Instagram Influencer Marketing

4 Types of Instagram Posts to Help Brands Beat Low Engagement

What types of posts get the most engagement on Instagram? This post breaks down four specific types of Instagram content brands need to prioritize.

types of instagram posts cover photo

Feel like you’re getting fewer interactions on your Instagram posts? 

Don’t panic — it’s not just you! In fact, the average engagement rate for brands on Instagram has dwindled to less than 1%.

That’s why it’s so important to learn the types of posts proven to boost engagement with the new Instagram algorithm.

Because beating low engagement and reach requires a fine-tuned content strategy. 

Not sure what to post next? We’ve got you covered. Below we break down:

  • The four types of Instagram posts that earn the highest engagement (backed by data!)
  • Examples of how brands can prime their posts for more interactions
  • Tips and best practices for maximizing engagement on Instagram

What Determines My Instagram Engagement Rate and Reach?

Good question! Let’s tackle it before we get into the nitty-gritty of what you should post.

Content doesn’t pop up in your feed “just because.” Instagram determines what earns engagement and reach based on a variety of ranking factors.

Recently, the platform has been more direct about what those ranking factors are. This is great news for brands trying to earn more Instagram engagement without racking their brains.

As seen in our breakdown of In-Feed Posts versus Reels, there the factors that influence how posts rank:

Interactions (From Your Account and Your Followers)

In the words of Oscar Wilde: “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” 

The more people interacting with your brand’s account, the better. “Likes,” comments, @mentions and tags are the primary factors Instagram uses to serve content. There’s a reason why brands with highly engaged communities constantly pop up in your feed.

For brands dealing with low Instagram engagement, this might feel like a contradiction. How are you supposed to interact with people if nobody’s engaging with you? 

The key is to build your content strategy around posts that actively drive interactions. That said, your posts aren’t the be-all, end-all of better Instagram engagement.

And hey, that leads us to our next factor!

Activity (How You Interact with Accounts on Instagram)

When it comes to increasing engagement, what you put in determines what you get out. 

This means posting consistently. Beyond that, regularly interacting with followers and fellow brand accounts is a plus. 

For example, make a point to actively answer questions and respond to comments. If someone tags your brand in a photo or shouts you out, show them some love. 

Increasing Instagram engagement means being proactive. Emphasis on active! Engaging with your customers and peers shows that you’re an active participant in your industry. This helps you create a sense of community.

Relevance (How the Algorithm Interprets Your Instagram Posts)

The Instagram algorithm is complicated so we’ll try to keep it simple.

The platform uses AI and machine learning to determine “what” your post is and how relevant it is to others. This “relevance” is also influenced by interactions between your account and your followers’ accounts. Additional factors such as how much time people spend on a piece of content determine how relevant it is.

Of course, the inner workings of the algorithm are beyond your control. 

What is in your control are the types of Instagram content you post on a day-to-day basis.

What Types of Posts Get the Most Engagement on Instagram?

Now, onto the good stuff!

It’s no coincidence that brands thriving on Instagram have different types of content in their feeds. Rarely do you find brand accounts that only post Reels or Carousels.

peaceout skincare instagram grid

Source: @peaceoutskincare

When it comes to increasing Instagram engagement, the algorithm (and your audience!) loves to see a variety of content types. This taps into those ranking factors we talked about earlier.

For greater engagement and reach, brands should prioritize:

  • Carousels
  • Stories
  • Reels
  • User-Generated Content (UGC)

Below, we dive into the best types of Instagram posts and how they drive engagement.

1. Carousels: Encourage Interactions and More Time On Your Profile

Carousel posts (or slideshows) are all the rage right now.

For a good reason, too! Carousels currently boast higher engagement rates than traditional photo or video posts. A 2022 study found that Carousel posts saw a 1.95% engagement rate per post (compared to 1.74% for photos and 1.45% for videos). 

Consider that people typically spend more time viewing Carousels than traditional posts. That’s because Carousels are interactive by nature. People have to tap and swipe to view them in full. 

Because Carousels contain multiple pieces of content, they present more opportunities to engage. This point is echoed by Rival IQ’s research:

Instagram Carousels often get re-served to users who don’t engage the first time, earning them more impressions.”

For Carousels, it’s important to grab your audience’s attention on the first slide. Doing so encourages people to keep swiping. Studies show that Instagram posts with the caption “swipe left” earn more engagement than those without.

The good news? Given that 75% of brand posts are single images, there’s a huge window of opportunity for you to crush it with Carousels.

Types of Carousels to Post On Instagram

The goal is Carousels is to hold your viewers’ attention and keep them swiping. 

Slideshows offer tons of creative freedom for brands. This includes step-by-step instructions, before-and-after posts and so much more. Pro-tip: tease a reveal on your last Carousel slide to pique your followers’ curiosity.

