Studies have found major brands post on Instagram on average around four times a week, with retail brands posting 5.5 times a week. And with roughly one billion monthly active users, Instagram is one of the world’s most popular networks.
It goes without saying that competition is tough. So how do you stand out from the mass of other posts, Stories, and Reels?
If you want to keep followers engaged, you’ll need a stream of high-quality Instagram content ideas.
Wondering where to start? Here are 13 great Instagram post ideas to liven up your feed and generate more engagement.
A Facebook survey found that 54% of people made a purchase either in the moment or after seeing a product or service on Instagram. Not only can product posts brighten up your feed, but they also have the potential to drive a huge influx of customers to your business. We’d call that a win-win situation.
Why not get followers excited about your offering and showcase products in their best light?
Make your Instagram product posts more interesting by telling a story, including props, and showing it in action. Avoid making it look like an ad—instead, focusing on showing the product naturally.
Once you’ve crafted the perfect product image, turn it into a shoppable post by tagging items from your Instagram Shop. That way, customers can click a product tag and view full product details and pricing. They’ll be directed straight to the product page on your website to complete their purchase.
Sunglasses brand Etnia Barcelona is the perfect example to show how brands can use product photography as the foundation of their shoppable Instagram post. Its most recent collection is promoted on Instagram, with each image containing a product tag that links through to the product page on its eCommerce site.
eCommerce brand Nuts Pick also tempts followers with its almond and salted pistachios. The brand uses an Instagram post to help potential customers imagine snacking on products it sells.
Should a customer see the image and want to buy it, the retailer tags the product listing from their Instagram Shop. Followers can view more information about the product—and buy it—within a few taps.
This type of Instagram post works for all types of eCommerce brands—regardless of what you’re selling.
Take cosmetics company Plump It! for example. The brand showcases its products using Instagram product posts. But instead of relying on flat lay photography to show its cosmetics, it reposts content from influencers who’ve used its products.
As soon as the reposted image catches a follower’s attention (since they know the person in the image), they can click the product tag and buy it through the brand’s Instagram Shop:
Let’s face it: we all love to see our name in shining lights from time to time. Your customers are the same. People love to feel celebrated and appreciated, so what better way to show you value your followers than sharing some user-generated content (UGC)?
Sharing UGC to your business’s Instagram profile also helps build social proof. Consumers want to see your products in action in everyday situations; it gives them more confidence that the product on display is used by people like them.
They won’t want to miss out on the next big thing, either—the fear of missing out causes 60% of people to make a reactive purchase within 24 hours.
To collect UGC, tell your audience what you’d like to see. You don’t need to be too specific–encourage creativity and see what they come up with. Give your audience an Instagram hashtag that they can add to their caption. That way it’ll be much easier to search for your followers’ posts.
Health and beauty brand Lush regularly repost Instagram users’ selfies. Each one shows a Lush product within the frame, or the results a customer has seen from using one of their cosmetic products. This one, for example, highlights its mascara:
User-generated content doesn’t have to be limited to organic feed posts. Natural food company FOGA shows how brands can repost a customer’s Instagram Reel—short, up to 60-second videos that appear on an account’s profile page.
The brand creates Reels that show people making, consuming, and enjoying its shake products. It’s compelling and convinces users that their products are tasty:
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If you’re running an eCommerce brand in the clothing industry, you’re in luck. Chances are, you have fashion bloggers and influencers posting Instagram content that shows how they styled your clothing items.
nu-in, for example, showcases bloggers and other customers styling items from the brand. The goal? To inspire their audience to recreate the looks:
Giveaways help get your brand in front of new users and encourage engagement from your current followers. In fact, Instagram giveaway posts get 3.5x more likes than standard posts.
Whether you're a small business or large retailer, giveaways position your products in front of potential shoppers and motivate them to interact with your posts. This increases engagement on your posts, which can nudge the Instagram algorithm to show it to more people.
Make sure to highlight the event by writing GIVEAWAY at the top of your Instagram caption. Offer an exciting prize that your audience will enjoy or find useful—be that free products, a trip to your HQ, or a trip to meet one of the influencers you collaborate with.
