Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has seen exponential growth as a platform - now boasting over one billion users in 2022. Instagram offers a great opportunity to engage with others both as a business and independently, but working out what to post can be daunting. In this article we will walk you through the main types of content you can post and give you some ideas on how you can utilize each one within your content strategy.
Let’s start with the most important part, the feed.
When Instagram first launched, the user experience was extremely different to today. Originally, Instagram began as a photo-sharing app, without the features we’ve come to know today, including DMs, live videos and more. Static images are at the core of Instagram’s platform experience - so if you’re looking to share a product, selfie or a photo of your work-commute coffee – a single image post is a great way to authentically interact with your followers.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of TikTok, video content is key across most social media platforms right now. In 2020, Instagram jumped on the short-form video bandwagon and launched Reels - an in-app feature allowing users to create videos up to 60 seconds long.
These short-form videos are pushed into the feeds of users, as well as on the Reels homepage and explore page - making it easier to reach a whole new audience of potential followers. In fact, statistics show that Instagram Reels account for 45.7% of Instagram’s entire advertising reach. Putting this into perspective, Reels have the ability to reach an estimated 675.3 million people!
Instagram carousels consist of multiple videos and photos that can be viewed by swiping left or clicking left - in a single post, up to 10 images or videos can be added.
There is the option to include a caption, alt-image text (which can be read aloud by screen reader software and displays on the page if the image fails to load), location tags and account tags - just like any other Instagram post. There are many ways to utilize Instagram carousels - with 2022 seeing the rise of the “photodump” – a unique way for Instagram users to showcase authenticity and their daily lives and activities.
Research shows that carousels achieve an average engagement rate of 1.92%, compared to 1.45% for standalone video posts and 1.74% for single images.
You’ve probably heard of Instagram stories - even if you’re yet to post your first. Instagram stories are full-screen, vertical photos/videos that appear at the top of the Instagram app - rather than in the news feed. This form of content disappears after 24 hours, then moving to your archive - where you have the option to re-post or add to a profile highlight.
You can also use features on Stories like stickers, polls, Q+A and story filters to express yourself and connect with your followers.
Going live on Instagram is one of the best ways to connect with your audience in a direct and authentic way. Unedited and live, you can receive questions from your followers and engage in conversations with them using the comment section - which can be a great way for businesses to show the human side of their company. Instagram live is a beneficial tool for building stronger relationships between your brand and your potential customers/clients, or for you to personally connect with friends and family in the moment!
Other forms of content
Guides are an ideal way to share curated, scrollable content on Instagram. Your followers can quickly browse through Instagram posts, products, or locations, in a similar way to reading a blog post, by using Guides - think of them as a miniature blog directly on your Instagram profile. They are found in one specific place, on the Guides tab on your profile - making it easy for others to discover them.
As you can see, Instagram hosts a plethora of options for content creation and engaging with your audience. The question is, now that you know more about the opportunities this platform offers - how are you going to incorporate them into your social media strategy?