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Get your content right on Instagram and it has the power to reach the masses, build your business presence and boost sales.

It’s a platform that we’re helping clients navigate their way through at AMBITIOUS and importantly helping to drive great results for their brands and businesses.

In this blog we look at the importance of having a theme, keeping your content consistent, telling a story and experimenting with a range of content types …

Your content themes

Consistency is key on Instagram – the algorithm will love you for it, and you’ll be easily recognised by your followers. Your themes should all come back to your goal – what do you want to be known for? Instagram influencer Jess Siggers (@porthjess on Instagram) advises her clients to choose two or three subjects that they feel represents their brand or business and to concentrate on those, especially while you get established.

Creating a company hashtag for Instagram relating to your themes is also a great idea – promote it whenever you can and encourage users to post their own content to the hashtag feed, helping you to become known for your theme.

Strong imagery

Again, try to keep some consistency with your imagery so you are curating a cohesive ‘grid’ (the page where all your images sit side-by-side). This can be done through the use of colours in your images (for example, always posting in black and white, or using similar hues), or through editing techniques, such as filters and crops. Look at other successful Instagram feeds that you like and see how they are creating a consistent theme with their imagery and posts.

What to post?

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to create compelling imagery for Instagram – but you do need a bit of creativity behind your ideas. Here are some ideas, suggested by Jess Siggers, to get you thinking:

  • The making of products – behind-the-scenes shots are fascinating to your audience
  • Product demo’s – show what your products do in pictures and videos, especially if they have a USP
  • Profiles of members of the team – ask them all the same question and post one each day for a week to tie in with a calendar event that’s relevant to your business
  • Before and after – at industry events, meetings, awards etc
  • Real life – what’s eye-catching in your work environment? Have you been sent something interesting or has someone well-known arrived etc?
  • How to guides – do your team members have expertise and knowledge in relevant areas?
  • Contests – giveaways with your company’s products are a great way to build followers and engagement.

Types of content

  • Photos – ok, an obvious one – but remember that you can post a single image, or up to 15 images in a carousel. This is a great option if you have lots of pictures from an event and want to group them together.
  • Videos – again, standard videos can be used as well as time lapse and slow motion – but keep them short as Instagram only gives you up to 60 seconds.
  • Boomerang – a great app that allows you to create gif-style videos very easily.
  • Words and quotes – it’s easy to create eye-catching type in free tools like Canva – a great way to bring quotes and facts to life.
  • User-generated content – create a hashtag (see content themes) and encourage people to post their own content using the hashtag. Re-post the best ones back onto your feed (with their permission).

Crafting great captions

While Instagram is essentially a photo-sharing platform, it’s evolved into a social network that values engagement and interaction. To do that well, crafting great captions is key.

  • Trigger the read more – From a technical point of view, length of your caption is important, because you want people to stay on your post for as long as possible. Remember those first 10-15 words are the only ones that appear in the feed, so make those grab the reader’s attention and entice them to click on ‘read more’.
  • Tell a story and be human – If your post is long and boring it will quickly disappear, so make sure you have something to say. Think about what message you’re conveying. What’s the story behind the picture? Who else is in the picture? Why is it of interest to your followers?
  • Create a conversation – Instagram wants to see people engaging on your post, so make it easier for people to respond by asking them direct questions and giving them a call to action.

To hashtag or not to hashtag?

Hashtags have been at the heart of much Insta-controversy, but used wisely they are still an essential component of good quality posts – the algorithm likes them and users often follow certain hashtag feeds.

So, how do you incorporate hashtags without falling into the shadowban trap? It’s best to avoid posting the same block of hashtags on every post. Instead, create hashtag groups and use the most relevant ones on each post to ensure they’re a good fit for the content. Save time by keeping them somewhere easily accessible and pasting them in as you post – at the moment you can add up to 36 hashtags per post.

Post your hashtags at the end of the post, with a line break in between – or you can even use a separate comment for hashtags to keep them nice and neat – just make sure you post them immediately after your post goes out, to keep the algorithm happy.

Creating your own brand hashtag is also a great idea – promote it on your Instagram profile and try to use it on at least a quarter of your own posts, also encouraging followers to post their own content using the hashtag.

Is your business on Instagram yet? What tactics have you used when content planning and what’s worked best for you? Tell us in the comments below – and make sure you connect with us on Instagram @ambitious_consultancy.