3 steps to developing a content calendar for Instagram Stories

Identify your assets, and determine seven content formats to make the most of those resources. Now you have a week’s worth. Produce, publish, repeat.

Filling your 2020 Stories calendar

Ready to tackle your brand’s Instagram Stories in 2020?

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed about continually producing fun, fresh and frequent content. Don’t fret; follow these steps to build a solid Instagram Stories content calendar in 2020:

1. Audit your assets and resources.

You might be surprised to find that you have more than you think. First, write a list of any of the following that you can access:

  • Photography and videography. Do you have a library of professional or amateur photos and videos that your brand uses?
  • User-generated content. Do your fans and customers share any photos with you, or via social media?
  • Influencer-generated content. If you don’t already work any influencers to create content for your brand, put that on your to-do list for 2020.
  • Employees or leaders. Make a list of team members (employees or even the CEO) who are well-versed about your brand and do well in front of a camera.
  • Original graphic design. Not everything shared on social media has to be a photo or video. Do you have a graphic designer or, perhaps, a marketing team member adept with tools like Canva or Adobe Spark?

2. Develop content buckets.

Once you compile available resources, start thinking about content topics of interest and valuable to your fans.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Product/service demo. If your clothing company, for example, is releasing a winter collection, show what makes these items special. Perhaps there’s a new fabric, stitching, cut, color or other element that makes it a stellar product that fans will love.
  • Tutorials. Show your fans how to do something, such as how to achieve the perfect “layered” look this winter, or how to wear flattering patterns.
  • Contests/giveaways. Social media users love contests and giveaways. Try hosting a regular event (weekly or monthly) for a realistic prize that will keep fans engaged and coming back.
  • Feature fans. Has a brand manager ever responded to you or shared your content on social media? It’s a good feeling, right? As fans mention you in their stories or feed posts, take note and share.
  • Employee, influencer or fan takeovers. It’s easy to get writer’s block when you’ve been managing an account for a while. Your fans, employees and influencer partners probably have fresh ideas, so let them take over your stories to show a day in their life, how they use your products or why they love them.
  • FAQs. There are probably some questions that your customer service team gets asked all the time. Tackle them in your stories.
  • Live or pre-planned AMA (ask me anything). Highlight the founder of the company, executive team members, brand ambassadors or others who are well known or have an interesting trait that your fans would be excited about. Let fans submit questions in advance, or host a live story so fans can communicate with the host directly.
  • Behind the scenes at the office. Show your fans what it really looks like at your company. Behind the beautiful website and Instagram account there are real human beings—and that’s what people want to see.
  • Conversation starters. Share a graphically designed template with “fill in the blank” conversation starters. For example, a clothing company might ask, “What is one item in your closet you could never live without?” Encourage fans to screenshot the template and share it to their stories with their answer. (Remind them to tag you, so you can be sure to see it.)

3. Assign your buckets to specific days of the week

That way you will have a content calendar so you can plan your stories well in advance. As a bonus, your fans will know what to expect and when to check in for their favorite content.

Your calendar might look something like this:

  • Monday: Contest/giveaway
  • Tuesday: Tutorial
  • Wednesday: Ask me anything
  • Thursday: Product/service demo (or FAQ)
  • Friday: Behind the scenes at the office
  • Saturday: Conversation starter
  • Sunday: Fan feature

Devon Gardner is the founder and CEO of Devon Victoria Communications.

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