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How to Plan Your Instagram Content (Step-By-Step Guide)

We’re breaking down the various ways for you to plan your Instagram content in advance to save you time, energy, and make the most out of your Instagram content.

Posted 2 months ago
plan your instagram feed

Written by

Mackenzie Taylor
Posted 2 months ago

So you’ve got the whole month ahead of you and instead of waiting until the last minute to create content like you normally do, you’re looking at actually planning content in advance … without spending hours at your laptop. While it might seem impossible to do, let us tell you that it’s actually a lot simpler than you think. 🤯 Seriously. Finding time to plan, schedule out, and make sure each of your posts and content is optimized to the best of your ability can be a timely process, but it doesn’t have to be! We’re breaking down the various ways for you to plan your Instagram content in advance to save you time and energy, and help you make the most out of your Instagram content.

Jump to a section ✨

  1. Plan out your feed’s style📆
    • Aspects of visual consistency

Plan out your feed’s style📆

Ugh, the planning process for making sure your Instagram account is mapped out and looks good to go for the month is usually the longest part. If you have a style guide already for your account, fall back on that and create content that reflects that style.

As Instagram is a visual platform, making sure that your branding is consistent across the board is very important! While the photo dump (AKA: uncurated curation) is a huge trend right now, making sure that your followers know who you are as a brand, biz, or content creator is necessary! What will they get from following you? Show them that through your content.

airbnb instagram content

For instance, Airbnb’s feed mostly consists of beautiful, high-quality shots of different homes or buildings across the globe. This encourages people to follow them if they enjoy photography, travel inspiration, or have a case of wanderlust.

Plan out Instagram content so that your audience is going to like what they see, based on what they have engaged with in the past. Being sure to stay consistent and on-brand will help you create bulk content and plan out your feed more quickly.

Aspects of visual consistency

Ensuring your Instagram feed has a core theme, such as the example of Airbnb focusing on buildings, is one aspect of visual consistency — but it’s not the only thing you should pay attention to.

Other factors to consider include:

  • Colors
  • Filters
  • Fonts
  • Content pattern (e.g., making every third post an infographic)
  • Whether you use emojis in your captions
  • Tone and formatting in your captions

Using an app like Canva, which gives you templates and allows you to add a visual style guide for your brand, can make it easier to plan the visuals for your Instagram.

instagram caption

Create good and engaging captions ✍️

Creating bulk captions should be a must-do when planning out Instagram content for the month. Make sure you nail down your brand voice (find out more here) and write something that people want to actually engage with.

Long gone are the days of being able to post a photo with a string of emojis for your caption (also, that could be a terrible idea for people who are visually impaired and want to interact with your content). The longer caption is officially in, which means putting more thought into your captions. One study found that the largest proportion of Instagram posts (35.8%) use more than 300 characters — chances are that they’re on to something.

The question is: How are you going to get people to engage? By asking a question? Making a bold statement? Encouraging your audience to take an action?

Anytime you add a call-to-action (CTA) to your caption, you will receive more interaction as it prompts your audience to comment or engage with you.

Types of captions

Still scratching your head trying to figure out what you should be writing in your captions? 🤔

Here are the main types to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Educational 🧑‍🎓— teach your audience something new that’s relevant to your industry or offering.
  • Quotes 💬 — this could be an analysis from an expert, something humorous from a celebrity, or whatever else you can think up.
  • Call to action 💸 — encourage your audience to buy a product or service, sign up for something, follow you on other social media, etc.
  • Behind the scenes (BTS) 🤫— offer a sneak peek of what was happening at the moment the photo was taken.
  • Asking your audience a question ❓— this is a great way to get engagement in the comment sections.
  • Jokes 😆— humorous captions often go down well if they’re on-brand.
  • Industry news 📰 — any interesting reports or news stories published recently? Give them a mention.
  • Business or personal updates 📜— such as your opening hours during a holiday period or reaching a new milestone.


Use relevant hashtags #️⃣

One of the best things when planning out your Instagram content is to consider your hashtags. With hashtags, you can reach more people by finding and using relevant hashtags that correlate to your content.

Mind-blowing, I know.

After planning out your feed and writing a great caption, start looking for hashtags for your post. Instead of throwing up random hashtags while you’re out to dinner with friends because you just need to post something, researching hashtags and using ones that will let IG know what your content is about is important!

