One of the most popular social media platforms for boutiques and shops is Instagram.
With the visual aspect of Instagram, you can imagine why boutiques and shops would want to be on there — it’s a great place to show off your products. But with all of these possibilities, it can get a little overwhelming with figuring out what to post on Instagram and what to say in the caption.
There’s no one size fits all answer, but determining an Instagram strategy can help you out for your sure!
Step 1: How often are you going to post?
I think the biggest mistake you can make with your Instagram is just posting when you feel like it. Why is this bad? Because people tend to think they’ve posted more than they really have. So even though you think the last time you posted was two days ago, it really was 2 weeks ago.
I like to use squarelovin.com to look at optimization times, also refered to as the best times to post. Here’s a screenshot of what my optimization chart currently looks like.
I check up on these stats every few weeks to see what’s changed and then just focus solely on when the best times for me to post are because I’d rather post when my audience is more likely to be highly engaged with my content and guess what — you should want that too!
Step 2: Where do you want your Instagram followers to end up?
Two things can happen when someone lands on your Instagram account, they can either follow you or click the link in your bio. What we really want them to do is click on that link, so make sure that link is working and make sure it’s good. Don’t tell someone to buy the newest fall boots in your shop, but the link still refers to your summer dresses. Don’t tell someone to go check out your new arrivals, but your links sends them to your sales page.
Ideally, your end game (that clickable link in your profile picture) should be leading to products your audience can purchase, but what’s just as important is getting them on your e-mail list. So in case, they didn’t finish checking out their purchase, you already have their e-mail address and you can send them a reminder about the products in their cart or information about your next promotions.
Step 3: What kind of pictures does your audience want to see?
What pictures does your audience like more? Flatlay images or lifestyle images? Impromptu behind the scenes photos or highly stylized photos?
Check into your audience and start taking more pictures of the content they want to see! You want to capture their attention.
A few ideas for picture content:
1. Flatlays with on brand backgrounds (If you’re branding a lot of white space, try marble looking background. If it has a lot of colors, try a solid pop of color.)
2. Lifestyle images with you as or a friend as a model.
3. Collaborations with a brand influencer or blogger.
4. Behind the scenes images of getting new arrivals or setting up a photoshoot.
Keep in mind the where you want your customers to go after they interact with you on Instagram to help you decide on what kind of pictures you want to share. If you’re sharing a collaboration with a blogger, maybe you want them to read a new blog post. If you show a Throwback Thursday picture of samples of your new products, then you want to give them a link that will take them to where they can buy those new products.
Step 4: What story are you going to tell your audience?
You’ve captivated your audience with a beautiful picture, but what else can you share with them?
Can you tell them a behind the scenes story that goes along with that picture? Can you talk about hanging out with blogger during your photoshoot?
You want to be authentic with your followers and get them to relate with you and your business. People want to buy from businesses that they trust, so start gaining their trust on your Instagram right from the get go.
While a pretty picture captivates your audience, a caption keeps them involved with your content.
So now that you know the four steps to developing your strategy, how can you actually plan this content out?
My favorite way to plan out my Instagram content is with a spreadsheet like this one.
And you can create your exact own! I personally keep mine in a Google Docs spreadsheet for easy access no matter where I am, but you can use Excel. You just need to include your optimized space, type of content (or the end goal — you’ll see in my spreadsheet, I want to refer to my e-mail list some days and my new blog post on other days), picture content and your caption.
When I plan out my Instagram content, I also include a list of hashtags I want to use with that post as well as the link I’m going to use in my Instagram bio (also relating to my end goal).
Get access to your own Instagram spreadsheet right here — hey, one less thing for you to do right? You’ll not only get access to my Instagram spreadsheet that I use to plan out my own content, but you’ll also get access to how I’m able to plan out Facebook and Twitter for an entire week in just an hour and how I automate Pinterest too. Grab your spreadsheet and Super Simple Social Media Guide here.