Also, don’t forget that you can add videos to your Carouels as well! In fact, Carousels with both images and video tend to have the highest engagement rates.

Aesthetic Photo Dumps

Brainstorm how a collection of photos can serve as a mood board. Carousels show off the aesthetic of your brand or products better than a static image or video can. This post from Dormify highlights how their products create the vibe that their customers crave.

dormify instagram post

Source: @dormify

Educational Content

Done right, Carousels can serve as mini blog posts full of useful information relevant to your audience or product. Want to create a how-to, tutorial or list of tips? Carousels can make it happen! Infographics and text-based posts (see below) are perfect for slide-style Carousels.

andalou naturals instagram post

Source: @andalounaturals

As an added bonus, these posts require readers to spend extra time on your Instagram page. These post types are likewise prime for engagement and discussion. All of the above send positive signals to the Instagram algorithm and fight low engagement.

Interactive Posts

Carousels present playful ways to encourage interactions with your audience. Questions, quizzes and slideshows are all fair game. This game of “eye-spy” from Open Spaces is a brilliant example of getting creative with Carousels.

getopenspaces carousel

Source: @getopenspaces

2. Stories: For Meaningful Engagement and Increased Feed Visibility 

Think about how Instagram Stories let you “skip the line” in your followers’ feeds (see below). If you’re creating content consistently, you can keep your brand front-and-center in their brains.


instagram stories feed

The biggest upside of Instagram Stories is how interactive they are. 

Features like Polls can help you make meaningful touchpoints with your target audience. Polls are valuable for more than just engagement, though. They also encourage you to learn more about your audience and what they want.

For example, a simple “this or that” Poll featuring two of your products can help you gauge which your customers prefer. Knowing these preferences can inspire your product and content strategies alike. Heck, some brands ask directly which types of posts their followers want to see more of.

inside magic instagram stories

                                                                               Source: @insidemagic

Types of Stories to Post to Instagram

The not-so-secret benefit of Stories is all the built-in features to help you beat low Instagram engagement. Below are a handful of Instagram Story ideas to start with.

Q&A Stories

Offer an informative, insider point-of-view about your company or brand from an expert. For example, a skincare brand might have a makeup artist or dermatologist answer questions for followers.  Q&A Stories are educational and help you humanize your brand.

Emoji Slider Stories

The Instagram Slider Sticker is another playful way to pick your followers’ brains. These types of Stories are great for creating a sense of hype.

tommy hilfiger emoji slider

Source: @tommyhilfiger

Multiple-Choice Quizzes

Again, don’t shy away from opportunities to interact with your audience or ask them questions. Multiple-choice quizzes like the one below are yet another opportunity to drive valuable interactions. instagram story quiz

Source: @bookingcom

3. Reels: For Audience Engagement and Greater Reach

Fact: 89% of marketers are increasing or maintaining their investment in short-form social videos in 2022.

And maybe that’s why Reels are booming among brands and consumers alike.

instagram reels engagement tweet

Source: Twitter

We’ve seen countless examples of brands using Reels to show off products and piggyback on Instagram trends. Like Stories, Reels are packed with creative features to beat low Instagram engagement. Also, the algorithm can’t seem to get enough of them!

Instagram Influencer Campaign Manager Spreadsheet

Types of Reels to Post to Instagram

Reels have largely replaced traditional videos due to the popularity and reach of short-form content. Below are some ideas for vertical videos to publish.

How-Tos and Tutorials

Reels are a prime format for showing off your products in action. Doing so makes it easier for potential customers to imagine what you’re selling in their hands. As a reminder, Reels don’t need to be super polished. Videos that feel organic and off-the-cuff are actually ideal.

Take Advantage of Trends

Consider how Reels is basically Instagram’s version of TikTok. Much like trending audio and challenges blow up on TikTok, the same rings true for Reels. Skits, memes and humor are all great ideas depending on your industry. 

4. User-Generated Content: To Boost Engagement on Every Type of Post

Want to overcome low Instagram engagement?

Start integrating user-generated content into your Instagram content strategy. Content from everyday customers, creators and brand ambassadors are all marketing gold on IG.

Don’t just take our word for it, either. According to Meta themselves, creators boost performance across all types of content. This includes the types of Instagram posts we’ve talked about so far.

Types of UGC to Post to Instagram

The fact that influencers receive 3x the engagement rate of brand accounts is telling. Not only do creators typically have more engaged audiences but also more perceived trust from consumers. Whether from your customers or partnered content creators, below are some ways to integrate UGC into your Instagram posts.

