Creating a high-quality brand on Instagram is done by spending time upfront creating a content strategy. This means you decide in advance what content will work well for your audience, and you decide on how you are going to present that content in a way that your audience loves. Here are some recommendations for the different types of content that work really well on Instagram. Note: you don’t have to do all of these. I would start by picking 3 to 4 different ways that best suit your brand, experiment, and see what your audience reacts well to.
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Lots of Instagram users follow Instagram accounts because it’s a great place to get inspired. There’s something truly wonderful about using social media to inspire you to do something positive with your life, so use your content to tap into that desire your audience has. Inspirational content also gets a great reaction from your audience which means that post will get a high Instagram engagement rate. That’s a smart way to get your Instagram in the good books of the Instagram algorithm.
Your audience wants to wake up every day and see something on your Instagram page that is going to make them want to do something amazing – aim to be that person!
Here’s an excellent example of this type of content on Instagram:
Remember that inspirational doesn’t have to mean quotes. Sometimes, a picture of something we aspire to can be enough to connect with our emotions. Video works too. Watching a young student master a few piano chords can be enough to inspire a person to learn an instrument.
Progress showcase (before and after, results)
If you are a coach, then in some way or another, you are pushing your audience to make a positive change about themselves. That might be about their career, money, relationship, or body. Whatever it is, you need to be able to show them that a change is possible, and there is no better way to do that than using something I call the progress showcase. It’s an excellent way of proving you get results. If you get positive comments on that post, it’s also social proof that’s hugely valuable for your business.
You’ve most likely seen these in the form of before and after pictures for people who have lost a lot of weight, but it doesn’t have to be that type of post to get the same message across.
For example, you could show a transformation that one of your clients has achieved by quoting a testimonial and providing a screenshot of some sort of result (e.g. a revenue graph if you are a wealth coach). Or if you are a English tutor, you could look at how you’ve helped a student transform their writing during their time with you.
Be creative. Find a way to get across that message to your audience that if they work with you, you are going to help them transform, and you can show them real proof of that transformation. The best time to showcase these posts is right before you run a promotion.
Here are some excellent examples of this type of content on Instagram:
Behind the scenes
Most of your followers will know you from the emails you send and your website, and possibly from your other social media accounts.
Instagram is a perfect medium for your audience getting to know you on a more personal level, and that’s going to really help you form a bond with them. Do that by occasionally posting some behind the scenes pictures from your real life. Carousel posts work well for these types of posts. This could be something as simple as you getting ready to run a webinar, or something that you do day-to-day in your business. It shows a more human side, and will really help you build that strong relationship with potential customers. It also taps into that important quality you need on Instagram: authenticity. When people see behind the scenes content, they know they are interacting with a real business (don’t underestimate the value of this; since barriers to entry are almost non-existent in many online industries, there are many false businesses out there sadly).
Here are some great examples of behind the scenes posts on Instagram:
Lifestyle images are fairly similar to behind the scenes, but they are more personal and not necessarily related to your business. When done well, they tend to be quite aspirational images for your followers. For example, they might show an image from your recent vacation. Don’t overdo these photos – one high quality picture is preferably than twenty. Don’t feel you need to spend time staging the photo to get that beautiful finish, either. First, when a photo is staged it’s normally easy to spot. Secondly, people actually prefer the natural and imperfect photo to a staged one.
Here are some examples of lifestyle images on Instagram:
Value content is a catch-all for any type of post on Instagram that your audience is going to get value from, and this should make up at least 50% of the content you post on your feed. This might be educational content, a tip, a recommendation, or a guide. If you are a health coach, it could be a recipe. If you are a money or career coach, it could be an app you recommend. It doesn’t have to be profound or detailed advice, but it has to be something that your audience can quickly look at and think: hey, that’s really helpful to know. It’s why food accounts do so well on Instagram. They offer so much value! You might be in a completely different field to food, but think about the equivalent in your industry of a step-by-step recipe and accompanying video.
By posting value content on Instagram, you are going to remind your audience that yours is an account that is worth following. It’s a good way of boosting brand awareness. It also means that when you do promote something on Instagram, your audience won’t mind because they’ll have already had so much value from you already.
Here are some great examples of value content on Instagram:
A little bit of humor goes a long way. Use it sparingly. For example, you could limit it to your Instagram stories. Remember that humor is great for a connection with your audience, but you want the overall feel of your Instagram feed to be about value, quality and your brand. Nevertheless, a well-chosen funny post is a great mix to any Instagram account and will show you have an authentic side (and that you have a sense of humor.) Be careful about using a humor that’s relatable to your target audience. Nuance is often lost on social media networks and it’s easy to offend. You don’t want to face an emergency post to repair your reputation. You’ve probably seen celebrities do this from time to time with a public apology!
Here’s some examples that made me smile:
Don’t forget that you can include Instagram video posts via Instagram reels, and it’s another great way to help bond with your audience and find new audiences for your account. It could just be you talking to the camera on live videos, for example, but will come across as very personal and friendly. If you haven’t used Instagram videos before, try it today as the tools are easy to grasp. You also don’t need an expensive setup, even if you’ve seen bigger accounts do this. Start simple.
Instagram is about engaging with your target audience, so you want to actively encourage them to comment on your posts. One obvious way of doing this is to ask a question that you know your audience are going to be passionate about. Yes/No questions or multi-choice tend to get a better response than open-ended questions, but both are a great way to interact with your audience. Some viral accounts on social media are very clever with this sort of thing. You’ve probably seen it before. It’s the irresistable questions (what’s your first memory from childhood?). Think of questions your audience will love writing an answer to in the comments. Just remember to personally respond to any comment you get as a result. Your followers will really appreciate it.
Here’s some great examples:
People like to feel part of something. One of the classic ways you can form a tribe online is to make comments or jokes about something that only a person “in the know” would get. For example, if you are a relationship coach for married couples, it could be something that only married people would be able to relate to. It’s also a great reminder that you operate in a niche. You shouldn’t be trying to build Instagram posts that appeal to everyone, they should only be relevant to your target audience.
Here are some “in the know” examples from Instagram:
I could (and will) write an entire blog post on contests, because they are one of the best ways to grow your audience and grow your email list. But suffice to say that a well planned contest that’s well targeted towards your ideal customer is a great way to utilize your Instagram feed. It’s also an opportunity to try user-generated content and showcase new products. User generated content is where you get your followers to share content on a theme of your choosing. You could get users to post pictures of themselves with your product, for example.
Last but not least, don’t forget to include promotional posts on Instagram. These are the posts that ask people to take action: join a mailing list, buy a special promotion, sign up to webinar.
If you get the balance right and don’t make your Instagram feed entirely sales-focused, your audience will be very receptive to the occasional promotion on a single post. People really don’t mind getting sales posts in their feed if it’s something they value, providing that’s not all they ever see.
Besides, you are a business, and you are there to turn followers into customers. You aren’t on Instagram to merely grow a massive following and become an influencer. You have business goals and Instagram is a marketing tool.
If you don’t come from a design background, I’d also strongly recommend getting some guidance in how to pair the perfect fonts to create a beautiful and professional promotional post – this fantastic training course on font design is well worth taking, as it will help elevate your post design above your competitors.
Next Step: Turning Your Instagram Content Into Sales
You’ve got great content on your feed. Now what? Well, now is the time to start thinking about how you can turn all this fantastic content creation from social media platforms into new customers and sales for your businesses. Download our free sales funnel guide now to discover how to do that.