The Instagram Creators account advises keeping the number of hashtags between 3-5 instead of going for quantity over quality — so identifying the right hashtags is crucial.

Instead of taking shots in the dark, consider using a dedicated tool. You can get a 7-day free trial with Flick to find and research the best hashtags for your content. Our Instagram hashtag search helps you find the best hashtags for your account depending on performance and competition, and then tracks which ones work the best for you so you can finetune your approach over time.

active times instagram online

Know the best time to post ⏰

One of the best reasons to plan out your content in advance is knowing the exact best time to post to get higher engagement and reach on your content.

For example, Search Engine Journal has found that the following are the best times to post:

  • Monday: 6 am, 11 am, or 1 pm
  • Tuesday: 8-10 am or 2 pm
  • Wednesday: 9-11 am
  • Thursday: 11-2 pm or 7 pm
  • Friday: 10-12 pm or 2-4 pm
  • Saturday: 8-11 am
  • Sunday: 6-8 pm

But how do you personalize this to the activity of your own following? There are a couple of ways you can do this. By heading to your Instagram Insights, you can see what time of day the largest proportion of your followers is active on IG. You can also break it down by which day of the week they are more active, and plan your weekly and monthly content around those days and times.

If you have a Flick account, you can also check the breakdown of how many of your followers are online by the hour each and every day. With this information, you can figure out the exact time to schedule your content when the most amount of your followers are active and ready to engage!

However, bear in mind that having more followers online doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get more engagement — that will depend partly on the kinds of followers they are. So, figuring out the best posting times can take some trial and error.


Instagram Analytics

Grow your account with best-in-class Instagram Analytics.


Know your audience 👯

When it comes to planning out your content, knowing what content your audience wants is an important step. You don’t want to post something that they won’t engage with or what’s the point of posting something online?

So get to know your audience! One of the easiest ways to do this is by checking your analytics and checking the general demographics of your followers. Where do they live? How old are they?

To do this, simply head to the Instagram Insights tab, which contains demographic information about every account you’ve reached (including cities, genders, and ages) and the same info for your followers.

You can also take a peek at your audience by clicking through some of your followers and getting a better understanding of who they are. What kind of content are they posting on their own accounts? Can you gauge their interests based on their bios or any hashtags they’re following?

Gathering up as much data as you can is a helpful way to know how you should approach your own marketing strategy and build out your Instagram account.

User personas

If you want to take things one step further, you can even use this information to build user personas: A representation of your typical user that you can use to help you understand the needs of your audience and tailor content to them. This may include:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Job
  • Education level
  • Values
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Daily routine
  • Pain points

Use a variety of content (Reels, photos, carousels, etc) 📸

While it is a lot easier to make only one type of content for your account, it’s not going to help you grow. So when planning out your content for the week/month, think about the variety of content you can make.

When you plan your Instagram content, make sure there is enough variety in your feed. If you have a static image one day, try a Reel the next. Give your audience something new to look forward to instead of them expecting the same kind of content from you over and over again and possibly getting a bit … bored. Variety is the spice of life so add that variety to your content plan!

Here’s a complete list of content types for you to experiment with:

  • 📸Photos: This one needs a little explaining. Add some stunning, high-quality photos to your feed.
  • 🧑‍🎓Infographics/text: Posting images doesn’t always mean photos. You may also want to experiment with infographics or text posts.
  • 📕Carousels: Treat your followers to a selection of images to tell a story, or multiple infographics/text posts to inform to the max.
  • 🛒Shopping: Shopping posts are just like images, but with the added feature of placing shopping links to products in the images.
  • 🎥Videos: Videos can be between one to ten minutes long and can be a great way for your audience to get to know you better.
  • 📺IGTV: If you want to share even longer-form content, add some IGTV videos, which can be up to 60 minutes long.
  • 🎞 Reels: Perfect for short, catchy, or humorous videos (a la TikTok).


Also, think about how you can repurpose other content you’ve made in the past into something new. This is much faster than having to start from scratch each time, and it’s an ingenious way of breathing new life into old content without being overly repetitive.

