what to post on instagram

25 Ideas for What to Post on Instagram to Increase Engagement

It goes without saying that understanding what to post on Instagram is critical for your success there. And as both the platform and user consumption habits change, what you posted before just might not be working anymore.

After all, Instagram is a crowded field. While there will always be room for family pictures and creative projects to get the attention they deserve from friends and family, if you want to make a bigger impact outside of your social circle, you will need to get more creative.

In particular, the amount of competition for Instagram engagement means that brands are finding it harder to get attention. And while influencer marketing can be a great help in gaining the trust of ordinary people, that isn’t the only answer. Instead, as a brand, you need to build an audience of your own. Getting plenty of engagement on Instagram is an important way to boost your effectiveness.

Fortunately, increasing engagement on Instagram isn’t as hard as it sounds, so long as you know what to post on Instagram. Let’s look at some top tips for increasing your engagement and growing your audience.

Need to Boost Your Instagram Presence? 25 Ideas to Maximize Engagement

At the end of the day, it’s actually quite easy to increase your Instagram presence if you know what you’re doing. In a nutshell, the idea is to give people what they would like to hear. Now, that doesn’t mean flattering your audience. It just means giving them the information that they need or providing something else of value. The value could even be a chuckle in the middle of their workday, so long as it’s memorable. Many types of content can fulfill these goals.

1. Interesting, Relevant, and Timely Stats

When I suggest that you include statistics on your Instagram, chances are you immediately think about the B2B space. However, statistics can be relevant to almost any target audience. The trick to leveraging statistics on Instagram is to always include stuff that is relevant to your target audience. Otherwise, they may tune it out.

Of course, not all statistics are created equal. As a general rule, it’s better to share statistics from your own original research than it is to share statistics from other sources. For example, if you sell personal care products, you might have found that your product is 50% better than the competition. If that’s the case, bragging about it all over social media is a great idea.

2. A Behind-The-Scenes Look at Your Business

A Behind-The-Scenes Look at Your Business

For a lot of consumers, businesses are nameless, faceless mysteries. This is especially true if they’re ordering something from your catalog or website, and it just shows up on the front door a few days later. However, if you can give your company a face, a look at your human element, for a glimpse of your operations, then you can build trust with your audience. Not only do they gain an understanding of your company and how it works, but there is also a sense of transparency.

3. Humor Posts – Memes, Images, or Videos

Everybody loves a laugh now and then. Whether that humor comes after a long day of work, pokes fun at office activities during work, or just makes life more pleasant, a good laugh is a great way to be remembered. Therefore, funny memes, videos, and images are great ways to show your business’ candid side.

However, you must tread carefully and avoid sensitive topics. Brand, you should avoid politics, religion, or anything NSFW. Of course, for a lot of brands, some level of humor is part of the overall brand voice. Either way, make sure that every joke you crack is consistent with branding to ensure it’s still part of what to post on Instagram.



4. How-To and Tutorials

People love to see how your branded products are used. This is true, even for items with everyday uses, like pens or other office supplies. After all, who doesn’t want to have a little fun occasionally? Therefore, short how-to and tutorial videos are incredibly helpful. They provide a great value proposition for your audience, and they help foster sales by giving people ideas. Plus, they foster a high level of engagement, such as likes, shares, and even comments.

5. Showcase Your Products

If nothing else, the most important thing a brand can do on Instagram is show off its products and services. While you don’t want to do that for every post, showcasing your products is one of the most effective ways to increase engagement. This is especially true when people discover a great product for the first time and want to share it with everyone. It’s also a great place for your brand advocates and fans to show off their know-how.

6. Quick and Dirty Tips 

Tips and tricks about your product or anything else that is relevant to your audience are a great way to provide value and get engagement. An example might be products that cater to busy moms. In this case, you wouldn’t talk about how the specific product can help them, but you might provide some time-saving tips for a school night. People will be appreciative of the tip and, hopefully, share it with their friends.

