Thomas J Law
16 Nov, 2020
Thomas J Law
16 Nov, 2020
Are your Instagram posts awesome?
They should be, because Instagram is full of potential customers.
In fact, the platform now has more than 1 billion monthly active users, and 80% of accounts on Instagram follow a business.
However, it can be difficult to figure out what to post on Instagram.
Your Instagram posts need to boost engagement, build your brand, and provide variety, all while keeping things familiar – but how?
In this article, you’ll learn about 29 Instagram post ideas from successful brands.
Fair warning: These Instagram post ideas aren’t shown in any particular order. So make sure to read until the end so you don’t miss that one idea that’ll help you achieve Instagram success.
Let’s jump in.
First thing’s first: Take the pressure off.
If you’re struggling to decide what to post on Instagram every day, create recurring content series and themes that you can fall back on.
For example, on Oberlo’s Instagram account, we often share inspirational messages in this format:
And we regularly share information about products you can sell using this number format:
These recurring, recognizable themes can make consistently sharing content easier, while helping to build a stronger connection with your audience.
Capitalize on holiday spirit.
It doesn’t matter what time of year it is – there’s always something seasonal happening that you can use to create timely and relevant Instagram posts.
If it’s not an official holiday like Christmas, jump on an unofficial one like Popcorn Day (January 19th) or Administrative Professionals’ Day (April 24).
Alternatively, simply post about the season itself, like shoemakers All Birds:
For best results, make sure to use relevant Instagram hashtags.
There’s always something happening.
What’s dominating the media? Has there been a development in your niche or industry? Is there a popular topic that everyone’s talking about?
Use current events and topics as inspiration for Instagram post ideas.
For example, apparel brand Levis shared plenty of Instagram posts about the 2018 U.S. midterm elections:
And it doesn’t need to be a serious topic like politics.
In this next example, the ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s created an Instagram post for Oktoberfest in which they recommended beer and ice cream pairings!
View this post on Instagram
🍻Oktoberfest time!🍻 Click the link in our bio for our 8 favorite beer and ice cream pairings. For fans 21+.
You don’t always have to create your own Instagram posts.
It’s likely your existing following has already shared amazing Instagram posts that you can repost on Instagram.
All you have to do is ask.
Alternatively, encourage your followers to send you photos and videos to share in your Instagram posts, like sunglasses brand Toy Shades:
Many people are happy for brands to share their Instagram posts if they receive credit – especially if it lands them some new followers.
What’s more, user-generated content (UGC) takes advantage of a powerful persuasion technique called social proof, which taps into the influential power of the actions and opinions of others.
A question-and-answer format often helps to spike people’s innate curiosity.
Pay attention to questions that are often asked by your followers, customers, or people interested in your dropshipping niche. Then, answer them in the form of Instagram posts.
Alternatively, ask your audience to submit questions, or repurpose other content into a Q&A Instagram post:
New developments can inspire interesting Instagram post ideas.
However, there’s a catch: Only share news which is interesting and relevant to your followers.
If you just hired someone new, that’s a big deal, for you – but how is it relevant to your followers and why should they care?
Let’s look at an example.
Jewelry makers Wolf Circus shared this Instagram post announcing that their products are now available for sale on The Dreslyn:
Bottom line: It’s never about you, your business, or your brand. It’s about your customers.
Whether it’s Kim Kardashian, soap operas, or their coworker’s love life, people are extremely interested in others’ lives.
What’s more, transparency is an effective way to create meaningful connections. In fact, 94% of consumers say they’re likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.
So don’t be afraid to get personal.
The software company Hubspot has got this nailed down. They have a dedicated Instagram account called Hubspot Life that they use to showcase the people behind their brand.
When you’re struggling to come up with Instagram post ideas, listen to Gary Vaynerchuk: “Document, don’t create.”
This advice is particularly applicable to events.
These moments can inspire tons of Instagram posts – during, and after the event. Just take your followers along for the ride.
Travel company The Outbound recently shared this Instagram post about their Pursuit Northern CA event:
Behind every brand is a business.
What goes on behind closed doors can make for incredible Instagram posts. Fans love to know how everything comes together.
