Now that you’ve sorted out when you should post, you will need to develop a content strategy to determine what you should post. A clearly defined content strategy is a vital element in building your Instagram presence.
In order to successfully utilize Instagram marketing for your brand, you will need to think beyond making each individual post visually appealing — you will need to develop an Instagram feed that sends a cohesive, well-defined, and thoughtful message about your brand.
For example, posting a series of images and videos that are all attractive on their own and garner high engagement is fine, but if none of them relate to one another, potential followers visiting your page will have no idea who you are, what kind of content they can expect from you, or whether it will be relevant and interesting to them. Therefore, they will not be likely to follow you.
Let’s revisit the questions asked in the section on your first Instagram post:
What overall purpose do you want your Instagram to serve?
What is the message you want to send?
These two questions should form the basis of your content strategy and should be constantly referenced throughout your Instagram journey.
However, these are broad questions, so you will also need to answer a variety of more specific questions in order to really hone in on the type of content you should be posting on your Instagram. First of all, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- What will Instagram allow you to do that other social media platforms do not?
- Who is your target audience?
- Which members of your audience are active on Instagram?
- How will you integrate Instagram with other networks in your digital mar-
keting strategy? Answering these questions should allow you to understand an important part of developing your content strategy: how should the content on your Instagram differ from the content on your other social media platforms?
The general answer to the first question is that it allows you to use visual media in a way that other social media platforms do not. While you can post visual content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., it is not the focus of those platforms. This is what sets Instagram apart — it is unique in its focus on visual content and sharing, which also differentiates it from YouTube.
The app allows you to quickly capture moments and share them with your followers, who can instantly view and interact with the content in a simpler, faster way than with any other platform. So, already you have identified one way in which your Instagram content differs from other social networks — your Instagram content should be more in-themo-ment, timely, casual, and intimate than your Facebook or your LinkedIn content.
You will still have largely the same target objectives for your Instagram and you can buy Instagram Likes that you have for all of your digital marketing platforms, e.g. increase brand awareness, demonstrate company culture, showcase products and services, grow your customer base, enhance customer engagement and loyalty, etc., but the way in which you reach those objectives will be unique to Instagram due to the distinct features and overall feel of the app.
Now, to further identify how you should uniquely develop your Instagram content, you should think about which of your target audience members you are most likely going to reach through Instagram.
Thus, you should consider the demographics of Instagram users, the devices needed in order to use Instagram (mobile phones, tablets), and the people who are typically the most active on Instagram.
Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project Post-Election Survey in 2020 shows the demographics of Internet users on Instagram (below). The highest percentage of users are in the age range of 18 to 29 years old, and slightly more users are women and people living in urban areas. This is a critical factor to consider; it does not matter if you have the most amazing content in the world if you are showing that content to the wrong audience.
For example, if your target customers on Instagram are mainly in the younger demographic who are using the app for casual purposes, posting the exact same content that you post on LinkedIn — a platform for professional adults with a somewhat higher age range who are using the platform for business purposes — you will stifle your Instagram’s potential and fail to build a strong presence and loyal following.
Knowing your audience will also help you to utilize the current trends that are most relevant and meaningful to them. Again, if you were to capitalize on trends that were popular among youth while trying to reach an older demographic, your content is probably not going to strike any chords.
However, if you understand your audience well, you can raise the ability of your content to resonate with viewers and increase levels of engagement by referencing or incorporating current trending topics, behaviors or concepts.
We will talk more about how to join in on trending conversations on Instagram later on when we discuss hashtagging. So, think about how your audience on Instagram differs from your audience on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+, and develop your content strategy accordingly.
As previously mentioned, your overall objectives will likely be extremely similar, if not exactly the same, but you should have a unique marketing strategy for each particular platform to meet the needs of those specific users.
Speaking of your target objectives, you will want to make sure you have those clearly outlined as you develop your content strategy. It will differ depending on your type of business, industry, how established you are, and more, but generally the following objectives are the types of goals you want to set in any digital marketing strategy:
- Increase brand awareness.
- Demonstrate company culture.
- Showcase your team.
- Recruit new talent.
- Increase customer engagement and loyalty.
- Showcase products and services.
- Enhance and complement event experiences.
- Incentivize consumer engagement with your brand.
- Share company news.
- Grow your community.
- Connect with influencers.
- Drive sales through a third-party app.
Think about what content will best allow you to reach the goals you’ve set; for example, if one of your goals is to recruit new talent for your company, showing images and videos of your workplace culture, prominently featuring your employees and showing their perspectives, or even showcasing the mission of your company are all great content strategies for accomplishing that goal.
