What to Post on Instagram: 10 Post Ideas to Spice Up Your Feed
For many small business owners, there’s no question that they should be building a presence on Instagram.
They sign up for an account and set up their profile, but then they hit a hurdle: What exactly should you post?
If this sounds familiar, you aren’t alone.
Generating a steady stream of content can be a struggle on Instagram, especially when research from Buffer suggests that you should post at least 1.5 times per day (or three times over a two-day period).
The good news, though, is that there are plenty of different ways to approach Instagram to keep your feed fresh and your followers engaged.
In this post, we’re going to look at what you can post on Instagram, ideas and examples that you can adapt for your own business, along with how to create a posting schedule to bring your Instagram strategy to life.
Determining your Instagram content mix
With higher engagement rates than other popular platforms, and an algorithm that favors posts that can organically garner audience interaction, good content really does come first on Instagram. And that’s a huge opportunity for businesses that can produce it.
Instagram also offers a lot of potential as a platform to create and nurture relationships with your target audience, along with features to convert them into customers.
Because of this, it’s important to have a mix of different types of content that will appeal to users at different stages of the customer journey. For example:
· Inspirational quotes can get new users to comment on your posts and follow your account.
· Product tags and stickers can convert followers who are ready to buy now.
· Behind-the-scenes videos can encourage repeat purchases and support from loyal customers.
So keep in mind how each post idea can contribute to your social media goals (engagement, sales, etc.) as we examine them below.
1. Show off with product posts
Pictures and videos of your products will likely be one of the easiest (and most expected) places to start on Instagram. Sharing content featuring your products in all their glory will, of course, help you drive sales and promote your business on Instagram.
These posts can focus on your products alone or feature them as part of a lifestyle photo or in a flat lay shot with complementary products. There's plenty of room to get creative.
These product posts, however, need to be executed properly to avoid coming across as spammy. They need to feature rich, interesting captions instead of just the product name and a few hashtags.
Instead, you can consider treating the post like an opportunity to pitch the product, discussing features and benefits or highlighting what makes it special.
Vaja Cases does this well with their captions in their post below.
You can also create product posts that focus more on conveying a feeling: a mood, association, or sentiment that you want people to think of when they see your brand name.
Okabashi, for example, has great product posts that associate a relaxed and zen feeling with their flip flops:
2. Convert customers with product tags
Users can click on product tags, for example, to get more information about a product, like its name or price. If they click again, they’ll be taken to a screen where they can make a purchase.
Product tags make it easier and more convenient for users to purchase immediately on mobile, increasing the likelihood that they will follow through. You might consider using product tags when you're running a sale or offering a discount.
3. Take followers behind-the-scenes
Followers love behind-the-scenes content. It creates transparency that allows followers to feel like they’re getting to know the “real you” behind the brand. This builds trust, and it’s a refreshing change of pace after a stream of product images.
Another nice bonus? Behind the scenes content doesn’t need to be nearly as polished as some of your other images. Because of this, some brands (including Allbirds, pictured below) prefer to keep their behind-the-scenes content exclusively to their Stories. Check out these 10 creative ideas for Instagram Stories to make your behind the scenes stories stand out.
4. Go live!
Live video is another type of post that can help you build customer relationships quickly. It feels authentic, and users can interact with you in real time (followers will get notified when you go live).
You can answer questions, show behind-the-scenes content, or feature new products. You can also post the live to your Stories after, giving you additional content with plenty of social proof.
For best results with your live video, you should:
· Announce it in advance so that followers know to tune in
· Have a plan and practice before you go on
· Give your audience at least 30 seconds to join by incorporating a preamble before you start
· Try to be in an area with good lighting and little to no background noise
5. Repost user-generated content
User-generated content is some of the most persuasive content you can use, and your followers love to see it on your Instagram. It shows that you’re engaged with your community, which can earn you good will and more UGC at the same time.
UGC can easily be shared to your page in order to promote your brand in a subtle but highly effective way. Anatomie does this well on their profile, featuring plenty of posts like the one below to show their clothing worn in beautiful, exciting places around the world.
Encourage UGC by letting users know what you want to see and by giving them a hashtag they can attach to their image. Search for this hashtag and ask for permission to share relevant posts on your profile.
6. Give your employees the spotlight
Content that focuses on (or, even better, is created by) employees is a great option for Instagram. This is another way to show users the human side of your brand, making it easier for them to form an emotional connection to you and trust you more.
Need some inspiration? JM&Sons share pictures of their main crafters working behind the scenes, discussing their next project.
This not only makes them relatable but emphasizes the hand-crafted aspect of their brand, reminding potential customers that their furniture wasn’t just churned out by a machine.
7. Announce new products/business milestones
Here's a concept that’s simple but effective: Announce new products or new business updates on Instagram with an interesting visual.
This gives you more content to share on the platform and also encourages users to follow you because everyone wants to feel like they’re in the know about a brand they love.
Pop Chart Lab (in the example below) regularly launches new prints, and Instagram is another channel for them to keep their audience informed.
Alternatively, you can share business/personal milestones, such as making your 1000th order or becoming a new parent.
8. Run an Instagram contest/giveaway
Want to get a lot of engagement quickly and generate excitement around your brand? Contests and giveaways are the way to go.
Contests will get people talking about your brand, and they can often yield strong social proof or user-generated content, if not both all at once.
For best results, offer a prize that’s most relevant to your target audience, even if the general population wouldn’t be that interested. After all, anyone would comment for a free iPhone, but it’s more important to get engagement and entries from users who could actually become customers.
The example above from LEIF does it right by offering a great prize (partnering with similar businesses), making it easy to enter through their Instagram bio link, and quickly flagging the contest with GIVEAWAY at the beginning of the post.
Learn how to run your own contest in How to Grow Your Business With Giveaways and Contests.
9. Seize the moment with seasonal posts
Customers love to get into the holiday spirit. It doesn’t matter whether that holiday is a major one like Thanksgiving or an unofficial one like National Dog Day.
Take advantage of this by creating seasonal posts that are timely and immediately relevant. Posts about summer vacations, winter weather, and even a specific meteor shower can work in addition to the obvious holidays, too.
Luggage Guy’s post below demonstrates how well this can work, reminding users that there’s only so many days left of summer and asking how they’ll spend it.
There’s one thing to always be mindful of with seasonal posts: the hashtags. One of the biggest advantages of seasonal posts is that the hashtags are directly relevant right now, meaning more users are more likely to seek them out. Fill your post’s description with plenty of timely, holiday, and seasonal hashtags for best results.
10. Encourage followers to tag a friend
The tag-a-friend approach is sometimes used in tandem with contest posts, but they can exist on their own, too.
These posts will encourage followers to “tag a friend” in the comments who they think would genuinely like the product or who might relate to the subject of your post. An incentive may be offered (as in the case of a contest, shown in the example from Mahabis below), but it’s not a necessity.
This strategy will earn you a lot of social proof and it can introduce new users to your brand. That being said, you want to use this sparingly or you’ll risk looking like you’re just spamming Instagram for followers. Try to think of creative ways to encourage users to tag their friends.
Consistency in voice, diversity in content
If you’re feeling stumped, take a look at the different posts on our list and ask yourself which types of content you’re not using yet and why. After all, the best Instagram profiles are those that manage to mix it up. This keeps your profile from feeling too one-note or overly promotional.
Ultimately, you're posting content to get more Instagram followers and build brand recognition, but it's important not to get lost posting anything for exposure. Your goal should be to have your brand to be consistent on the platform, but your content and individual posts diversified to keep your followers interested. A balanced content calendar and plenty of different ideas is a good place to start.