With over 600 million users across the globe, Instagram is quickly becoming a focal point for businesses of all sizes who use social media.

600 million! That’s a huge number. And the impressive stats don’t stop there…

Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform and around half of its user base (more than 300 million people) use it every day.

Brands on Instagram are also seeing huge amounts of engagement on Instagram. According to Forrester Research,  per-follower interaction rate is 2.3 percent- way above Facebook (0.2%) and Twitter (0.02%).

That all sounds incredible, right? But how do you find time to dedicate to growing your brand on Instagram? From planning and editing to posting and engaging with your followers, there’s a lot on your plate when it comes to Instagram marketing.

We’d love to help you achieve more with less on Instagram.

In this post, we’re sharing nine time-saving Instagram marketing tips to help you achieve incredible results with less time and effort.

Let’s get started.

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1. Create Instagram posts on desktop instead of mobile

Thanks to the great amount of tools out there, social media management has become much easier than it was a few years ago. While Instagram still doesn’t allow publishing through its web application, there are many tools that allow you to create your Instagram posts on desktop first.

Creating Instagram posts on desktop can be a massive time saver. Here’s why:

  1. Creating your graphics or editing your photos on your desktop can be much faster than doing so on your mobile.
  2. Most Instagram scheduling tools save you from the hassle of transferring your graphics and photos from your desktop to your mobile.

With Buffer for Instagram, you can upload your image and schedule a post on your desktop. When it’s the time to post, you will receive a notification on your mobile, and we’d have transferred the image to your mobile!

Buffer for Instagram

If you’re preparing your Instagram posts on desktop, here are some useful images sizes to ensure your content always looks great:

  • Square Image: 1080px in width by 1080px in height
  • Vertical Image: 1080px in width by 1350px in height
  • Horizontal Image: 1080px in width by 566px in height

Editor’s note: For more on the perfect images sizes for Instagram (and all other major social media channels) check out this post.

2. Repost quickly with permission

A study by marketing startup, Crowdtap, and the global research company, Ipsos, found that user-generated content is 35 percent more memorable and 50 percent more trusted than traditional and non-user-generated media.

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A great way we’ve found to share user-generated content on Instagram is to repost images from our community. This strategy has helped us grow our Instagram following by 500 percent under six months. (If you want to learn how we find the best user-generated content for our account, here’s a short video by Brian Peters, our social media manager.)

A typical way of reposting an image after asking for permission looks something like this:

  1. Take a screenshot on your mobile
  2. Crop away everything apart from the image
  3. Copy and paste or type out the caption
  4. Add your own caption
  5. Finally, publish the user-generated content

Apps like Buffer and Repost allow you to skip all the tedious steps. Simply copy the Share URL of the Instagram post you want to repost and open the reposting app. The post, with both the image and original caption, will be generated for you in the app.

You can read more about how to repost in Instagram here.

Quick reminder: Before you repost, it is best to request permission from the original poster.

3. Plan the layout of your gallery

Instead of thinking about what you want to post every day on the day itself, a good approach might be to plan your posts with your overall social media strategy in mind.

Also, Instagram is becoming a curated platform where businesses and individuals only post their best photos according to specific themes instead of every photo they take. So, it’s important to have a well-curated and consistent profile gallery.

At Buffer, the themes we chose for our Instagram account are:

  • User-generated content
  • Digital nomad lifestyle
  • Productivity and motivation

Knowing these in mind allows us to plan how we want our gallery to look like. Hope our gallery is giving off these vibes!

buffer-instagram-account

There are many Instagram planning tools out there that can help you with this. At Buffer, this is one of the top requests we hear for Buffer for Instagram. So, we are currently developing a grid preview feature. Stay tuned!

4. Use tools to separate content creation and engagement

One of the most common productivity advice is to do one thing at a time.

A research by New York University business professor, Sophie Leroy, discovered that there’s a cost to switching your attention from one task to another — even if the switch is brief. Whenever our brains switch to a new task, the old task leaves an “attention residue” that reduces our cognitive performance for a non-trivial amount of time.

Multitasking actually cause us to take a longer time to complete all the tasks because our brains have to constantly switch between those tasks.

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(Image by Dean Yeong)

For Instagram marketing, there are usually two main things you would do:

  1. Creating or scheduling content
  2. Responding to comments and engaging with others

It is easy to be distracted by the notifications when you only want to publish a post.

A trick can be to use a tool solely for scheduling so that you can focus on creating content when you want to. Then, when you are in the Instagram app, you can focus on replying and engaging.

Taking this a step further, you could…

5. Create a week’s worth of posts in one go

Batching is a popular time management technique that aims to maximize concentration and increase productivity. The idea is to do similar tasks that require similar resources together.

