Hey, you’re supposed to like my photo!!” I said to my husband as I saw him scroll past my Instagram post.

“It’s literally just a picture of hummus. Why would I like that?”

It might sound a bit harsh, but I realized he had a point. It was just a picture of hummus with a caption that said: Saturday snacking! Why would he like that photo?

A few years ago, I didn’t have much of an Instagram strategy. I would look for a decent photo from my blog and post it on Instagram. I didn’t spend much time thinking of a caption or a reason why someone would want to see the post.  I wasn’t offering my audience any value. I wasn’t giving them a recipe, sharing a tip, inspiring them with a story, or making them laugh. I was just posting a photo because I felt like I was supposed to be active on Instagram.

Since I wanted to grow my Instagram, I realized that I needed a plan. Here are the questions I asked myself as I created a content strategy:

1. What is the goal of my account?

For me, I want people to feel like healthy eating is easy and attainable. I want to show them that recipes don’t have the be difficult, expensive, or complicated. Snapping a picture of hummus wasn’t doing much. But sharing my tips for how to make smooth hummus at home? That’s is something my audience will like, share, save, and comment on.

2. Who am I trying to reach?

For years, I spent so much time trying to connect with other food bloggers. And while I love meeting other food bloggers, they’re not actually my audience. My audience includes busy moms, stressed-out young professionals, and meat-eaters who want to add some plant-based meals into their diet. Once I thought about who I was creating content for, it became easier to create relevant posts.

3. What will someone gain from this post?

Every post should have a purpose. Whether I’m sharing a recipe, a healthy tip, or a personal story, I want my followers to feel inspired or informed. I want every single post to be useful to my audience. So before I hit publish I ask myself “How will this post help my followers?” Thinking about this can also help you write captions. If the goal of your post is to help them figure out what shoes to wear with their sundress, say it! Explain how your post is going to help them with whatever they might need.

I know Instagram can feel frustrating and it’s easy to blame it on the algorithm. But take a few minutes to step back and think about your goals, your audience, and your purpose. Are you adding value to your audience? What would make someone follow you?

Share your Instagram handle in the comments below so we can see your latest posts!