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What Type of Content Performs Best on Instagram?

I’ve been on Instagram so long that my username is @preston. Seriously. I took a social media class in 2011 at the University of Memphis (shoutout to Carrie Brown) that forever changed the course of my life, and I actually joined Instagram in that class.

Today, I’ve been on the platform for a decade and seen it evolve from a mobile camera only app into maybe the most important marketing platform in the world. The last decade has been a wild ride, but the most common question I still get to this day is “what should I post?”

Throughout my career, I’ve worked with businesses, brands, influencers, athletes, etc. Name the type of account, and I’ve likely managed one similar on Instagram and across other social media networks. That said, there are certain types of content that perform better depending on what type of account you are.

And, at the end of the day, my answer to the question on what you should post is going to depend on what your account looks like now, your current audience, and what your goals for the account are.

Three key questions to ask yourself while designing content for Instagram:

  1. What type of account is it?

    1. Why are people following you/your brand? Make sure the content you’re thinking of posting is in line what the answer to that question.

  2. Does this post fit the look and feel of the other posts on my feed?

    1. Aesthetic cohesion on your main IG page is key. People clicking into your profile for the first time are much more likely to follow if the nine visible posts look intentional and like they are meant to be together.

  3. Would I like this post if I followed this account?

    1. It sounds simple, but many people forget to ask themselves this question. Is the content worthwhile? Is the caption meaningful. Posting just to post isn’t the way to go.

After you’ve answered those questions, it’s up to you to choose the type of content (video, photo, carousel posts, IGTV, etc.). Some of that depends on your goal; some of it depends on the content you’re working with.

In general, these are some of my favorite content buckets to tell people to think of when trying to figure out what to post on Instagram. I’ve been working with a lot of bodybuilders and fitness influencers lately, so some of this information is tailored to that group. Still, the overall idea buckets can be applied to pretty much anyone trying to create content on Instagram.

  • Brand Awareness

    • Introduction:

      • Who are you? What is your brand? Why do you care?

    • Behind The Scenes:

      • Share photo/video/product shoots, show your people/team/staff, a glimpse of materials/equipment involved, preparation and anything real, raw and behind the camera.

    • Actionable or Relatable Life Tips:

      • Share basic guides, facts, step by step process and solutions.

    • Giveaways:

      • A great way to introduce your account to more users and gain followers.

  • Interest Boost & Entertainment

    • Vlogs:

      • Day In Your Life or A Day In Your Business, Unboxing

    • Collaboration:

      • A face to face interview or via video call with someone who is related to your industry. You can discuss, demonstrate or show anything within your niche that is beneficial to your audience.

    • Go Live Q & A:

      • Best to do during peak hours. Time to show the audience what you are doing within your business and time to entertain the audience's questions.

  • For Social Proof

    • Success stories:

      • Repost tagged photos or videos from your clients/customers, upload highlights in an actual event and share your awards and recognition.

    • Feature Clients:

      • Feature someone or a group of people you helped from your services and offers. Allow them to share testimonies.

    • UGC (User-generated content):

      • Similar to “Success stories”, but this time, you will not only repost from the customers, but you will upload it as main content with proper credits.

Screenshot of @preston Instagram profile.
Instagram content should be inviting, engaging, and thumbstopping.

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