The Core 4, What To Post on Instagram for Businesses and Brands

Content Craft for Instagram 200

updated March 20, 2019

Knowing what to post on Instagram can be difficult, especially for businesses and brands. 

Getting it right is even more of a struggle.

The first step in learning what to post for your brand or business is getting the right mindset and focus.

If you're coming from Content Craft 102, skip to What to Post.

It takes practice and experience learning what works for your brand on Instagram, but we have key insights for you built from our experience working with many successful clients on IG (Instagram), consulting with premier ad agencies, and growing businesses outside of Instagram.

Every brand is unique in some large or small way. Finding your "voice" is no small feat. It's this barrier we would like to help you unlock.

In this chapter of Content Craft for Instagram, we are going to outline our proven strategies for a posting schedule and what types of posts get the most out of your Instagram business to help your IG grow fast.

Posting Strategy

Remember this key principle, Instagram at its best is about making authentic connections with real people.

Instagram for business is about binding those connections to your unique brand.

We're going to show you exactly how to do that.

In a larger function, this starts the process of branding. IG is the most effective tool in doing this today. Instagram effortlessly provides a simple, elegant way to connect with your brand. You just need a good strategy and a focus for your posts. 

We'll help you build one that works for you.

Posting Schedule

At Sollevarsi SOCIAL, we are all about the power of active organic growth. Our content schedule fits nicely with our growth strategy and grows your business in the most effective and cost efficient way.

We discuss the schedule strategy in more detail in Content Craft 102, the ABC's of Posting on Instagram.

Here is a quick summary. Skip this if you've read Content Craft 102.

Post less.

Instead of posting to drive traffic, we drive traffic on Instagram to our client's profiles by being active with our organic strategy, the social media handshake. 

This flips the Instagram algorithm in your favor instead of being heavily beneficial for only the big Instagram profiles or the top .00000001% of content.

We democratize Instagram with our strategy so you can focus on what makes your business special and not spend all your time on Instagram just to get traffic.

Once a week. 

As long as you are active with organic traffic, we recommend you start with posting once a week. Focus on making good posts, but you don't need to overproduce them. Stay lean and focus on the other parts of your business that need attention to grow.

There are two engines for growth. If your strategy is to use Instagram's posting engine to grow, you will need to post multiple times a day. Active, organic growth provides better, more steady, and more targeted traffic to your Instagram. You can learn more about these dynamics in Content Craft 102. 

Don't take our word for it though, check out one of our client's results. @billbuster95 passed 10,000 followers in late 2018. They posted ONLY 48 times before they reached 10,000 followers on IG, and received over 28,000 likes on those 48 posts. Those are staggering numbers and they really make you question the strategy of posting content daily or more. On our own IG, we've posted under 20 times and we're cracking 5k followers. All of our clients experience the great effects of active organic growth. Follow our Instagram to see some of the client milestone's we share and what their stories are like. 

Checkout our celebration of @billbuster95's rise to 10k followers here.

🔥 Rise Up Tip 🔥

Find an Instagram account that is further along in your space, your niche, or parallel market and follow them.

Turn on Post Notifications for these accounts so you see all of what they post.

Whitelist them in the Audience Targeting section of your Social Growth dashboard. 

Then, learn from them.

Observe what kinds of posts they make.

Breakdown their content by type, focus, and the value proposition of each post.

Track their content in a spreadsheet noting their engagement and following size. 

Note when they post, what kind of copy they write, what kind of images or videos they post, and try those types out with your brand.

Make it your own and see what works for you. Testing is the best mindset.

What to Post?

Now that you have the right mindset and focus for your posting strategy, let's discuss exactly what you should post. 

Week 1: Win your Followers attention and they’ll see your future posts.

One of the most important early wins for your Instagram is winning a new followers attention.

Learn more about why this is important and how to do this here.

The goal of your first post of the month is to get new followers to engage with you and current followers to engage again.

By winning an engagement in a like, video view, comment, share, or interaction on a story, you are winning the future display of your content for that person. You’ve won their attention, as far as IG is concerned.

