← Back to Blog

How to Plan Instagram Content: 6 Tips for Captions, Stories, & More!

Are you wondering how to plan Instagram content in advance, without spending hours at your laptop? You’re not alone!

For busy brands and businesses trying to leave their mark on Instagram, finding time to prepare, schedule, strategize, and optimize your Instagram content can be very difficult.

Luckily, there are several ways to streamline your process and save time while planning Instagram posts and stories!

Ready to win back some time? Check out these top tips on how to plan Instagram content for your feed!

How to Plan Instagram Content Tip #1: Curate Your Instagram Feed 2-3 Weeks in Advance

While there’s no right or wrong way to plan your content, making sure your Instagram feed is planned in advance is non-negotiable in our eyes!

Instagram Strategy for Small Business: Vitruvi Business Aesthetic

Creating a cohesive Instagram aesthetic for your feed is one of the best things you can do to level-up your strategy, boost your engagement, and gain more followers. And if you really want to deliver a feed that wows, you need to start thinking in ‘grid’ format and start planning your Instagram posts about 2 or 3 weeks in advance.

This way, you’ll be able to easily see what your images look like side by side, on top of and below one another, and even diagonally across. What’s important is that you start looking at your feed from all angles, so you can easily plan what and when to post to Instagram.

One of the easiest ways to do this is with a tool like Later’s Visual Planner. It allows you to quickly drag and drop your photos and videos around your feed so you can select the layout that looks best. Plus, once you’re happy with the way your future feed looks, you can automatically schedule the posts on your calendar, so posting to Instagram is one step closer!

Just remember: when you’re planning this far in advance, you want to give your schedule a little bit of wiggle room when it comes to unforeseen events that couldn’t be anticipated.

When you start planning your Instagram posts in advance, you’re giving yourself much more time to edit and be selective in your content to curate your feed. All this planning in advance will result in a far more professional, curated, and aesthetically pleasing feed, which will definitely draw in more followers!

How to Plan Instagram Content Tip #2: Craft Your Captions Before Publishing

The story you tell on Instagram is just as important as the images and videos you use, so it’s worth spending time crafting your captions.

Today, Instagram users want to hear more about the brands and businesses they follow — they’re curious about the behind-the-scenes, the personalities behind the brand, as well as your product info! So when it comes to planning your Instagram posts, you need to allow yourself enough time to write and edit your captions.

Plus, by giving yourself some editing time, you’re more likely to catch any typos or errors that might have slipped through the net in your first round of writing. So you’ll be able to deliver even more professional and engaging captions that can tell the story of your brand.  

If you use Later, you can write and edit your captions in advance, and save them with your posts ahead of schedule. So even if you’ve scheduled a post for 3 weeks’ time, you can still jump in and make changes to your copy!

How to Plan Instagram Content Tip #3: Manage Collaborators All in One Place

If you regularly post user-generated content (UGC), or if you work with photographers to populate your feed, keeping track of all the media for your Instagram page can be hard.

And if you find yourself juggling multiple media sources, you run the risk of posting the same image twice or scrambling to get images from your contributors and collaborators at the last minute. And that’s one stress you can live without!

Last year, Later created Contributors, a brand new media submissions tool to help streamline your process for collecting photos and videos for Instagram from your photographers, influencers, or other sources!

If you’re managing multiple Instagram profiles, as well as contributors, this tool really is a huge time saver and a great way to project manage your account!

With our new Contributors feature, you can share a link with your photographers, influencers, or anyone who contributes to your content, who will be able to upload photos and videos directly into a content library for your Instagram.

You can then accept the content you like, and it will go straight into your Later media library to make it easy to schedule to your social profiles.

Contributors is available now on all Later business plans, starting at $19/month.


How to Plan Instagram Content Tip #4: Plan and Schedule Your Instagram Stories

With 400 million daily users and the launch of IGTV, there’s no denying video content is taking over Instagram.

And while Instagram Stories posts are suited to behind-the-scenes content and spontaneous posting, that doesn’t mean you can be slack with the planning!

To plan and schedule your Instagram Stories, you might want to consider creating a test Instagram account to see how your stories flow and appear on the screen for your users.