Plus, behind-the-scenes content also capitalizes on authenticity and transparency to help build trust.
Coffee makers Caravan Coffee Roasters take their followers behind the scenes to show how their coffee is made in Rwanda.
Contests and giveaways are fantastic for generating engagement.
Let’s look at an example from Kylie Cosmetics.
This Instagram post starts by capturing users’ attention: “GIVEAWAY ALERT.” Then it points out how easy it is to enter – “comment to enter.” Finally, it highlights what users stand to gain:
Plus, contests and giveaways double as lead magnets.
In essence, a “lead magnet” is bait. It gets people hooked into your marketing funnel so that you can nurture the relationship until they become customers.
Just send people to your website to enter and collect their email address – then you can start email marketing.
Discounts and offers are a quick way to boost sales. Check out how surfing lifestyle brand Salt Surf do it:
But be careful not to discount too much.
If your followers become accustomed to seeing discounts regularly, they’ll hold back on buying until the next discount becomes available – meaning they’ll never buy at full price.
Then, the situation spirals…
If you only make sales through discounts, you need to discount more and more, which devalues your brand.
And you need to increase your prices to make up for the discounts.
Eventually, your customers realize your discounts aren’t really discounts, and this damages your brand even further.
Plenty of businesses have fallen victim to this trap.
The key is to use discount codes sparingly and only on special occasions. That way, they retain their urgency without devaluing your brand.
Engagement is key.
Whenever you receive lots of engagement on your Instagram posts, Instagram’s algorithm will reward your account.
So how can you boost engagement?
One effective way is to prompt your followers to leave a comment by presenting a small challenge or asking a specific question.
This is exactly what jewelry makers Wolf Circus did. In this Instagram post, they asked followers to name all of the jewelry styles featured in the photo:
This technique is often used with competition or giveaway posts, but it also works alone.
Encouraging your followers to tag a friend not only boosts comments and engagement but also exposes your account to new people in the best possible way – through a personal recommendation.
This is a compelling form of social proof and will help you to get more Instagram followers.
Check out this example from Fashion boutique Artizia:
Influencers have weight.
Their power lies in the bond they have with their followers who are interested in their thoughts and opinions – and if they’re truly influential, their followers will trust those thoughts and opinions.
For this reason, influencer marketing can be incredibly powerful.
Here’s an example from apparel brand Drop Dead Official featuring beauty influencer Elise Pitt – @elpltt – who has almost 250,000 followers. Check out the comments:
Do you have a blog, do plan to create a YouTube channel or podcast? If so, you can use Instagram posts to promote your long-form content to your Instagram followers.
If you have over 10,000 Instagram followers, your account is allowed to add a link to each of your Instagram posts.
What if you don’t have that many followers yet?
You could update your Instagram bio link and use your Instagram post to direct people to that link.
However, there’s a better way.
Ask users to comment on the post to be sent the link in a direct message. That way, not only are you promoting your long-form content, you’re also boosting your Instagram post’s engagement.
Check out this example where we promote our ebook on acquiring free traffic:
Creating all of that long-form content takes a lot of time and energy.
So why not repurpose and recycle it into short-form content which you can then share as Instagram posts?
Just take your video, blog post, or podcast and select the best bits.
Obviously, this is also a great way to promote the long-form content. However, the idea here is that the Instagram post should also stand alone.
Business influencer Gary Vaynerchuk is a master at repurposing content. He’ll often share small clips taken from longer videos as Instagram posts:
Everyone has an interesting story to tell.
So why not interview someone in your niche and share their story, opinions, or advice? It’s win-win – you get a great Instagram post and they get exposure to your niche following.
In this example, custom coat maker Katherine Hooker interviews entrepreneur Liz Earle.
Plus, you don’t just have to link to the full article.
You can also extract some of the key snippets and present them in a creative way as a dedicated Instagram post:
Don’t forget, you can share multiple images or videos as a carousel Instagram post.
So get creative.
In this example, sports brand Nike use a carousel post to split an image into two parts to create a more dramatic effect:
In another example, Hubspot uses a carousel Instagram post to share what is essentially a condensed listicle:
Whether it’s movies, Netflix series, novels, and the story of your friend’s latest Tinder date, humans love stories.
