man takes picture of roses with smartphone for Instagram

Instagram Posts: What Are They, How to Use Them and How to Create the Best Ones

Users are contributing to a well-knit Instagram community by posting visuals (images or videos) that represent a moment in their lives. Their window to a sunny morning, an opportune encounter with old friends, their hobbies, an item that bettered their lifestyles – all pictures and videos that tell a story work as Instagram posts.

However, there are not only users that populate the most engaging social platform of them all. Brands and famous content creators (a.k.a. influencers) have pioneered a new type of social content.

This is the very reason why we are here. Read on as we unfold the multi-layers of a perfect Instagram post, track down all the ways to make use of them, and identify recipes for guaranteed Instagram success!

1. Meet All the Layers that Make up an Instagram Post

Simply put, Instagram posts represent the images or videos users publish on their Instagram accounts. However, the bigger picture shows an entire ecosystem that has come to differentiate content on this channel from those on others. Let’s take a closer look at the elements that make them unique:

a. Visuals

skincare products arranged with natural props for an instagam post

Remember? Instagram owes its high rating thanks to images and videos. Nobody can publish plain text. On the contrary, each post has to get its energy from a visual story.

First of all, let’s understand the platform mechanics. Users scroll down their feeds on their mobile screens in search of amazing content. Everything happens at a fast pace. The only hook that makes users stop is an appealing image.

Therefore, a high percentage of the success of a post sits on the shoulders of visuals. Before hitting the Publish button, tick this checklist:

  • Choose the right Instagram dimensions for images and videos;
  • Touch up any pixelations;
  • Make sure the appealing factor is visible;
  • Follow the Rule of Thirds;
  • Make sure the new post preserves your brand identity;
  • Check brand alignment.

b. Captions

First of all, captions are not necessary as long as visuals speak volumes. Nonetheless, brands usually take advantage of this option to offer context. These are the widest-spread caption components:

  • Description: Use the right words to bring viewers in the right frame of mind;
  • Call-to-Action: Click the bio link for more info! Tag a friend! Like our post! – always tell users what you expect them to do;
  • @Mentions: Make new connections, generate interactions, get product endorsements. Achieve all this by linking your brand to a relevant Instagram user or business by @mentioning them.
  • Geo-location: Geo-tags let users know where your pictures were taken. Was it at your latest teambuilding escapade or your brick-and-mortar stores? Users can click on tags and discover all pictures created at those locations. Make your business findable and increase engagement rates organically all at the same time.
  • Emojis: These symbols may not be for every brand, but they make a post so much more entertaining. Plus, they can replace words downsizing the caption length to a comfortable read. 

c. Comments

Comments are also an integral part of Instagram posts. The way people look at and interact with a post adds to its personality and gets them closer to a business culture. Therefore, it is advisable for brands to respond to comments promptly, be them negative or encouraging.

Reply with brand loyalty in mind. Show them you care about them by finding solutions to their issues or sharing their excitement. Whenever time is not on your side, at least make your presence known with a click on the ‘heart’ button for comments.

d. Hashtags

Originally from Twitter, hashtags are extremely popular on Instagram. They help users discover content while brands can keep track of their campaigns.

Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags per post, but the sweet spot begins at 11. Usually, brands insert popular hashtags for lead generation. On the other hand, niche hashtags get them access to an ideal audience. 

2. How to Use Them (for a Highly Engaging Instagram Account)

Knowing what Instagram posts are is not enough. Publishers need to devise an efficient content plan as a framework of an entrancing social media presence. Let’s see how you can bring posts to life!

a. Identify the Ideal Number of  Posts Per Day

The right number of posts per day varies from one account to another. Some publishers get satisfying results by fueling as many interactions as possible in 24 hours. Others cause a stir with one catchy post per week.

To start with, aim to publish one to three posts per day and experiment from there. On average, international companies create 1.5 posts per day and it can work for you as well.

