It's easy to get confused on Instagram! Before you even start mastering hashtags, caption writing, tagging and geotagging working out the right place to post your content can be pretty daunting. I bet the last time you wondered whether the video you filmed belonged on the grid, stories, reels or IGTV wasn't too long ago! Instagram might be one platform but there's six places to post your content each with varying capabilities and different formats and styles so let's run through each of them so you know exactly what belongs where!
Format: single image, 60 second video or carousel (swipe through)
Think of it like: an advertising billboard. It's there to permanently highlight the important parts of your business
Designed for: reach and engagement
Pros: opportunity to include a lengthy caption to help connect and/or convert your audience
Cons: need to understand how to construct a post that plays to the advantage of the algorithm to get maximum performance
Format: 15 second videos or images
Think of it like: a VIP area for your followers and a daily 'behind the scenes' type vlog
Designed for: engagement (mainly with your followers only)
Pros: easy to create; stories deepen your connection with your followers; they also drive 1:1 private relationship building via DMs
Cons: disappear after 24 hours and not designed to be shared easily
Format: video (4 hours maximum)
Think of it like: a meetup with your community
Designed for: engagement (mainly with your followers only unless you go live with others)
Pros: there's nothing more 'real-time' than going live, it's a very powerful way to connect with others
Cons: can feel very daunting; requires planning to get most out of a live and real time viewing figures can feel low
Format: video (15 mins upload via mobile, 1 hour via web)
Think of it like: a tv series, it's the only place on Insta for permanent long form video so this is where your 'in depth' video content belongs
Designed for: reach and engagement
Pros: can share to grid/feed and link to IGTV videos in stories PLUS an extra clickable link is available in an IGTV caption
Cons: has to be created off app and uploaded, to get maximum views promotion is essential before and after uploading
Format: a collection of previously published permanent Instagram content (30 posts max per guide)
Think of it like: a brochure, either to highlight your content or someone else's or a mix of both
Designed for: (limited) reach and engagement
Pros: easy way to create new content using previously published content and a great way to shout out other accounts and resources
Cons: saving posts first to include them in the Guide is a bit of a chore, there are no insights and reach and engagement feel rather minimal
Format: video (30 seconds maximum)
Think of it like: a playground; hang around with your friends, meet new people and have some creative fun
Designed for: reach
Pros: permanent short form video, currently favoured by Instagram's algorithm as it's new
Cons: limited insights make it hard to tell what you're getting back from spending time creating Reels, the reel filming and editing functionality feels a bit 'basic'
The great thing about all these different 'content channels' is your content idea can be used on all of them but the format of each channel will shape how you present that idea. Here's how you might apply 'the process of creating a product' content idea to the different channels:
The Grid: carousel post to showcase the process (remember the first 2 visuals in a carousel post are the most important).
Stories: take viewers through the process with you and invite involvement using the engagement stickers. This could be in the form of questions, polls to help with your decision making or a quiz to test their knowledge about the product or range of products available.
Live: if your product is sold by a supplier this is the perfect opportunity for a joint live or if not then go right back and talk about where your product inspiration comes from, the suppliers you use and your values etc or even go live while creating. The key is to encourage questions and get your viewers involved.
IGTV: detailed video of the whole process from ideas, design, creation to being sold and packing the item up for posting. You could include some of the problems you may have encountered and how you solved them.
Guides: a guide with posts about the product itself at any stage and can include user generated content too.
Reels: get creative with a short before and after video.
Remember just because all these content channels are available to you does not mean you have to use them all. Take into account what your audience creates and consumes themselves on Instagram, what you might get in return from each channel and weigh this against how much effort that particular content channel will require from you and where they fit into your overall Instagram strategy. Still confused? Then feel free to get in touch and together we can work out the best channels and content ideas to elevate your Instagram presence.