This means Instagram will now show your next few posts to the people who engage with this post. This is super important because your later posts are going to work on activating that attention and turning your followers into fans and your fans into customers or members fo your brand army (people you influence heavily). This first post of your cycle is the table setter for the rest of your posting strategy.

So, how do we win these engagements?

Post content that activates interest in your niche. It’s fun and light. It’s really easy to respond to. Everyone interested in your brand would like or comment in response. Ask for that engagement.

One of our client’s is doing this really well. In fact, she is crushing it with this type of post.

Meet @fetchthestyle. Fetch the Style is a playful brand for dog clothes and dog mom and dad stuff . They are just starting to build a powerful brand on IG, but they’ll already mastered this post for their niche. They are able to capture massive engagement and win the future display of their other posts for so many people. They get so many comments it is crazy! So, what do we learn from their success?

1- Ask questions that are easily accessible, fun, and related to their brands.

2- Use text in your post image so your call to action is clear and highly visible. Placing this only in your caption might look better but it is less effective. If you do place your call to action in your post caption, do it first so it shows up in the preview.

3- Tell people what do. Comment, share, like, double tap. All of these are great words to use to tell people ow to engage.

Here are some of the great posts @fetchthestyle has done.

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I have another example for you. I recently started to ramp up content on my own personal brand in preparation for our coaching course launch later this year. I have a few posts coming up for a speaking engagement I am doing and I want people to see those so I needed to activate my followers before I post what I really want people to see. Here is what I did to activate my audience of entrepreneurs, small business owners, startups, and the like. I am getting a better rate of engagement on this post and it will help display my future posts to people I want to see them.

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What to Post?

Post questions, quotes, inspirations, motivations, news, interesting fun facts, anything you can post related to your brand that people will engage with.

This works for every product or service.

If you’re selling home safes, ask your followers if they could save one personal belonging in their home from a robbery, what would it be?

If you’re an influencer, activate your audience with a powerful quote or tip and ask them to like or double tap the image if they agree.

If you’re selling cosmetics, ask your followers what is the one thing they couldn’t live without. Be fun and ask what three things they would keep on a desert island from their cosmetics bag.

If you sell toothpaste, ask how many times they brush or ask what is their secret to whiter teeth.

The point is that you want to ask easily accessible question or prompt easy answers.

Learn what works for you and do this every month for your brand. You will start turning more Followers into Fans. Your future posts that drive your business success will do better. You’ll be on your way to achieving your goals on Instagram for your business.

Starters: Go for likes. It’s easier to get someone to double tap or like something they agree with.

Pros: Create a story for this post so you can maximize your results. You’ll reach even more people and win future attention on Instagram if people view your stories or even better, interact with them so use the polls, the questions, and other interactive elements in your stories.

🔥 Rise Up Tip 🔥

Stories are super powerful to win your Followers attention and have your content displayed to them more in the future. Sharing a post is a really easy way to create a story that can activate your followers and even reach new people, but you can also ask your own questions or develop your own stories if you like.

To put this tip into action, follow other influencers and Instagram accounts in your space. We do this most often with @foundr because they post great quotes and tips for entrepreneurs that work perfect for easily digestible and highly relatable content. We share these often.

Find good IG’s that work for your niche. Then, find a post that you like related to your brand, share it by tapping the little paper airplane icon to the right of the like and comment buttons. Then, add it to your story.

For best results, use the interactive elements or stickers IG has for you. The poll, question, or like slider are especially great.

Do this daily so you have a story up that you followers can interact with. Stories disappear after 24 hours unless saved so having a story up to keep relevant and win attention is a great way to set the table for the rest of your content.

Week 2: What do you offer for FREE?

What can you offer your followers without requiring anything from them?

Growing your email list by getting people to take advantage of an offer is a very powerful thing you can do on your Instagram.

Within the context of your sales funnel, these posts are going to be similar to your "tripwire" or "hook." These are usually things that you give away in exchange for an email address or a way you can make your product or service pitch to a lead after having gained a little bit of their trust.

Instagram is no different. Organic traffic on IG is a first touchpoint or top of the funnel leading into your offer. Use that traffic to grow your business.