Repost Customer Content to Stories

See a post from a follower or customer shouting out your brand or products? Don’t let it go to waste! Reposting customers to your Stories is a brilliant way to repurpose UGC and maximize its reach. Many brands actually dedicate their Instagram Stories to positive customer reviews.

byte instagram story example

Source: @byteofficial

Regram Photos You’ve Been Tagged In

See a post from a creator that’d be perfect for your feed? Don’t be afraid to ask for permission to repost it. After all, who better to highlight your products than customers that know what you’re all about? Instagram posts based around UGC give your feed a sense of personality and credibility.

ole henriksen UGC reel example

Source: @olehenriksen

Source UGC with the “Add Yours” Sticker

Another interactive feature from Stories! This Sticker allows your followers to add their own photos to Stories based on a prompt. For example, you might ask followers to share their vacation snapshots or post a photo that captures what “summer” means to them. 

Again, interactive moments that create a sense of community are awesome for Instagram engagement. The Add Yours Sticker can help you do exactly that.

add yours story featureSource: Twitter

What Other Instagram Features Can Fight Low Engagement?

The concept of “interactions” is key to what the Instagram algorithm decides to rank and serve.

Thankfully, Instagram is constantly rolling out updates to help businesses engage their followers.

Given that the algorithm is limiting reach for brands, anything you can do to maximize the engagement you are getting is huge. Beyond what you post, consider additional features baked into Instagram that can help.

Instagram Stories Countdown Timer

To create a sense of urgency and excitement for your followers, use the Countdown Timer in your Instagram Stories. If you’re promoting an event, sale or giveaway, this Sticker can help create a much-needed sense of urgency and hype.

instagram story countdown stickerSource: @mec

Giveaways and Contests

Although Instagram doesn’t have a dedicated feature for giveaways, they’re a proven way to increase interactions. After all, audience participation is key to any sort of contest. Check out our list of Instagram giveaway examples for more ideas and inspiration.

 giveaway story example on instagram giveaway story example on instagram

Source: @workmanpub

Filtering Your DMs

Filtering your DM inbox helps you focus on interactions with your legitimate followers first. Doing so moves your most important messages to the top of your inbox instead of hiding them in a sea of spam. Filtering DMs is a game-changer if you have a super active account.

 Instagram Analytics

If want to know directly which types of Instagram posts perform the best, look no further than your analytics dashboard. From views to interaction and beyond, these insights can clue you in on what’s working and what’s not. Your data can be eye-opening in terms of how to pivot and optimize your Instagram content strategy.

instagram content analytics

Source: YouTube

Why is My Instagram Engagement So Low in the First Place?

Fair question! Again, brands are the ones impacted most by the recent Instagram algorithm updates. Conventional wisdom says a “good” engagement rate sits anywhere between 2% and 5% for brand accounts. Anything above that is stellar.

Beating low Instagram engagement doesn’t happen by accident, though. Many brands hinder their account growth because of their lack of participation on the platform. To wrap things up, here are some mistakes that brands make:

  • Not responding to comments or engaging with followers. The new Instagram algorithm is pushing brands to be more authentic and human. It might sound cliche but focus on building relationships with your followers. Responding to comments and DMs while engaging with posts in your brand’s community is a great starting point.

  • Your content strategy isn’t varied or interactive enough. Let’s say your content doesn’t speak directly to your target audience. Maybe you don’t include specific calls to action or invitations to engage. If so, your engagement rate is going to suffer. Experimenting with interactive Stories and different types of Instagram posts can help.

  • You’re not posting frequently enough. The Instagram algorithm rewards reach and engagement to brands that are active on the platform. Posting frequently is important. Most brands post between four and five times per week. In industries like skincare and beauty, many brands post daily. Either way, don’t sacrifice quality for quantity!

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How Creators Can Help Increase Instagram Engagement ASAP

Now more than ever, brands need to put their Instagram activity under the microscope.

Because everything from your interactions to the types of posts impacts your ability to reach and engage your followers. Hopefully, the tips and features above can put you on the right path.

Still, overcoming low Instagram engagement can feel like a huge uphill battle.

We get it! The constant algorithm updates and feature changes are a ton to keep up with. No matter what you’re posting, influencers and UGC are proven to drive interactions on Instagram.

If you need a scalable way to get more influencer content on Instagram, Statusphere can help.

Our micro-influencer software matches brands with vetted influencers from our creator community using 250+ first-party data points. Unlike other platforms, we help brands earn a high volume of authentic, guaranteed content. You can track all of your performance data in one place, too.

Statusphere Dashboard and Metrics

Statusphere also eliminates the most time-consuming pieces of working with influencers in-house thanks to our advanced matchmaking and fulfillment technology. We’ve already generated 75,000+ pieces of content for 400+ consumer brands.

Want to see how our platform works? Get in touch with one of our experts to learn how we can optimize your brand’s influencer marketing with guaranteed content at scale.

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