Instagram Content Calendar: Plan Content Now, Not Later

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Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | Oct 23, 2023

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

You might have caved to modern marketing trends and created an Instagram page. That’s an excellent first step. Still, effective marketing requires more than your story’s intermittent posts and sharing. If you’re going to do IG marketing, you need to do it well. We suggest using an Instagram Content Calendar to maximize your brand page’s potential.

Everything could use a little organization. Even if your brand has a more playful or light-hearted tone, you can still organize it that way. But you have to be deliberate about it, and we can help! The experts at Path Social know exactly what to do. Squeeze reading this article into your schedule – we promise it will be worth your while!

A content creator manually writes in her content goals. 

What Is a Content Calendar for Instagram?

Your IG content calendar tool is an essential part of your Instagram brand. It helps to plan, create, and arrange content for your social media pages. This content should include posts, reels, IG stories, and perhaps the occasional Live stream. It ensures that you post consistently and generate relevant content. 

When done correctly, this calendar will help your business maintain market presence. It eliminates uncertainty about future posts. It could be in an Excel doc, the Reminder app, or a physical journal. They may look different to each person, but that’s fine. What matters is that they get the job done.

A content creator plans out IG content on their iPad.

Why You Need a Content Calendar for Social Media

Calendars should sell themselves. It’s clear why calendars help life organization. We can tell you how it could help your social media platforms. They may seem to only apply to business, but let’s be real. If your social media strategy is strong enough, you could make money on Instagram, too. Your whole brand could be a business. You may not want to have an online boutique, but you can sell so much more than that on IG.

Calendars Keep You Consistent

The Instagram algorithm favors consistency. It is more likely to push the content of a creator who posts fairly. A good content calendar for social media will let you know when you’re due for some content.

Calendars Curate a Cute Feed

Have you ever noticed those IG pages that look like something out of a magazine? Some posts are strictly images. Other posts contain only text. Then, there is the color scheme that gradually shifts. These pages look like they are perfectly curated. Well, that’s because they are. Aesthetic Instagram posts don’t happen by accident. They are usually the result of intensive planning. Behind every beautiful feed design is a well-crafted social media content calendar.

Calendars Connect to Customers

Think of the other aspects of your business. You have mechanisms in place for buying stock, and you have your top suppliers at your fingertips. Your marketing needs to be on point as well. Otherwise, how will you let people know you exist? Instagram is a huge platform. An online business brings all of your customers right to your fingertips.

Content Calendars Keep Customers’ Content

Your followers like to know that you are online and active. No one wants to go to your page and wonder if you are still in business. A potential collaborator may continue scrolling if they see no posts in months and no story to watch. They need to see signs of life. This way, when they ask for your content or product, they will know you’ll respond!

A creator scrolls an aesthetically appealing Instagram feed.

Keep This in Mind When Creating a Business Instagram Content Calendar

There is no one-size-fits-all all. There is no brand like yours. There should be no calendar like yours, either. If you’re reading this, you could be a lifestyle blogger looking to expand on other social platforms. Maybe you’re about to start an online clothing store. You may attract very different target audiences. You could also just want to start a meme page that runs the occasional ad. All of these structures are practical for monetization. They each need a business Instagram content calendar that works for them.

There are three goals every calendar should accomplish. How that looks in execution will be different. Here they are:

Including the Hashtags and CTA You Intend To Use.

If you’re new to Path Social, know this is a hashtag stan account. Through all the iterations of IG, hashtag usage still stands as an effective tool. Make sure you’ve done adequate research concerning which hashtags to use. You don’t want to be fumbling when it’s posting time. Similarly, know beforehand what your call to action (CTA) should accomplish. Are you trying to drum up likes? Do you want comments of actual substance? Decide that long before you hit “Share.”

The Date and Time of the Post

We can’t tell you the date and time you should make that post, but we know what can. Your Instagram analytics are a powerful tool. Only you have access to them. You can find the days and times most of your followers are online. With this knowledge in mind, you can schedule posts to drop when they are likely to get the most reception.

The Content Itself

Of course, you need to know what to put on the grid, or the story, or in the reel. Will it be a video, a carousel post, or an aesthetically appealing image? You can’t decide this on the day of the drop. To avoid content overkill, you should put it simply. Visuals in every other post. This requires a good social media calendar.

As you can see, these general ideas may vary in application from creator to creator. At a base level, your content should do the above things seamlessly. Everything else will stem from these tenets. Do you have ideas for what that will look like for you?

Content creators share their calendars for easy editing and task-viewing.

How To Get the Best Out of Your Content Calendar for Instagram 

Your content calendar is not something that you can leave to run on autopilot. You still have to make sure it works for you. Ideally, your calendar should be a living, breathing personal assistant that you adjust to your needs. If a tactic didn’t work this time, you should be able to make adjustments. To maximize its utility, we have a few tips for you. 

Keep Up With the News

Yes, read the newspaper. Keeping your business current involves keeping up with what’s happening in the world. Content that you planned months ago may come off as tone-deaf today. Picture this: it’s December 2019, and you’re planning a whole campaign around the theme “2020 Vision.” When 2020 rolls around, the atmosphere has shifted dramatically. Your cute, witty blog posts are falling flat because people are more concerned about survival. This brings us to our next tip.

Learn To Adjust

Even if there isn’t a global pandemic, something is going viral right now. It could be a feud, a tour, or a ridiculous fashion trend. Trends in hashtags and reel audios shouldn’t go to waste. This could make all the difference for your brand. Knowing when to pivot from a content plan at the right time is helpful.

