I recently caught up with co-owner and marketing mastermind behind Boston co-retail space For Now, Kaity Cimo. She runs the space with friend and business partner Katharine ReQua. They opened a year ago and have played home to over 80 brands in that time.
What to Post on Instagram: 30 Ideas to Cure Instagrammer’s Block
Not knowing what to post on Instagram is a well-known feeling: you open up the app, decide you’re going to make a post, but something’s missing. Then it hits you — you don’t have any content. Just like a writer staring down a blank page, Instagrammers faced with a lack of content options can go through a myriad of emotions ranging from frustration, to denial, to outright despair.
Instagrammer’s block is not to be taken lightly.
Luckily, discovering that spark of inspiration can be as easy as flipping through some of your favorite Instagrammers’ posts, picking an idea that you like, and making it your own. Remember what they say: good artists borrow, but great artists steal.
No, this doesn’t mean you should copy another person’s post – it’s important to put your own unique spin on whatever you decide on, but imitation is the greatest form of flattery.
To help get you started, we’ve compiled a list of 30 Instagram post ideas to help you get your creative juices flowing. But wait! There’s more! We’ve broken down all the posts ideas into three categories: posts suitable for individuals, influencers, and brands. We’ve even included real-Instagram-life examples of each post type so you can see these Instagram post types in the wild.
So, without further ado, here are 30 good things to post on Instagram to get you started.
What individuals should post on Instagram:
A personal project
Whether you’re a painter, engineer, musician, fitness guru, or market wizard, you’ve likely got some type of personal project you’ve been working on that deserves to be shared with the world. It doesn’t need to be fancy — in fact, it could be as simple as some avocado toast you made this morning, or a little doodle you drew during some downtime at work. The most important thing is that you’re proud of it and want to show the world your hidden talents, whether they’re toast making or stick figure drawing.
Let’s face it: everyone loves dogs and/or cats. Chances are, your followers will enjoy seeing Rupert in that silly pumpkin costume just as much as you do, so post it! Putting up a picture of your pet is basically cashing in a check for free likes, so don’t overthink it. Just call your dog over, snap a pic, and post away.
Sunrises and sunsets
Watching the sunrise or sunset is one of those timeless experiences; it never gets old, and never fails to instill a sense of awe and wonder at the world around us. Its beauty is eternal, and so is its popularity on Instagram. Whether you’re up early enough to snap a quick pic of the sun peeking its head over the horizon or you’re heading home from work and can grab a photo of the sun setting from the train, this post type is bound to rack up some engagement.
Going off a similar idea to the last one, photos of natural beauty are sure to drum up some likes and comments from your followers. If you’ve been on a hike recently, try posting a picture from the summit. If you’re not the outdoorsy type, don’t let that stop you — take a photo of a local park, a nice flower, or even just a stick lying on the grass that you thought looked artsy. Get creative, have fun, and you’ll be sure to brighten up your followers’ days.
This is one of the simplest, yet most effective posts you can make. Step 1: unlock your phone. Step 2: open the camera app. Step 3: snap a pic. Step 4: post. It’s as simple as that! You can try to up to your selfie game by taking one in nature or making an action pose, but simply posting a picture of your beautiful self is usually enough.
Psst. We know your secret: you eat food. It’s ok, we do too. Luckily, every other person on this planet is also a food eater, and as such, they tend to enjoy seeing what you’re munching on. Whether you’re going to a trendy new restaurant or just cooking up some pasta with garlic and oil, posting a picture of your meals can be a great way to connect with your followers. If you want some bonus points, be sure to put a link to any recipes you either created or used on your profile.
People love to travel. When they can’t take a trip themselves, they enjoy the same thrills by heading to Instagram and living vicariously through the Instagrammers they follow. If you want your followers to live vicariously through you — and who doesn’t? — then posting a picture of your latest journey may be just what the doctor ordered. It doesn’t need to be a photo from a month-long Euro-trip or a snap of you backpacking through Southeast Asia — a simple picture you took on a day trip to a town an hour away can work quite nicely.