Finally, tell your followers how to take part in the giveaway. Do they need to tag a friend in the comments? Like the post? Repost the image to their own Instagram Story?
You should also explain how winners will be chosen and facilitate the T&C’s, so it follows Instagram’s guidelines for running promotional posts.
Let’s take a look at how it’s done.
eCommerce seed shop Beebombs teamed up with other businesses that appeal to its target audience. It posted an Instagram feed post to announce the giveaway, with an image showing the products up for grabs and a caption explaining how followers can enter:
Granted, this type of Instagram post means collaborating with other like-minded businesses to extend your giveaway’s reach. As a result, you’ll get in front of more users likely to be interested in your brand. You’ll also open the door for future collaborations with brands you partner with.
Behind the scenes Instagram posts are great for showing your brand’s fun and human side. People are often fascinated to learn what goes into making their favorite products and love a sneak peek behind the curtain.
The more natural the post, the better. You’re more likely to strike a chord with followers and build that all-important connection. After all, the point is to humanise your business and show followers you’re relatable.
Whatever you choose to show, make sure to show your workplace or colleagues in a natural state, as if your followers happened to be peeking around the curtains.
At The Social Shepherd, we love a good behind-the-scenes take to let our followers in on all the exciting projects we’re working on. In this behind the scenes clip, for example, we chose to show what it’s really like to be on set during a filming day:
What better way to show off your product than to teach something new at the same time?
Brands can use their Instagram account to post a simple video that shows customers how to use the products they’re promoting. This could be anything from a step-by-step guide to mastering a new skill, styling a piece of clothing, or upgrading a space with the right furniture.
Get your audience excited about checking your account for new posts by starting a series of posts that teach them how to build on a certain skill. Each week, post a video containing a couple of tips. Leave them wanting more by encouraging them to check out next week’s post for more.
Keep tutorial videos simple, sharing actionable takeaways that people can put into practice right away. Property company flyp does exactly that. Its videos show potential customers how to easily change up their home decor with four quick tips:
Another great way to boost engagement is to team up with a content creator in your niche and ask them to film a video tutorial using your products. Take a look at this example where vegan cookbook author Rachel Ama films a curried jackfruit tutorial in partnership with supermarket Waitrose:
Planning a product launch or restocking a bestseller? Catch your followers’ curiosity by sharing product teasers. One way to create an intriguing teaser is to show someone using your product.
Pet accessory brand Hugo and Hudson share a fun short video of different pets modelling its latest collection. The short and snappy videos give their followers an attractive glimpse of the product. This way, they remain intrigued and curious to find out more.
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Paint brand Kalklitir is no stranger to product teasers. Take this Instagram post that piqued its followers’ interest in the brand’s new paint line. The launch date, product differentiators, and guidance on how to shop the new collection took centre stage in the caption.
Introduced in 2016, Instagram Stories have proved to be a huge hit with business and personal accounts. In fact, 500 million users now use Instagram Stories every day.
If that’s not enough to convince you to add this format into your strategy, remember that 62% of people became more interested in a brand or product after viewing it on an Instagram Story.
If you haven’t already, branching out onto Instagram Stories represents a huge engagement opportunity for your business. Instead of going for typical Stories that users can flick through in an instant without paying much attention, Story polls can encourage user engagement right off the bat.
To get started, try using Story polls to get users to vote on your products. You could compare the same product in different colours, or show two different items and ask your community which one they like the most.
Vivense, a furniture and homewares company, uses Instagram Story polls to showcase some of its products. The brand asks users to vote on which item they like the best. Not only is this fun for followers, but it gives the brand instant feedback on which products are likely to be most popular with shoppers:
Given their limited publication time (24 hours) and rapidly changing frames, Stories have that “blink and you'll miss it” quality.
Vivense prevents its creative Story polls from going to waste by transforming them into evergreen content and saving them as a Highlight on its Instagram profile. That way, users dropping in on their profile can flick through recent polls and see some of the eCommerce brand’s most popular products.
