Managing an Instagram brand account isn’t easy. It’s an ongoing juggle of posting at the perfect time, engaging on the fly and coming up with new ideas to beat the algorithm. You don’t need to break what’s working for you, but if you’re needing a little extra inspiration to refresh your approach, it’s always a good idea to try out some new types of Instagram posts and Stories.
Below, we give you some fresh post ideas to try for your Instagram brand account. They cover the different types of content: in-feed, Stories, Live and IGTV. Some of these will be easy to implement while others will take some preplanning. The idea is to introduce new types of content to your account so your audience will keep up their active engagement.
1. Give your audience a mind break with a puzzle
We’re often so busy in our lives, rushing from one thing to another that self-care routines can be relegated to the back burner. Instead of posting the usual photo, create one that makes your audience pause and think a little.
In Casper’s case, the mattress company is all about relaxation. So it makes sense for them to create posts that reflect this value. Using cute graphics and animation, the company posts puzzles in both their feed and Stories. There’s no prize for those who get the correct answer except self-satisfaction. But using the questions sticker in Stories and the gallery post in the feed, Casper creates ongoing engagement.
The designs are also similar to previous Stories they’ve done, so if you’ve seen it before, you know what to expect. This builds up brand recognition for the audience.
Pro tip: Don’t want to put effort into creating a puzzle? Remind your audience to take quick breaks instead via slow breathing exercises or a 5-second video with soothing music. Whatever you choose, the idea is to make your audience pause in the scroll or taps.
2. Take on a recurring challenge
This can be a daily, weekly or even monthly occurrence. It’s up to you on how often you want to tackle the challenge. To execute this, you’ll need to either look up pre-existing challenges or create one that makes sense for your brand.
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Quite a while ago I did a whole prayer plant care video (back in Ep 31) on #PlantOneOneMe on @YouTube, so this was just one of many plants that I highlighted and that are in the Marantaceae family. I find Ctenanthe to be far more resilient than most Calathea or Goeppertia, for instance, and I think make a great houseplant and therefore sweeps in at #122 of "365 Days of Plants". In this video I'll cover where it's native to, how it grows, where it grows, and best conditions for lighting, watering, fertilizing and more. You can check out more of these videos here and on my YouTube @summerrayneoakes "365 Days of Plants". #ctenanthe #ctenantheburlemarxii #ctenanthethursday #marantaceae #prayerplant #prayerplants #365DaysofPlants #1PlantADay #OnePlantADay #houseplants #houseplantcare
Summer is a houseplant influencer who offers up a wide variety of plant-related content. For 2019, she challenged herself to post one video a day about a plant in her collection, “365 Days of Plants.” Every video follows the same format and is also posted to her YouTube channel.
For brands, you could also choose a challenge format that encourages your audience to participate and post their own take on the photo challenge. You can also use unique Instagram hashtags to further drive engagement with your challenge.
Pro tip: The idea of this post type is to build anticipation and expectation with your audience. There are many photo challenges out there for you to grab ideas from but you can also just create your own and announce it in your post.
3. Write a caption first, then find the photo
For brands with a distinctive voice, challenge yourself to write captions first, then find or create the photo to match it. You may find that it’s easier to map out your content when you know exactly what message or mood you want to evoke instead of writing a caption specifically to the photo provided.
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Don’t live in the US? Cool, but you may want to scroll past this post because if you keep reading you could experience feelings of missing out, and even worse, you might start to wonder what our social media team was thinking when they decided to post this US frozen dessert announcement here for the world to see instead of doing that geo-targeting thing they’re always talking about, and who wants to spend even a second of their day wondering what social media teams are thinking? But if you do live in the US, great news! These new creamy and delicious frozen feats of ingenuity are hanging out in various bodegas around NYC at this very moment, and will also be doing so in grocery stores across the US in the fall, which means this post has probably made at least some people who read it really happy, and our social media team might know what they’re doing after all.
While we don’t know for certain if Oatly’s team writes the caption first or not, we do know that their online voice is strong. It’s usually more words than the usual brand caption and both pithy and meandering in its tone. When your copywriting is strong, you can use that to create the photo to match it.
Pro tip: Finding your brand voice is a process. Get inspired by how other brands are writing their Instagram captions.
4. Combine a photo essay with a link in bio
In line with great captioned copywriting, we turn to the publishing industry for our next post idea. When your business is built on great content, be it photos, words or videos, it extends to your social media presence.
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Sexual assault in the military is a problem widely recognized but poorly understood. Elected officials and Pentagon leaders have tended to focus on the thousands of women who have been preyed upon while in uniform. But while women face a much higher rate of sexual assault in the military — about 7 times that of men — there are so many more men than women in the ranks that the total numbers of male and female victims in recent years have been roughly similar, about 10,000 a year, according to Pentagon statistics. For decades, the fallout from a vast majority of male sexual assaults in uniform was silence: Silence of victims too humiliated to report the crime, silence of authorities unequipped to pursue it, silence of commands that believed no problem existed, and silence of families too ashamed to protest. The victims are often young and low-ranking. Many struggle afterward, are kicked out of the military and have trouble finding their footing in civilian life. Click the link in our bio to read the stories of six of those men, with photographs by @maryfcalvert and reporting by Dave Philipps.
