Learning how to create high-quality Instagram content is relatively easy with the right preparation. Creating compelling content involves researching the content you prefer, choosing the right niche, developing a cohesive brand, and automating what you can. Best of all, you can create great Instagram content for free—you just need a smartphone.
To learn how to create content for Instagram, follow these four steps:
1. Research Instagram Accounts & Content
You can’t reach your destination if you don’t know where you’re going or what method of transportation to take to get there. Similarly, you don’t want to haphazardly post Instagram content just for the sake of posting it. By looking at the different types of content you can create on Instagram and researching hashtags and content you enjoy, you can put together a solid plan for creating high-quality Instagram content.
Find the Best Instagram Hashtags
One of the easiest ways to find a list of hashtags is to use Later.com’s Hashtag Suggestions feature. All you have to do is give it one hashtag and it’ll provide a list of related hashtags to use. Otherwise, if you put a hashtag into the Instagram search bar, you’ll also get a list of suggested hashtags to use.
Search Instagram’s Discover Feed
Every single Instagram user has their own custom Discover Feed. This is because any time a user interacts with content on the platform, Instagram can predict what they’ll like next. It’s a complicated algorithm, but it makes it easy to engage with the content you’ll enjoy, rather than seeing the content you don’t care for.
Search the Discover Feed yourself to get a good idea of your own personal style and then aim to create similar content. If you can create content you enjoy, it won’t feel as much like work.
View Different Instagram Content Types
There are several ways to create content on Instagram. These content types include stories, posts, and IGTV videos. Stories tend to be on-the-fly, whereas posts are usually more curated. IGTV videos are typically even more curated than an Instagram post. You will want to look at content from other users to get a feel for what you enjoy the most.
2. Choose a Content Niche For Your Instagram
If you’re posting about technology one week and then the next you’re posting about living off-the-grid, you’re likely going to confuse and upset your Instagram followers. It’s OK to be multi-passionate and post about several different topics, but what you post shouldn’t contradict your other content. For example, a vegan Instagrammer might lose followers and face backlash if they post a picture of them eating a chicken salad.
Lifestyle Instagram accounts often post about several different topics, but these topics should have a connection. For example, a lifestyle account might post content about traveling with kids, making crafts, and cooking meals for a large family. Whichever niche you decide to go with, try to stick to just a few topics and go deep with them rather than wide.
A beauty Instagram account can post tutorials, beauty products, and beauty tools. Beauty accounts might focus on makeup for mature skin or even special FX makeup specifically for movies. To make money as a beauty Instagram account, consider collaborating with makeup or hair brands.
A food Instagram account can focus on food recipes, techniques, or even certain diets. For example, you could create an account solely about keto diet recipes or only recipes you can make using a single bowl. Food Instagram accounts can make money by partnering with food brands or by selling physical cookbooks or e-books.
Travel Instagram accounts do well when images help tell a story. You can give a quick snapshot of the story in your captions and then direct your audience to a travel blog for the full story. Some travel accounts focus on travel in general, while many choose to focus on a particular niche. For example, you could start a travel Instagram solely about things to do and places to see in New York City. You can monetize your travel account by partnering with tourism boards, travel brands, and hotels.
If your faith is a big part of who you are, it’s OK to showcase that on your Instagram account. You’re working to develop a personal brand, and when you can showcase the most important pieces of your life, you’ll attract others like you. Many faith accounts make money by selling devotionals or by hosting faith-based retreats.
3. Use Templates for Instagram Story Consistency
A template is a pre-made layout that you can use as a base for your Instagram stories. This allows you to create a cohesive look without starting from scratch with every upload. These templates can also save significant time in the content creation process. You can purchase templates from an ecommerce marketplace such as Creative Market, or you can make your own using Canva or PicMonkey.
Creating stunning graphics for your Instagram story content is easy with drag-and-drop graphic design tool, Canva. There are thousands of different templates you can use, and if you have the pro version you can magically resize your graphics for other platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, without needing to recreate the entire image.
PicMonkey has come a long way with its online graphic design tool and it’s now easier than ever to create stunning graphics in minutes. The platform allows you to choose from professionally-designed templates or create your own. You can even organize the graphics you create into folders so you can easily locate your images later.
3. Source Compelling Images & Videos
The content you create on Instagram needs visual appeal. You can accomplish this by sticking with a particular mood or color scheme throughout your content. By creating a recognizable brand through moods, fonts, and colors, it’s easier to tell what content is yours without even needing to look at the username. If you’re not great at photography or videography, you can use stock content.