When it comes to engaging with followers, nothing beats interacting with your followers live. 30% of internet users reported spending the most time watching live stream videos—beating educational videos, product reviews, or sports highlight clips.
Use this Instagram post idea to show people behind the scenes, demonstrate new products, and answer followers’ questions.
Take a look at this instructional live post filmed by Vet’s Kitchen, for example. Charlotte takes a frequently-asked question from followers, “How to clean your dog’s ears” and provides her top tips for how to do the job safely in video form:
Followers appreciate valuable content that helps them solve a problem, so use your live posts to answer some FAQs. Chances are, it could nudge them further along the buying process, helping your eCommerce brand drive more sales from Instagram.
Looking to add some movement to your Instagram feed? Get creative and make some eye-catching Reels that’ll stop users in their tracks while scrolling through their feed.
Reels are a great opportunity to show your products in action. Not convinced? One brand managed to increase engagement by 280% as a direct result of using Reels in their Instagram content strategy.
The best Reels keep it simple, short, and fun. Furniture and homewares shop Vivense, for example, uses frame changes to introduce three products to viewers. Something as simple as making decor changes to a living space is made fun, fresh, and original:
There’s also a quick CTA in the caption so potential shoppers know to head to the link in their bio to find the products they’re interested in purchasing.
A HubSpot study of over 100 million Instagram posts found that Carousel posts were the most engaging post type, earning around 62 likes and five comments each.
You could use carousels to feature multiple products in one post or use them to feature just one product from different angles.
If you’re in the interior design or property development industry, carousels are an excellent way of showing a before and after or comparison. Property company Flyp, for example, uses carousels to demonstrate the powerful impact of staging a home before putting it up for sale online:
Instead of relying on just one social media channel, cross post across multiple sites and maximise your reach.
This is especially effective if you find you have a lot more followers or engagement on one channel over another. You may have started your Facebook Page before your Instagram account and for that reason have more Facebook followers. Cross-posting helps you reach both audiences.
If you do cross-post, make sure that your content has the right dimensions for each channel. The last thing you want is for followers to see a pixelated or overly cropped version of your content.
For an example of this content format in action, look to UK clothing retailer Marks and Spencer. The department store posted the same video titled “The Edit” on both Facebook and Instagram on the same date (September 2nd).
Notice how they posted the video as a vertically optimised video on Instagram and as a horizontal version on Facebook? This ensures Instagram’s mobile users see the full shot on their smartphone display, while Facebook desktop users can see a video that matches their PC screen dimensions.
Influencer marketing continues to grow in popularity. More than half of marketers plan to partner with Instagram influencers as part of their marketing strategy this year.
If you’re working with influencers, bloggers, or content creators to promote your products, tap into their success by reposting their content on your brand’s account.
Influencer posts are valuable social proof that your product is in demand with those in the know. They also help build trust with your audience and attract new followers. If followers see an influencer they admire for their style wearing your clothing, they’ll be more likely to buy the item—or at least give you a follow.
Ecommerce brand Studio A Clothing collaborates with content creators and influencers to wear and create content to then repost it on their Instagram:
Humour is great for humanising your brand and making it more relatable. Plus, making people laugh is a great way of boosting engagement. If your post makes followers laugh, they’ll be more likely to share the post with their friends.
Depending on your Instagram followers and their interests, you could try repurposing memes or sharing funny anecdotes.
Cosmetics brand Dose of Colors, for example, shares relatable and funny situations with their followers that encourage them to chime in with their own experiences:
As you can see, Instagram is a powerful tool for connecting with your brand’s target audience. But with so many businesses marketing their products, it’s important to stand out.
Creativity and understanding your audience go a long way in any Instagram marketing strategy. There’s a lot of ideas on this list—but we recommend taking it slow and starting with one or two of these ideas. See how your followers react and tweak your strategy accordingly.
Remember: Above all else, your goal is to create Instagram content that resonates with your target audience. From testimonials to inspirational quotes, tweak different formats and monitor your Instagram Insights. You’ll soon start to see which Instagram post examples work best for your eCommerce brand.