Further Reading: Instagram Captions: 14 Tips on How to Optimize Them to Boost Engagement

7. Inspirational Stories

Stories inspire people and make them feel good. They create an emotional connection between you and your audience. Tie your brand with the story, so that resonates well with your audience. Healthcare brands do this very well. For instance, they can talk about how somebody recovered naturally, knowing what to post on Instagram in a case like this involves the permission of the story subject.

8. Quotes – Not the Sappy Kind

Quotes - Not the Sappy Kind

Quotes are powerful because they connect with people emotionally. People love inspirational quotes. Make sure they are not cliche or cringeworthy, though, or you’ll attract the wrong kind of attention. On the other hand, if there’s a quote from a founder or someone that is a community leader, it can really show people who you are as a brand.

9. Product Reviews

People like reading reviews about products. Reviews give them insight into the pros and cons of your product. If you’ve got a 5-star review, showcase it on Instagram. You can gather these reviews from just about anywhere, as long as you have the poster’s permission.

10. Customer Testimonials

Another major answer to what to post on Instagram is testimonials. Customer testimonials are very effective because they help build social proof. You can use these to build credibility and increase brand awareness. Of course, social proof isn’t the only thing that’s valuable about testimonials. Sometimes, a testimonial can help potential customers determine if the product features are right for them, rather than choosing it over a competitor.

11. Case Studies

Case studies are another way to share success stories. These are useful as they tell a story of what happened after implementing a certain strategy. While case studies are relatively uncommon for B2C brands, they are much more common with B2B brands. However, because of the limitations of Instagram, you may be better off using the post to refer people to the study as a landing page.

With that said, in this situation, sometimes what the post on Instagram is essentially a lead magnet. You could have people sign up to see your case study, or you could simply post it like other free content on your website. Your social media strategy will help you determine which way to go.

Industry-Relevant Trending News

Keep yourself updated by following industry-related trends and sharing them with your audience. For most marketing teams, staying on top of the competition is very important. This is, after all, one way that we stay ahead of the competition. By sharing this knowledge with your audiences on Instagram, you can demonstrate that your company is an authority in its field. Then, you will get more than just extra engagement. Instead, you’ll get a greater level of brand credibility.

Links are a great way to drive traffic back to your website. Share links to articles, blogs, and websites that are related to your niche. One way you can do this is by including a link to a relevant blog post on your website while using the cover photo as the Instagram image. Alternatively, you might send people to an article about your company founder and anchor it with his portrait or use event attendance to advertise a post about it. For this item, the possibilities are almost endless.

14. Promotional Offers

Offers are a great way to promote your products. Promotions can include discounts, freebies, contests, and more. With contests and giveaways, you need to make sure that the event is compliant with Meta’s terms of service and with all legal requirements. I have an extensive post about this.

No matter what you choose in this category, however, the main purpose is to have fun while gathering engagement. Sometimes, what posts on Instagram is a major engagement magnet that rewards people for their participation. Besides this, people love to feel like they’ve won something, and for this viewer, in particular, it can create a great memory.

Further Reading: 8 Ways How to Use Instagram Stories for Online Store Promotion in 2022

15. Polls

Polls are a fun way to engage your audience. Ask questions that are relevant to your audience and business. One example that I have seen lately involves the first launch of NASA’s Artemis mission. Some YouTubers have been pulling their audience about what they want to see during the launch. Or, for that matter, whether or not they think the mission will be a success. This is a great choice for space geeks. Obviously, your industry or interests should dictate what you poll about. Best of all, you can get some very valuable audience insights.

16. Questions About Your Products

Ask questions about your products and services. This helps you gather feedback and gain insights. Sometimes, the questions can be very simple. A soup company, for example, might ask its audience what flavor they like best. Another way that you can ask questions about your products is by asking people if they need or want a certain feature change. This is especially valuable for your research and development department.