Cal Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown University and author of Deep Work, experimented with a day when he forced himself to batch tasks. He found that while batching was tough, his quality of work increased because he was able to focus on them for a good amount of time:

I ended up spending 2.5 hours focused on my writing project and 3.5 hours focused on my research paper. That’s six hours, in one day, of focused work with zero interruptions; not even one quick glance at email.

At the same time, the careful pre-planning required to satisfy my batching rules increased the efficiency of my small task completion. Even though I dedicated 6 hours in one 10 hour work day to uninterrupted focus, another 1.5 hours to exercise and eating, and another 1 hour to a doctors appointment, I still managed to accomplish an impressive collection of logistical tasks both urgent and non-urgent.

Taking this technique to Instagram marketing, it could mean grouping content creation and scheduling together instead of creating and publishing posts on a daily basis or even several times a day. Creating the posts from scratch on a daily basis can be very interruptive to your schedule.

Here are some things you can try:

  • Plan a photo-taking session to take multiple photos that can be used for a series of Instagram posts
  • Create and edit all the images you want to post for the upcoming week altogether since you are already in the image editor
  • Upload all the images onto a scheduling tool and add captions to all of them in one setting

The additional benefit of creating a week’s worth of posts at a go is that your Instagram posts will be more consistent as you will be thinking ahead.

6. Schedule time to engage

Another task you can batch is responding and engaging with others on Instagram. By batching them and scheduling the time to do that, you gain control over your schedule instead of being dictated by notifications.

In the experiment above, professor and author, Cal Newport set himself a simple rule:

All work must be done in blocks of at least 30 minutes. If I start editing a paper, for example, I have to spend at least 30 minutes editing. If I need to complete a small task, like handing in a form, I have to spend at least 30 minutes doing small tasks. Crucially, checking email and looking up information online count as small tasks. If I need to check my inbox or grab a quick stat from the web, I have to spend at least 30 minutes dedicated to similarly small diversions.

Here’s what you can try:

  • Turn off notifications for your Instagram account.
  • Schedule 30 minutes to an hour on your calendar every day to reply to comments, like, and comment on your followers’ posts.
  • You could also schedule up to a few sessions like this in a day if you want to have a faster response time on Instagram.

This will prevent the notifications from disrupting your day when you are working on other tasks.

7. Prepare commonly used hashtags in an Evernote note

After analyzing over 65,000 social media posts for their study on hashtags, TrackMaven found that:

Instagram posts with nine hashtags perform best, with an average engagement of 28,548 interactions per post.

While engagement starts to decrease after this peak, posts with more than nine hashtags still have higher engagement than posts with fewer than eight hashtags. This suggests that on Instagram, it’s always better to err on the side of more hashtags rather than fewer.

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However, typing nine or more hashtags every time you want to publish a post can be very time-consuming. A solution is to create a few sets of commonly used hashtags for different themes in an Evernote note or your preferred note-taking app.

It could look something like this:

evernote-instagram-hashtags

This way, you can simply copy and paste the hashtags without having to re-type them every time. Then, you can also add more hashtags that are specific to each post.

If you are creating the post using a desktop (as mentioned in the first tip above), this process becomes even easier as it is much faster to copy and paste on the desktop than to switch between apps on mobile, selecting, copying, and pasting the hashtags.

8. Use the same filter and/or edits

Here’s another trick to help you save time and create a consistent profile gallery: use the same filter and/or edits for most — or even all — your images.

A lot of the time spent on publishing an Instagram post is usually spent on editing the image. By using the same filter and/or edits for every image, you can drastically reduce the editing time. This not only saves you time but also helps to keep your Instagram posts consistent.

If you use a photo editing application on your desktop like Lightroom, you can save a filter and the edits as a custom template.

If you prefer to edit your photos on your mobile, apps like VSCO or Instagram itself allows you to rearrange the filters and toolkits so that the most commonly used options appear first. VSCO even allows you to copy the edits made on one image and paste them onto other images.

9. Repurpose posts on other platforms for Instagram (and vice versa)

Your Instagram posts don’t have to exist on Instagram only, and that’s the same for your other social media content.

Instead of re-creating new content for each social media platform, you could repurpose your posts on other platforms for Instagram and vice versa. This increases the impact of your content and saves you time from creating new content.

A great example is Gary Vaynerchuk’s VaynerTalent Content Machine framework:

vaynertalent-slide-05

His strategy is to record a video or audio every week and turn it into four long-form articles and 40 social media images. The concept is that a Facebook or YouTube video can be turned into numerous multi-media content for all other platforms. I think this is a great way to make full use of your content.

Using Buffer, you can easily schedule the content you have made for other social media platforms for Instagram as well. For example, if you have created a short clip for Facebook, you can also cross-post it onto your Instagram profile.

