The visual content experience that is inherent to Instagram offers marketers a compelling opportunity to craft new and upcycled posts that can resonate with an ever-growing audience on a daily basis.
In the UK, around 28 million people regularly log into Instagram to scroll through news feeds containing entertaining clips and eye-catching images, and this audience, which generally skews younger, is always on the lookout for fresh, engaging content.
If you have not yet opened an Instagram account for your business, or are running into difficulties in the creative department, you may be wondering how best to leverage some of the unique features that are available on the platform.
Popular formats such as Stories and Carousels, for example, can be used to communicate messages through content effectively to an audience. These formats are also cost-effective, especially if you recycle some of your older blogs and social media posts.
Don’t worry about being a ‘non-visual’ brand either. Instagram isn’t just for cosmetics companies or fashion brands. You can use the power of visual content to connect and engage with an audience whatever your niche or industry.
Turn long-form into Carousels
Instagram launched Carousels back in 2017 and the format has since become a primary tool for brands and influencers to post multiple pieces of content that can form a greater, more engaging whole. Carousels allow you to post up to 10 photos or videos within a single, swipeable post.
This is great for storytelling as you can keep viewers tuned in with a myriad of different slides that lead up to a final message. Average engagement for Carousels is impressive, trumping both single images and videos by some margin, according to data from Socialinsider.
You can also use them to spin off some of your longer, written content such as blogs, editorials or eBooks into more snackable, easier-to-digest posts. You can also tailor Carousels to your marketing objectives.
For example, if your aim is to drive social shares and comments, consider using a native Carousel that includes the written content summarised across each slide, leading to a final call to action (CTA).
On the other hand, if you want more people to click through to an original blog, include some compelling facts, data, quotes and insights in each of the slides, with the final image being a CTA that points to the piece in question.
Get creative with Guides
Guides are one of the newer formats, launching in 2020 following the pandemic, with the aim of making it easier for brands to deliver “reliable information and inspiration”.
Guides were initially centred on wellness content and public health information, but its recent wider rollout gives brands an opportunity to put together a curated selection of posts, complete with captions that offer tips and advice.
Moving forward, you could use Guides to repurpose blogs into a series of captions that can be linked together in an engaging, scrollable sequence that will get viewers up to speed in less than a minute.
Guides can feature shareable URLs for greater reach and can also be linked to the Stories format and shared in news feeds. There is also a dedicated tab on profiles for Guides, which can really help with the quest for evergreen content that provides value months or even years after it has been posted.
Reformat videos for IGTV
Instagram launched IGTV, a video app, in mid-2018, positioning it as a primary hub for long-form visual content. This is a great format if you already have a treasure trove of video crafted for other platforms such as YouTube and Facebook.
All you need to do is upload these videos to Instagram and then resize and tailor them to make them IGTV-friendly. While some of the newer formats captured the social media zeitgeist in 2020, IGTV is still an excellent outlet for more in-depth content.
Instagram’s algorithm is always ready and willing to populate news feeds with IGTV videos, and users appreciate a mix of more standard video formats to go along with the swipeable visuals that dominate the platform.
Images were once Instagram’s core offering as that’s what differentiated the platform from other social media apps following its launch more than a decade ago.
High-quality photography and brand-focused images are sure to drive engagement when used correctly, but there are other, perhaps more affordable, avenues open to you for image-based content on Instagram.
One of the easiest ways to reuse social media content is by screenshotting your best tweets and sharing them. If a particular tweet has gone viral or includes a funny anecdote or insight, you can use one of the basic templates on Instagram to quickly repurpose and post it.
Break down video into teaser clips
IGTV is the go-to format for longer content, but this doesn’t mean that video created for the standalone video app needs to remain solely on there in the future.
Breaking down longer content into shorter clips is a great way to create more content, while promoting the full piece to an engaged audience.
As you can probably tell by now, Instagram is an excellent platform for recycling legacy content, whatever it may be, into a series of posts that can support your content marketing goals.
Teasers and clips are particularly useful if you want to lead up to a new product unveiling or new research report.
Use Stories as a highlight reel
Like Guides, certain Stories can be saved to the very top of a profile page, so you could create a cycle of your content by repurposing important images and videos from your feed into a Story Highlight.
Users often navigate straight to Stories when logging in and proceed to scroll through this format endlessly, so it can give a leg up to some of your older, more traditional forms of content. It also doubles as a boost to your evergreen output.
By using all of the tools and formats at your disposal, being creative with reformatting and upcycling, you should be able to get the most out of Instagram marketing in 2021 and reach and engage with more users than ever before.