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5 Instagram Posts to Drive SMB Brand Engagement



Instagram is a powerful marketing channel for small businesses, especially ecommerce. The platform is largely composed of young audiences that are increasingly open to engaging with brands and even purchasing products directly on Instagram.

90% of people on Instagram follow a business, and two-thirds of the people surveyed say Instagram enables interaction with brands.

While there are plenty of post formats you can try, here are the best types of Instagram posts to drive better brand engagement (and not just mere double taps).

Ask a Question

One of the easiest ways to start driving more engagement is to ask questions to your followers, either in captions or within the visual itself.

When you post open-ended questions such as “What is your favorite __?” or “What’s your best __ recommendation?”, you spark an interesting two-way conversation that increases your followers’ interest in your brand as they’re able to better connect with you.

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So, use this simple tactic regularly to boost engagement on your Instagram posts.

Show Behind the Scenes

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the perfect avenues to showcase your business’s “human side”. A great way to do that is by providing your followers a sneak peek behind your brand’s curtains.

So if you’re an ecommerce seller selling customized sneakers, your followers already know just how awesome your sneakers are to look at — thanks to your usual product-oriented Instagram posts and stories.

But do they know all the hard work that goes into creating them? A quick Instagram Reels video is a nifty way to show the behind-the-scenes work by your team.

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Likewise, a simple “day in the life” clip is an effective way to give your audience an inside look into your company’s culture and values, your life as a business owner, the technology that goes behind making your products, the efforts of your team members, and so on.

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And you don’t necessarily have to plan extensively or make elaborate edits. People love and appreciate a raw, uncut backstage pass.

Behind-the-scenes content makes your audience better empathize with your brand. Ultimately, it’s a neat way to not just boost your engagement and trustworthiness but improve the overall customer experience people have with your brand.

Share Creative Memes

Everybody loves memes. Instagram is an ideal platform to entertain your audience (and thus drive those likes, comments, and shares) rather than merely pushing your products.

Show your brand’s witty and humorous side to delight your followers by sharing creative and relatable memes.

While you can curate and share popular memes (by providing credits in the caption, of course), the most relevant memes you wish to post may not be available in high resolution (important for visual-first platforms like Instagram), or may already be old and seen by your audience.

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It’s best to create your own original memes and add your branded watermark. Creating memes may seem like a non-businessy task, but it’s a fun activity that doesn’t take a lot of time (only a pinch of wit). When done right, it can make your brand go viral in the best light, boosting engagement, follower count, and traffic.

Use free online tools like Imgflip or Meme Creator which let you upload your image and quickly overlay meme-style text.

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Repost User-Generated Content

While Instagram is notorious for being a platform where people “fake it till they make it”, you can use it to boost your brand’s authenticity. People don’t follow you to get mere product promotions shoved at their faces, they do so to better know and connect with your brand.

86% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support, and the modern audience composed largely of Millennials and Generation Z will only engage with branded content that’s genuine.

Besides behind-the-scenes, the other tried-and-true content type to improve authenticity is user-generated content.

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UGC lets your audience be more involved, so you’ll get quality content from real customers that you can then repost to showcase your business’s genuine quality.

So how do you inspire more UGC?

You can start by partnering up with micro-influencers to create content for you where they use your products or services. If you have fan-submitted photos or videos, ask them if you can repost the content and then do so by crediting them in the caption.

Another effective way to garner UGC is to…

Host Contests and Giveaways

A hashtag contest is a tactic wherein you invite people to post content with your product and tag your brand. Once the contest period is over, you reward participants with the best or most high-performing content.

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Such contests incentivize your audience to publicly tag and praise your brand, helping boost engagement and improve your social proof.

Similarly, a giveaway is a format where you randomly select winners. The participants have to engage with your post in some way (such as comment with the right answer, retweet, subscribe to your newsletter, etc.) to stand a chance to win.

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To create an effective giveaway:

  • Offer a relevant prize — such as your brand’s most in-demand product that your ideal buyer wants, not a generic prize that everyone wants.
  • Set clear participation rules, with the start and end date of the contest highlighted.
  • Incentivize participants to share the contest. One way is to offer additional entries for each successful referral.
  • Create a branded hashtag to boost your brand visibility. For example, your contest can require participants to retweet your post and include a branded hashtag.

Consider using your choice of social media contest tools to easily launch your Instagram contest or giveaway.

Over to You

The last thing you want is to keep squandering your limited marketing budget and resources on Instagram posts that fail to drive meaningful engagement (two-way interaction, click-throughs, social shares, etc.). So, start pivoting your Instagram efforts into the types of posts discussed above and you’ll soon drive higher engagement for your brand.

Lucy Manole is a creative content writer and strategist at Marketing Digest

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LinkedIn Makes its 20 Most Popular LinkedIn Learning Courses Freely Available Throughout August





Looking to up your skills for a job change or career advancement in the second half of the year?

This will help – today, LinkedIn has published its listing of the 20 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses over the first half of 2022. In addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making each of these courses free to access till the end of the month – so now may well be the best time to jump in and brush up on the latest, rising skills in your industry.

As per LinkedIn:

As the Great Reshuffle slows and the job market cools, professionals are getting more serious about skill building. The pandemic accelerated change across industries, and as a result, skills to do a job today have changed even compared to a few years ago. Professionals are responding by learning new skills to future-proof their careers and meet the moment.” 

LinkedIn says that over seven million people have undertaken these 20 courses this year, covering everything from improved communication, project management, coding, strategic thinking and more.

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Here are the top 20 LinkedIn Learning courses right now, which you can access via the relevant links:

  1. Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Jessie Withers
  2. Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor
  3. Interpersonal Communication with Dorie Clark
  4. Cultivating a Growth Mindset with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  5. Project Management Foundations with Bonnie Biafore
  6. Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity with Joshua Miller
  7. Essentials of Team Collaboration with Dana Brownlee
  8. Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon
  9. Learning Python with Joe Marini
  10. Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansell
  11.  Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis
  12. Learning the OWASP Top 10 with Caroline Wong
  13. Power BI Essential Training with Gini von Courter
  14. Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark
  15. SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman
  16. Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  17. Communication Foundations with Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou
  18. Agile Foundations with Doug Rose
  19. Digital Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole
  20. Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo
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If you’ve been thinking about upskilling, now may be the time – or maybe it’s just worth taking some of the programming courses, for example, so that you have a better understanding of how to communicate between departments on projects.

Or you could take an Agile course. If, you know, you don’t trust your own management ability.

The courses are available for free till August 31st via the above links.

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Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …





Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.

Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.

Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.

Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.

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Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.

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Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.

Now, the active status will only appear when you are both active at the same time.#Instagram #instgramnewfeature@MattNavarra @instagram @alex193a

— Yash Joshi  (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021

Read next: Instagram Plans On Allowing Users To Return To Its Old Chronologically Sorted News Feed

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android





Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly


We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.

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Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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