4 Ways to Take Your Social Media Content to the Next Level

Before you start reading this blog post, I have one question for you: Have you been posting consistently on your Business Instagram account and still experienced a significant dip in engagement for no apparent reason?

If your answer is yes, then read on; this just might be able to help you.

With 800 million monthly active Instagram users and around 8 million of those users as Instagram Business accounts, the competition to grab and maintain your followers' attention is greater than ever. Now, impeccably curated Instagram feeds, flawless photography, and a laser-focused brand strategy are prerequisites to even stay relevant and attractive in the Instagram world. But one thing you CAN do to differentiate yourself is experimenting with different types of media. And no, you don't have to be a brilliant illustrator or videographer to take your content to the next level; you just need a little creativity! 

In case you needed an extra reason to make the leap into new media formats, Instagram's algorithm takes into account the time users spend on your post, which directly influences your reach and engagement. So if you have a super fun yet short video that keeps your followers' eyes on your post for a significant amount of time, it'll signal to Instagram that it should show it to more users, which means more reach and more opportunities for likes and comments! 

Here are 4 easy ways to elevate your social media content: 

1. GIFs

GIFs are a very easy way to add dimension and captivate users' attention for a longer span of time. I first came up with the idea of creating more GIFs for my social media based on my tendency to take multiple images of a subject within the same frame. As I was quickly clicking through each image before editing, I noticed an illusion of movement as I switched through each frame in a fast sequence. If you find that you have multiple images that are very similar but have movements in slight increments, you can easily create a GIF on your phone with the Flipagram app or in Photoshop (here's a great tutorial from Hubspot that goes into great detail on how you can create your own).

You can also create the illusion of a flashing GIF with the use of color, as shown in the post on the right. This post came from an Instagram account I recently discovered called @GirlPowerIllustrations, which was created to empower and encourage women through illustrations. In response to their question of the week, I received two images: one with a white background and the other a pink background. I wanted to use BOTH images in an Instagram post, which of course, led to my idea of using a GIF format as well. 

2. Quotes

Play with typography. Take a break from your typical image-based posts and create a bank of quotes that align with your brand strategy and persona. I'm always on the lookout for new Instagram posts from Morgan of Lagom Creative because her designs are consistently minimal and effortless while being so impactful and engaging. She actually is a graphic designer, so it's no surprise that her designs make for beautiful social media content, but this type of content creation is achievable for anyone! 

With the emergence of many online tools, anyone can create fun and professional content with the help of pre-made layouts and designs, so that all you have to do is drag and drop. I have only used and LOVE Canva (other than Photoshop), but if you'd like to explore other options, you can check out this list of nine alternatives written by Ankit Prakash of SPROUT24

3. Carousel Posts

I was SO EXCITED when Instagram announced the new Carousel Post! During that time, I was managing a high-end clothing boutique's social media accounts and was frustrated with the fact that I couldn't post multiple images in one post to showcase different details of a bag or an outfit. Now, businesses can create a cohesive and engaging story by including multiple images (and video too!) via the Carousel post format. 

Here are some fun and creative ways to create Carousel content: 

  1. Offers / Deals: If you have a special offer or discount that you want to promote on Instagram, I highly recommend using the Carousel post format to share further details of your special offer using video, images and text overlays so that it's easy to read and not just a boring paragraph of text that most people won't want to spend time trying to understand.  
    Pro tip: entice users to swipe through to the end by sharing a discount code on the last image. 
     
  2. Poll Time: The carousel format is also a super easy way to start an Instagram poll, which encourages more commenting and results in increased engagement. You can include multiple images showcasing 3 different hairstyles and ask your followers to vote their favorites! 
     
  3. Panoramic images: I love how Lagom Creative uses typography and lines to create a panoramic illusion that entices users to click through in the example above on the right. You can also go about this the more traditional way with an actual panoramic image you might've taken, and splice it up into 3 parts to encourage click-throughs. 
     
  4. Before / After: One of the most effective ways to demonstrate the benefits of a service like a shoe cleaning or tailoring service is to show progression via before and after photos! The dramatic changes and instant gratification of seeing the results will not only encourage a longer amount of time spent on your post but will also help in getting more leads by including a call-to-action at the end! 
     
  5. Event Overview: Share the best moments of your latest workshop, industry party, or trunk show without spamming your followers by including them all in a Carousel post! With a click of a button, you can also include Instagram Stories in the mix of other videos and photos that you shot that night. The post above on the left is a great example of how you can incorporate more off-the-cuff and candid images from an event to give your followers an inside look! 

4. Videos

Instead of taking a photo of a product or location, switch gears a bit and perhaps take a video or boomerang instead! If you're photographing a dress, have the model do a little twirl while you record; just maintain a steady hand or have your camera set on a tripod. You can also get creative with a screen recorder like I did in the post on the left. I wanted to announce my website makeover and give followers a quick overview of the look and feel, so I used the Good Screen Recorder Lite to take users on a mini-tour and hopefully entice them to visit! In the example above on the right, I felt it would be fun to switch it up and take a video instead of a photo of the Goodland Hotel so that you could see the calm ripples of water and hear the birds. 

See? Definitely not difficult at all! All it takes is one tiny change and it makes a dramatic difference. 


Which is your favorite Carousel post idea? Let me know in the comments below!