This isn't selling. Many IG's make the mistake of posting "Buy This" content instead of playing the more lucrative long game. People don't just go to your IG, see a post, and buy the product in it. Those sales may occur but you want to focus on the bulk of your sales. Most sales will be those earned over time by a brand. Experts say 7-8 touch points on average before a person decides to purchase. This post is a "build the relationship" post focused on what you offer.

If you are an influencer or coach, offer specific, easily digestible tips (under :30 seconds, best if under 5 seconds). This is a great post to offer some targeted advise that your followers and visitors can take away and use. If it's good and effective, they'll come back much more invested in your brand.

Craft your Week 2 post around your free value. 

What to Post?

Post images or videos that showcase your free value offer. We have a new blog post to help you do this...or we just posted a new podcast on your favorite something. These can even be used in your IG stories to get increased daily exposure. If you have over 10k followers - add a swipe up link. If you're under, drive traffic to your "link in BIO".

Blogs are a great way to give value for free to your followers and start to build a relationship. At Sollevarsi SOCIAL, this is what we choose to do because our niche can offer so much educational value from our experience with clients and we are better writers than video producers right now. Blogging fits with our culture and capabilities. Your core passions as an entrepreneur may be different. You may love getting in front of the camera. Do a video blog or podcast.

This doesn't have to be complicated. You don't have to have a blog to "blog" on Instagram. Instagram can be the blog to start out. You can post very short, simple value to start, but you will want to move them to your store so make sure you craft an call to action into your Week 2 post. Get them used to your point of conversion, link in bio or swipe up.

If you don't have a good "free value" tripwire, identify your strengths if you are an entrepreneur or your capabilities if you have a team. Use those to craft the vessel for your free value. Maybe a video blog is better for you or a podcast or just start with something simple like curating great tips in your product or services niche.

For example, if you are a local restaurant...maybe post a restaurant you love to eat at and why their value is similar to your restaurant. Go do a tour of your competitors. Learn, share the process on Instagram. If you are a photographer, post tips on taking portraits or getting lighting right or places in your area that are hidden gems for beautiful pictures. If you sell bikes, post a local map of your favorite bike rides or how to change out a flat. Get creative with your free value offers. What would you want in your niche if you were just starting out?

Test, test, and test to see what works for your business and brand.

Starters: Post simple images and tips. Elaborate on those tips in the copy. Remember to include an action toward the top of your IG description, not last.

Pros: Experiment with different value offers. Try different creative things and find one or several that really work for your business and rotate those. 

🔥 Rise Up Tip 🔥

Ask questions up front in your post descriptions. Most people who read your post description won't go too deep into the writing. So, if you want engagement (which increases your posts exposure on Instagram) and you do, include your best bits up front, especially any questions you have for your followers and the action you want them to take.

Repeat your call to action. Say it up top, like a question or just after, and then again and again as you get deeper into your post description if it is long form.  

Week 3: Sell, Sell, Sell

Here is where you want to sell your product or service. Make an offer.

What to Post?

Post images or videos that identify the problem your product or service resolves for your customers. 

Address those customer pain points directly and offer up your solution to the problem your product or service resolves. Think about doing this post every month. So, focus each post on a specific pain point. Craft an image and message that align with the resolution of this pain point.

Think simple and don't over complicate it. Don't do everything in one post. Break your ideas down into multiple points of focus that address customer pain points and ask questions. Think about focusing each Week 3 post on one question, one selling point.

Starters: Post an image or short video (think gifs) related to the part or component of your product or service which solves a problem for your clients or customers. Tell that story. Highlight performance, your companies or the products.

Pros: Craft an offer into your post. Apply some scarcity to the offer to get best results. For instance, offer a short sale around a holiday, event, or season. There is always some holiday coming up. 

Test what works and what doesn't. Don't worry about getting it right your first time or first ten times. Keep going!

🔥 Rise Up Tip 🔥

Instagram is about authentic connections. Feature emotive images and videos. Focus your posts on faces, your face being ideal. Personal brands win on Instagram because they so easily make this authentic connection. Businesses can tap into this as well.

If you can combine a personal brand with your product or service, you are really going to excel on Instagram.

