37 Engaging Instagram Feed Ideas for Small Businesses
Need some ideas for fantastic Instagram Feed posts that will generate interest and boost your small business? We’ve got your back. Below you’ll find 37 concepts that can help you craft engaging content for your Instagram business account.
1. Showcase your product or service in action
If you want your Instagram followers to turn into satisfied customers, they’ll need to know what your product or service can do for them. Take some great shots of someone using your product or enjoying your service and choose your favorite to post on your feed.
This post from @PuraVidaBracelets, for example, not only shows off their pretty jewelry, but also shows someone having a great time while wearing them:
2. Go behind the scenes
Help your customers get to know you a little better by showing them what happens behind the scenes in your work environment. Show them your messy studio, your workspace, or even create a short video clip that shows you at work.
3. Customer Review
Have you received a review or DM that praises your product? Screenshot it and post it on your feed — just make sure to get the reviewer’s permission if you’re going to include identifying details. This is a great way to boost word-of-mouth and show appreciation for people who take the time to write a positive review. Here’s some inspiration from @brambleprints, a local print studio:
4. Support a social cause you care about
Supporting a social cause shows your followers what’s important to you, and positions you as a business that cares about public good.
For example, you can make a quick video showing your support for small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. It’s super easy using a template like this from Boosted:
Boosted allows you to create professional-looking videos in just a few minutes with stock images and footage, royalty-free music, and text.
5. Contest or Giveaway
Contests and giveaways are an easy and fun way to generate buzz and gain new followers. To create an eye-catching post, you can create a fun video with text briefly explaining the rules, or post a photo of the prize you’re planning to give away with the rules outlined in the caption.
Learn more in our post on How to Run a Successful Instagram Giveaway.
6. Instagram-exclusive promotion
Offer an exclusive discount or deal to your Instagram followers. You can provide them with a special coupon code, or tell them to mention the Instagram post when checking out or booking your service. For example, home decor service @decoristofficial offered a 50% discount to their Instagram followers and included a promo code they could add at checkout:
7. Seasonal Content
Tap into the festive mood of the moment by creating a special post for an upcoming holiday or other special occasion. For example, see our posts on content ideas for July 4th, Mother’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Valentine’s Day.
8. How-tos, tutorials & recipes
How-to posts position you as an expert in your field and provide valuable information for your customers. For a Feed post, you can create a quick one-minute tutorial video, or a still image of the final product with written instructions in the caption. You could also do a before/after or step-by-step carousel post (see below).
9. Before and after or step-by-step carousel posts
Carousel posts are fantastic for showing the steps of a process. For example, @TheContainerStore used this before and after post to show how their containers can help organize your fridge. They used 6 slides, starting with an intro slide that made it clear what the purpose of the post was:
They included a clearly-marked “before” slide, as well as an “after” slide in the same format. This is an extremely effective way to show customers what this company’s products can do for them.
You can use before/after or step-by-step posts for how-tos and tutorials, or to take your followers behind the scenes and show them your work process.
10. Explainer video
Explainer videos are also a great way to position yourself as an expert and share valuable information with your customers. You can make a 1-minute clip explaining how something works, giving advice and tips, or otherwise imparting information related to your area of expertise that your followers might find useful. All you need to do is film yourself talking and cut it down to 1 minute.
11. Inspiring or funny quote
Quotes are an extremely popular genre on Instagram. Simply find a relevant quote and make a clean graphic or video featuring it. In the caption, you can write about what the quote means to you and how you apply it to your business.
This one from media company Brit+Co (@britandco) really taps into the current mood in a humorous and relatable way:
12. Fun fact
Offer your followers an interesting, little-known tidbit on something relating to your brand, a current trending topic, or ideally both! You can either post a relevant photo and include the fun fact in your caption, or post a graphic that incorporates the text of the fact. Just make sure it’s not too wordy or visually cluttered — you want it to be easy to read.