17. Upcoming Events

Arguably, this is one of the more obvious examples of what to post on Instagram. Share upcoming events such as conferences, workshops, seminars, or trade shows to demonstrate that your brand stays on top of industry trends. You can also encourage your audience to check out your product booth, talk to sales, or even just say hi. In this case, you should list the dates of the conference and ideally add a link to the picture.

18. Product Feature Sneak Peek

Product Feature Sneak Peek

Sneak peeks are a great way to get your audience excited about new products. Not only do they want to buy the product if they can see the features beforehand, but they love to tell their friends. This kind of hype or buzz is very effective for boosting sales during a product launch or relaunch.

Plus, when you are relaunching something or introducing an improved version, people want to know what the differences are. It could be, for example, that someone gave up on your product because the features weren’t what they needed and that your newer version will suit them well.

19. Contests and Giveaways

Giveaways and contests are a great way to generate interest and engagement among your target audience. An especially fun way to do this is by fostering an industry-related discussion in the comments. For example, a travel source company might ask people what their dream vacation is. Not only will the answers help the company with market research, but the discussion might inspire or entertain other audience members.

Further Reading: How to Do A Giveaway On Instagram in 12 Easy Steps

20. Repost User-Generated Content – from Fans, Customers, and Employees

This is a great way to show appreciation for your users. Repost their photos, videos, and other content. After all, it’s easy for people to think that brands do not listen to them or care about what they do with those products. In the minds of all too many customers, the brands are just out there to make money. By sharing your customer’s creativity with the world, you help counteract that assumption.

Customers are not the only people who create great content that you should consider adding to your Instagram account. An important part of what to post on Instagram is content from your employees or your fans. Fans are especially important when you have a luxury brand for future products that not everyone can afford. Sometimes, having a dream and expressing it can produce incredible content that the rest of your audience would love to see.

And finally, there is employee content. Employees are an important part of your company, and not just because they help produce your goods or perform services. Rather, they are people who depend on your company doing well because you provide them with a salary. In addition, a lot of employees love the work that they do and become the ultimate influencers.

21. Ask Your Audience to Tag a Friend

An important part of engagement for many brands is sharing content. And while straight-up shares are a good form of engagement, there is also tagging to consider. Therefore, you should consider asking your audience to tag a friend that they think would enjoy your Instagram post. This is especially effective for humor and other creative content.

Remember, when someone asks a friend, not only do the friends see the original post, but it can show up in the text person’s feed. Over time, this method can help grow your audience and expand your brand’s reach. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple request.

Further Reading: How to Identify Your Instagram Target Audience and Turn Them into Customers

22. Thank God It’s Friday Posts

Friday posts are a great way to end the week. After all, many of us deal with significant stress over the course of a week. Especially for a B2B brand, you might capitalize on office politics, making major decisions, or endless meetings. It’s a great way to show your audience that you feel their pain and are happy to help them get into a weekend state of mind.

Naturally, B2C brands may take a different approach. No matter your company’s niche, there is usually some aspect of the business that can be funny sometimes. In addition, you might be able to capitalize on coming summer vacations or other parts of life that are strangely humorous sometimes. Of course, you always want humor to be brand safe.



23. Throwback Thursday Posts

Throwback Thursday posts are a great way to bring nostalgia to your audience. Sometimes it can be funny, and sometimes not. A good example might be to talk about the gadgets we all used back in the 80s and 90s, especially for a consumer electronics brand. Encourage your audience to share their vintage photos or thoughts about living a few decades ago.

24. Seasonal and Holiday Posts

Post seasonal updates every month. For example, if you sell Christmas gifts, then posting holiday-themed images could be lots of fun. Similarly, if your brand involves winter sports, then you might be able to showcase a product in the context of actual use.

Of course, you can post seasonal material before the holidays too. This is especially common in home decor, hobbies, apparel, and anything that involves planning ahead for a future season. This way, you can help stimulate sales while also boosting engagement. Seasonal posts are one of the most important examples of what they post on Instagram.