A spilled bag of cereal. A bent nail sticking out of a piece of plywood with a black and white filter over it. Sentences without verbs. These are things that are artsy. If you fancy yourself an artiste, try looking at the mundane world around you and finding beauty where others forget to look. Maybe the sunlight is shining through the trees just right, or the patterns the bricks are forming is intriguing. Take a tasteful pic of anything that stirs something in you, and someone else is likely to connect with it as well.
You being you
Do you like to play VR games? Do you enjoy watching soap operas? Whatever your daily indulgences are, take a picture of yourself simply going about your life and existing. With all the pretension and acting that you see on Instagram, it can be truly refreshing to see a picture of someone just kicking their feet up and watching Law and Order on a Monday night after work. You do you.
Whether you’re a freelance designer, airplane pilot, artist, or office worker, pretty much everyone works, which means that everyone has their own unique workspace. Your followers may find it very interesting to see how you get your work done, and they may even be able to get some great ideas from you. Feel free to tidy up your space if it tends to be messy, or just snap a pic of your desk au natural — people tend to be intrigued by trainwrecks and natural disasters as well.
What influencers should post on Instagram:
Sharing what you eat on a daily basis can be a great way to engage with your followers, especially if you’re in the fitness or health niche. Even if you’re not, your followers likely look up to you, so showing them how to be healthy or cook a meal that you like can be a great way to help introduce them to an important part of your life. You may also be able to land a sponsorship deal for posts like these, which is definitely a plus.
If you want to start a campaign, one of the best ways to get it off the ground is to introduce a new hashtag. It could be for something as serious the #IceBucketChallenge, or something as lighthearted as #FuzzySocksAppreciationDay. Starting your own hashtag is a fantastic way to get your followers to not only engage with your posts but make posts of their own. As for the picture/video itself, it can be anything related to the hashtag you want to promote, even just the text itself. All in all, it’s a great promotional strategy that all influencers should take advantage of.
Tips and tricks/advice
Are you an expert at something? Or are you kind of good at something? If so, there’s probably someone out there who would benefit from learning just how you do what you do. Education is something that never goes out of style, and teaching people new skills is a great way to help improve your followers’ lives. It’s a fantastic way to give back to your following, and if you’re skilled enough, you may be able to expand on this type of post and generate a new income stream from teaching and tutorials.
Who doesn’t like free stuff? If you want to drum up some engagement from your followers, make a post stating that you’ll give away one of your favorite products to a follower who completes certain steps in order to enter. This can be anything from making their own post with a certain hashtag, following a specific brand or another influencer, or liking and commenting on your post. It’s a good way to expand your reach and gain some new followers, and your fans will love you for it.
Considering how hot the fitness niche is right now, taking some time to hit the gym and post a pic in your workout gear is rarely a bad idea, even if you’re not a fitness or health influencer. Most people could benefit from a bit more exercise and your post may motivate some of your followers to go to the gym after all, even if they decided they were feeling too lazy earlier. As a bonus, you can include specific exercises and a detailed workout routine for your followers to work off of.
Sometimes, words are not enough. But other times, they are. If you found an inspirational quote that you really love, and you think it deserves to be shared, you can write it out in your favorite photo editor, make a nice design for it, and post it — no photo necessary. Using Canva is a quick and easy way to make posts like these, but you can also use Photoshop, Illustrator, or any other graphic design software as long as you have the technical know-how.
Products you like
If you’re an influencer, chances are you spend a lot of time posting about sponsored products. However, not all your product-related posts need to be sponsored — and if they are, it should be a product you like anyway! If there’s a product you absolutely love, there’s no harm in letting the world know that you’re a fan. In fact, posting about your favorite products can lead to fruitful partnerships and expand your reach if the brand responds to your post.
A lot of people follow Instagram influencers because they dream of living the gilded life. So, if you’ve got a nice ride, you may want to show it off by snapping a pic of it and posting it to Instagram. Depending on your niche, you may be able to land a partnership with the car manufacturer if they like your post enough and think you could help them promote their products.
This is probably one of the most common posts you’ll see on Instagram. Whether it’s a slightly revealing dress or a brazen all body pic, making a post like this is bound to bring attention to your feed. Considering there are so many of these posts, try your best to be creative to make it stand out from the rest.