13. Tip of the day (or week)
Share a useful tip with your followers. As with the fun fact, you can add the tip to your caption or create a graphic that features it. The popular #TipTuesday hashtag makes Tuesday a particularly good day to post a tip! Creator @lovelyleeellen recently shared some fitness tips for #TipTuesday:
14. Snapshots from your life
Go ahead — post a selfie! It could be a photo of you at work, at home, traveling, or just chilling. Photos with faces are 38% more likely to receive likes and 32% more likely to receive comments.
15. Review someone else’s product
Posting positive reviews of your own product is one thing, but reviewing someone else’s product is both good karma and an excellent content idea. This post from @BossProject combines this concept with #14: a snapshot from her life with a new baby, and a recommendation for a product that makes her life easier as a busy mom:
16. Promote an Event
Events, both online and offline, are a great way to connect with your customers and share your knowledge and expertise. You can hold a class or performance, or host a lecture or discussion. Post a graphic or video on Instagram with the basic details listed to spread the word.
17. Familiar landmarks
If you run a local business, it’s a great idea to post photos of local, beloved landmarks that your customers are likely to recognize. It will catch their eye and help them instantly identify with your business.
If you’re in the travel or tourism industry, post stunning photos of landmarks from various destinations and ask your followers to tell you if they’ve been there or if they’d like to see it.
Bonus points if you can show an unusual perspective. For example, this post from @IntrepidTravel shows the famous Baha’i Gardens in Haifa, not from the bottom of the hill as is usually shown, but from the top, overlooking the bay:
18. Preview of a longer IGTV video
Did you know you can post a 1-minute clip of your longer IGTV videos on your feed? If you have an IGTV channel, don’t forget to use this feature to draw your Feed audience to your channel. For more on using IGTV, see our post Should You Use IGTV for Your Business?
According to Instagram’s @creators, doing so has many benefits:
Who doesn’t love food? Even if your business isn’t food-based, it can’t hurt to post a shot of a particularly well-plated breakfast or the perfect heart your barista crafted in your coffee foam. But these posts are especially effective for businesses in the lifestyle, food, and nutrition industry. Just make sure you get good lighting for your shot, because bad lighting can make even super delicious food look unappealing.
On a similar note, who doesn’t love cute animals? Leverage your pet’s adorable factor and let it star in a post or two — or even make it your mascot! Here’s some inspiration from creator @sophmonks:
21. User-generated content
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel! Found someone else’s content that you just love and think would look great on your feed? Ask their permission to repost it! You can also ask your customers to send you photos of themselves enjoying your product for you to post on your feed. Read more about using user-generated content in this post on What Is UGC (User-Generated Content) and How Can It Help Your Business on Instagram?
Here’s a recent example from @Boosted_Social:
22. Repurpose other content
If you post a lot of content elsewhere — on a blog, for example, or on YouTube — you can use your Instagram feed to promote that content and draw people to it. For example, create a simple graphic with a quote from your blog post, or a 1-minute clip from your YouTube video. Provide a teaser for the rest of the content in the caption, and invite followers to click the link in your profile to view it. (Don’t forget to change the link in your profile to lead to it!)
23. Ask a question
There’s no better way to start a conversation than to ask a question. There are a few ways you can ask a question with a Feed post: one is to create a graphic that features a question and invite followers to answer in the comments. Another is to post a photo of something and ask a question about it. For example, if you make jewelry, you could post a photo of two sets of earrings and ask your followers which one they like better.
When asking an open question, be sure it’s something related to your brand that is not too involved to answer. People don’t want to tap out a whole personal essay in the comments!
24. AMA (Ask Me Anything) post
Invite your followers to ask you any question they like. If you have many followers, set a specific time period where you will be responding to comments — say, on Tuesday between 6 and 8 p.m.
In this post, makeup artist Akeema Crabbe (@theakeemacrabbe) invites her followers to ask questions, and says she’ll create an IGTV video answering them:
Make sure to use this only if you’re sure you’ll get some questions — or if you can “plant” some questions (get your friends to ask some). It won’t look great if you invite people to ask you anything and get crickets in the comments.
