How to make engaging Instagram posts
There is no denying that Instagram is developing very dynamically. Globally, it has over a billion users. In Poland, 7 million people used the website in December 2019. Marketers are increasingly thinking of Instagram as the new Facebook. Let’s add the migration of celebrities and the dynamic development of influence marketing activities, and we have an answer to the question why you should put more effort into your Instagram activities. In the following post I will discuss Instagram posts and the basic principles of creating them.
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About the Instagram algorithm that decides we know even less about organic reach than about the one that rules Facebook. It can be assumed that they are guided by similar principles and rules. One of the most important is engagement in the first minutes after publishing a given content – the higher it is, the greater the organic reach this content will get. This leads to attempts to “cheat” the algorithm by artificially punching likes and comments immediately after publishing the posts. This is risky, especially on Instagram, as the algorithm identifies groups that like each other’s content (and may ban all accounts involved).
Instagram post – what does it consist of?
The main element (and the most important) is the medium in the form of a photo, gallery or video. It attracts the recipient’s eyesight and decides whether they will continue browsing the feed or stop at your content for a while. The description is also an important element, especially when you already have a gathered group of loyal followers. They will want to read what’s going on and what you have to say, not only as an influencer, but also as a brand. The description also includes hashtags that play a very important role when it comes to reaching new users. Below I will discuss each of these elements for you.
When it comes to photos, the most popular format, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, photos showing a face or a person have a much greater involvement (this results from the research as well as profile analyzes that I have taken). This is bad news if you are involved in architectural or landscape photography or posting handicraft photos. Already at the start you are slightly below the line. Well, unless you choose very good hashtags that are watched by people interested in your topic.
Instagram: account and profile management strategy
Instagram photo format and size
There are 3 formats to choose from: horizontal, vertical and square. The second and third gains by far the greatest commitment and recommends posting photos in this format. The minimum recommended size for Instagram photos is:
- square: 1080x1080px
- vertical: 1080x1350px
- horizontal: 1080x566px
In the post, instead of one photo, you can add a gallery of up to 10 photos. Should you do that? Yes, because you increase your posts’ organic reach and engagement. How it’s working? When your followers view your Instagram feed and reach your gallery post for the second time, they will be shown another photo from the gallery (second, third, etc.). What does it give you? When followers do not interact with the first photo of the gallery, there is a chance that they will do so with one of the next ones.
So how many photos should there be in the gallery? Honestly, I am constantly testing it by comparing post statistics – reach and views. Galleries with two photos in my case have about 30-50 percent. more views than single photos. So far I have not noticed a significant difference between galleries with 2 and 3 photos, so at the moment my recommendation is to use just such a number.
Remember that the photos in the gallery are on the same topic (e.g. the same fashion styling), but they were slightly different.
What filters should I use on Instagram?
According to a survey by Iconsquare in 2018, the most popular filter, which was used in 89.5 percent there was a filter… normal. However, remember that many users, especially professional photographers, use external photo editing applications. Therefore, they don’t choose any filter in Instagram itself.
Clarendon is the second-most-chosen filter. A characteristic feature of this filter is that it brightens bright places in the picture and darkens dark ones.
The results of the study conducted by Canva are also very interesting. They analyzed over a million Instagram photos to see which filter gets the most likes. Moreover, they sorted the results by popular categories.
- Nature photos – Valencia filter
- Selfie – no filter (Normal)
- Fashion – Kelvin filter
- Food – Skyline and Normal filter
I am surprised to use Kalvin in fashion because it changes colors very much. Of course, by applying a filter, you can reduce its intensity (by clicking on it, the slider appears again). If you don’t have any of these filters on the list, tap “Manage Filters” at the end of the list. A list of all filters will open – some of them need to be visibility changed.
Instagram video post is characterized by the fact that instead of the number of likes, the number of views is shown. Interestingly, according to the above-mentioned Iconsquare study, video materials have a lower engagement rate than photos (1.7% vs. 2.7%).
Here are some important guidelines regarding the video format:
Description and hashtags in posts
Instagram is a medium focused on multimedia in the form of photos and videos. However, you should not give up adding text descriptions to the published content. It’s worth writing a few words from yourself:
- what was the inspiration
- when and under what circumstances was the photo taken
- ask a question to the followers asking for a comment
Hashtags allow you to reach a broader audience, increase engagement and gain new followers. The question of how to use them is discussed in the following entry:
Hashtag: how to use in social media?
Check also how to prepare creative Instagram Stories by clicking on this link.