Similarly, you can do it the other way round. If you have prepared a photo for an Instagram post, you can also schedule it for your other social media profiles.

Over to you

And that’s the nine time-saving Instagram marketing tips to help you achieve results for your business with less time and effort. As a recap, here are the nine tips:

  1. Create Instagram posts on desktop instead of mobile
  2. Repost quickly with permission
  3. Plan how you want your gallery to look like
  4. Use a tool to separate content creation and engagement
  5. Create a week’s worth of posts at a go
  6. Schedule time to engage
  7. Prepare commonly used hashtags in an Evernote note
  8. Use the same filter and edits
  9. Repurpose posts on other platforms for Instagram (and vice versa)

Are there any productivity tips you have for fellow Instagram marketers? 

It’d be great to hear from you!

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Written by Alfred Lua

Content Crafter at Buffer. I swim, cycle, and run a lot. When I’m not doing all those, I love to read and try new things.

  • Caroline Scholles

    Thank you so much for sharing! I’ve founded this blog post very useful!!! You are the best Alfred 🙂

    • Awesome, @caroline_scholles:disqus! That’s great to hear. Thanks for reading this and leaving such a nice comment! 🙂

  • Tricia MissSippiPiddlin

    Very informative and time saving. I love the tip about 30 minute blocks. Thanks for this!

    • Thanks, @triciabarbervaughn:disqus! Glad you found this blog post useful 🙂

  • Arpita

    very informative..the second point related to Repost is awsome !!

    • Thanks, @disqus_RoGTxxZoJk:disqus! What photos do you usually re-post (if you don’t mind my asking)? 🙂

  • Philipp Wüthrich

    I personaly use Focalmark to get a bunch of matching hashtags and then throw out the hashtags that are to crowded. Might be helpfull for some of you guys… (PS. the website is focalmark.com)

    • Hey @phippuuuu:disqus, I gave Focalmark a go and it’s really cool. I imagine it to be very helpful for people who are looking for good Instagram hashtags to use. Thanks for sharing it! 🙂

  • It really help in business branding through Instagram Marketing.

  • Natalia

    Great post, Alfred! That bit about multi-tasting is very true indeed (even though we’ve heard for years that multi-tasking is the best way to do it all 😬) The only bit I wouldn’t personally put in practice is the time to engage/reply to comments. I know what you mean re. how notifications can translate into interruptions but in my experience people engage much much more and keep the conversation going when they comment on a photo you posted or tag you on a post from when they visited you and you reply within the next couple of hours instead f maybe the following day or two as momentum can be lost in the case of the latter 🙈 Some super useful details on hashtags and repurposing posts. Thanks, Alfred! 🙌🏼

    • Hey Natalia, thanks for reading my post and leaving this thoughtful comment. Yeah, I think you are exactly right that replying quickly and keeping the conversation going will feel great for the people engaging with us. I wonder if scheduling a few sessions per day to check notifications and reply could be helpful? I can see that replying immediately is great, too. We try to do that on Twitter. Probably a balance 🙂

  • Kyle Andrew

    Thanks for all these tips, definitely sharing this article with my clients

    Here is a video tutorial I made teaching people how to quickly make hashtag shortcuts on the iPhone. I have quite a few of these made up to speed up the posting process depending on my post type:

    • Hey @disqus_cp48tysTbk:disqus, using iPhone’s text replacement feature to speed up typing of hashtags is such a genius idea! Thanks for sharing that with us. Thanks for wanting to share this article with your clients, too.

  • Ole-Kristian Sunnarvik

    Hi

    For reposting, did you ever try Picstagrab? Available both for Android and iOS.
    As I am the developer of Picstagrab, I am of course biased, but in my opinion Picstagrab is the best and most complete repost tool out there. It has options for caption-management, watermarks, online search for duplicate images, search for tags and usernames, favorites etcetera.
    All features are free, but it has ads. You may of course purchase the ad-free version.

    Ole-Kristian

  • Thanks for sharing the great article. I’ve shared it on Twitter with my followers.

    Regards,

    Bashir – http://www.prowpblogger.com/

  • Ashley Scott

    Wow. I am definitely going share this with a few of my friends. Very cool information.

  • Alex Henry

    Way to go on this post man. Really killer stuff. I’ll be back to read your other posts.

  • Jenny Kinsman

    This is a very helpful blog post! I am a social media manager at the Daily Emerald, a student run media group at the University of Oregon. We recently made the transition from using Snapchat to creating a extensive Instagram plan. We have been using the Instagram story feature and post once per day. I learned a lot from the blog post. Using 8-9 hashtags will increase engagement which is helpful to know because we have only been using 4-5. Also I think that using a common theme will help the overall aesthetic of an Instagram account. I also haven’t thought about engaging with users because the Instagram story gets out to the following base but I think that once we make connections we can build more relationships.