Is your business hung up on what types of photos to post on Instagram? Let me give you five proven ideas you can use right away.


1. Make Your Ask on the Photo

Want to get feedback from your Instagram followers? Solicit them where they’ll see you first — your photo. See how the motion picture Annie has shared a fill-in-the-blank question with its followers?

Annie Move Fill in the blank Instagram Post

If you decide to post questions solely in the captions of your Instagram posts, you’re taking a gamble as to whether your followers will stop to read them en route to the next image in their mobile feed.

Annie‘s Instagram managers understand that its users are there to look at images, not the marketing blah-blah-blah underneath the posts. Hence, the song quiz smack in the photo post.

[Tweet “Putting questions in your Instagram captions? That’s assuming your users won’t swipe right by ’em. Let’s fix that.”]

@anniemovie ran a series of these questions on photos last fall. Not coincidentally, the top 5 comment earners during that period were all these “answer me this” type of images.


2. Offer Options

Visual “A versus B” tests add posting diversity to your Instagram posts and can yield important feedback for your business. Here’s how it works: offer two clear choices in a post and have your followers tell you their favorite. Beats the cost and time of a focus group or online survey!

For example, are you interested in finding out where your Instagram followers are from? Not a lot of analytics tools will tell you that (yet) — but a catch-them-quick “what’s your favorite sports team” question might help you determine where they reside.

Mamma Chia asked its followers to share their favorite team. It superimposed a “vs” in a circle on the post to pit the Seahawks fans against its Patriots rivals. Later, the question is reinforced in the caption.

Mamma Chia Instagram Post

You can use this “A versus B” method to get feedback on existing products, products in development, logos, etc. It might also help you determine good times to post to reach more of your Seahawks fans (Pacific Time Zone) or Patriots fans (Eastern Time Zone).

3. Give Suggestions

While you should occasionally post questions for your Instagram followers, don’t forget to use this platform to answer questions your followers might have.

Negative space nail art is an effect that many love but don’t know how to do. Nail polish brand Sally Hansen seized this moment to give a 3-step tutorial to achieve this look.

Businesses in the wellness, home decor, and landscaping sectors can use Sally Hansen’s model to better inform their customers. Local governments can use this type of Instagram post to spread awareness to its constituents about fire safety, impending severe weather, or alternative traffic routes.


4. Show Them Everything at Live Events

To many businesses at live events, “posting something to Instagram” somehow inevitably includes a requisite photo of their team in front of their booth. Those types of Instagram photos undoubtedly show the human side of a business. But those shots do little to drive traffic — something a business most likely pays a lot for!

Especially at big conferences with busy hashtag streams, you need to post a variety of shots to Instagram. If the conference presented you with an award, share a photo of that — people might be looking for you after the awards ceremony! At mammoth events like the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), give Instagram users a sense of where your booth is located. And don’t forget to show folks what they’ll see once they visit you!

Smart backpack company AMPL Labs did all three during a CES event. And its posts included the show’s official hashtag so they’d appear in front of those seeking the latest CES news.

AMP Labs Instagram Post


5. Be A Show Off

This might seem counterintuitive to all the “be human” advice we read on Instagram best practices, but your Instagram posting mix should include photos of your products without people holding it. Yes, I said it.

Simply Measured analyzed photos from the Interbrand Top 100 global companies in Q4 2014. Know what drew the highest engagement as a percentage of their audience during this time? Close up shots of products.

Though, this is likely due to a lot of the non-salesy content posted around and in between promotional photos.  And now, you have a great head start on how to create that type of content for your business.

What types of photos on Instagram have you used to encourage engagement, get market feedback, or drive booth traffic?