UPDATED JULY 12, 2019
There's a stigma behind business Instagram accounts that it needs to be 100% strictly business-driving posts. The truth is, the accounts that seamlessly mesh personal+business together are the ones that foster more engagement and build connections with their followers. But finding that balance can be tricky. We all feel slightly lost sometimes on what to post. Here are 18 unique things to post on Instagram to boost engagement and add a little variety to your content:
Maybe you've decked out your cubicle, maybe you work at your kitchen table, or maybe you have a badass minimalistic nook for getting down to work. Share what your space looks like! Give your followers some inspiration for their own workspaces. Got a messy desk? That's ok! You'll be sharing a glimpse into the real life, behind the scenes look of your business.
Who doesn't love a good meme? Give your followers a chuckle and potentially gain new fans if it's really funny. I recently came across a totally hilarious and relatable meme. Feel free to use it!
People are obsessed with posting food pictures on Instagram. But there's more to it than winning points on #aesthetics-- it can actually help you widen your reach, get more engagement, and even tie into your business! Food photos are more than what's on the plate. It's extremely relatable and can evoke feelings of nostalgia among your followers. We all eat, right?! If you're posting a photo from a restaurant, be sure to tag the name of the place in your photo. People love perusing photos of restaurants before deciding where to eat, which can expose you to new audiences.
Behind the Scenes
Instagram often makes us seem like our lives are always well-put together and #goals, but the truth is, sometimes we're messy and sometimes we fail. One of the biggest drivers in social media engagement is relatability. Show your followers and audience what it looks like when you're not polished and posing to really build a connection with them.
If you take a look at your last few posts, I'll bet the one where you posted a photo of yourself got the most likes. A study from HubSpot indicated that Instagram photos with faces get 38% likes. Social media is about forming connections with others. It's important that your photos carry the same look and feel from one to the next, but when people can put a face to the name of your account, they'll feel more in touch.
If you're not the selfie type, consider working with a photographer to get some professional images. You'll be able to use them on your Instagram, website, and other social media profiles. Making a good first impression speaks wonders for your online presence.
5 Facts About You
I LOVE reading these. Even if you're not tagged to do a post like this, give your followers a look into your childhood, hobbies, and random facts about you. Asking a question at the end of your post can help spark interaction in the comments. Who knows--maybe you'll even find some followers who share the same quirks as you!
Whether it's National Chocolate Cake Day or National Umbrella Month, participating in these types of occurrences on Instagram can help expose you to new audiences. Don't worry if it's not related to your business! Show your target customers that you're passionate about other things outside of your business and let them get a sense for who you are. Get the full list of national days and months here.
Pro tip: Start your own occurrence! Who says National 'No Laundry' Month can't exist?
Your Favourite Tips & Tools
People follow Instagram accounts when they see value in the content. Share a hack or tip that will help your followers in their job or everyday life. If you can't come up with a tip, share one of your favourite online tools that helps you run your business or stay organized in your personal life. I recently shared my love for Planoly, a social media planning tool and received some positive feedback from my followers about how much they love it, too.
Join in on a Trending Hashtag
It takes a little more searching to find 'trending' hashtags on Instagram than it is on Twitter, but here are a few ways to find them:
- Use the Instagram search engine. Start typing in a hashtag and look for related ones that pop up below
- Browse the hashtags used on posts in your explore page
- Tap a hashtag you often use, select other photos using that hashtag and see which ones they're using
- Use a third-party tool to find trending hashtags
A testimonial can be something a simple as a nice note from a customer via email, a recommendation on LinkedIn, or a formal testimonial that you've politely asked for (yes, it's totally ok!). Turn the quote into an appealing graphic with an image of the customer (with their permission) and tag them in the photo. This will help you expand your reach.
Your Last Blog
Instagram is an excellent way to get more visits to your blog. Pull out a quote or short excerpt and post in on IG. Guide readers to the link in your bio (be sure to update it first!) to get access to the entire article. If it's a list-type blog, share a few of the top items and boost curiosity among your followers. They'll be eager to read the rest!
Who doesn't love a snuggly cat or quirky dog? And if you don't have any furry friends, steal this image (which is free for commercial use!).
A Project You're Proud Of or Customer Success Story
I try to emphasize the 80/20 rule when it comes to Instagram. 80% of your posts should be valuable, inspiring content and 20% can be subtly promotional. Turn a project you're proud of into a mini case study. Include the following in your caption:
- The problem/challenge your client was experiencing
- How you addressed it with your product or service
- The results your client experienced
Alternatively, if your business helps customers make visual transformations, post a before and after collage.
People often notice a disconnect between their mailing list and Instagram followers--but there doesn't need to be. Pull out an interesting tidbit from your last newsletter and update the link in your profile to an opt-in page. Not sure what an opt-in page is? It's a page on your website with a form to collect email addresses for your newsletter list! That's right. You should have a whole page dedicated to it, otherwise you'll drive visitors to a page on your site where the goal isn't clear. (You can use mine as an example)
A 'Regram' of An Account That Inspires You
When you're feeling like you've run tap dry and you're looking for new ideas and things to post on Instagram, look to one of your favourite accounts to share one of their images. Just be sure to tag them and give them the photo credit!
Take a look through your past posts from 6+months ago and find one that really stands out among the others in terms of likes and comments. Share it again and use new hashtags! There are so many posts on Instagram that you can get away with repurposing content. If you're concerned that it will look like you're reusing posts, turn it into a #tbt.
Borrow an Image
There are times when even the most skilled photographers may feel their photos just don't do justice for their Instagram post. This is where quality, free stock photo websites come in real handy. My personal favourites are Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay. All are 100% free to use for commercial use!
Quotes can be overdone on social media so choose one that's short (10 words or less), relatable, and thought provoking. A few ways you can make your quote stand out from the rest:
- Use Canva to create a custom graphic
- Put the text on top of a beautiful image you've taken
- Handletter it!
- Work with a designer to get custom images with consistent branding
Your personal goals
Beyond your business and professional objectives, share some of the goals you're striving to reach in the short and long-term. Maybe you're aiming to read a book a month, go to the gym 5x/week, call your family members more often, or adopt a pet -- your audience wants to see the human behind your Instagram account.
Contests and giveaways don't need to be limited to businesses that sell tangible products. If you provide services, why not giveaway a consultation, session, or audit?
USER GENERATED CONTENT
You know those photos and stories your customers tag you in showcasing your product or service? Share them! It's a great way to build trust with your audience when they can see that people are using and loving your business.
A PRODUCT YOU LOVE
Instagram has become a popular resource for finding out about new products and businesses. While any of these are paid sponsorships, there's no reason why you can't boast about a product you love to use in your daily life. Be sure to tag the company, too!
AN APP YOU LOVE
Business owners and Instagram users love learning about new apps to help them increase their reach, grow their following, and get new customers. What are some tools that help you achieve this that you want to share with your followers? Whether it's a photo editing app, social media scheduling tool, or email software, let your audience know why you love it.
A LOCAL VENDOR YOU SUPPORT
Small local businesses have to compete with the footprint of large corporations all the time. Help them build brand awareness by giving them a shoutout!
Hopefully you've got a notebook full of ideas and things to post on Instagram. The key is to plan out your posts ahead of time so you can visually see what's in the pipeline. This will help you ensure you're maintaining consistency, aligning with your brand, but also giving followers valuable content.