Stuck for content ideas? Here are 10 quick wins for the kind of value-added content that your audience will want to share and save!
There’s always a lot of talk of beating the Instagram algorithm but I like to think of it as something you want to work with, not against. In fact, sometimes it pays not to think of it at all. The very best thing you can do on social is to create quality content that your audience loves. If they love it, they will save it and share it – and it’s the sharing that can really get the magic going for you. Here are 10 content ideas for your Instagram account.
Instagram has confirmed that it ranks content more highly if it is being shared around and while it hasn’t said the same about saves, they are still important. It’s likely people will be shown content from accounts related to their saved items. With a little leg up from Instagram on popular content, you have the potential to increase your reach vastly.
There’s no big secret at the heart of this: your foundation is to put out decent content that resonates with your audience. This can be achieved in lots of different ways, so here are a few prompts to help you create super-shareable posts.
Tell stories with value
Product-based businesses should have plenty to draw on here, but anyone can post tips and tricks relevant to your industry. The key here is imparting knowledge in a way that captures people’s imaginations and delivering content they haven’t seen, such as 10 unusual uses for your product or ‘five ways to slice a cucumber’. If you have a mind-blowing fact, that’s even better. But it’s not just what you are saying, it’s how you present it. Infographics, time-lapse videos and illustrations are inherently captivating and makes these posts way more likely to be shared than just one image and lots of text. If you get lots of knowledge in one easy burst, it’s a winner.
Answer their questions
Pretty much every business or service has the need for FAQs on their website, but can you turn them into content? Is there an opportunity to turn the answers into posts for social? Create some Stories tackling the things you get asked the most, or use it as a chance to highlight your USP. You can show how you’re different from your competitors or tap into the zeitgeist. Perhaps your USP is ethical manufacturing or how your product can be recycled. Take a look at brands like @huskup_eco on Insta. They are doing this really well – simple annotated posts that deliver facts about their recycling loop, how biodegradable they are or what they are made from.
Get a content calendar
There’s a day for almost anything. Some of which are pretty questionable and definitely PR-invented, but it can pay to use them to your advantage. Think of them as content prompts and then see how you can push the edges to create something that really stands out. It has to have value to people. A photo of your breakfast on National Toast Day (28 Feb if you’re wondering) isn’t likely to be of interest to too many people, but knowledge bomb them with a video or slideshow of unusual ideas for things to put on toast for lunch and you’ll strike a chord. Only if it’s relevant though – I’m thinking food accounts, a freelancers community (we are always looking for lunch inspo), anyone selling tableware etc. Running a building firm or make dog coats? This one’s not for you!
Awareness days are huge in the charity sector too, so this can be your chance to get in with useful info and tap into conversations that people will be having. Where can you add value? Can you offer tips or facts that dispel myths and promote understanding? If it makes people think ‘oh, I didn’t know that’ it has a high chance of being shared. This kind of content takes planning if you want those shares, so use a content calendar and think ahead to really nail it.
Find your funny bone
Would social media really have taken off without funny animal videos and ridiculous memes? I don’t think so. This element of fun is integral to building the huge networks that we know today – if it was all political rants, relationship statuses and avocado on toast photos I doubt we’d have come this far. Just look at the rise of TikTok. Literally a network built on fun and silliness. There’s always an opportunity to have a laugh. I loved the #DollyPartonChallenge, which is hilarious when done well (Check out CBeebies’ Andy Day @AndyDayTV )
There isn’t always something trending so jump on it if you can, but my advice with these is to keep it vaguely relevant. Or if it’s really left-field use it on Stories only as it will have a short shelf-life!
Andy Day from CBeebies #DollyPartonChallenge
‘Dream it. Wish it. Do it’
Yes, I’m talking inspirational quotes. Instagram still loves ‘em. I’ve had to get over my own personal block around these, because they really can be great content and I see a lot of them shared from grids to Stories. If you’re not feeling inspired to craft your own pearls of wisdom, style up quotes from other people in your brand colours and share them on. I’d urge you to have a think about whether you can create your own quotes too. If you have something important to say, chances are it will resonate with others. If you want the marketing term, it helps you become a thought leader. But more importantly, it helps you get the shares.
Inspirational quotes that resonate with your audience
1. List it. 2. List it. 3. List it.
Not only has social media changed the way we live and communicate, it’s changed the way we digest content. We’re multitasking humans, flitting between emails and notifications and platforms and tweets. We like our content snappy and easy to take in with a quick glance. The epitome of this is lists – Buzzfeed is a prime example of a change in journalism from long-reads to listicles. Recreating this for social is a sure-fire way to get shares. It’s a chance for people to download a lot of knowledge easily and giving multiple points is value-added content at its best. This is why my monthly hashtag lists have become popular (here is January’s list).
Each month I share a list of popular hashtags likely to get great engagement
Share the love
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – social media is called that for a reason. Be social. Support others. Throw the spotlight on to accounts you like, who are putting out great content and who you think your followers will love too. Give shout-outs, take part in Follow Fridays. Basically, get involved. Do it because you love it and you may get some reciprocal shares! But it needs to be genuine otherwise people will see through it. It’s also a way to be known for having good taste and curating content that your followers love. You’ll increase traffic to your platforms, where people will find even more fantastic content that they’ll be desperate to share.
There are some brilliant conversations that go down on Insta Stories. I’ve seen so many threads started where someone posts a series of Stories in response to a hot news topic or perhaps a post that someone else has done on, say, the ups and downs of freelancing. When people create Stories and posts of their own, tagging in other accounts and having this kind of rich conversation, there’s lots of opportunity for sharing and reaching new accounts. Not to mention that these threads are often places to learn new things or teach new things and change people’s perspectives.
Spark your own conversations
As well as chiming in with others’ chats, how can you be the person to spark a conversation? If you can get others talking, that’s where the shares come in. If people are having fun with these convos, they’ll direct others towards them. Ask questions that resonate with people, or prompt them to share their opinions. People love to review things or give their own tips, knowledge and experiences, which, depending on your industry, can be serious or fun. Think about questions that ask:
– What’s your favourite…
– What was your first…
– What would you say…
– What’s your most embarrassing…
– What’s the hardest thing about…
– What do you love about…
– Tell me about a time when…
– Have you ever…
You can share the results as posts too, which could tap into the knowledge sharing ideas I covered above.
…Or your business freebies to be more precise. If you have free videos, downloads, challenges, quizzes and more, don’t be afraid to shout about them. Highlighting your free stuff will never detract from your paid content and services. It’s a way of creating website hits, growing an audience who are really interested in what you offer and generates warm leads.
If you have a course you want to sell, offering snippets of the kind of content you cover is the perfect way to leave people wanting more. If they are learning from these free tasters, they will want to pass on that knowledge and so share it on for you. Plus, you’ll build a reputation of really knowing your stuff, which builds trust and makes you a go-to account. Annie Ridout is currently smashing it with this stuff. She’s doing lots of useful IGTV videos that play into the things she teaches, but work as standalone lessons that are really valuable and ultra-shareable.
As a small business owner, freelancer or remote worker you might miss having someone around to bounce ideas around with or give you a fresh perspective. Come over and jon my #DotPlay community on Facebook. We are a community of inspiring creatives. It’s a place to share and encourage each other. We discuss and help one another with creativity in ads and social media.
Everyone is welcome to hang out, ask questions or just enjoy the growing swipe file of creatives.
And of course, if you found this useful, please do give it share on your socials!