The other day I had the chance to reconnect with my best friend who was visiting Charlotte. Within minutes, she suggested we kick off our reunion visiting the local “Crumbl Cookie” shop.
Mind you, it was 11:30…but you can never go wrong with “dessert before lunch,” right?
On our way, she shared the backstory that Instagram and other social media platforms were positively glowing with rave reviews for this local hot spot. This was a must-try in my BFF’s book.
Walking into this super-hip, sweet-smelling shop, I couldn’t help but notice multiple screens with scrolling montages of Instagram and social media posts, all sharing their Crumbl Cookie love.
My review? The cookies were AMAZING, yes!
However, I took away my own cookie crumbs of inspiration. I was in awe of how all of the hype and excitement around this impromptu visit made me feel as if I was part of something special. As if I had discovered something that others had discovered too – and that helped me feel connected to something big (and super yummy).
This…is the power of a social media platform like Instagram.
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What is an Instagram Post?
Let’s dive into the power of this platform.
Instagram feed posts are what the platform became known for, originally. They’re the images or videos that allow users to write captions that appear below the image or video. These posts live on “forever” until they’re deleted. We’ll continue with the “Crumbl Cookie” Instagram post examples (for the sake of continuity, of course!).
Secrets of Successful Instagram Posts
So, how does one create a successful Instagram post, you ask? Let’s dive into the nuts and bolts:
Treat Instagram feed pictures like a portfolio of your business
Imagine you’re creating a brochure for prospective clients. You’d select only the best images that are representative of your brand, right? The same is true for Instagram – perhaps even more-so. The bread and butter of what makes Instagram so special is the visual connection that the images make with your audience. Here are a few ideas for posting the right pictures:
- Share only the most noteworthy and visually engaging imagery and content. This isn’t the place for personal or daily content, this is more your top-shelf, broad brand shares that have a special-ness to them. Yes, daily events can be shareable moments, but ask yourself before posting: “Does this moment I’m sharing represent a bigger goal or mission of my business?”
- Focus on professional looking photos. These can 100% be taken by your phone. The key is to make your posts look professional. Free picture editors like SNAPSEED are a great resource for helping to make your photos look polished and visually consistent.
- Choose photos that are on-brand. You want your images to feel like an extension of your business, not something that’s “off-brand” (just for the sake of drawing people in.) Again, go back to the brochure analogy – make sure the image falls in line with your brand’s overall look, tone and feel.
Research the Competition
A good post is driven by good intel. Check out the best posts in your industry and see what your competitors are sharing. This recon allows you to absorb best practices, see what’s trending among your shared audience, and also allows you to brainstorm how you can rise above the competition.
Create the Right Captions
Captions are so important because they help highlight what your photo is all about, and they build a stronger connection to your audience. When you’re creating captions, try out a few of these ideas:
- Ask a question
- Use humor to engage if appropriate
- Ask for opinions
- Keep your voice on brand and consistent throughout
- Don’t hesitate to combine ideas. Say, a seasonal post plus a giveaway!
Use Hashtags (and lots of them!)
Hashtags have the power to instantly expand your Instagram audience. They also help you target the audience you want to reach. When you use a hashtag, your post will appear on that hashtag’s page. A few things to keep in mind:
- Instagram allows for up to 30 (yes 30) tags, but research shows that 9-11 is optimal.
- Mix in broad tags, mixed with more specific, (even location-specific tags) Broad tags include examples like: #shopsmall or #eatlocal, while more specific tags could include: #hubcity #upstateSC
- Use a geotag with your picture location, when possible. Geotags pin your location to that photo, and anytime someone clicks on the same geotag – your photo will be found.
Engaging Instagram Post Ideas
A few examples of Instagram posts that yield high engagement include:
- “After and Before” photos: Yes, it sounds backwards, but the trick here is you want to show the after picture first, and then share the before pic.
- Parts of a business and its faces: When you’re sharing images for your business, it’s important to connect your audience with its spaces and places, but also people who make it so successful. This both humanizes your business in the mind of the consumer, but it also creates an instant personal connection to your audience.
- Kids and dogs: Just like in television where puppies and babies bring in great ratings, the same can be said for Instagram. If your summer office picnic party is pet-friendly, share those pet kisses and cake-sneaking moments.
- Seasonal: Not only do seasonal posts just make everyone feel more festive, it’s a nod to you being connected with your audience on a regular basis. Here’s one for St. Patty’s Day from, you guessed it! (They’re not paying us, we promise):
- Behind-the-Scenes: Show your business at work, the moments that define your day behind the scenes. Just make sure it’s on-brand in terms of look and feel.
In sum, the most important things to consider when creating an Instagram post are:
- Choose compelling images that draw your audience in.
- Craft awesome content that stands apart from your competitors.
- Keep your message and imagery on brand for your business.
We hope these ideas about how to create captivating Instagram posts helps fuel your own creative ideas for your social media marketing plan.
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