Instagram is a great tool for growing your business and, at this point, it’s pretty much expected for your brand to be on the social media platform. But knowing where to start, how to build your presence, and what to post on Instagram can be overwhelming.
There are so many options, features, and types of content that can grow your Instagram following and help you engage with your audience. In this post, we’re detailing 15 types of Instagram posts with 45 ideas (+examples!) to help you make your profile stand out.
45 Instagram post ideas
Not sure what to post on Instagram or want some ideas to get started? Here are the top Instagram post ideas to try with examples.
1. User-generated content
The first thing you should post on Instagram to build your business’s following is user-generated content. There are two reasons for this: User-generated content doesn’t cost you anything to create, plus it comes with built-in engagement.
You can find user-generated photos by checking your business’s tags or your mentions. Not sure of the difference? When you’re tagged on Instagram, your profile is included in the photo or video, and everyone can see this post on your profile, too. A mention, on the other hand, is when someone @’s your handle in their Instagram caption. This isn’t visible to anyone else.
When you share user-generated content, be sure to ask for permission first. If they agree, be sure to tag and mention the user’s profile to engage with this user and their followers, boosting your own reach.
Another huge benefit of posting user-generated content on Instagram is that it’s less polished and more genuine, which Instagram users gravitate towards.
User-generated content ideas for Instagram
- Reshare a post from a customer outside of your business.
- Reshare a post of a customer talking about their experience with your business.
- Reshare a post of a customer using your product.
2. Influencer photos
All of your customers matter, and all user-generated content is useful. But some of your customer’s content is just going to be a bigger opportunity to grow your business. Especially when they’re influencers.
An Instagram influencer has an established audience and respected credibility, and a feature from an influencer can help you grow your Instagram. More people can see your content, and they see a recommendation from a trusted source.
When an Instagram influencer shares your product or mentions your brand, you can reshare this on your profile for more impactful user-generated content. Just make sure to tag the user’s profile, as Blackbird does in the example below, and ask for permission like you would for any user-generated content.
Influencer post ideas for Instagram
- Reshare a photo where an influencer tagged your business.
- Partner with an influencer to share a photo of them using your product or talking about your service.
- Partner with a complimentary local business and have them tag your business in a post so you can reshare it (and return the favor for them!).
3. Videos and reels
Video content performs better on social, and that includes Instagram. Mention found that video posts get a median of 150 comments. That’s significantly higher than both image and carousel posts.
More engagement on your content helps your followers see your content in their feeds and other users discover your posts in their Explore tabs. That means posing video content regularly can help you grow your Instagram followers–as well as your overall social media presence.
Instagram Reels gives you another idea for what to post on Instagram. This type of post is Instagram’s answer to TikTok. These quick videos are 15 to 30 seconds long, and (if my feed is any indication) they’re often re-posted TikTok videos. Reels also have their own section within the Instagram app, so by posting Reels, you’re increasing the number of places people can find your business on Instagram.
Even if your business isn’t active on TikTok, you can use this video format to experiment with new types of content and see what works for your audience.
Instagram reels and video ideas:
- Share a silly behind-the-scenes reel of your employees trying the latest viral dance.
- Create a video of you using or trying your new products or talking about your popular services.
- Go live on Instagram to connect with your audience and talk about what’s been going on with your business.
4. Contests and giveaways
Running a contest or giveaway on Instagram is a great way to grow your following fast–and to grow it with people who are actually interested in your brand and your offering.
The most common rules for an Instagram giveaway require users to reshare your post with tags and mentions or tag a friend in the comments. In both instances, the user almost always has to follow your account in order to be eligible. That boosts your reach, your engagement, and your followers all in one campaign.
In this example from Prose above, the personalized hair care company teamed up with other brands to run a successful contest and grow all of their social platforms–which leads us to the next type of content to post on Instagram to build your business’s following.
Instagram contest ideas
- Run a seasonal Instagram contest to celebrate an upcoming holiday.
- Run an Instagram contest asking users to follow you and tag three comments to be entered to win.
