What would lockdown have been like without the internet? We’ll never really know, but we can imagine *shiver*. One thing we do know it that there has been, and still is, a need for content, content and more content. Our appetite for it is immense and if you have the kind of business that still can’t operate in person in the near future, it’s the one way you can stay visible.

But hey, I’m sure you know all this! However, when it comes to creating Instagram content from home, you may be running out of ideas. Here’s a little round-up to help you tap into your creative streak again.

Telling is selling – This is a phrase I heard from @hollyjunesmith and it’s really stayed with me. You don’t have to actively sell to your audience all the time. There’s so much your followers can learn from you as you simply share what you are up to.

  Decluttering: ideas, methods, tips

  Home fitness: workouts, meal plans, nutrition

  Kids activities: what you are doing with your small people of different ages, online resources, walks, craft ideas

  Gardening – tips on veg growing, planting, pruning, seasonal flowers, allotment/garden tours

  Mental health: insights into how you are managing under stress and what might be helpful to others

  Cooking: recipes, how-tos, meal ideas

 Lives

Despite how much I – and my fellow social media experts – bang on about it, many people still aren’t that keen on showing themselves on their feed. Using Instagram Live has seen a surge in popularity during this period, and rightly so. It’s brilliant way to stay connected, collaborate with others, and jump on spontaneously for chats or deliver planned content (making sure you promote it first of course!).

Instagram has even made it even easier to share your Live directly to IGTV, so you can build your video library that way. Side note: if you want to edit the video in any way, it’s worth downloading it first as you can only transfer it as is to IGTV. For more tips on going live view this video here.

Some of the Lives that have worked really well include:

Oliver Jeffers’ bedtime stories, Emma Scott-child’s Art club, and Anna Jones’s Saturday Night Cook Live cookalongs. It’s been great seeing lots of collaborations via Lives, too. Brands and individuals have been hosting really interesting conversations with other brands, influencers and ambassadors, with loads of useful information to be gleaned. Plus, keep an eye on the comments and you’ll get an idea of what your followers want to see or have questions about, which you can bank for future content

Repurposing

If you are not repurposing content, then you are missing out on halving your workload! The trick is to repurpose rather than repost – mine your content for other content. Check out my podcast episode 9 with repurposing queen Amy Woods for many more top repurposing tips. 

Blogs – as well as reposting blogs with different captions, think of how else you can turn them into content. Do they provide a script for a video or podcast episode? Can you pull out a quote for your feed? Has someone commented in a way that sparks a jumping off point for a different post that you know will spark conversation and engagement?

Images – Do you have images from a set that haven’t been posted? A different angle to explore? I always get inspiration from the comments – a post may have been about one topic, but how often does everyone want to know about something else (often something material in the image such as a rug or a coffee mug).

Can you use that experience as a post in itself? For example, ‘When I first posted this image, I was talking about the difficulties of keeping my workspace tidy but everyone wanted to know where my prints were from, so I thought I’d do a post on some of my favourite prints around the house…’

Does the image lend itself to a variety of captions? If so, reuse those images with decent gaps between them.

Podcasts – if you run a podcast, there’s A LOT of content to be used from that: posts about your guests, quotes from them, an audio clip from the episode, use the topics you discussed as conversation-starting posts for Instagram, ask you who people want to you to interview in the future. By the way, do check out my podcast and learn more about how to create, automate and innovate in your business. 

Video – Do you have long IGTV’s that can be edited for the grid? Can you make a montage of different clips? Do you have outtakes that might be funny as a standalone post?

Challenges on IG

They are such a great way to practice new skills (follow some content creating/social media/photography experts who are doling out tips) and to have ready-made inspiration for your posts. If you haven’t taken part in one before, you get a daily prompt, which you can interpret as you like. It might be about creating new content, or simply finding a way to look through your camera roll for old stuff. You can also follow the # and find inspiration from all the other people taking part, as well as getting yourself in front of new people who might be following that tag. A double win. Without your business head on, there are lots of fun, creative challenges too like #fliptheswitch

User Generated Content

This part of most people’s brand strategy anyway, but the great thing about lockdown is how much more UGC there is. A huge majority of your social media followers and customers will be creating content, and this is a great time to embrace it. While IG is still all about the aesthetics, I feel the rules have been relaxed a little. Content doesn’t have to have such a professional look all the time (maybe that’s also the TikToK effect). Your audience understands that, so it’s a good time to experiment with giving UGC a bigger spotlight on your feed.

What kinds of content could you use and encourage? Video testimonials, video reviews, photos from the packages you’ve delivered, photos/videos/boomerangs of people enjoying your afternoon tea/birthday party package/beauty products… Whatever you make and sell, always encourage feedback and ask to be tagged in when customers are speaking about you online so that you can reshare their content.

Are you sure you can’t take your customer-facing business online? It’s not too late to start. How can you offer people your services with distancing AND turn it into content?

Facetime photoshoots

We’re all aware of the doorstep photo projects that have been going on, and which are a great example of using lockdown to practice your skills, stay visible and create content, but some photographers have also been using Facetime. This could be brilliant for brand headshots, family portraits, fashion shoots.

This explains it really well if you need a step-by-step https://www.nylon.com/fashion/how-to-do-facetime-photoshoot

Make use of Zoom/online meetings

Not just for boring boardroom chats, Zoom lends itself to running workshops and online training and some other more surprising events.

In the beauty industry, I’ve seen some small up their game to take things online. How-tos and skincare troubleshooting always make useful content, but I love that some businesses have brought in a real-time element too. Customers can sign up for a Zoom facial and have a face mask (or other products) delivered to them beforehand, then go through the steps in a small group, lead by the beauty therapist. Great for grabbing a screenshot for Stories and some testimonials too.

Try other platforms

Now that you can link TikTok to both YouTube and Instagram, is this the moment you should be trying it out? It’s another way to funnel people to your IG, is a great place to experiment without the pressures of being perfect (that very homemade aesthetic is one of the beauties of TikTok) and the simplicity of it means it’s easy to get your messages across. Also, you don’t have to dance.

Or if you’re creating lots of videos anyway, perhaps you’re more comfortable with straightforward YouTube. Either way, having an extra video-based channel give you more content to cross promote on IG for minimal effort.

I hope these examples have shown you some new avenues to explore or sparked some ideas you can do too. In brief, now’s the time to

Repurpose:  look at old blogs, videos, photos, graphics, comments on popular posts, FAQs and brainstorm ways to break them down and get more content out of them

Redirect: what can you do differently?

Reimagine: Join another channel and/or take inspiration from other accounts and allow your brain to get creative in telling your brand stories in different ways

Want more accountability and inspiration? I’m running my Instagram course again very soon. Learn how to make an impact with your Instagram account, generate engagement, nurture your audience and increase traffic, leads & sales for your business. Follower the link here >>> Beyond The Grid Instagram Course <<<