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Instagram Posts: Best Practices for Reels, Carousels, Stories, & Posts


Instagram stats showing an accounts reach are shown on a phone screen. Overlaying this is text saying, "Instagram Best Practices."

Remember how teachers would set out requirements for assignments in school, and the more closely you followed them, the better the grade you got?


Creating content for Instagram has a lot of overlap with this.


When apps like Instagram launch new features, they have expectations about how they will be used. Meeting these expectations when you use these features means the app's algorithm is more likely to favour your content.


But what are the expectations set out by Instagram? I've dug through the Instagram website and found the intention and purpose behind features like reels, carousels, and stories.


When you understand the why, it's easier to create.


Tips For Sharing Reels

If you visit Instagram's business website, you'll find exactly what Instagram hopes for with its reels feature. The key things it's looking for? "Entertainment and originality."


When it comes to creating Reels, Instagram recommends using:

  • Fun transitions

  • Special effects and filters

  • Audio

  • Timing text and transitions with the audio or your message

  • Partnerships with creators


All these come together to create reels that hold people's attention and deliver on Instagram's desire for entertainment and originality on its platform.


And creating Reels doesn't just please the Instagram algorithm. It also entertains Instagram users. More than 50% of Instagram users engage with Reels at least once a week. So odds are, your ideal audience will expect (and want) Reels content to engage with.


Interested in reading more Instagram stats that will keep you motivated for your Instagram business account? Check out my recent blog post filled with stats that motivate you in your Instagram journey.


Tips for Sharing Carousel Posts

Like reels, Instagram has hopes and expectations for its carousel feature. And what it's hoping for is that carousels will "tell a deeper story."


Instagram recommends following these best practices for carousels:

  • Create an eye-catching design for the first image

  • Use a mix of photos and videos

  • Show different angles and perspectives of products


Carousels represent an opportunity to appear in your followers' feeds more than once, creating a greater chance for engagement on your post.


Because of the focus on telling a story, Carousel posts present an excellent opportunity to dive deep into different topics relevant to your brand, story, and products or services.


Tips for Sharing Single Photo Posts

Photo posts are still a great opportunity to share a moment. What Instagram is looking for here is "eye-catching imagery."


This can be graphics put together with tools like Canva, Illustrator, or InDesign. Of course, it can also be photos.


When creating graphics, keep in mind:

  • Your brand colours and fonts

  • Text sizes (so that they can be read on smaller screens like phones)


When taking photos:

  • Use natural light

  • Show different angles of a product or scene

  • Show a product in use

  • Incorporate your brand colours


Tips for Sharing Instagram Stories

Stories are all about creating a personal connection with people. Instagram says stories are, "designed to be fast, memorable, and fun." So, when creating Stories, we want to keep this in mind.


Instagram has given a lot of capabilities and tools to its Story feature to make them interactive, quick to scroll through, and engaging for people.


As a business, you can create a more personal and engaging experience with your Stories by incorporating:

  • Short videos and full-screen images

  • Interactive stickers like polls and question boxes

  • Product tags and website links

  • Music or your own audio

  • Text


Businesses use Stories in a variety of ways to showcase their products, brand personality, and the people (or person) behind the scenes.


Following Instagram Best Practices Make It A Valuable Marketing Tool

When you follow Instagram's best practices, you can make the platform a valuable tool in your marketing toolbox. When you incorporate things like keywords and hashtags and features like Reels, you optimize your account and posts to get in front of more people.


Previews of Thoughtfully Pretty Co.'s Instagram template designs with text saying, "overwhelmed with creating Instagram graphics? The right templates can help. See templates ↗"

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