Instagram now has SO many different types of content you can make on their platform, from short form video with reels to live videos to still photo posts and carousels to stories to guides… the list goes on and on. Today, I’m sharing a breakdown of each type of content that you can use on Instagram. Beyond breaking down the differences, I am excited to be sharing my thoughts about when and how to use each type strategically!
THE MAIN TYPES OF INSTAGRAM CONTENT:
Instagram has provided a lot of content options for users these days including:
- Single Photo Posts
- Carousel Photo Posts
- Video Posts
- Live Videos
Each one has a purpose so let’s break down what they all mean and what they look like when you use them for your brand or business.
Let’s start with Instagram Reels. These are a form of short term video, similar to Tik Toks. These are generally focused on reaching a NEW audience and aren’t about connecting with your current audience. While your current audience can and will see them, Reels are more about finding those new people!
The second most prevalent post on Instagram is a single photo post! This is where Instagram started years ago, and it’s the most simple content on the app. Currently, this is how it’s easiest to reach your own audience and connect with them through your imagery. You can reach a colder audience by using hashtags, but honestly those are becoming less relevant. So, at this point, single photo posts are just an easy way to share with your warm audience – keep that in mind.
The other option for photo posts in your feed are carousel posts. These are posts with up to 10 images in a single post for viewers to scroll through. Carousel posts are a fun way to share multiple photos from a single photo shoot or topic. Sometimes users create graphics to share more educational content, too. Carousel posts can be an easy way to share value with your audience quickly and efficiently. These carousel posts have the potential to reach a colder audience with hashtags, but it’s still not a big part of reaching that new audience.
An interesting note about carousel posts is that Instagram may share your post more than once with different images from the carousel. This means that this type of post has the potential to be boosted in the algorithm more than a single photo post! Just something to keep in mind as you develop content.
The next type of feed post we have are video posts! These work pretty similar to the other type of feed posts but it is a longer video format. If you remember the days of IGTV, that’s all video posts are on Instagram now! They went away with IGTV and now just call them “Instagram Videos”. Again, with hashtags you might reach a colder audience, but it still won’t work as well as Instagram Reels.
Another type of video content that Instagram has is live videos. These are pretty self-explanatory but essentially they’re a video you film live with users tuning in to watch you! Honestly, they’re one of the most interactive parts of the platform and great for building interaction with your audience. It’s important to note that it’s not going to be pushed outside your audience, but it’s seriously SO good for relationship building within your community.
Once you’re done with an Instagram live, you can reshare the live as a video post to your feed so people can go back and watch the replay. Currently, you can go back and share live videos like that for up to 30 days after the original post, so there’s no pressure to push that replay out right away!!
The next type of Instagram content are Guides! Guides are essentially a place to gather your posts, reels, videos, etc. that relate to a particular topic in ONE place for your audience. Guides can be a great way to answer your commonly asked questions, provide value, and pull together resources on a topic. Think of them as a mini blog on Instagram! They can be a great way to build connections with others in your industry by including their content in your guides, too. Currently, there’s no way to “like” or comment on guides themselves, but your audience can engage with the content within your guide, so it’s a good way to share some of those content pieces again.
Instagram Stories are the last type of content offered on the app! Stories don’t reach a cold audience but they’re super interactive. I’ve always found that Stories drive the most DM engagement for me and to me, they’re really all about building your community connection.
Generally Instagram Stories are easier and less time consuming to create than posts/videos because the expectation of the content quality is low (but that’s what makes it so great)! It’s always a lot of fun (and if you want more tips about how to make yours more engaging, check out my ideas HERE!).
WHAT TYPES OF CONTENT SHOULD YOU CREATE?
Now that we’ve broken down the variety of content options on Instagram, let’s talk about the big question: what types of content should you be using? First off, Instagram will reward you and push your content out if you use more of the features on the app. That means it’s important to have a well-rounded strategy across all of the content options. But, depending on your goals, here’s a few suggestions on what to make. If your goal on the app is to gain followers and grow your account, create Reels, carousel posts with lots of value, and collaborate with others in your industry via guides, posts, and Reels. These are the content types that will be pushed outside your own audience! If you’re in a season to create a stronger connection with your audience, consider focusing on Stories, IG lives, and single posts that encourage conversations.
To me, the strategy isn’t all one of the other. Instead it’s about leaning into a certain style of posts in that season of business. If you’ve been building your audience for a while, make sure you take the time to connect with them once they’re there. Creating that balance is important to truly create the community you’re looking for on Instagram!!
If you want more help, make sure to check out my FREE Reels Class because Reels are one of the best ways to grow your Instagram account. I also have my FREE Reels Growth Facebook community for help and tips for Instagram Reels!