- Run a contest to get more user-generated content by asking users to tag your business in a post for their chance to win.
5. Feature brands you love
As a small business owner, I bet you’ve got a network of other owners that you lean on for support and guidance when you’re navigating the ins and outs of growing a business that isn’t easy to learn anywhere else.
Promoting products or companies in your network is a great way to spread the love and support other small and growing brands. It’s also a great way to reach more people and build your following.
Take this example from Revelstoke, an adorable coffee shop in Concord, NH. Recently, Revelstoke started offering breakfast foods, including these egg rolls from another Concord-based business, Wander Roll food truck, and they promoted the new partnership on Instagram.
By tagging and mentioning Wander Roll’s profile, Revelstoke not only garnered some goodwill in the partnership but also increased their reach. And apparently, this worked on both fronts. Wander Roll has also posted about the partnership–and to note that these egg rolls sold out quickly.
Business partnership ideas for Instagram posts
- Partner with a local business to do an Instagram post swap–you each post about the other’s business to reach a larger audience.
- Highlight your favorite local business on Instagram. You could also tie this into a social media holiday. For example, tag your favorite bakery on Apple Pie Day (on May 13!).
- Ask your audience to share their favorite local businesses with you and tag them in the comments.
6. Behind-the-scenes glimpses of your business
People want to know who runs the brand they’re trusting. Seventy percent of consumers feel more connected to brands with CEOs who share on social media, and 72% feel similarly when a brand’s employees are active on social media.
Sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses about your day-to-day operations is a great way to give people the kind of content they’re looking for. You can post photos of your office or your store, or you can take photos of your employees.
If your business creates products, this is also a great opportunity to share that process. PWRFWD, for example, helps athletes create their own products. On its Instagram, PWRFWD includes behind-the-scenes photos of the designs-in-progress for these products, videos of shirts being printed, and pictures of these items in the production facility.
Letting consumers see how and where your products are being made is a great way to not only feature your products but let people know they can trust your business.
Behind-the-scenes Instagram post ideas:
- Share a picture or video of your employees putting out new stock, doing markdowns, or clocking in for the day.
- Share an Instagram post that highlights your favorite part about your business or your job–this could be a specific product or service, a great customer experience, or seeing your team every day.
- Share a sneak peek at any products or services that are coming soon to get your audience excited.
7. Instagram Stories takeovers
We talked about switching up your types of content–feed posts, videos, images, Stories. While behind-the-scenes glimpses are great for your feed, Stories takeovers are a great way to feature spontaneous content in another format.
They’re also a great format for a series. HelloGiggles has a weekly Instagram Stories takeover series called Self-Care Sunday. Each week, someone takes over the Stories and shares their weekly self-care routine.
The example above is actress Lexi Underwood, and HelloGiggles features other celebrities in this series. But small business owners, therapists, writers, and even HelloGiggles employees take part. As long as you encourage the person taking over your account to promote their appearance to their followers, you’ll be able to increase your reach.
Plus, you can save these Stories to your profile. That’s why it’s a good idea to go with something evergreen for a series rather than getting too timely.
Instagram Stories takeover ideas
- Have each of your employees do a Story takeover to walk through their day-to-day and share their favorite thing about their jobs.
- Ask your best customer to do a Story takeover to highlight what it’s like working with your business.
- Work with a local influencer to do a Story takeover so they can promote it to their audience.
8. Hop on trending hashtags
Instagram hashtags are a great way to improve your reach. Users can search or follow hashtags, so make sure to include these on any of your relevant posts. The right hashtag could mean lots more eyes on your content–and more followers for your account.
When you’re posting, it’s a good idea to add around nine hashtags for the best engagement.
So hashtags are a great way to improve your reach, and they’re also a great way to find ideas for content. For best results, focus on trending hashtags. To find these, you can search right on the platform and see how many posts there are with your hashtag and how often people are posting with it.
Instagram hashtag post ideas
- Find a seasonal hashtag to post about
- Look for upcoming event hashtags like #indiebookstoreday (or something that relates to your business) to create a post around
- Search for local hashtags that people in your area are searching for to create posts for.
