When using a social media platform as creative as Instagram’s, it’s hard for ideas to truly run dry. The app provides users a ton of freedom in creating content of all styles, forms, and genres. Whether it’s an ad, a personal update, or a short-form piece of entertainment, Instagram is an excellent online space for housing such concepts. At the same time, it also rewards the quality ones with online engagement and a loyal viewership.
Due to the flexibility of the platform, content ideas for your Instagram are almost endless. Of course, it’s common to have a creative block now and again; trying to brainstorm new, fresh concepts to spice up your feed. It’s also possible to be not know where to start with Instagram content, as someone totally new to the platform.
If either of those situations sound like yours, we’ve compiled some of the 10 most effective content ideas to re-inspire your Instagram creativity. All you need is an Instagram niche, a solid brand identity, and the following ideas are sure to pique audience interest – both old and new.
Keep in mind that these ideas can work for all types of Instagram content, whether it’s an image, story, or video.
What to Post On Instagram #1: Product Posts
As a online brand on the platform, using your feed as a marketing channel for goods and services is both a popular and lucrative way of driving customer sales.
Use your posts (or stories!) to promote your best products, featuring them in the most appealing way possible. This can be achieved through a clever video showing your product in action, such as the case with GoPro below:
The brand demonstrates the quality features of their product by showing how it successfully captures a biker down a motorcycling course in full, steady quality. What better way to show off your brand than through the functional value of your goods?
For static images, a popular design many influencers or businesses opt for is a “flatlay” of their products – illustrating their collection of items in one photo under a striking aesthetic theme.
Forever21 advertised their “summer accessories” collection under this very idea. Their Instagram post consisted of some of their best-looking shoes, jewellery, hats, and pouches. At the same time, they urge viewers to check out their bio link for more information.
Those drawn to the pleasing visual theme of the photo are likely to examine the different products displayed. Should they take interest in any, they will likely follow the shop link provided, and may just end up buying one of the items advertised.
If you’re looking to make money from Instagram, posting photos of your brand products is a content idea to take advantage of. You may just convert a few views into sales, and gain social exposure within your Instagram niche.
What to Post On Instagram #2: Behind-The-Scenes Content
Building an engaged following on Instagram requires trust and loyalty – both achieved through an “authentic” presence on the platform. In fact, a 2017 survey by Stackla discovered that 86% of respondents stated “authenticity” as a factor when choosing which brands to follow and support.
Fostering this image of “authenticity” often involves sharing less professionally staged and edited content, and a more exclusive look behind the scenes of your curated online personality.
Another study from 2017 revealed that some of the top Instagram posts of that year featured such content – ones that gave users an “inside look” into the endeavours of influencers and big-name brands.
Feed your audience’s curiosity and let them in on your company culture, your day-to-day, or your works in progress. Movie stars like Chris Pratt build close, almost peer-like relationships with their viewers by posting frequent updates of their ordinary life behind the glitz and glamour.
What to Post On Instagram #3: User-Generated Content
Instagram, though as lucrative of a marketing platform as it is, can’t be wholly all about you. Unless you’re a Hollywood mega-star with an existing fanbase by the billions, then it probably can – but it’s always better to give back and make your viewership feel valued, too.
Promoting user-generated content (UCG) on your feed is one of the most highly-recommended content ideas for your Instagram. The benefits are plenty:
- You’re engaging in meaningful interactions with your followers (boosting consumer trust and loyalty)
- You’re placing value on their insights and opinions related to your brand, thus encouraging others to follow suit
- Your content is created for you
By motivating your followers to create posts in relation to your brand, you’re also gaining customer insights, as well as brand exposure towards their audience. It’s a win-win content strategy.
Research also shows how effective this is for business; with 85% of Instagram consumers finding UCG more influential than standard brand posts. UCG has also been noted to be 35% more memorable, with such content improving sales conversions by up to 64% on product pages.
Fashion brands like Topshop encourage their buyers to post purchases on Instagram, while using their brand hashtag (or tagging the Topshop profile itself) for a chance to be featured.
What to Post On Instagram #4: Content That Tells A Story
Engagement rates on Instagram rise when users spend time reading your post captions.
You don’t need Pulitzer Prize-level prose to capture your audience’s attention, but spending time writing out a meaningful description behind your image or video does wonders in engaging your followers. They’ll understand both you and your business goals better, while adopting a sense of trustworthy authenticity behind your brand.
Lifestyle Instagram influencers like Janni Olsson Deler does this with her posts as she shares the exciting adventures of her life as a traveller. Her posts not only comprise of beautiful sunset sceneries or a typical swim at the beach, but also include captions that genuinely describe her experiences behind the photo.
These posts are a lot more engaging than an image solely composed of emojis, hashtags, or a standard one-line description.