If you sell clothes like one of our clients @peach_official, put on the clothes and do a photo shoot. Hire someone local to help take pictures or be in the pictures. If you do web design, clean up your workspace and take some pictures of you hard at work. Explain what you are doing that is special and what it will do for your clients. If you sell a product like another client @bamboobikesusa, get on the bike and have someone take some pictures of you riding around. Use the product and show it in action. Hire local help to get this done if you need to. You can find local freelancers on IG just by searching hashtags and learning local hashtags or scrolling through places in your area.

We are based in Austin, Texas. We searched "Austin, Texas" and as we were typing we started to see some "ATX" names in the results. If we didn't already know this local abbreviation, we would have found clues here. Then, we typed in the hashtag search field "A"..."T"..."X" and the floodgates opened. #atxphotographer #atxhairstylist #atxphotography #atxtattoo's all here to find local businesses to partner with. This works for your local area or a major city near you. 

Don't forget to tag your products on Instagram so your customers can go right to your e-commerce store. The shop tab and product tagging is HUGE for your e-commerce business. For help setting up Product Tagging with Shopify/Instagram, download our FREE Shop-able Instagram E-Book.

Week 4: It's all about the customer.

This post is going to be about your customer. This is where you showcase what your service or your product has done for them. You should be accumulating product reviews and testimonials as you go. If you don't, we have some ideas that have worked for our clients.

Think about customer milestones if you offer a service. If you offer, for example, Facebook Advertising Management for clients, use this post to showcase some of their positive results. We helped this customer increase their leads 200% in their first month. Always try to quantify your performance with a measure including a timeframe. Focus this post on one simple milestone that resonates with your customers. This should change every 4th week and you can come back to a previously used ideas in a few months. As your business grows and you will have more of these milestones, start banking them by saving posts for later because there will be weeks where you don't have time or are creatively spent. These can come in handy to fill content gaps.

What to Post?

Post images or videos about your customer's success.

For product focused businesses, reviews are very important. Instagram is a great way to post those "reviews" in a number of different styles and formats. This is also true of service based businesses. These businesses can frame their posts around customer milestones if they don't have a lot of reviews yet.

Reviews and testimonials are best leveraged if you have a system built around receiving customer reviews. Many companies successfully use email automations to collect reviews or testimonials. For best results, package a review with some sort of offer. 'Review our product and get % off your next purchase.' You can also offer a discount on current services. 

If you are a brand new company and don't have anything to get you started, be willing to give away your product or service to get these highly valuable reviews. Research some prime candidates for your service and offer it to them for free. Cart abandonments are perfect to offer free products for reviews. If you sell high ticket items, offer a big rebate or discount in exchange for the review.

Do this early and often to reap amazing results. With our active, organic growth, this will be especially effective as you will be reaching 10-20k additional organic traffic each month. Your reviews will be seen by targeted accounts in addition to your followers.

If you can't break this barrier creatively and your business is building up to reviews and testimonials, substitute in one of our alternate recommendations in the week 4 slot.

See our two Alternate recommendations in the Members-ONLY Lab section of our blog along with the PDF Rise Up Content Calendar (infographic).

Starters: For new businesses that don't have a lot of testimonials to pull from, focus your content around client milestones, client success stories, or case studies. 

Pros: Post short videos of a customer review. This will take some working up to, but you can make an offer to customers that are willing to do this to incentivize their spending time to do a video or you. Tag their Instagram for maximum effect. If you have a large following, this may be extra incentive for them to do the review.

🔥 Rise Up Tip 🔥

Align this post with the pain point your Week 3 Sales post addressed and you have a powerful connection back to previous content for those followers and visitors accumulating touch points with your brand. If the Week 2 offer is still running, put that front and center in your copy. Connect the two posts in the first sentence of this post's caption.

The Goal

All of these tips form the strategy and framework for a healthy system of moving your traffic to followers and your followers to customers. 

Content and what you post is the most powerful tool you have to capitalize on the steady stream of targeted, active organic traffic our service provides. 

Content is where the authenticity of your brand will shine through.

What you post is where you will leverage the best of what Instagram has to offer, authentic connections.

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