The New York Times used a gallery post to create a photo essay, pulled quotes from the piece and a caption that combine to tell a story on sexual assault in the military. The summary is there in the caption and for those who are interested in reading the full piece, a link is provided in the profile.
Pro tip: This type of post is an excellent way of repurposing existing content. If you create company blog posts or content elsewhere, use this idea to republish your existing content. A great use case example of this would be an annual transparency report’s graphics being reused in a gallery post.
5. Add product teasers
Do you launch new products or services on Instagram? Instead of directly announcing a new product, use Stories and posts to drive interest. Build up anticipation through teaser photos, videos and question stickers.
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It's backkkkkk! Spice up your life with our Turmeric Almond Signature Blend. It's filled with natural, wholesome ingredients including: Turmeric: Known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Almonds: A heart healthy nut, almonds are known to help reduce blood sugar. Vanilla Bean: Natural vanilla extract contains numerous antioxidants. Dates: Dates contain vitamins A. K, and B, as well as flavonoids and minerals like potassium, copper, and magnesium. They're also packed with fiber. Cinnamon: The scent of cinnamon has been seen to boost brain activity and has improved scores on tasks related to attention, memory, and visual-motor speed. #pressedlife #turmeric #fallflavors #fallmenu #fallflavours #almondmilk
Pressed Juicery used a photo of ingredients to tease their new drink, the Tumeric Almond Signature Blend. Since the teaser post gave a timeline of when to expect the announcement, it put a mental note in the audience’s mind to check back tomorrow for the release.
Pro tip: You don’t need to create mysterious posts to build up hype. To time with product releases, collaborate with influencers to talk about new features. In Stories, you can use the poll or question sticker to create engagement with your followers. Make it a guessing game and award a prize to the first correct responders.
6. Run a flash sale in Stories
Posting in Stories can be fleeting. After all, they disappear after 24 hours. Take advantage of this by using Stories for flash sales. In the retail world, flash sales can range from the anticipated (see our last idea about teasers) to the surprising. Either way, they’re short and drive a customer to purchase so they don’t miss out on the opportunity.
This account used Stories to announce an extra gift in the next 10 orders. If you were already thinking of ordering, the offer seals the deal for you to complete the order quickly.
Pro tip: This type of post could be applied for limited stock products, giveaways, or even a quick discount on something you don’t usually discount. It surprises the customer and makes them want to go through your Stories more often in case you offer another flash sale. Make flash sales a marketing tactic and you’ll see an increase in engagement in your Stories analytics.
7. Interview on Stories
This is a spin on the social media takeover concept and a good idea for those who are hesitant at handing the virtual account keys over to a stranger. Use Stories to conduct Q&A interviews with guests. Add an extra layer of engagement to the Q&A by asking your followers for questions and answering them in a new Story.
Domino Magazine used Stories to feature designers. It mixed content like a pre-created question Story with a casual video where they answered the question. This format continued for each question that they put into the Story. At the end of it, they asked followers who they thought would be a good interviewee for the next feature.
Pro tip: To build up anticipation for this, let followers know when to expect interviews to be posted and who you’ll be interviewing. You can also mix it up by live broadcasting it with the question sticker.
8. Broadcast instructional Live videos
There are so many ways to approach a Live video and it’s really up to you on what the best fit is for your brand. The most common Live video approaches include broadcasting events and conducting interviews. Change up expectations by doing an instructional Live video. The interactive how-to video allows you to answer questions from the answer, too.
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Cacio e pepe contains only three ingredients (sharp cheese, black pepper, and spaghetti) is thus one of my favorite last-minute dishes for days you'd like dinner to be as easy as possible. Like a Friday! So today, for something different, come watch me make this live, here, on Instagram Stories at 3pm ET. Ask questions; I'll answer as many as I can. (If time permits, I'll make a salad too.) I can't wait. [Foolproof Cacio e Pepe on smittenkitchen.com or linked in profile]
Smitten Kitchen broadcasted the making of her Cacio e pepe recipe. In a feed post, she told her followers when to expect the Live broadcast so they knew it was coming. We see so many how-to videos already that it’s a nice change of pace to see an interactive one instead.
Pro tip: Make sure you have someone else behind the phone who can read through comments and questions. If you have an active account, a second person would come in very handy for moderation.
9. Add stickers to your posts
Hear us out: stickers and collages aren’t just for Stories. Adding some fun stickers and other graphic overlays to your feed posts make them stand out from the same old photos. This works well for brands that are visually colorful, fun and whimsical.
Ciera used A Design Kit to add stars on the photo. The stickers don’t overwhelm the photo and they’re just enough to catch your attention with their whimsy.
Stickers and overlays are a new trend on Instagram. They’re fun to play around with and if used correctly, will only enhance your images
Pro tip: There are a few apps out there that offer fun stickers if you don’t want to create your own. You don’t need to have Illustrator skills to execute this post type.
With the ever-changing Instagram algorithm, coming up with fresh Instagram post ideas can be a challenge. We hope these 9 post ideas offered some inspirations on what to try out for your brand. Between Stories, posts and IGTV, Instagram now offers a variety of content types. Don’t get locked into one type just because it’s what you’ve been doing.
If you’re looking for even more inspiration, check out some of our recommended Instagram accounts to follow. One industry’s trend could inspire the next big thing in your field.