types of content
Perhaps one of the first things you need to understand when trying to create a strategy for your content, is that it is not all about feed posts! Of course back in 2012 when that's all Instagram really was, then there wasn't much else to worry about - but now? Now as avid scrollers of this lovingly addictive site, out attentions are drawn out across 6 different features that the platform has since bought in, and in order to really grab our audience's attention - be need to learn to utilise them all! These 6 features are....
A NEW VARIETY OF POST TYPES (carousel posts, video, images, text updates, stickers & more)
BLOG-LIKE FEED POST CAPTIONS
Our potential followers are no longer just scrolling down a chronological newsfeed, but are fed pieces of information that instagram knows they want to see, across 5 different ways of doing it! So now we know the different types of 'content', let's learn how to leverage them.
A pretty picture may stop the scroll - but to make sure that your followers engage with your posts, and start to know, like, and trust you - make sure your captions are creating sustainable value! How do you make your captions have value, you ask? Just use holler's 'CEEMII' method! This is an anagram, which stands for:
If your caption is more than one of these, then odds are you are effectively creating value for your audience - and enhancing your chances of higher engagement on your posts! Every time you go to post, keep this in mind.
Ask yourself, 'which of the CIIMEE's is my post providing for my audience (note: it can be more than one). If it doesn't tick any of the boxes, don't post it, or rewrite the caption so that it does, simple!
creating valuable content [video]
creating content for brands
It may be that part of your job (if you are a content creator or influencer) is, or will become, creating content for clients, and not just yourself. There are a few rules of thumb to follow when creating content for clients that you should try to follow!
if you're posting for a client, it's for them, not for you
It may be temping as a content creator to deviate back to what you like creating when making content for someone else. It is important to remember that you are posting for them not you! This will appear on their feed, so make sure it fits in. What kind of content do they usually post? Do they have a content theme or brand colours you should adhere to? Did they send you over a brief, and so - are you matching what they requested?
Make sure that the client comes first - after all, client testimonials and word of mouth are a HUGE part of growing a brand!
research the client and their brand
This point leads directly on from the last. When creating content, research the brand first. This doesn't have to be excessive research, you don't have to know everything from their founder's birthday to where their head office is located, but you should look into their brand values, and what the content on.
What is their account already is like. What colours do they use? Do they prefer clean or busy images? What's their page aesthetic? What would look good on their feed? Although it is important to stick to your own brand values and aesthetic, you must make sure it fits in with theirs too, it is called a collaboration for a reason! If you create good, usable content that will look good on their pages, odds are they will likely love to hire you again!
quality quality quality
This one goes without saying really, but make sure your images are of good quality! Now this doesn't mean you have to go out and but the latest £1000 DSLR, most smart phones have good enough cameras equipped these days! But over-editing, low storage, over cropping and bad lighting can contribute to your pictures not being as clear as perhaps you would want them to be! If you do want to invest in a good camera that doesn't break the bank for even better photos, I would recommend the Canon E0S M100- it's around £300 and has all the tools you need as an influencer - wireless photo transmitting through the canon app, remote picture taking (you can line you your camera, and view the lens and take the pic through your mobile app), the lens it comes with is great however it can be changed if needed, the picture and video quality are both amazing!
stay product focused
If you're creating content that focuses on a product, make sure the right amount of focus is presented onto that product. If you are creating a graphic design post - don't make the background too busy or overwhelming. If you are photographing a product - make sure it is in focus, and there's not too much else going on to distract from it. If you are creating an influencer post - featuring yourself as the influencer, and the product - remember this is content for the brand, way before it is content for your profile. The product should be the most important thing in shot.
follow the brief
Sometimes when creating content for a client - they will give you a 'brief'. This is essentially a list of expectations they have of working with you - and the type of content they want you to create. If you are given a brief do not deviate from it! This could result in the brand rejecting your content, making you reshoot, or not working with you again. Remember, if the client has given you the brief, they have given it to you for a reason, so try not to veer off track!
general content tips
Pay attention to lighting! Too dark and you wont be able to see your picture - too bright or over-exposed and you get the same problem in reverse. When you can - use natural lighting rather than flash as it is far more flattering. If you need to, adjust the brightness on your photo digitally to ensure all subjects are visible and clear.
Mix it up! This goes for angles and content! There's nothing more monotonous or less interesting with a page with the same pose or selfie plastered all over it. Change it up. Try new angles. Alternate between selfies, product shots, full body shots and close ups! Make your feed interesting.
Hop on trends. A trend is something that takes the internet by storm... very quickly, and very readily! They are also a great way of getting seen via other people hopping on the same trends, and may even land you in the explore page! A few examples of Instagram 'trends' include the 'Vogue Challenge', and the 'Dolly Parton Challenge'.
The bigger the better. The larger your photo is on instagram (i.e. breaking through that classic square, and posting more vertical content) is going to allow you to take up more 'real estate' on people's screens. This will grab your audience's attention, and encourage far higher engagement. Try to post these sized pictures rather than squares when you can! (the exact measurement for these posts if you want to create a graphic is 1080x1350px)
[Video] Finding your Content Pillars
[Video] Finding Content Ideas
when to post
using insights to know when to post
We will talk about insights and how to use them to our best advantage a little later on in this document, but for now we will highlight how best to use them exclusively when looking at the best time to post in order to reach people who are already following you.
Once you have activated your account as either a business or creator account, and given it a while to collect some data, you will be able to tell which days and hours your followers are most active. You can find these by going to Insights > audience > followers, and then toggle between hours and days (pictured above). Take a note of these, and post according to when your current followers are most active.
this will enable you to get a good organic engagement rate with those who are already following you. You can also use your geographical insights to guide your posting times. Make sure you are posting within your main demographic's time zones! Top tip: try posting a few hours before your audience are most active, to increase your chances of being the first thing they see when they land on the app!
using insights to know when to post
Your own insights will only tell you as much as when you should post for your current audience, they will tell you nothing about people who have not yet discovered you! So to broaden your chances of getting discovered, it's useful to look at secondary research, conducted by social media and research firms, to find out a wider stat reach. Below is some research conducted by social media scheduling tool Later and Influencer marketing platform Fohr. Together they discovered when to post to receive the highest level of engagement from different areas around the world.
Marketing agency Hubspot also conduct yearly research into the best times to post on Instagram, both in general, and according to different niches. We have included their findings below.
hubspot's findings (2020)
*= particularly high engagement
visual interpretations of findings:
the best time to post for your niche
As previously suggested, there is secondary research out there to find out when the best time to post is for any media type, theme, niche, country, etc. Combine the research I've given you here, your own insights, and your own independent research for your particular niche (god bless Google), to narrow it down to the best time to post your content, for your audience! I will finish this section with one of the most interesting pieces of research on engagement types per niche, by the app Tailwind. I will only include the niches that I think will be most relevant to those reading this document, however there is more.
final tips on posting
location, location, location
One commonly missed trick for improving reach is the use of the location tag! Which according to some sources, can actually expand your post's reach by up to 75%! So get tagging!
tag, tag, and tag some more!
Location isn't the only thing worth tagging, if you are wearing and brands or talking about a brand, tag them too! You never know, they might repost!