Further Reading: Eleven Instagram Post Ideas for Every Holiday Season

25. Job Openings

Sharing job openings is a great way to attract talent and get engagement. Especially in a tight labor market, sometimes even the smallest advantage can help your company get the best recruits rather than your competition. In addition, you can suggest in your caption that people who know a potential candidate inform their friends of your job opening. Even if the target person does not apply, they might at least gain some brand awareness. For the picture, consider a nice photo of your company office.

Bonus Tips to Maximize Instagram Engagement

Bonus Tips to Maximize Instagram Engagement

Besides learning what to post on Instagram, there are a lot of things that you can do to increase engagement. After all, a lot of other people are posting the same content types. You need to make sure that your overall profile stands out above the crowd if you want to minimize Meta’s algorithm penalties for commercial accounts. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to maximize audience engagement.

  • Keep it consistent: not only should you have proper branding, but you should also publish at regular intervals. This way, people will learn when to expect content from you and will also look forward to seeing your latest.
  • Focus on quality over quantity: there’s no appointment and spitting out a bunch of mediocre content. People will go elsewhere. Instead, consider including evergreen content and user-generated content to reduce the amount you produce in-house.
  • Use hashtags: hashtags are critical on Instagram because they help ensure that people find your posts. Otherwise, you would mostly get people who were already following you and those who follow your followers. Failure to use the right hashtags can really hurt your ROI.
  • Engage with your audience: people like to know that they are being heard and that you appreciate their feedback. Therefore, it is important to engage with your audience. While you can’t easily respond to every like, and probably shouldn’t, you should thank your audience for feedback and answer their questions as necessary.
  • Use calls to action: short audience members aren’t psychics (usually). Suggest desirable actions to them, even if it’s as simple as like or comment. People are a lot more likely to do it if you suggest it.

Conclusion

Whether you’re just starting out on Instagram or have had your brand profile up for a long time, it can sometimes be hard to know what to post on Instagram. Fortunately, these ideas should help you gain inspiration, produce better quality content, and boost engagement. Over time, you will increase social media ROI and other important KPIs for the C suite.

Hero Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

What To Post On Instagram FAQs

What pics should I post on Instagram?

When it comes to deciding what to post on Instagram, the world of possibilities is nearly endless – the only limit is your imagination! That said, it’s best to pick pics that show off your personality and fit with your overall aesthetic or brand. Think about what images represent you and/or your work, while also considering the unity of your feed in terms of color, texture, and style. Quality photos are key and captivating visuals are likely to draw attention, but keep it real.

What should I post for my first Instagram?

Your first Instagram post is an important opportunity to show off your creativity and individuality. Whether you’re trying to get followers or just want to show what you’ve been up to, how you decide to present yourself on this visual platform is up to you. You can take a photo of something meaningful, like a scenic landscape or a pet portrait that expresses who you are. Simply use this initial post as an entry point into the world of Instagram and let your imagination run wild!

What should I post on Instagram to get more followers?

To get more followers on Instagram, consider posting content that is both engaging and relevant. Tailor your posts around topics or interests that are popular among your target audience and find a way to make them unique. For example, if you know the type of people you want to attract, like foodies or fashionistas, post relevant content that appeals to those groups. When possible try to tell a story through images and captions instead of just concisely describing them.

What content is popular on Instagram?

Currently, some of the most popular content on Instagram includes behind-the-scenes, personal lifestyle images and videos; inspirational quotes; comedic videos and memes; motivational messages; photography showcasing nature views, cityscapes, or fashion; instructions for DIY projects, home décor and crafts; as well as personal advice from successful influencers.

What type of posts get the most likes?

Posts on social media that tend to get the most likes are often those with inspiring, funny, or heartwarming content. Posts that feature animals and children tend to be especially popular, as well as creative graphics or videos. Whether it be through a humorous joke or relatable life experience, posts that generate an emotional reaction from the viewer catch attention and are generally the ones that gain the most traction.

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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