There is always a holiday right around the corner and spreading the holiday cheer over Instagram is a great way to connect with your followers over something they’re likely already thinking about. Posting about any holiday, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Holi, or Memorial Day can help you feel more relevant to your followers. Plus, it’s always nice to send some season’s greetings to your loving fans.
What brands and businesses should post on Instagram:
These posts are a bit more complex than the others. In fact, grid layouts are kind of a meta-post — they’re a group of individual posts that form a bigger picture when a user views an Instagrammer’s feed. Each individual picture provides a piece of the larger image, sort of like pieces in a puzzle. To make one of these, you’ll need to take a picture and then edit it with either Photoshop or an app like 9square. This type of post is especially good for brands that are launching a new product and want it to be prominent and immediately obvious to any visitors to their profile.
Behind the scenes
People like to know how the products they use are made and how their favorite brands operate. Giving your followers some insight into the inner workings of your business can help keep your followers engaged and interested in the work you’re doing. If you’re a restaurant, posting some pictures of the kitchen can be great, and if you’re a non-profit, throw up a photo of your team setting up a booth at an event. Whatever you do, keep in mind that the important thing is to shed some new light onto something that your followers already love.
People using your product
Nothing sells a product or builds a brand reputation like proof that your customers are using and enjoying your product. What better way to show how your products impact people’s lives than by posting a picture of real people enjoying what you’ve made? You can run a campaign asking followers to submit photos of themselves using your products and then repost them on your profile — with proper permissions and photo credits, of course.
If you recently added some new content to your blog, posting the header image on your profile can help you get the word out, promote your new piece, and drive traffic to your site. Just make sure that you use an eye-catching image, as a screenshot of the post in your web browser likely won’t turn any heads.
Reposting viral content
While some may think this is morally iffy, reposting others’ content is totally fine as long as you tag the content creator in the description and provide proper attribution. In fact, doing so can help promote the original poster as well, so it’s a win-win situation for both parties. A good way to find repostable content is to head over to the explore page and find some content that you think would appeal to your target demographic. Then, take a screenshot, give credit to the original poster either in the bottom left-hand corner or in the description, and post away.
If you’re launching a new product, planning an event, or beginning a new campaign, making a post about it on Instagram is an effective way to get the word out. What exactly you post depends on what you’re trying to announce. Grid posts can work well for product launches, but some simple yet well-designed text will often do the trick. The key to these posts, like all Instagram posts, is to make your post standout from the crowd, so be sure you have a great designer work on this post if you decide to go the text only route.
According to some surveys, millennials are most likely to engage with paid video advertisements that are both funny and informative. While there isn’t much data on how this pans out for unpaid content, it’s likely that the preference for video content among millenials is similar for unpaid posts on Instagram. Even without hard data, the concept makes sense: motion is more likely to stick out to your followers when they’re scrolling through their feed. What you feature in your video is up to you, but short clips of products being used, the founder discussing a product, or customers discussing their experiences can work well.
Happy employees make for a healthy business. Showing your following that your employees enjoy their work and feel that it’s meaningful can help improve your reputation and grow support for your brand. For some added impact, try adding a story about a personal connection one of your employees has with your company. Videos can also work well, especially if you mix in shots of your employees working with footage of them talking about how working for your brand has bettered their lives.
If you run a brick-and-mortar business, posting a picture of your store can go a long way. Assuming the picture is tastefully taken and edited to a T, sharing images of your physical location can encourage your followers to make a visit in-person and bring you some more business. If you tend to make colorful or attractive signs, be sure to feature those in your post.
Sharing photos of a recent event that your brand organized can help show your followers that you’re active and engaged with your community. You may want to post a snippet of a talk someone gave or a booth you set up at a large industry event. No matter what the event is, documenting it and sharing it with your following can cement your brand’s reputation as an important member of your specific space.
That’s all for now! We hope this guide has helped get your creative juices flowing and roused your muse. If there’s anything you think we left out or anything you’d like us to post about in the future, be sure to let us know at @ampjarcom on Instagram. Happy posting!
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