Don’t Get Rid of Your Normal Calendar

Holidays are a great way to stimulate spending on social platforms. We aren’t even talking about Christmas and Valentine’s Day. It has reached the point where people designate specific days for various random things. There is a doughnut day, and Krispy Kreme won’t let us forget it. If you think hard enough about content ideas, you can make posts for any of those random holidays.

Are you a lifestyle blogger? Create a reel around a day in your life involving picking up a donut. Coffee Day comes around on October 1. If you run an online clothing boutique, do a quick reel for “coffee run outfits.” Plug in relevant trending hashtags and ride the wave. On Girlfriend Day, post outfits partners could buy for their girlfriends.

We say this to emphasize that you should use your regular calendar to make sure you create content surrounding what’s trending. With adequate planning, this holiday won’t blindside you. You can’t predict some events, but these days never change.

Find a Great Instagram Content Calendar Template Online

Who said social media was an easy job? You’re creating and editing content. You’re watching market trends and looking out for trending reels. You’re engaging with the content on your posts and similar pages. You’re doing hashtag research and tightening your CTAs. You even fell into the TikTok black hole a few times trying to preempt trending audio. Now, you have to plug all this into a calendar? We understand why you’re exhausted. An Instagram Content Calendar Template should take some work out of the planning aspect. Here are some templates that you may like: 

Firefly Marketing 

We mentioned those fun holidays that some people don’t know exist. With the template from Firefly Marketing, you don’t have to Google and figure them out yourself. They’ve entered them for you.

Maybe someone can help you with social media content. Perhaps you are the social media expert for a brand that needs to report content ideas and plans. Either way, the calendar will have to be shareable with others. You can share this with whomever you please. That way, everyone knows what to expect.

Sprout Social

If you’re looking to build an empire with your social media, Sprout Social could be the template for you. If you’re detail-oriented, you can ensure that nothing falls through the cracks with this tool. If you get the engagement you’ve been hoping for, you can make sure you keep it. You can assign the task of replying to comments to someone on your team. 


CoSchedule is more than a template. They’ve made some changes recently. Now, you can plan and go about your day. Construct all types of content just as you would for other platforms. This includes scheduling your material to appear at specific times. Be sure to connect your Instagram business account to do this.

You can organize your Instagram content and delegate responsibilities to people on your team. Ensure that it is posted at the appropriate times using the Calendar feature of the CoSchedule Marketing Suite. Visual organizing helps some people. Color-code the postings in your calendar template according to the category.

The Best Time Scheduling function of CoSchedule will automatically plan your posts. They’ll set it at the best times according to research. This will save time and effort.

There Is a Free Social Media Calendar Template You Haven’t Even Thought Of 

In the real world, budgets are a real limiting factor. You might be starting in content creation, but it doesn’t mean you’ll have to sit out organizing your content. You don’t need an expensive tool. You can use a free social media calendar template that’s right at your fingertips.

Google Sheets

A good old-fashioned spreadsheet gets the job done. You likely will only need a little to complete the job if you’re already pretty organized. You are already ahead of the game if you know how to use Excel. If you don’t, the learning curve is manageable. Just put in the headings that you think will be most useful. You can even color-code if that helps you with organization.


By now, your type-A friend has mentioned Notion to you. If you have not used it, know it is worth the hype. You can organize as deeply as you please. You can add photos that inspire you and include locations that may come up later. It may take some getting used to, but it’s a helpful tool. You can even sync with members of your team.


Yes, just the calendar that comes with your phone or laptop. This is reducing content planning to just the bare bones, but it’s an extra cost you won’t have. You can check the calendar periodically or set alarms to remind you to post.

See? You have a content calendar for Instagram right at your fingertips.

A content creator plans their content using a calendar on their cell phone.

Use Instagram To Schedule Content

Do you know what else is free? The scheduling feature on Instagram. IG really won’t be outdone by all these external tools. They now allow you to fully create a post, down to the applicable hashtags, without posting it. You can choose the date and time you want the post to go live. It’s not difficult to do, either. The final step is just slightly different than what you’re used to. We’ll explain.

  1. Launch the latest version of Instagram on your up-to-date iOS.
  1. Select the plus (+) sign. From there, you can choose whether you plan to share a post or a reel. You can’t schedule stories at this time.
  1. At this stage, you go through all the motions of editing the photo, photos, or reels to your liking.
  1. You can curate your Instagram caption. Complete it with hashtags and a call to action. 
  1. This is where it gets fun. Select “Advanced Settings”
  1. Then, go to “Schedule.” Now, you can choose a date and time up to 75 days in advance. Hopefully, you have the best date in mind after all your research.
  1. Then, select “Done” and then “Schedule.”

There you have it. On that day, your post will go live without you giving it a second thought. This is a great tool if you know you’ll be busy around that time. You can always reschedule if you need to. Simply do this:

  1. Select the three horizontal bars in the top right-hand corner.
  1. Select “Schedule content.”
  1. Choose the three dots next to the post for which you want to change the date.
  1. You’ll see options to delete, share, or reschedule. Choose the one that applies to you.
  1. IG understands the dynamic world of social media more than any other app. They let you pivot and adjust, too.

A spiral-bound calendar opened to January 2021.

A Social Media Calendar Will Help Streamline Your Content

Growth is within reach and possible for your brand. A good Instagram content calendar will help manage the growth the Path Social team will help secure. How can we say that confidently? We have an in-house platform of Instagram influencers who know all about the field you’re breaking into. Our AI targeting algorithm also gives us the stats to back up our claims. We want to help people organically. We won’t secure you just any kind of followers. These followers will engage with your content. Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today.