However, if your main goal is to showcase products and services and increase customer engagement, content that features images of your products prominently in the foreground, videos of your product or service in use, or content that showcases your existing customers and their perspectives is likely what you should focus on in your content strategy. The primary keys to a successful Instagram account that you should keep in mind are:
- Posting photos and videos that are visually appealing
- Posting a variety of content
- Posting images that reflect your brand’s mission and activities
- Posting posts that all look good together
What to Post on Instagram
So, now that you’ve determined the overall purpose of your Instagram account, the goals in your digital marketing strategy, the keys to success on Instagram, and the type of content that you should post, let’s get more specific — what exactly should you post on Instagram?
This section includes a variety of ideas and recommendations for what you could post on Instagram to allow you to create a more specific and in-depth content strategy.
In order to stay organized and on-top of your Instagram marketing strategy, it may be beneficial to create a monthly or weekly schedule that not only includes when you will post but what you will post at each time slot to ensure that you have a good variety of content and a well thought-out feed.
Here are some ideas for what to post:
For posts that show off your company culture, you could post:
- Photos and videos of your employees working
- Photos and videos of your employees interacting with customers
- Photos and videos of your employees interacting with each other
- Photos of your company’s headquarters and buildings
- Photos of company events
- Photos of areas where your company has offices (ex: if you are a New York
City-based company, post famous NYC landmarks or a unique local perspective of New York)
- Take advantage of trending or popular hashtags, such as #Throwback-
Thursday (or #tbt), and post throwbacks of your employees or colleagues
- Create a company-specific hashtag, such as #companynameculture or #com-
panynamelife, and use this hashtag in relevant posts. Encourage your employees to use this hashtag in their own posts as well
- If you or your employees travel a lot, post photos of whichever destination
you are currently at to take your followers along with you and keep them up-to-date
- Let your employees takeover your brand’s account for a day
- Show behind-the-scenes material (e.g. backstage at a show or rehearsals, setting up an event)
- Feature an employee-of-the month with an image of that employee and a
short Q&A in the caption
For posts that clearly display the mission of your brand, consider posting:
- Quotes (either as the image itself or in the caption) from fellow leaders and
influencers in your field that reflect your own perspective or inspire you
- Motivational sayings to inspire your followers
- Images of major events or breaking news within your industry, with your thoughts or input in the caption
- Quotes, images or videos of speakers at industry events that your brand has either held or attended
- Posts sharing what you or your employees love your job, company, or industry that shows the impact you have on your community, customer base or field 3. For posts that educate your followers and offer insight:
- Post how-to videos (For example, Starbucks posts simple how-to videos of how to make certain drinks)
- Post interesting or fun facts about your brand or your industry
- Post intriguing research findings or data related to your brand or field
- Post photos and videos with tips for your industry or how to use your product
- Post graphs or charts that shows an industry or brand-related trend or evolution
- Post definitions of insider or industry-specific terms
- Post recommendations for books, movies, documentaries etc. that relate to your brand or field for users who want to learn more about this topic (e.g. posting a photo of a book cover)
For posts that show off your products, consider:
- Posting sneak peaks of brand new products before they launch
- Posting photos and videos from the launch of the new product
- Posting photos or videos of celebrities or influencers using the product
- Posting photos of consumers using your product
- Posting close-ups and artistic angles of your product that offer an interesting perspective (e.g. parts of a car that may be overlooked)
- Re-gramming your customers’ photos of the product with testimonials or
personalized perspectives of the product
- Featuring photos or videos that show your product being made or designed
- Showing the end result of using a product (For example, a company that sells watercolor paints could post photos of finished paintings that were created using the company’s products) 5. For posts that promote a sense of community or support within your industry, you could post:
- Video interviews with industry experts or leaders
- Photos of your employees with the employees of another brand at an industry-related event (make sure to tag them and ask them to post on their own feed as well)
- Takeovers with another brand in your industry (you post on their feed for a day or they post on yours)
For posts that showcase your customers or followers:
- Search for photos Instagram users have posted of your product and re-gram them on your brand’s account (ask first!)
- Create a brand-specific hashtag that your users can use on their own posts and encourage them to do so for a chance to be featured on your feed
- Post photos of customers enjoying your product at one of your stores or locations
- Hold contests asking followers to post a certain image, such as them using your product, and pick a winner to feature on your account, as well as offer a prize to the winner (e.g. a product giveaway or a free ticket to an event)
For posts that celebrate holidays and other trending topics:
Look for a list of “national holidays” and post a fun, holiday-related post on
that day that also features your brand (For example, for a brand that sells baked goods, you could make a pirate-themed cake and post an image for National Talk Like a Pirate Day)
- Make sure to post on major holidays, such as Christmas or Easter, with a warm holiday greeting from your brand
- Post photos or videos of your employees celebrating the holiday season around major holidays
- Check out trending topics or hashtags on Instagram (more on this later) and post a reference to that topic in the caption or image itself
- For important anniversaries for your brand or industry, post a celebratory post explaining why it’s an important day, or a post a “this day in history” post that shows a significant event that happened on that day
- Feature photos of your customers or others in your industry/community celebrating a certain holiday or season