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Social Media and UGC

Instagram Post Ideas For Brands

As we come off the heels of a long period of “meeting people where they are” online and re-imagining digital content during the pandemic, there is a hunger for authenticity and new experiences when consuming content online. Audiences are fatigued by pre-pandemic content strategies (static Instagram posts, the same few macro-influencers, little to no video content) and it’s a challenge to come up with unique Instagram post ideas. Especially as users become further disenchanted with Instagram and its constantly changing in-app experience, how can brands re-engage their audiences on the platform?

From both a marketer and everyday social media user’s perspective, let’s dive into some Instagram post ideas that can help your brand stand out from the many companies existing on the platform.

Identify Your Brand Story

This may go without saying, but brand storytelling is still important to your social media strategy, no matter how new or old your company is to the Instagram scene. Your audience is yearning for deeper connections and content that resonates with them as individuals. Clearly articulating your story through content brings them in and keeps them coming back.  

You can clearly identify your story and how it relates to your audience by asking some of these questions:

  • Who is my core target consumer?
  • What problem is my product or service solving for existing customers?
  • What value can I provide to this audience through my content?
  • How can my product/service be adapted to their everyday lives?

When you answer these questions it not only gives you clarity on your story but helps identify your content strategy, which can then be broken down into content pillars to curate content around. This then makes your content more targeted, meaningful, and relevant to the person receiving it on their Instagram feed.

Customer experience should be the foundation of your brand story; sharing positive experience from your community is much more persuasive for a potential customer exploring your brand than an Instagram advertisement that just tells them the benefits of your product.  

Aspen Snowmass Instagram post of skiier jumping in the air

 User-generated content (UGC) is a great first step to revitalizing your brand’s story through Instagram posts. As a marketer, learn what customers are saying to better inform the way you present your products to the world, and share their voices as authentic, community-driven social media content. A UGC platform like Pixlee TurnTo helps your brand scale this process and publish the UGC you collect across a variety of marketing avenues.

Add Value to Your Social Strategy 

Adding value is something brands commonly overlook when creating content for Instagram, but something social media influencers are typically very skilled at. Before we dive into examples, let’s recall exactly what it means to add value through a social media post.

As almost every consumer and every brand is on social media, how do you cut through the clutter to show up in the space? Here are five ways you can add value to Instagram posts and stand out from the crowd:

  1. Be Entertaining: Remember to humanize your brand voice on Instagram instead of creating captions and content that feels robotic. Don’t be afraid to add some memes and humor to your Instagram strategy.
  2. Appeal to Emotions: UGC is a great way to evoke emotions in your audience by presenting them with content they can relate to and feel good about.
  1. Identify & Solve a Common Problem: Speak to the problems your product solves, specifically for your target audience on Instagram. Why should they choose your brand above others?
  1. Educate Your Audience: While not every post needs to be information-rich and educational, give insight into your industry and products without sounding too advertorial.

Content creators do an excellent job of giving each post value, and this is something brands can look to emulate within their own content strategies. 

Instagram Post Ideas for Brands: Examples

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to Instagram marketing, and a large chunk of it relies on real-time engagement with your online audience, there are a few Instagram post ideas that can be tailored to brands in almost any industry. 

1. UGC Carousel Post

Brands like Skyscanner and Alo Yoga use Pixlee TurnTo to collect, curate, and republish UGC sourced from passionate customers on social media. However, a post featuring UGC doesn’t have to be a simple repost of the original photo; get creative with how you showcase your customers’ content on Instagram by creating a carousel of various pieces of authentic UGC.

Delta Instagram post of a couple taking photos in front of a city in Europe

This allows your social media followers to get the maximum level of social proof in one post, telling them your brand story through the eyes of various consumers they can relate to. Delta’s carousel post features UGC with text on the photos themselves labeling each destination.

2. Caption Contest

This is an easy Instagram post idea that can be a quick win in terms of post engagement for your brand, no matter the industry. Share a branded photo, a piece of UGC, or an influencer’s content relating to your brand and ask your followers to caption the photo.

Kimpton Instagram post urging users to caption a photo of a husband and wife kissing

Like Kimpton, you can even turn this caption contest into a weekly or monthly tradition for social users to look forward to, and offer a small prize for the winning caption creator. Asking questions in your Instagram captions, whether it’s “what should the caption be” or “what do you like about X product,” opens the floor to your audience to further your brand story and insert their own experiences right there on your post.

3. Content Reused from Another Platform

Content that originates on one platform, like TikTok or Twitter, doesn’t have to stay there! While you may have to make some design or dimension changes to repurpose content from another channel to Instagram, this is a good way to get the most value out of the content your brand shares on social media. 

Sephora Instagram Post of a Tweet showing Halloween makeup from a fan

We wouldn’t recommend reposting the exact same thing across different channels, as this dehumanizes your brand and doesn’t optimize for the channels’ unique algorithms.

Sephora repurposes a Tweet that performed well, creating an Instagram post with an aesthetic background. With Pixlee TurnTo, you can collect both your brand and community’s social media posts from Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, Facebook, and more, and automatically publish that content on your Instagram profile (or even on your website). 

4. Product Tutorial

Especially valuable in video form (and seen commonly on TikTok), product tutorials can go a long way when it comes to engagement on Instagram. Even products that may be very easy to use can work well in tutorial videos to show social media users new ways to use that product that they may not have thought of.

Temptu Instagram post screenshot of airbrush tool and different makeup shades to use with it

Temptu frequently shares UGC, Influencer, and employee-generated content in the form of tutorial videos, giving followers a look at before and after content. Users may already be sharing tutorials regarding your products — that’s why it’s so important to invest in a great UGC platform.

5. Brand Ambassador or Influencer Post

It’s no secret that influencer marketing and ambassador programs work well to improve brand awareness and product sales. But, don’t forget to get creative with the ways you reuse their content on Instagram. The benefits of a brand ambassador’s post doesn’t have to end once they’ve shared it on social media. Your brand should continue adapting that content to different formats.

Zebra Pen Instagram post of a drawing of an elephant with orange leaves around it

Zebra Pen frequently reshares creator content on its Instagram profile. Instead of just sharing pictures of the product itself or telling social users how great it is, showcasing the artwork created with the product is a much more captivating content approach.

As mentioned before, people are yearning for real and authentic content, not overly-edited and perfect content pieces everytime. This approach can even be taken a step further as utilizing audio created by the average creators on platforms such as Tik Tok and Instagram to hoop on trends at a more granular and community lead level to further engage your audience and brand relevance.

As you sit down to plan your daily, weekly, or even monthly content calendar for your brand’s Instagram, keep in mind the point of each post, and the different ways you can convey your brand or product’s value to your audience. For more post ideas, look within your existing online community and emanate the views they share regarding your brand. Good luck!

Alexia James is a globally diverse brand strategist with over 4+ years of brand marketing experience for local, regional & international brands. By ensuring brands are disruptive and maximizing their Audience engagement.  She is the Head of Brand Partnerships at Don Dada - a boutique augmented reality agency allowing brands to add a new layer of audience engagement. Here is her LinkedIn.

Pixlee TurnTo Contributor

Pixlee TurnTo welcomes contributed content from leading marketers, influencers and ecommerce experts.

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