25. Collaborate with another brand
Cross-promotion is a win/win situation: it gives you interesting content to post, exposes your content to a new and relevant audience, and provides the brand or influencer you’re collaborating with an opportunity to expose their content to your audience.
So how do you collaborate? There are lots of options. You can simply post a photo of both of you working together, or combine your products on display. You could review a product of theirs and have them review yours, interview them, or post a quick video with tips and advice from them.
26. Social media takeover
This is another way to collaborate with another account: invite someone else to take over your account for a week and post their own content.
@NewYorkerPhoto, the Instagram account of the New Yorker’s photography department, gives the spotlight to a different photographer every week. This gives them fresh and interesting new content to post, and gives the photographer some excellent exposure:
27. Update your audience
Introducing a new product? Attending a conference or event? Snap a photo and post it to let your audience know what your business is up to. This helps them feel involved and shows them that you’re active and moving forward with your business.
28. Sneak peek
Offering a sneak peek of something you’re working on builds anticipation and helps your audience feel that they’re “in” on something! Show them part of a project you’re not quite finished with, and don’t forget to update your followers with another post when it’s done.
Memes are always fun, and are relatively easy to put together. In this post, @Chipotle gave its audience a little tongue-in-cheek content that’s right on brand:
One tricky part about making your own memes is that you need to be sure they’re funny and tasteful. It’s always a good idea to get some feedback from other people before you post.
Another tricky part is that you need to be careful about copyright — many people aren’t aware that they’re using an image illegally. Frames from movies are generally fine because they fall under “fair use,” but photos and cartoons may be under copyright, and you should look into it before you post. Additionally, if you’d like to take an existing meme someone already made, be sure to ask permission first.
30. Time-sensitive and trending topics
Is there a hot topic everyone’s talking about that has relevance to your brand? Jump on the bandwagon and weigh in with a post of your own. That way, you’ll join a larger conversation that’s already engaging lots of Instagram users.
Asking your followers to tag another Instagram user is an ingenious way to grow your following, and you can do it on lots of different types of posts. For example, in this post, jewelry brand Alex and Ani (@alexanddani) posted some special bracelets for sisters, and asked followers to tag their siblings in honor of National Siblings Day.
32. Share a milestone
5-year anniversary of opening your business? Reached 10K followers? Create a graphic or video that describes the milestone and share your news with your audience like @storiesforcoffee did here:
ThrowbackThursday is a great opportunity to dig up old photos and get nostalgic! Show your followers one of your earlier works, or a photo of yourself as a kid doing something related to your brand.
34. Game post
Challenge your followers with a game post! A few ideas:
- Spot the differences: Post two images that are almost identical, with a few small differences for your followers to find.
- Guess the number: Fill a jar with beads, jelly beans, or any other small object, and count how many there are as you’re putting them in. Ask the audience to guess how many there are. Offer a prize to the follower who makes the closest guess.
- Word puzzles or visual puzzles.
In the post below from mattress company @Casper, a mattress company, followers were challenged to a word puzzle that had to do with sleep and counting sheep:
35. Show your involvement in the community
Showing how your company helps out your community is great for your image and creates a sense of solidarity. If you’re involved in volunteer work or charity, post a photo of you or your staff at work or of someone you’ve helped.
36. Conduct an interview
Is there an expert in your field that you admire? Or a client of yours with a particularly interesting story? Create a quick 1-minute video interview you can post on your feed, or post a photo of the interviewee and include the text of the interview in the caption.
37. Share a mistake
Nothing humanizes your business and helps people relate to you more than being honest about goofing up. Instagram is sometimes criticized as being too curated and picture-perfect, and it’s refreshing when a brand or influencer keeps it real. Show a project that turned out less than perfect and share what you learned from the experience.
- Make a list of ideas from this post that spark your imagination.
- Add some notes to each one on a specific idea for each.
- Refer to the list when building your social media calendar. Remember, each idea can inspire countless posts — you can always revisit your favorites!