The Ultimate Instagram Checklist: 2020 Guide to Killer IG Posts

instagram checklistAll IG posts and stories needs just 7 things to be successful – and you can find them all in this Instagram checklist!

With more brands and influencers utilizing the world’s second most engaged social media platform for business, it’s more important than ever to stand out with quality content that sells your profile. 

Stop worrying about the changing Instagram algorithm by learning how to optimize your content.

You’ll find an ideal mixture of Instagram tips for business and influencers below.

Utilize this complete Instagram checklist (and pin it for reference) to improve your post’s performance starting right now.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I could earn a small commission if you use them. This comes at no additional cost to you and all recommendations are based on my own experience.

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You’ll learn:

  1. How to & Why You Need to Get Started on Instagram
  2. How to Switch to an Instagram Business Account
  3. Creating Posts that Engage Instagram Users
  4. Shooting Beautiful Images that Get Noticed
  5. Building a Gorgeous and Uniform Feed
  6. How to Use Hashtags on Instagram for Maximum Reach
  7. How to  Use Instagram Stories to Grow Your Following
  8. Get Started with & Using Instagram TV for Your Blog or Business
  9. Growing Your Following
  10. Maintaining a Strong Presence on IG
  11. How to Work with Brands as a Business or Influencer

Instagram Checklist: 2020 Guide to Killer IG Posts

ultimate instagram checklist to grow followingKeep reading to discover how you can create better Instagram posts in just seven steps.

Improve your reach and generate more engagement by learning:

  • what to post
  • when to post it
  • other miscellaneous tricks used by top Instagram influencers and businesses.

We’ll talk Instagram ideas, tips, tricks, and more right here.

For the best results, be sure to use this IG checklist before and after you post your latest content.

Let’s get growing!

1. Choose A Strong Image That Flows With Your Feed

It’s virtually impossible to do an Instagram post without an image, so this one might seem obvious!

However, there are a couple of other things you should keep in mind when posting photos to Instagram:

  • Is your photo high quality? 
  • Does is match with your feed’s overall aesthetic? 
  • Is the photo consistent with your theme?

Generally, all three of these criteria can be easily accommodated as well.

High quality photos:

Start taking great photos for Instagram by using premium equipment and shooting in optimum lighting.

Keep your feed looking gorgeous by only posting your best photos to it and save less than ideal quality photos for your stories!

Matching your feed’s aesthetic:

Focus on shooting similarly coloured content for your feed or choose a consistent Instagram filter for your photos.

For next level content, edit your images with Lightroom or a similar photo editing app to colour coordinate with your feed’s theme.

Maintaining your Instagram feed theme is an essential part of branding and will guarantee that you standout against other similar accounts!

Consistent with your theme:

Are you a food blogger? Awesome! Post photos of your favourites places to eat and gorgeous meals. 

Fashion blogger? Love those chic outfits and accessories, girl!

However, I’m not sure how posting an image of a deluxe cheeseburger would go on a fashion account. Same thing goes for a Louis Vuitton handbag on a foodie account! 😛

If you are really determined to mix it up though, be sure to do so with a clever flat lay that incorporates the essence of your niche. 

Fashion/Food blogger Crossover Example:

Having a fancy Parisian breakfast this morning? Love it!

Let’s place some accessories like wallets, sunglasses, keychains, makeup, etc. surrounding your meal.

People love consistency, so it’s important to stick to what makes your brand great and use it to grow your following!

Related Photography Ideas: How to Style Amazing Flat Lays for Instagram

screenshot of nikkislivarich instagram feed from tailwind instagram scheduler

2. Tag A Location

Whether you’re travelling, at home, or at the mall, always tag a location in all of your photos and stories!

Since Instagram users can search for images according to location, this is an essential means of exposure that can even increase your Instagram profile views.

It opens up so many doorways for potential exposure.

At home but live in the burbs? No problem! Tag the largest city close to you to maintain privacy while optimizing your reach.

Vacation photos? Tag where you were at the time your photo was taken if it’s not automatically suggested by Instagram!

Posts that include a tagged location consistently outperform those without and receive up to 79% more engagement.

3. Write A Clever Caption

An essential part of every social media post checklist, whether humorous or inspiring, your caption is a major part of what gets the conversation going.

And since Instagram captions are truncated, it’s essential to cut to the chase within your first 100-150 characters.

Draw your audience in by writing a captivating intro, kind of like a movie preview! Think about every time you hit the more button on other posts and incorporate those elements of curiosity and authenticity to each of your captions.

Related: How to Create Line Breaks in Instagram

instagram line breaks 2020 - screenshot of formatted post with spacing in caption

4. Include A Call-To-Action

A simple question at the start or end of your captions is enough to get people talking!

Make your followers feel involved by asking for their opinions or even how their day is going.

Consider taking polls from time to time and as your followers to choose from options as simple as yes or no to answers A through D!

Ready to share a new blog post or an outfit on LikeToKnow.It? Ask your followers to visit your bio for more details and cross-promote your business and other social channels in your captions!

5. Add Hashtags To Your Comments

While everyone using loves hashtags, there’s something about them that’s just visually unappealing.

These days, Instagram is all aesthetic and very rarely, do influencers and other popular accounts add hashtags into their captions.

Use your comments section and paste up to 30 hashtags as a comment immediately after posting or, try splitting them up and paste two comments with 15 hashtags each – a strategy that I’m seeing implemented more and more these days.

The first 15 minutes after your post goes live are crucial for ranking in the Top posts sections of Instagram’s search tab, so adding extra “engagement” can sometimes give you a boost here.

You’ll also notice that some influencers paste emojis into their comments sections as: 

  • 🙂
  • 🙂 🙂 
  • 🙂 🙂 🙂

since word on the street is that receiving comments with emojis can help boost your posts as well!

Implement a strong hashtag strategy and make it a routine every time you post to Instagram. If you’d like to, try experimenting with emojis too and see if this works for you.

More ways to make your brand stand out on Instagram: 

instagram post checklist - two women working on online business

6. Tag And Mention Brands and/or Feature Accounts

Whether it’s who you’re wearing, what you’re eating, or an account that features images made by creator’s like you, always tag as many other relevant accounts as you can in your posts and/or captions.

Think exposure, exposure, exposure!

Your image will show up in up to 10 different accounts most recently tagged images so, maximize your presence by including all relevant brands – the brand of jeans you’re wearing, where your coffee table is from, etc.!

7. Engage With Comments

Let your followers know you listen by taking the time to respond to comments!

And while it’s easier said than done when you already lead a busy life, taking the time to interact with each comment left on your images will help in building a loyal following.

If you can’t respond to them all, just tap that heart to let your fans know you read their replies! Because we all crave a little acknowledgement, right? 😉

5 hand drawn black hearts as a banner

Every time you post or create an IG story, you’ll want to repeat the same 7 steps.

Here’s what your Instagram checklist needs to include: 

  1. Post a strong image that incorporates your feed’s theme
  2. Tag a location
  3. Write a well-thought out caption
  4. Include a call-to-action
  5. Add up to 30 hashtags in your comments
  6. Tag brands and feature accounts in your post or caption
  7. Engage with those who take the time to leave comments on your post

Who are your favourite brands and feature accounts to tag? What kind of captions do you love writing most?

Share your favourite Instagram post ideas in the comments below!

text reads nikki xo

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