Written by Mia Meier
Ran out of topics for your Instagram posts? Stuck in the loop of rehashing old ideas? We’ve all been there. We also all know that a long break in posting is not welcome by the Instagram algorithm — it mercilessly shaves down the showings, reach and engagement numbers. The quick solution to help keep the account afloat and the audience interested, is often simply turning to ready-made lists of ideas from Google and calling it a day. Just imagine how many people have already used these lists and written posts on these topics! This is exactly the reason why such topics are quickly becoming hackneyed and followers don’t react to them anymore.
Do you know what could actually improve your Instagram content creation? No, not going out for a stroll in the hope of getting magically inspired. There are several solid ways to help you find appropriate and original themes, and what’s best is that they are an inexhaustible source that you can come back to over and over again. Using them, you can gather ideas for Instagram posts in just one day and never worry about the topics of your upcoming posts for the next two to three months. Intrigued yet? Here are these 8 ways to find authentic and engaging content ideas for your Instagram account.
#1. Search by comments
Your hunt for interesting topics shouldn’t necessarily begin with using advanced techniques right from the get go. Start covering the basics first, you’d be surprised how much you can actually dig from it. In particular, the comment section under your Instagram posts is a goldmine of content ideas. Check what the followers and visitors of your profile are interested in, what they are asking, what they are paying attention to.
In order to make the process of the comments research easier, you can use Combin to determine your best performing posts and check what your audience is here for the most. This will give you ideas about the topics that need to be addressed in separate posts. Simply sort your posts from most to least commented and see all the comments on the preview, just like you would on Instagram.
What’s more, you can also reply to the followers that gave you the best ideas or asked thought-provoking questions by sending out comments en masse and one by one directly from Combin. Let them know that they are seen, their input is appreciated, and that (maybe) you are already working on a dedicated post on the topic of their interest. This part is optional, but who would miss an opportunity to make a connection with the audience stronger?
#2. Survey your clients/followers
If reading comments didn’t yield the desired results, talk directly to your audience. Instagram provides for a variety of quick and interactive ways to survey your followers on what’s important for them and what they want to see next. For starters, you can use the Question sticker to ask what you should post about. If you receive a lot of requests to cover the same topics, you can continue single-handedly engaging the followers and determining what’s most important for them with the Quiz and Poll stickers. Let the audience guess or vote for the next topic. If you aren’t all that into stickers, you can go with good ol’ Google Forms which also allow to ask more elaborate questions and get detailed answers.
If your business in not exclusively online and you have the opportunity to talk to customers in real life, your chances to get valuable feedback are doubled. Ask your managers to write down questions that potential clients are asking and use them to base the future Instagram posts on.
#3. Get ideas from the Instagram competitors
No need to reinvent the wheel when you can look up what your Instagram account’s competitors are up to. Take your time checking their posts and determining what sparked up the conversation the most. Compare their posts to yours, pay attention to the differences, note what you could take from them and add your own spin to. You may notice that the most commented posts all share the same similarities, for instance, it could be an open-ended question addressed to the community. This way, you will not only collect ideas for your posts, but also reveal the secrets of successful competitors’ posts, which will help to improve your content.
Once you’ve gathered all the beneficial information for your future publications, you can turn the attention of the competitors’ active audience to your account. Combin, the tool that was mentioned in the first tip, can assist you with this task too. With its help you can easily find accounts that left comments on the competitors’ posts and attract their attention to yours by following, liking and following them. Simply select accounts and set up an action for them, and Combin will automatically perform the scheduled activity while you write new posts. If there Instagram users are engaging with your competitors’ content, why wouldn’t they be interested in yours?
#4. Search for topics on forums
Instagram users are always interested in reading posts that offer a solution to their problems. Showing or explaining how something is done, is generally a prior human interest which manifests into the way we use social media. For example, people use YouTube as a search engine more than Google itself for all the how-to questions. No wonder though, it’s easier to understand and follow the visuals that reading into a detailed instruction. The same works on Instagram, you couldn’t miss a flood of cooking and makeup tutorial videos on the platform and how well they do in views and engagement. You don’t have to be that good with graphics and video editing to create informative content! The main goal here is to find topics related to your business on which you could elaborate and therefore help the audience understand how something works and get tips on how to carry it out themselves.
Searching for the topics on forums is more time-consuming in comparison to other ways but it proves useful not only in getting the satisfying amount of ideas for Instagram posts, but also in receiving a whole lot of information to include in the actual posts. A variety of sources and perspectives that can be drawn from forum threads can make for some of the most educational and explanatory publications. You can start with services like Quora, searching by a couple of relevant categories or keywords and get a load of questions-answers for all imaginable topics.
#5. Search by keywords
Another way to understand what interests your target Instagram audience is to run a search by relevant keywords. Firstly, you need to come up with 5–10 keywords related to your business (which you most probably already know and use in your captions). Then you need to research the keywords either through Google or by using a more advanced SEO tool, like Ahrefs.
Type in your keywords one by one to see what other related queries that were searched by, and get a list of similar queries. Click through them to get an idea of what’s popular in your field and what topics didn’t get enough coverage yet. Use your chance to fill in the blanks and attract new audience on Instagram.
#6. Search on Pinterest
Pinterest is a visual search engine that doesn’t plainly give all sorts of images matching your query, but is actually a fountain of creative ideas with interesting information ‘pinned’ from all over the web. Here you can get ideas for such topics as cooking, fashion and style, travel, fitness and beauty, architecture, home design, and more.
After you sign up, the service will offer you a variety of topics to subscribe to. Posts published within the selected categories will appear in your Pinterest feed, just like posts from your followings do on Instagram. Another parallel can be Instagram collections and Pinterest boards, places to store favorite publications. Once you fill your boards with some ‘pins’. Pinterest will offer more of similar posts. Finding and saving pins can take some time, but the result is worth it — you will get an inexhaustible source of new ideas.
Pinterest posts contain links to the original source, which are usually articles. Don’t skip materials in foreign languages, they often provide untapped topics and unique perspectives. Online translator DeepL can help you interpreting and adapting the materials to the English-speaking audience as it gives distinctly better results than Google Translator.
#7. Monitor trends for situational marketing
Situational marketing implies a brand using a newsworthy situation or event to create share-worthy content that brings new audience and raises reach and brand awareness. This method requires regular monitoring of the world events and new wide-spread information. Holidays and change of seasons are not exactly a reason for situational post, but politics, sports, entertainment, and even a strategic mistake of your rival can be sensational and therefore make for a great situational content. Start looking for interesting topics on Twitter and Google Trends.
Don’t get out of your way trying to cover all the hot topics in hopes to get more engagement and expand reach. Your audience appreciates you for you, so there’s no need to turn into Buzzfeed. Carefully select trends you are going to reference, the topic and execution should correspond with your existing marketing strategy and account aesthetic. Otherwise you might scare off a portion of your audience that values authentic, thoughtfully made content.
#8. Curate the content
Curation is yet another great way to gather ideas for posts online. It’s one of the most successful content marketing tools that literally means collecting, organizing and republishing content. Examples of content curation include quotes from articles, compilations, digests, etc.
This method helps to find an idea quickly and save time on the post’s preparation.
If you don’t have a personal or corporate blog, use articles from other people’s blogs or books including the original source and author’s interpretation. We all change our views and perception over time, so revisiting your old post on a particular topic and showing the difference between now and then could be interesting for your audience. What could also be interesting (and easy to do) is taking someone else’s saying and expressing your opinion on it, adding your own twist, sharing a related story. All that helps the audience know who they follow better, relate to you or your brand more, building deeper and stronger connection.