You might be able to spot text placement errors — like when the text runs off the screen or is hidden by your profile’s username in the top-right corner.

Instagram Stories Templates

Plus, if you use Instagram templates to create the layout for your stories or use apps like Over or Canva to create your stories content, you’ll be able to easily plan and tailor your content before it goes live on your feed.

And ICYMI: We have a huge-time saving solution!

You can now schedule your Instagram Stories with Later! So just like you would with posts, you can upload your stories to the media library, plan your content calendar and schedule your Instagram Stories to go live at the times you want!

Then you can step away from your phone or laptop knowing you’ve got awesome content ready to go live, at the times you’ve selected! Check out our video below to learn how to schedule Instagram Stories with Later.


How to Plan Instagram Content Tip #5: Stay Ahead of the Trends with a Social Calendar

While you may have key dates in mind to roll out campaigns for your brand or business, it’s important to plan for global, national, and social media events too.

No one wants to miss out on an international celebration or social media holiday that will dominate Instagram feeds around the world thanks to a trending hashtag!

Managing Multiple Instagram Accounts: Hashtags

And there are so many ways you can incorporate the social holiday into your content and feed. For example, you may think #NationalDonutDay may not be directly related to your brand if you run a homewares business. But with a bit of forward planning, a curated image of donuts on your tablewares could find itself on the Explore page if you use the right hashtags!

Once again, it’s all in the planning!

One way to stay ahead of the game is to spend time researching and collecting all the national and international events that you could leverage for your Instagram campaign. Or you could download Later’s 2019 Social Calendar and save yourself some more time!

From #NationalDonutDay to #InternationalCoffeeDay, our calendar highlights all the important dates to mark in your Instagram content calendar. And it’s completely free!

Did you know that there’s now an easy way to keep track of these dates and special events in your Later content calendar? 

With Later’s new calendar notes feature, all you have to do is right-click anywhere in your calendar to create a new note. Here, you can insert reminders or notes about upcoming dates so you’ll have them handy and viewable when you’re scheduling!

You can add calendar notes for upcoming product releases, social holidays, campaigns, Instagram Lives, or just use them as reminders for yourself or your team!

Calendar notes is available on all Later Business plans starting at $19/month, and you can learn more about how to use them here.

Planning Instagram Posts Tip #6: Know Your Best Time to Post

If you’re taking your Instagram strategy seriously (which we know you are!), you’ll have put a lot of time and effort into creating great content for your feed.

But you want to make sure this awesome content is actually reaching your audience. That’s why finding your personalized best time to post on Instagram is so important!

There are two ways you can do this:

Firstly, visit your Instagram Insights by tapping the bar-chart icon on the top right of your profile page. Here you’ll find all the analytics for your account and you’ll want to look under the Audience tab.

Under the Followers section, you’ll find a breakdown on the times of day and the days of the week when your audience is most active. The windows where you see spikes in activity is when you want to schedule your posts!

Instagram Analytics: Instagram Insights Times

Alternatively, you can use Later’s Best Time to Post feature, which automatically calculates your top 7 posting times for the most engagement. It takes all the guesswork out of figuring out your best time to post completely!

Your best times to post are displayed in your content calendar, and you can then create time slots, so that your posts will automatically be scheduled for your best times – saving you from having to choose the time and date over and over again for every post.

When it comes to Instagram marketing and building a content calendar for your feed, it can start to feel overwhelming. But with some planning and time-saving hacks in place, you’ll soon get ahead of the game!

Try out some of these tips the next time you’re working on your Instagram feed and you’ll soon start to see the difference in your profile’s performance, engagement and growth rate!

Ready to get organized and plan out your Instagram content in advance? Start scheduling with Later, the #1 Instagram marketing platform trusted by over 2 million businesses! Sign up now – it’s free


Written By

Nikki Canning

Nikki is Later’s Blog Editor, where she’s always on the lookout for rogue apostrophes. She’s worked in digital media in Dublin, London, and Sydney and loves nothing more than hitting "publish". On a weekend, you’ll find her outdoors, patting a stranger’s dog or scrolling Instagram to plan her next adventure — follow along on @nikkitravelled.