Instagram has what it takes to make your brand look great. But the platform doesn’t do all the work for you. Crafting the perfect Instagram post that accurately and professionally depicts your brand takes skill and know-how, especially if you want your posts to appear at the top of users’ feeds.
Before we dive into key tips for creating the perfect Instagram post for your brand, you should have a basic understanding of how the platform’s algorithm works.
Instagram’s latest algorithm prioritizes content based on how relevant and meaningful it is to each individual user. The more relevant and meaningful the content, the higher up it appears in the feed. The algorithm measures relevance using engagement. For example, if you frequently like or comment on posts by your friend Sasha, anything Sasha posts will appear higher in your feed. Similarly, if you often click on videos for sportswear, Instagram will push that type of content higher in your feed.
There are four specific factors Instagram’s algorithm uses for prioritizing content:
- Number of engagement on posts (likes, shares, and comments)
- Relationship with the Instagram user
- Time of post
- Profile searches
These are the four factors to keep in mind when constructing your Instagram posts.
How to Create Your Post
Now that you have a good idea of how Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes content, you can begin constructing the perfect post that will appear higher in users’ feeds. When you’re making your post, you need to:
- Include high-quality photos or videos that are relevant and visually appealing
- Use relevant and unique hashtags
- Keep it sweet and simple
- Post when your audience is online
- Humanize your brand
Include High-Quality Photos or Videos
Nobody likes pixelated media or media that screams “an amateur made this.” Take the time to make your photos or videos, whichever you choose to include in your post, look crisp and professional. Users are more likely to engage with content that is of high quality, which will help boost your post to the top of feeds.
To make your media visually appealing, consider the color scheme of your brand and be sure to incorporate it somehow into your post. For example, Coca-Cola would not want to use the colors green and orange (the color theme for Mountain Dew) in its photos or videos. When you think Coke, you think red and white, right? Anything else doesn’t make sense. So remain consistent with your brand’s color scheme.
Your media should also be relevant to your brand. Going back to the Coke example, why would the brand post a random photo of a couple sleeping? Unless, of course, the photo also included dream bubbles above the couple’s heads with a bottle of Coke, in which case it would then be relevant.
Use Relevant and Unique Hashtags
Hashtags allow you to appear in users’ search results when they enter certain words or phrases in Search. The more users search for hashtags unique to your brand and click on your posts, the higher up Instagram will prioritize your content.
There are a few important things to keep in mind when adding hashtags to your post. First, they should be simple but unique. You want to be sure it won’t get lost in the midst of thousands of other posts with the same hashtag. For example, #CatsInABox is better than just #Cats.
Second, you want the hashtags to be relevant to your brand and your message. So if your post is about back-to-school shopping, hashtags like #ItsBackToBackpacks or #UltimateSchoolGiveaway would be relevant, whereas #Kittens or #Chocolate would not. It also helps to include your brand or business name in at least one hashtag, like Oreo does in the hashtag #OreoHorrorStories.
Finally, you should include more than one hashtag in your post, but not too many. Too many hashtags could make your post look like spam, which hurts your place in feeds. Not to mention it decreases the amount of engagement your post will get. But you want to include about four to six hashtags in your post, as this will help boost your appearance in search results.
Keep It Sweet and Simple
The more complex your message, the harder it will be for users to get it. And the harder it is for users to get, the lower Instagram will push it in feeds. Don’t include too much information in your post. For example, if you are trying to promote a particular sale, don’t try to stuff information about your employees or brand mission in there as well. Focus just on the sale in both your media and the caption.
Try not to make your caption the size of a long paragraph. Users don’t usually want to spend a lot of time reading captions in posts by brands, unless, of course, you offer an outstanding benefit that you describe at length in the caption, in which case you need to make sure to draw their attention to it using your chosen media. But be sure to make your message clear and not complex. Shorter sentences are best.
Post When Your Audience Is Online
You’ll need to really know your audience to do this one. For example, if your target audience is adult men who work day jobs and have to support a family, you want to post after a typical work day ends (5 p.m.) as well as after dinner and family time, which brings you to sometime later in the evening. If your audience is primarily Gen Zs, the time they’d be most likely to see your post will depend on whether or not school is in session.
The time of day you post is important because new content is being jammed into users’ feeds all the time. If you post at a time when your audience is not online, the chances are higher that new content will push your post lower in feeds, decreasing the likelihood that your post will be seen. So research your audience and schedule your posts for times when they’ll be online.
Humanize Your Brand
Users don’t typically browse Instagram with the intent to look at promotional content from brands. They want to see meaningful content. When making your post, think of ways to humanize your brand rather than simply push a sale. Coca-Cola, for example, can humanize its brand by saying something like “Tag a friend who owes you a Coke” instead of pushing “Buy a Coke today!” The former has a social playfulness to it that users are more likely to engage with the social media platform. If users come across the latter, in contrast, they are more likely to keep scrolling.
One way to humanize your brand is to share photos or video of employees or preparation for an event. For example, if you’re a clothing retailer getting ready for a Black Friday sale, share a post with a video of store employees doing a pregame cheer. Users will see that there are people behind your brand, which will make you more interesting. Your brand will feel more like an Instagram friend to them rather than just an automated advertisement trying to get their money.
Confident, inspired, prepared. This is how you should now feel as you get ready to make the perfect Instagram post for your brand. Instagram presents a lot of opportunity and is ready to work for you. All you have to do is prove to the platform that you’re number one!