Popular places to find free stock images and videos include:
- Pexels: All of the images and videos on Pexels are free for commercial use and don’t require attribution to the photographer.
- Pixabay: You’ll also have free commercial reign with no attribution required for Pixabay. Plus, there’s over 1 million photos on this site.
- Unsplash: Photos are all you’ll find on Unsplash, but they’re also attribution-free and you can use the photos for commercial purposes.
4. Engage with Other Instagram Users
The point of being on social media is to be social, and Instagram’s algorithm penalizes users who don’t interact with others on the platform. If you only post on social media but don’t respond to your comments, or you don’t comment and like other user’s posts, the algorithm won’t show your content to other users as much.
Follow these guidelines for engaging with other Instagram users:
- Respond to comments: Provide a response to every comment made on your posts. Even if someone leaves just an emoji, which might be a bot, respond. This provides additional engagement on your posts because a user is more likely to comment if they see you respond to each comment.
- Be thoughtful: Write thoughtful comments on other users’ posts—a few sentences are sufficient. You want the user to know that you’re a real person and not a bot.
- Follow back: If a user follows you and you like their content, follow them back. You don’t have to follow everyone—just the users you resonate with.
- Time it right: Engage with other user content just before and after you post your own content. Instagram’s algorithm will give you a boost when you do this.
If you’re not sure where to find users to follow or engage with, check out the Discover Feed discussed in step one. You’ll find that the more you interact with other users, the more the discover feed will show you content you really enjoy.
How to Write & Schedule Instagram Captions
You don’t have to recreate the wheel every single time you post content on Instagram. Some of the most popular Instagram accounts will recycle captions that received a lot of engagement. While it’s best if you make a couple of slight tweaks to the captions before reposting, some Instagram accounts don’t do this at all—some even use the same images. If you’re posting a lot of content on a regular basis, it’s likely the same people aren’t seeing the same content anyway.
To make this process really easy, you can use a social media scheduler such as Hootsuite or Later.com. Each of these tools gives you a visual calendar to see what content is posted and when. This makes it simple to batch-create your Instagram content. Many users will set aside an hour a week to focus solely on creating content for the week. The more you do this, the faster you’ll get at batch creating content. Then, you might even find that you’re creating content months ahead.
Follow these tips when creating your Instagram captions:
- Be lighthearted: Instagram captions tend to be sassy and entertaining. This is the platform to showcase your personality.
- Stop the scroll: The first line of your Instagram caption should cause someone to pause and choose to read the rest of your caption. The top line is your first impression, so make it count.
- Give a call to action: Create your content with a purpose. Think about what you want a user to do with your post and say so. Tell your audience to comment, double-tap, or check out the link to your freebie in your bio.
- Use hashtags: You shouldn’t use the exact same hashtags on every single post you create. Vary the hashtags based on what the image is. For example, if you’re a travel blogger, instead of using #wanderlust for the third consecutive post, try #roamtheplanet. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Instagram Content
This section includes the most frequently asked questions about Instagram content.
Should I join an Instagram pod?
An Instagram pod is a group of people who all leave comments and give likes to group member’s posts. It can hurt engagement in the long run because the same users are commenting on and liking your posts. It’s creating artificial engagement, and many influencer networks forbid its influencers from using them.
Does Instagram pay content creators?
You won’t get paid from Instagram for creating content. However, you can work with brands that will pay you to create content featuring its products. You can also tag products in your posts and earn money from sales.
Is my Instagram content working well?
The best way to measure the success of your Instagram content is to look at your Instagram Insights. You’ll find this by clicking on three horizontal bars on the top right of your Instagram profile. A link to your Insights is there, and it’s where you can see demographics about your audience. Plus, you can view the activity taken on your account.
Bottom Line—How to Create Content for Instagram
Creating high-quality Instagram content can entertain, increase engagement, and showcase your personal brand. The content you create can span several different topics, provided it’s not contradictory to what you regularly post. You can create static posts, stories, and even IGTV videos for your audience, or a combination of all three.
To give your Instagram content a boost in engagement, you can run ads. Hibu is a social media marketing agency that can run these ads for you. Each of its plans is completely customized, but range from $100 per month to $30,000 per month, depending on the size of your organization, budget, and your audience. Get started today.