If you are like most brands, you are using Instagram to:
- Increase brand awareness
- Widen your fanbase
- Drive sales
Instagram can be the perfect social media platform to achieve results for all three of these goals – so long as you are keeping people engaged.
While posts can (and should!) be used to tell your followers, and anyone discovering you, about your new products or services, this cannot be the only content you are pushing out. Now more than ever, successful social media marketing is about growing customers by flaunting your brand personality, making people laugh, telling them interesting stories, and giving them valuable information or advice. Your Instagram posts and stories need to open up a dialogue with your audience, encourage interaction, and generate engagement.
10 Content Ideas To Keep Your Brand Engaging On Instagram
1. Host Competitions
Instagram contests are the perfect way to showcase a product, service, or partnership while being generous and creating engagement – who doesn’t want to win something with the click of a button? This requires a bit of planning to establish the rules, the prize, and how you are going to send it to the winner. Set yourself a goal and choose the right method – “tag a friend to enter”, for example, is more likely to get you new followers than “like to enter”. Remember to use a hashtag to make it easy to share and pick up momentum.
2. Show Behind-The-Scenes Content
This could be a sneak peek of a new product in-the-making, the preparation of an event you are participating in, or that time the Finance Controller bought everyone in the office free donuts. People love to see glimpses of the reality behind a brand, not just the choreographed display that you put on. As well as piquing the interest of your audience, you will be increasing brand loyalty by making your followers feel trusted with exclusive access to scenes.
3. Post User-Generated Content
UGC gives your brand authenticity with a less traditional form of advertising that puts your customers first. It’s digital word-of-mouth that benefits both parties, and it’s free! If you already have a big following on Instagram, search posts you’ve been tagged in, hashtags associated with your brand and locations (if you have a physical store or restaurant), and browse for the best snaps. If this isn’t the case, a sure way to create a steady stream of user-generated content is via competitions – the best photo of the week gets a freebie. However, don’t be afraid to also reach out to customers and offer them something in exchange for taking quality photos. Always give credit and remember to ask permission – they will probably be delighted about the shout-out, but it’s better to give them a choice.
4. Create Polls
Fans love sharing their opinions, and will love you for giving them an opportunity to do so. The poll feature in Instagram Stories allows you to post a classic poll, with two customisable answer options, or an emoji slider for your audience to tell you how much they feel about something, like how spicy they like their food or how much they love your new t-shirt design. Your followers feel listened to and involved in your decision-making, and you get free market research as well as high engagement rates. Win-win.
5. Be A Part Of The Trend
Keep an eye on hashtags trending around an event (#WorldCup), holiday (#Halloween), or social media trend (#MondayMotivation) and post something that relates. Some of these can be planned in advance – maybe you do a Throwback Thursday post every week, and everyone knows when Christmas is – but it is especially engaging to do this at the moment. When the world woke up to everyone discussing whether a photo of a dress is white and gold or blue and black, brands became the stars of the show. Find a fun way to get noticed by joining the latest craze.
6. Post Tutorials
Many people use Instagram to be informed and learn new things, and a recent report shows that videos receive 38% more engagement on the platform than images. Whatever the expertise of your brand – fashion tips, delicious recipes, how to overcome the fear of public speaking – sharing your wisdom with a tutorial video provides your audience with valuable content while showing off what you can do.
7. Share Exclusive News
Letting your followers be the first to know about something exciting makes following your brand worth it! It could be a new product, a deal coming soon or an upcoming event – your fans will feel special, and will relish clicking share so that they can be the bearer of great news to their audience. This is an easy way to get promoted organically and drive new people to your profile to check you out.
8. Promote Others
Your brand is part of a community, and helping others will also help yourself. Giving a shout-out to another brand that you like will tap into their following while showing yours that you have their best interest at heart, not just your own. You can do this by reposting another brand’s content, but even better if you can make an original post and tag them. They might end up reposting or even returning the favor. Aim for small brands who will appreciate it more and make a bigger fuss.
9. Give Out Secret Passwords
Rewarding your fans for their loyalty is a sure way to keep them invested in your brand and encourage them to become brand ambassadors. What more seductive way to do so than by giving them a code word for a deal or product? You could be just like everyone else and give them “40% off” burgers, or you could tell them to say “iloveburgers” when the bill comes to get the discount. Secret passwords spread like wildfire, which is great for brand awareness, but it’s a good idea to set a limit or specific time frame to stop it from spiraling out of control.
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10. Tell Long Tales
Instagram blog sensations such as “Humans of New York” have shown us that short tag-line captions are not the only written content that works on the platform. People spend hours on the platform and have time to read a good story if it grabs their attention. Try posting a detailed comment about a product or give people a brand anecdote, keeping the first line as something that stands out and makes your audience want to read more. And make sure it’s written well, of course!