Plus, it allows you to appeal to a different type of user — different generations or personalities might prefer different mediums.

i.e. Say you made a static post that did really well. Is there a way you can use the content of that post and create a Reel or carousel? Utilizing the variety of different ways you can make content on Instagram will majorly help you with growing your account.

flick overview

Check your analytics 📈

After you start posting your content, it’s important to look at the analytics. How is your content doing? Are people actually engaging with it? Did your hashtags rank at all? Are you getting a lot of likes or comments?

Reviewing your results will help you better optimize your content for the future. You’ll be able to notice the things that work for your audience and know what things turn your audience off.

For example, you may notice that your reels are getting a lot of shares and engagement, while your long-form videos aren’t getting much love. This could be a signal that you need to post more reels and fewer long videos — or that it could be worth experimenting with different themes for those videos.

Where should you check your analytics? You can head to your Instagram and check the insights from each individual post by clicking “view insights” under the image. You can also head to your Flick account and measure your results there. You’ll see how many people your post reached, how many impressions you’ve received, which specific hashtags your post ranked on, and so much more.

Use a content calendar 📅

Once you’ve figured out who you’re targeting with your content and you’ve started to put some thought into content types, captions, and your visuals, you’re ready to pull together your content calendar. This is a plan that states when you’re going to make different posts.

Many people find it easier to sit down and plan out dozens of posts for the months ahead in one sitting than to have to think about their content every single week.

This way, you can also ensure that your content coincides with relevant dates (e.g., Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day), as well as relevant dates for your company’s marketing calendar like product launches or events.

Some accounts like to choose themes for different months (e.g., Educational September) or days of the week (such as “Meme Monday) to make it easier to come up with ideas. Just remember to refer back to your analytics and user persona(s) to guide you.

Schedule posts in advance ⏱

Creating a content calendar and researching the best times to post is only useful if you’re able to stick to the times you planned. Something as simple as making an Instagram post from something you’ve already saved in your drafts may not sound particularly onerous, but life often gets in the way. Why take the risk?

instagram scheduler with flick

That’s where Flick can help. Flick has an Instagram Post Scheduler that also helps you choose the optimal times to post and make last-minute changes on the fly. Plus, you’ll be able to see a grid preview of what your feed will look like after you post so you can work out if your visuals will have the desired effect.

Use Instagram stories 📱

There’s more to Instagram than just the feed. Instagram Stories can be a great way to share more casual content (such as memes or behind-the-scenes videos before product launches).

They’re also a great way to engage with your audience as you can use features such as Q&As or polls. For instance, if you’re an eCommerce brand, you could send out a poll the day before Black Friday to ask your users if they’ll be participating in the sales. It’s fun for everyone and even gives you some insight into your audience.

Although Instagram stories have a lifespan of just 24 hours, you can save them as highlights on your profile. This has the added bonus of giving your follower something extra to look at when they browse your profile — especially if you arrange them thematically like this example from Shein below.

instagram story highlights

Encourage user-generated content 🧑

It can be overwhelming to constantly come up with new post ideas, but we’re about to let you in on a little secret: Not all of your content has to be 100% original.

User-generated content (UGC) is anything that’s created by your followers and shared by you. That doesn’t mean that you should randomly head to one of your follower’s accounts and repost a picture of them heading out to lunch with their family — generally, you should post pictures you’ve been tagged in. That might mean someone sharing their experience about your coaching sessions, or styling your boots.

As well as being good for you, this can be a good way to engage with your audience and encourage them to make more posts about you or your products. What’s not to like?

For instance, tuftandneedle reposted a photo from one of their customers showing their duvet cover.

user generated content duvet

Skyrocket your Instagram with Flick

A well-thought-out Instagram account might look effortless, but the reality is anything but. To achieve success on the app, you need to invest some serious time into researching, analyzing, and planning your content.

Did you know you can start planning and scheduling all of your content on Flick’s very own scheduler? It’s true! Our easy-to-use scheduler is here and we’ve been working hard on making it the most reliable scheduler on the market. Learn more about our scheduler and try it out today!


Instagram scheduler

Start scheduling with Flick!


Plan out your feed’s style📆

Create good and engaging captions ✍️

Use relevant hashtags #️⃣

Know the best time to post ⏰

Know your audience 👯

Use a variety of content (Reels, photos, carousels, etc) 📸

Check your analytics 📈

Use a content calendar 📅

Schedule posts in advance ⏱

Use Instagram stories 📱

Encourage user-generated content 🧑

Skyrocket your Instagram with Flick

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