Tips for Creating Stellar Instagram Content in 2023
Learn how to create the best Instagram content in 2023 with these actionable tips and examples of brands killing it on this social media platform.
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Whatever industry you’re in, there’s a good chance your audience is on Instagram. Learn how to create stellar Instagram content with our 10 actionable tips!
These numbers may seem promising for marketers, until you remember there are also over 200,000 million businesses on Instagram, competing for your audience’s attention.
Want to learn how to create content for Instagram? Here are 10 great tips to guide you!
I know what you’re thinking: “how else can you communicate on Instagram, other than through visuals”. Well, despite what you might think, there aren’t that many brands and people who do this successfully.
It’s no secret that our collective attention span has deteriorated. And yet, so many businesses still rely on captions as a way to relay the message. One of the reasons for this is dull Instagram content, such as stock photos.
Another common mistake is that the image and caption have very little in common (overused motivational quotes are often the second part of this equation).
The first rule of learning how to create content for Instagram that performs is to make the message instantly clear. You can of course use the caption to elaborate, but whether it’s a photo of an employee, or a graph showing your latest research, it should be immediately apparent what the post is about.
Consistency, consistency and more consistency
The key ingredient to great branded Instagram content is consistency. Although you might be tempted to keep experimenting with different visuals, consistent Instagram content allows you to build brand recognition. Imagine seeing a blue Coca-Cola can. Or the Facebook logo written in script typography. Chances are you probably wouldn’t think either of those looked cool and exciting - you’d merely feel it doesn’t fit the brands everyone knows so well.
So, how to create content for Instagram that’s consistent? Here are some of the main design elements that need to be consistent across your Instagram feed.
- Color palette
- Specific content themes
- Use of the brand logo
- A specific style of editing/filters
- Posting frequency
Sounds simple enough, right? Well, while consistent Instagram content is imperative, it comes with a couple of pitfalls to avoid.
How to avoid repetitive content?
Same colors and typography, same themes and layouts, doesn’t that sound a little repetitive? Truth be told if you resort to using Instagram post templates, things can get pretty dull fast. So, what can you do?
The key is to change things up gradually.
Here’s a great Instagram content example to learn from. These screenshots from Lancome’s instagram page are about six months apart. You can see the color scheme is totally different, and yet all of the posts are perfectly in line with the company’s brand identity.
You can also consider changing things up according to the season. For example, while the pink colors from Lancome’s most recent posts are perfect for the summer (and the Barbie-core craze we’ve been experiencing), the cool colors are better suited for elegant posts in the winter months.
How to post frequently?
Small businesses who don’t have a marketing team might struggle with creating Instagram content on a regular basis. More often than not it’s usually the small business owner having to find a few minutes in the day to stay on top of the brand’s Instagram page. As you might suspect, this often leads to low-quality or boring posts that don’t generate a lot of attention.
The good news, however, is that once you find a bit of time to create several posts, you can schedule them for weeks, or even months in advance.
So, how to schedule content on Instagram? There are three ways.
- On your Instagram business account, choose the photo you want to post, tap on Advanced settings, and then Schedule.
- You can also use Facebook Business Manager.
- You can use third-party scheduling apps, such as Buffer, Later, Combin and more allow for creating a content plan and schedule the uploading of photos, videos and Instagram stories.
Know your audience
Understanding the audience demographics is another crucial benefit of data examination. Through analytics tools, content creators can gather information about their followers' age, gender, location, and interests. This data allows them to tailor their content to match their audience's preferences and needs, ensuring that they are producing content that resonates with their target demographic.
The kind of content you post will be heavily influenced by who your target audience is. Knowing the customer will increase user engagement and thus user-generated content (UGC), helping build further trust towards your business and brand.
Knowing the interests and characteristics of your audience will also help with finding the right hashtags for your posts.
In the same way as you learn and remember things better by doing them, encouraging your followers to take some form of action and be directly involved with your brand will take the relationship from a superficial level to a more personal one. UGC will also let the Instagram algorithm know that your account is getting traction and positive engagement, and will make your content more easily accessible to a wider audience and put it on the trending pages.
Aerie is a clothing brand that’s committed to creating a more healthy social media landscape. They don’t retouch photos of models and regularly use photos of real people in their clothes, especially swimwear, which helps to create a mindset of body positivity with their audience.
There are plenty of Instagram content examples like this on their profile, but this Reel is a cute collage of many women wearing the same swimsuit in their latest swimsuit model.
For ideas on how to increase engagement with Instagram users check out our tips on creating social media post design.
But it’s pretty standard to see clothing and cosmetics brands share UGC. But a brand that got famous in large part thanks to user-generated content is from a totally different industry.