Storytelling through your content doesn’t have to be fixed on captions, however. You can also tell quick, imaginative stories through Instagram video, or through the literal “Stories” feature of the platform. If it’s quality, viewers are bound to revisit it, tag their friends, or even share it on other platforms.
It’s all about engaging your audience in creative ways, maintaining their interest, and having them wanting more.
What to Post On Instagram #5: Influencer Takeover
Want to expand your audience and make collaborative online relationships at the same time? Get an influencer from your Instagram niche to perform a takeover – or carry out a takeover yourself.
Instagram “takeovers” involve one user taking over another account and sharing content with that profile’s audience. This enables the user to tap into a new audience, while the profile being taken over gains exposure among the user’s following.
Entrepreneur and social media master, Gary Vanynerchuk, calls this online practice a “50/50 value exchange – a partnership that’s mutually and equally beneficial.”
Instagram takeovers can take place though your feed posts, stories, or live video. According to Buffer, while influencers are a popular go-to for this strategy, brands also commonly opt for their own employees or followers to perform a takeover.
However, these alternatives reap slightly different benefits: letting employees to take over moulds a more “human” image for your brand, allowing the faces of your company to connect with followers on a more personal level. Letting your own audience members to take over breeds loyalty and trust among your followers.
They may not have as large of a fanbase as renowned influencers (thus, the social exposure may not be as high), but they allow further connection with your Instagram niche and community.
Whichever type of takeover your choose, this kind of content is fun, fresh, and entertaining for Instagram audiences – doing wonders for your reach and engagement.
What to Post On Instagram #6: Live Video
Hosting live videos on your profile is a unique, intimate way of reaching out to your audience. It gathers all your followers together for one exclusive, temporary online event – to discover more about your brand, business happenings, employees, or simply just you; the person behind the username.
This is a relatively new feature on the platform with tons of engagement potential. Though a tad trickier than other marketing strategies – primarily due to its “live” aspect, meaning any mistakes or fumbles you make can’t be remedied – it lets followers see a more personal side to your online presence. As we all know, user “authenticity” is highly valued on this platform, and audiences are constantly attracted to more personable, un-staged content when supporting a brand.
When working with live video, it’s important to have your content ready and prepared. Whatever you do or say in front of the camera is exposed for all viewers to see, so it pays to know what you’re doing.
Popular ways to of using live video involve hosting Q&A sessions; exclusive brand announcements; event coverage; sharing tips or advice; or providing your audience with a behind-the-scenes look on your business projects.
These are all highly engaging content ideas for your Instagram that, when done right, are sure to leave your followers wanting more.
What to Post On Instagram #7: Seasonal Content
Keeping up-to-date on the latest trends and events is a great way to keep your Instagram content fresh and relevant.
“Seasonal” content involves using certain holidays, seasons, and important events for creating your posts or stories. They’re effective in drawing audience attention, as plenty are likely on the platform searching for related content during “special days” or seasonal events.
For example, during “International Women’s Day”, plenty of users took to Instagram to share posts acknowledging the achievements of women in their lives. These not only gain traction from the thousands of other Instagrammers browsing content under this trend, but help spread a positive message and demonstrate your brand values.
Fashion brands like American Apparel bank on yearly occasions such as “Festival Season”, promoting outfits and accessories dedicated to looking your best at Coachella or the next music festival.
To boost your engagement on seasonal posts, the most popular strategy is using the right hashtags. If you’re creating summer-themed content, for example, using hashtags like “#summer” or “#summervibes” helps get them seen by users searching for summer-related posts.
Posting seasonal content is one of the easier content ideas for your Instagram, but they work well – especially during popular celebrations.
What to Post On Instagram #8: Posts That Encourage Viewer Interaction
Lastly, when creating posts to further engage your audience, it helps to have them actually encourage interaction.
Simulating post interactions is as simple as asking users to leave a “like” if they agree with your content, to “share with friends” if they deem it valuable, to leave their own thoughts or opinions in the comments, or to answer a simple question.
Web-hosting service HostGator does this in the post below, where they share a simple text image asking users to fill in the blank.
9gag encourages users to perform little comment activities on their posts that often involve tagging a friend, as seen here:
Doing this not only leaves engagement on your profile, but encourage others to follow suit by tagging them in your post.
Keeping your Instagram content fun, captivating and in-style can be challenging in time, for sure. However, the platform gives all users the opportunity to tap into your creative potential and use its wide range of marketing features to your advantage. Planning what to post on Instagram doesn’t have to be limited to your standard smartphone photo or selfie posts – rather, explore your content options with Instagram’s stories, live video, community interplay, and hashtag strategy.
It pays to be resourceful as an Instagrammer. By taking your ideas to different aspects of the platform, you’ll find your profile not only increases in appeal and originality, but in an engrossed, loyal fanbase too.