Instagram is still a marketing powerhouse (credit: Solen Feyissa on Unsplash)
Instagram is a powerful marketing channel for small businesses, especially ecommerce. The platform is largely composed of young audiences that are increasingly open to engaging with brands and even purchasing products directly on Instagram.
90% of people on Instagram follow a business, and two-thirds of the people surveyed say Instagram enables interaction with brands.
While there are plenty of post formats you can try, here are the best types of Instagram posts to drive better brand engagement (and not just mere double taps).
Ask a Question
One of the easiest ways to start driving more engagement is to ask questions to your followers, either in captions or within the visual itself.
When you post open-ended questions such as “What is your favorite __?” or “What’s your best __ recommendation?”, you spark an interesting two-way conversation that increases your followers’ interest in your brand as they’re able to better connect with you.
So, use this simple tactic regularly to boost engagement on your Instagram posts.
Show Behind the Scenes
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the perfect avenues to showcase your business’s “human side”. A great way to do that is by providing your followers a sneak peek behind your brand’s curtains.
So if you’re an ecommerce seller selling customized sneakers, your followers already know just how awesome your sneakers are to look at — thanks to your usual product-oriented Instagram posts and stories.
But do they know all the hard work that goes into creating them? A quick Instagram Reels video is a nifty way to show the behind-the-scenes work by your team.
Likewise, a simple “day in the life” clip is an effective way to give your audience an inside look into your company’s culture and values, your life as a business owner, the technology that goes behind making your products, the efforts of your team members, and so on.
And you don’t necessarily have to plan extensively or make elaborate edits. People love and appreciate a raw, uncut backstage pass.
Behind-the-scenes content makes your audience better empathize with your brand. Ultimately, it’s a neat way to not just boost your engagement and trustworthiness but improve the overall customer experience people have with your brand.
Share Creative Memes
Everybody loves memes. Instagram is an ideal platform to entertain your audience (and thus drive those likes, comments, and shares) rather than merely pushing your products.
Show your brand’s witty and humorous side to delight your followers by sharing creative and relatable memes.
While you can curate and share popular memes (by providing credits in the caption, of course), the most relevant memes you wish to post may not be available in high resolution (important for visual-first platforms like Instagram), or may already be old and seen by your audience.
It’s best to create your own original memes and add your branded watermark. Creating memes may seem like a non-businessy task, but it’s a fun activity that doesn’t take a lot of time (only a pinch of wit). When done right, it can make your brand go viral in the best light, boosting engagement, follower count, and traffic.
Use free online tools like Imgflip or Meme Creator which let you upload your image and quickly overlay meme-style text.
Repost User-Generated Content
While Instagram is notorious for being a platform where people “fake it till they make it”, you can use it to boost your brand’s authenticity. People don’t follow you to get mere product promotions shoved at their faces, they do so to better know and connect with your brand.
86% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support, and the modern audience composed largely of Millennials and Generation Z will only engage with branded content that’s genuine.
Besides behind-the-scenes, the other tried-and-true content type to improve authenticity is user-generated content.
UGC lets your audience be more involved, so you’ll get quality content from real customers that you can then repost to showcase your business’s genuine quality.
So how do you inspire more UGC?
You can start by partnering up with micro-influencers to create content for you where they use your products or services. If you have fan-submitted photos or videos, ask them if you can repost the content and then do so by crediting them in the caption.
Another effective way to garner UGC is to…
Host Contests and Giveaways
A hashtag contest is a tactic wherein you invite people to post content with your product and tag your brand. Once the contest period is over, you reward participants with the best or most high-performing content.
Such contests incentivize your audience to publicly tag and praise your brand, helping boost engagement and improve your social proof.
Similarly, a giveaway is a format where you randomly select winners. The participants have to engage with your post in some way (such as comment with the right answer, retweet, subscribe to your newsletter, etc.) to stand a chance to win.
To create an effective giveaway:
- Offer a relevant prize — such as your brand’s most in-demand product that your ideal buyer wants, not a generic prize that everyone wants.
- Set clear participation rules, with the start and end date of the contest highlighted.
- Incentivize participants to share the contest. One way is to offer additional entries for each successful referral.
- Create a branded hashtag to boost your brand visibility. For example, your contest can require participants to retweet your post and include a branded hashtag.
Consider using your choice of social media contest tools to easily launch your Instagram contest or giveaway.
Over to You
The last thing you want is to keep squandering your limited marketing budget and resources on Instagram posts that fail to drive meaningful engagement (two-way interaction, click-throughs, social shares, etc.). So, start pivoting your Instagram efforts into the types of posts discussed above and you’ll soon drive higher engagement for your brand.
Lucy Manole is a creative content writer and strategist at Marketing Digest