However, getting an audience accustomed to a publishing schedule is far more important than proving a point. It creates consistency giving users something to look forward to. As such, it is better to adjust the number of posts to one that you can stick to indefinitely every day.

b. Spot the Best Hours for Posting

Making sense of the best hours calls for some learning time about your followers’ habits. Instagram helps out greatly at this point by revealing backend results. 

If you made the switch to a business account, you’ll find Instagram Insights extremely helpful. This location holds reports on the number of user interactions for each hour of the last 7 days. Use the peak moments of your followers’ activity to publish your most engaging posts.

In case you don’t have access to such metrics, follow the study results from millions of Instagram entries. Monday to Friday, be active in the morning, during lunch, towards the end of nine to five routine, and just before bedtime. On weekends, the best hours for posting move to either 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

c. Set a Purpose for Instagram Posts

target with 6 targets businesses can hit the bullseye

Brands can easily get the virality they want. However, if these posts don’t generate results for the company, it was all for nothing.

Link each piece of content to a goal, and results will ensue. These are the targets Instagram posts can meet:

  • Lead generation;
  • Conversion rate;
  • Reach;
  • Social community;
  • Brand awareness;
  • Website traffic.

Create meaningful content by stirring each post to a clear objective.

d. Draw up a Monthly Instagram Content Plan

Instagram posts can’t influence much alone. They draw their power from consistency hence the need for a solid content calendar.

Once you decide on the number of posts and publishing hours, it’s time to start working on a monthly content plan. This practice not only gives you clarity, long-term results, coherence, and vision, but it also puts you in control of your social media presence.

First, be generous with format diversity: videos, tutorials, stats, quotes, inspirational views, etc. Secondly, decide on a promotional-non promotional ratio. In the beginning, it’s best to test the rule of 80% of creative posts and 20% of product promotions. 

As to what types of posts can generate conversions, that’s another story. This is where the part on how to create the best Instagram posts comes into play. 

3. Seven Post Ideas Away from an Engaged Community

Above all, Instagram is about having fun and sharing your happiness with the world one picture at a time. Too stiff, and followers can lose their interest. Too excited, and brands may be stripped of credibility.

This is why a compendium of post ideas is the very asset brands need to shake content monotony off. Take a look at the best posts that can generate big waves on Instagram!

  1. Product showcases: After all, this is a business account we’re talking about. Seize every opportunity to display each of the great features your product has. Make sure their frequency is mild and that captions are noteworthy.
  2. Backstage moments: Consumers nowadays want brands to share similar values to theirs. Behind-the-scenes shots assure viewers of transparency which lays the foundation for trust. 
  3. Repost UGC: Users love to show off their eureka moments when they found satisfactory products with unexpected results. These posts are invaluable resources for brands that require zero efforts on their part. On the one hand, brands open a new source of inspirational content when encouraging user-generated content. On the other hand, they instill brand loyalty and persuade followers of products’ benefits.
  4. Giveaways and contests: The prospect of having a chance at winning something excites users into taking giveaways further to their friends. Contests are always efficient icebreakers that stimulate dialogue, social proof, awareness, and engagement.
  5. Featured influencers: Brand credibility levels go through the roof whenever a social celebrity endorses it. On top of that, your account will surely get a sharp spike in traffic coming from influencers’ communities.
  6. Tutorials: Compelling visuals that educate users on products draw them closer to the ‘Buy Now’ button. Actionable guides familiarize prospects with product features and benefits to the point of conversion.
  7. Quotes: Dynamic backgrounds with motivational words are always an antidote to lackluster performance. This type of posts fits the profile of Instagram users who scroll down their feeds in search of visuals and videos that put a smile on their faces.

Final Word

By now, you should be extremely familiar with the essence of Instagram posts, their organization into a content plan, and the best ideas for them. The secret is to make use of all post components to maximize engagement rates and be consistent in your social media planning. Above all, a heterogeneous mix of visuals and videos can set any business account in motion. 

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