Planoly.