GoPro’s Instagram content is almost entirely made up of breathtaking snaps from the people who use their product. Sure, they have an unfair advantage, but it’s still pretty incredible to be able to create branded Instagram content without ever having to create a visual yourself!
Use different formats
One of the best to create good Instagram content is to regularly mix things up with various content formats. So, what type of formats are there on Instagram, again?
- Single-image post - these can be in landscape (1080 x 566 pixels), portrait (1080 x 1350 pixels) and square (1080 x 1080 pixels) format.
- Carousel - a slideshow of up to 10 images or videos.
- Reels - this is the name given to videos shared on Instagram, which can also be edited in the app, and you can enhance them with additions like music, stickers, or audios from Reels made by other creators. They have a separate Explore page, and a designated page on your profile.
- Live videos - these are created as stories, which can later be published on your profile. They’re a great way to give your audience a chance to interact with you directly, or even show some live BTS content (perhaps you can organize an Instagram takeover by your members of staff).
- Stories - Each day 500 million people use Instagram Stories and 15-25% swipe through links on them. But besides getting people to take action, Stories are also one of the most effective ways to help your brand stay top of mind with relevant audiences.
- Guides - The most rarely used Instagram format, Guides are collections of posts, reels, or lives (either yours or someone else) that deal with the same topic. They’re frequently used by retail accounts to allow for easy product browsing.
- Shopping posts - Instagram Shopping Posts are a feature on the Instagram platform that allows businesses and creators to tag products in their posts. This feature turns regular posts into shoppable ones, where users can tap on the product tags to view more details about the items and make purchases directly within the Instagram app.
Generate quality visual content
I have good news for you—creating high-quality visual content doesn’t require that you be a professional photographer (although kudos to you if you are one). A well-functioning phone camera will do just fine. On top of that, there is a large variety of apps and websites with readily available collections of stock photos that can be used as background for quotes, facts and more, such as Unsplash, Pixabay and Shutterstock.
Collaborate with influencers
The influencer marketing industry is valued at a whopping $21.1 billion in 2023, with an increase of almost 30% from last year. So, if you haven’t considered influencer marketing yet, now’s the time to jump on it.
Worried that influencer marketing is not within your budget? You’re likely wrong. Nope, you probably can’t get a Karadshian promoting your brand. But, working with someone of a lower profile is probably more beneficial.
Micro-influencers have up to 60% higher engagement and 20% higher conversion rates than macro-influencers and celebrities. This is because they have a small, yet more loyal following that trusts their recommendations more than any of us trust major celebrities.
When it comes to IG content, some influencers prefer to have a say in the matter, while others are happy for you to call all the shots. Generally speaking, it may be better to collaborate with them on creating content ideas, as they will have a better understanding of what the audience will respond to.
Don’t forget the hashtags
Hashtags are a fundamental and powerful element of Instagram's content discovery and engagement mechanism. They play a crucial role in categorizing content, making it easily searchable, and connecting users with shared interests.
By using relevant hashtags in their posts, users can extend the reach of their content beyond their followers and tap into larger communities on the platform. This increased visibility can lead to higher engagement, more likes, comments, and new followers. Hashtags also help content creators and businesses to target specific audiences and niches, allowing them to reach the right people who are interested in their content or products
Here’s how to find relevant hashtags for your Instagram content:
- Research popular hashtags related to your niche or industry using Instagram's search bar to explore trending tags.
- Observe what hashtags your competitors or influencers in the field are using.
- Utilize Instagram's hashtag suggestions, which appear as you start typing a hashtag in captions or comments.
- Explore online tools and apps specifically designed to help users discover popular and trending hashtags in their area of interest, making the process of hashtag selection more efficient and effective. Some popular platforms include HashtagsforLikes, Inflact, and Kicksta Hashtag Generator.
Look at the data
Examining the data can be a powerful tool for improving Instagram content, as it provides valuable insights into audience behavior and preferences.
One essential aspect of data analysis is determining the optimal posting times. By analyzing engagement metrics like likes, comments, and shares across various times of the day and days of the week, you can identify when your audience is most active. Posting during these peak times can significantly increase the visibility and reach of your content.
Examining website traffic from Instagram is a valuable metric for businesses looking to drive conversions and sales. By tracking the number of clicks and conversions generated from the link in your Instagram bio or from swipe-up links in Instagram Stories, you can assess the effectiveness of your content in driving traffic to their website. This information can help you refine your Instagram content strategy, whether it’s coming up with more Instagram content ideas, posting at different times, or taking on a more promotional approach.
For your Instagram content strategy, the sky is the limit. Try out different features and see what works and resonates best with your followers. Plan out what you want your brand feel and message to be, and input that visually into your Instagram profile. Stay consistent, and you will see results.
Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.