When you’re not sure what to post on Instagram, you can rarely go wrong with a quote. Inspirational, funny, or relevant quotes can help you connect with your audience–and they’re very easy to create and share (we even created work-life balance quotes templates you can try here!).
Instagram quotes post ideas
- Do a quick search for some quotes related to your business, a trending hashtag (like #selfcaresunday), or even share your favorite quote, and then use an easy tool like Canva to create a cute image.
- Use a quote as your Instagram caption and share a nice picture to go along with it!
- Share a quote from a customer (with their permission).
10. How-to or educational posts
One way to build trust with your audience is to create Instagram posts that are meant to educate or serve as a resource. Followers appreciate this type of content—it’s useful for them and can also position your business as a trusted authority.
How-to or educational Instagram post ideas
- Share a quick graphic with an interesting fact that you feel your audience should know or that they would be interested in.
- Share a video of you or a team member answering a frequently asked question.
- Share quick tips related to your business.
Another great way to engage your audience on Instagram is to post about upcoming events. While you should definitely post about events your business is hosting or sponsoring, you can also post about events in your area or events from other businesses or local organizations you support. Your business is part of the local community, so this is a great way to get involved!
Instagram post ideas for events
- Share a graphic with all the information about your upcoming event to get people exciting.
- Share a picture or video from the last event you had to give people an idea of what to expect—make sure to include the information in your caption!
- Reshare an Instagram post from a local business, organization, or your city/town to promote their events.
12. Product or service highlights
A picture is worth 1,000 words (and a video is worth even more!), so Instagram is a great place to show, instead of tell, your audience about your products or services. This doesn’t have to be done in an overly promotional way. In fact, the most effective posts come from a more educational or informational lens. But sharing some cool features of your products or showing your services in action can go a long way.
Product or service highlights post ideas
- Show a customer or employee using (or wearing) your product.
- For service-based businesses, you can share before and after photos or videos to highlight your work.
- Post an Instagram video highlighting your favorite feature of a specific product or service.
13. Sales or promotions
I know we’ve said Instagram isn’t a place to focus on selling, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post about any sales and promotions! Everyone loves a good discount or sale, so you want your audience to know about any promotions you’re running so they can take advantage.
Sales or promotion Instagram post ideas
- Run a special sale or promotion just for your Instagram followers!
- Post about your upcoming sales or promotions with details for how your audience can get in on the savings.
- Post a picture of products that are going to be on sale or part of your promotion to get people excited.
14. Social media holidays
If you’re ever unsure what to post on Instagram, social media holidays give you some great ideas you can easily incorporate into your marketing calendar. There’s basically a social media holiday for every day around any topic you can imagine. We put together a list of over 400 social media holidays for you here!
Social media holidays post ideas
- Post a fun graphic to call out the social media holiday.
- Find a social media holiday or observance that relates to your business and post fun facts about it throughout the month.
- Share posts from other businesses and brands about specific social media holidays and observances.
15. Causes you care about
People want to do business with brands that care. In fact, 71% of people prefer to buy from businesses aligned with their values. This means that it’s not enough to support causes you care about, but you also need to share about those causes. Instagram gives you a great place to do this!
Instagram post ideas to support causes you care about
- Share how your business is supporting a local organization or cause.
- Show support for a specific cause by resharing a post from a local or national organization with more information.
- Host an event to support your cause and post about it on Instagram
Now you know what to post on Instagram
These are top types of content you should share on Instagram to grow your business’s following. But you shouldn’t go through this list and call it a day. You should be switching up your medium, trying out different types of content, and sharing regularly in order to grow your following–so that you can keep growing your brand.
Instagram post ideas
- User-generated content
- Videos and reels
- Contests and giveaways
- Businesses and brands you love
- Behind-the-scenes posts
- Employee features
- Stories takeovers
- Trending hashtags
- How-to or educational posts
- Product or service highlights
- Sales or promotions
- Social media holidays
- Causes you care about