So find a story to tell which is related to your brand and use an Instagram post to share it. It doesn’t have to be long either.
Here’s how apparel brand Converse does it:
People love stories.
How did you get to where you are today? What challenges did you face along the way? How can you show those things visually in an Instagram post?
Sign makers Goodwin and Goodwin shared this awesome Instagram post documenting the growth of their team over the years:
If you can’t find an interesting story to tell, or you’ve already shared your business’ story, why not share your customers’ stories?
Once again this has the added bonus of capitalizing on social proof. Plus, it’s easy to link to a longer piece of content featuring a favorable customer case study.
We often share inspirational stories from our merchants on the Oberlo Instagram account:
Sharing Instagram posts about your charitable efforts is a great way to raise more awareness about a cause you support.
Plus, it’s a great way to build trust with your followers.
It’ll make them feel good about supporting your brand and remind them that purchasing your products helps to give back.
Outdoor brand Best Made Company recently shared this post helping to raise awareness about breast cancer:
I’ve mentioned social proof a few times throughout this article, but now let’s talk about the ultimate form of social proof: testimonials.
Testimonials showcase value and build trust.
Create a striking graphic using a tool like Canva and share your testimonials as Instagram posts.
Instagram is full of feel-good, think-positive, inspirational Instagram posts. And it’s easy to understand why – everyone needs some encouragement from time-to-time.
Probably the easiest way to create these Instagram posts is to share inspirational quotes.
In this example, apparel brand Rebel8 share a quote from famed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill:
Most businesses begin their Instagram journey by sharing tons of product photos. This isn’t a bad thing in itself.
However, you need to be careful.
Sharing too many Instagram posts featuring your products can come off as spammy. Thankfully, there are two ways around this.
First, use Instagram Insights to make sure you’re not overdoing product posts.
Secondly, keep your product posts interesting. Don’t just share a picture of your product – make it visually engaging and include a caption worth reading.
Here’s a good example from watch brand The Horse:
Your products or services don’t exist in a vacuum. There’s always a culture surrounding them which you can take advantage of to create brilliant Instagram posts.
This lifestyle content should capture the personality and essence of your brand.
Try creating a video like outdoors brand Taylor Stitch:
View this post on Instagram
Some things in life are positively timeless. Leather jackets, Super 8 film, and weekend rides are up there with the greats.
Or share visually stunning images like this one from Brooklyn-based custom bike builders Jane Motorcycles:
Launching a new product can be an exciting moment – so don’t let it pass you by. Instead, create an interesting Instagram post to reveal the product to your followers.
It doesn’t need to be complicated or cost a fortune either.
In this example from leather goods brand WP Standard, they use a carousel post to recreate the experience a customer will have when they unwrap the new product:
Video is important.
In fact, according to video agency Wyzowl, a massive 81 percent of people have been convinced to buy a product or service simply by watching a brand’s video.
So use an Instagram video post to share more details about your products. Highlight the features and benefits, or simply show the product off from multiple angles.
Audio brand Master Dynamic shared a video showcasing their wireless earphones:
View this post on Instagram
Available in 4 colors, enhance your wireless listening experience with our new #MW07 True Wireless Earphones.
Another great way to use video content is to share tutorials.
Regardless of your niche, there’s always something to teach – whether it’s makeup techniques, skateboarding tricks, or how to put up a tent.
In this example, bakery chain Panera Bread teaches their followers how to make a whole grain loaf:
View this post on Instagram
Stop drooling! And get into the kitchen. We've got a Whole Grain Pan Loaf recipe just for you. Check the link in our bio to get your bake on! #FoodInterrupted
The opportunities are endless!
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, keep it simple.
You don’t need to tackle all of these Instagram post ideas at once. To start, choose a handful of ideas which you can turn into regular themes.
And what if you’re struggling to create plenty of Instagram posts?
Easy: just share plenty of user-generated content. Many brands successfully rely on UGC – like AirBNB:
To finish, here’s a quick-reference list of all of the Instagram post ideas we’ve covered:
Did we miss any great Instagram post ideas? What’s your go-to Instagram post? Let us know in the comments below!
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