When it comes to creating great Instagram content, how do you stand out in an already crowded arena and get people to sit up and take notice of your posts? You might be looking at Instagram and thinking ‘how can I compete?’ It’s a common occurrence these days to hear – that’s so Insta, or this picture is really ‘grammable’. 

For business owners, coming up with those magic images on a consistent basis can be tough. Do you hire a professional photographer to take a load of photos or do you open a stock account and download all of the images? How do you ensure that you have a consistent flow of content and that you aren’t going to run out after a few weeks? Well, before you do anything, have a read of the below and see if you take any inspiration from our tips and advice for creating great Instagram content. 

It’s All About the Image

As the ‘owner’ of a teenage daughter, I can tell you, from personal experience, it’s all about the Instagram photo for the younger generation! The first year that she really got into Instagram she was 13 or 14 and everything had to be staged just so for the photo that would make the cut. It’s still the same now a few years later. It’s about producing the photo that makes it onto the ‘grid’ and gets the most likes. This is a common theme for Instagram users. They are always competing for that perfect shot. There’s a lot more to it than that though – even the best images can get lost in a crowd. 

You may feel that that all those ‘staged images’ and perfect photos, or those perfectly co-ordinated Instagram grids are a little bit over the top and you just want an Instagram presence. The thing is, like any social media platform, you can invest as much or as little time as you want but you do need to make sure that you are getting the right return. Spending hours on an Instagram feed that isn’t reaching your audience means you are just wasting time. Do your research first and make sure that there is an audience. Once you have established that, then work out how you are going to reach that audience.

Do Your Research

Take a look at what others are doing with their Instagram accounts. You may want to check out your competitors or others in your industry or just look at the accounts of those that appeal to you. There are all sorts of ideas to inspire and to assist when it comes to creating great Instagram content. If you want to see what posts do best then the best thing to do is a hashtag search. Let’s say for example that you sell a product like bath salts or candles. Type in “bath salts” into the search bar and see what returns. You then get a choice of 

  • Top – meaning top posts – those that have the most likes/engagement
  • Account – accounts that have the word bath salts in the name
  • Tags – hashtags 
  • Places – this is a place taken from maps and doesn’t always have an associated account

We recommend that you either choose either top or tags. Choose tags and then choose #bathsalts – you will then be presented with all the posts that have even tagged starting with the most popular. You can change this to recent to see the latest posts. 

Have a scroll and see the kind of posts that are getting the most interaction, the ones that catch your eye and the kind of posts you think you would like to create. 

Our advice – if you can’t find any posts for your type of product, this doesn’t mean you are going to clean up – instead question why there aren’t any products of this nature on the platform – is this the right platform for your business?

If you are finding lots of a similar product, this would indicate that it’s a fairly crowded market and that you are going to be competing against lots of others. Don’t let that put you off, there is room for everyone and following our advice for creating the best posts will help you stand out among all the noise. 

Types of Instagram Posts to Consider 

Photo of Product

Your product is your livelihood no doubt and the focus of everything you do however, posting product after product on Insta is only going to turn people off after a while and using the same background setting every single time is going to get a little…. Well, boring! 

Get creative with your products. Experiment a little. Product flat lays are a popular choice. Style your background to get the best light, no shadows, no blemishes and take pictures of the product from different angles. If you can’t find the right place to take the photos, think outside the box. Go to a local beauty spot, to a pebbly beach or get your hands on some props so that you can set up your ‘stage’.

If you have lots and lots of products and sell them online, it’s worth considering professional photography to give you a set of images that are suitable for your website, social media and other forms of marketing. Otherwise, you can create some great images yourself with the camera on your phone. 

Photos of Faces/People

People win. It’s true – I have lost count of the number of times a customer has sent me a job lot of all of their products as their social media content. That’s great but people don’t want to see product after product, they want to see the personality behind the brand. They want to see happy, smiley people, the people behind the business. Who is responsible for the products and services? Who are they buying from? How do you get to know the real business and not just someone selling you products. On many occasions now I have posted two pictures – one of the team, and one of the product and my money every time would be on the people picture getting the most likes. 

Quotes 

Personally, I am not a huge fan of quotes but my timeline is full of them, they get great interaction and they resonate with people. They won’t resonate with everyone but in some circumstances this style of post works really well. If you are a therapist, a life coach, a motivational speaker, an author etc, these are often key to getting your message across. Quotes for the sake of quotes can have an adverse effect though so use them accordingly. 

Reviews

We recently wrote a whole article on the importance of sharing your reviews on social media. What greater recommendation of your product than feedback from someone who has bought it? It’s not just about the product though, it’s also about the user experience. How did the customer feel using your service, was delivery quick, did they feel like they got a personal service. Reviews are a great way to showcase the real day to day experiences of customers. Using Canva, you can play around with the images of the product and the text from the review to create some nice looking graphics like the examples below