Anatomy of a Top-Performing Instagram Post

Instagram Post

After a few years of posting content, we’ve been able to identify the common qualities of our top-performing posts.

To highlight what these are, we had our social group breakdown one of the most popular videos on Instagram of Hootsuite, which earned over 125 comments and 5,700 views.

We will walk you through the important elements that this post—and every Instagram post—should include. We will also provide you with tips on how to create the most effective content for your brand.

Below are 5 important components of a top-performing Instagram post.

1. High-quality visuals

That is Instagram 101—visuals are everything. When you are not posting high-quality visuals then you do not have much to offer on this platform and will not stand out in a sea of other branded content.

Not every brand will have the budget for expensive equipment or a pro photographer or video crew, however, even renting a DSLR camera or hiring a freelancer could make a giant difference in quality. Our #instalife video was created by experts on our brand and social groups using professional-grade software.

Selecting the best color scheme will vary for each brand. Some researches show that using blue hues over red will get you more likes. However, we’ve found that quality, relevance, and consistency make the most important difference.

We selected a bright, vibrant blue color theme for our #instalife post that would catch people’s attention as they scrolled via their feeds.

Pro tip: Try utilizing VCSO Cam to edit your images instead of only relying on the standard Instagram filters.

2. A compelling caption

While quality visuals are the heart of Instagram, any post worth its salt will embrace a well-thought-out caption. Your caption should follow the basic tenets of good copywriting: be clear and error-free, engaging, and include a clear call to action.

There’s a trend toward longer, editorial-style Instagram captions. If that makes sense for the post, it’s worth a try. As a general rule, you need to always cut out unnecessary words to be considerate of your audience’s time.

Our #instalife post was effective because it was brief and informative while also keeping with our celebratory tone. We reused some of the copy from our other promotional content to ensure we had a unified message across channels.

Pro tip: Include a call to action in your post that directs people to a link in your bio.

3. Relevant hashtags

Hashtags are a vital a part of finding and engaging your Instagram community. By making your content more discoverable, you have a greater opportunity of attracting new followers and getting more likes and comments.

There isn’t any magic number of hashtags to use in a post, however, when you use more than 10 it could start to look spammy. It is always better to be selective and be sure that they are relevant to your brand, industry, and campaign. Regardless of how many hashtags you use, you need to always hide them in the comments or use line breaks to keep away from clutter.

We not only created a campaign hashtag particularly for our #instalife video, however, we also used relevant hashtags like #hootsuitelife, #marketing, #socialmedia, and #announcement to make our content more discoverable by a wider group of people.

Pro tip: Always double check hashtags to ensure they mean what you think they mean.

Instagram post

4. Community engagement

If you want your community to engage with you, then you must engage back. Savvy Instagrammers understand that building community via reciprocal engagement is one of the best methods to increase your followers. You should be replying to all comments with as much helpful info as you can.

Utilizing Instagram to announce large news is an effective method to build a community and engage your superfans. It is something that celebrities do really well and that more brands should emulate.

Going Instagram-first with this announcement was a no-brainer for us as our followers had been waiting for this updated function.

Pro tip: Try doing a sneak preview of an event or behind-the-scenes exclusive on Instagram.

5. Follows recommended specs and dimensions

When you’re making a video or taking a photo for a social campaign, then you need to know beforehand that it is intended for Instagram. Content should be particularly designed for the channel in order for it to be as effective as possible.

Instagram gives technical specs that all posts should follow. Our #instalife post also followed our list of greatest practices for Instagram videos:

  • 15-second length
  • <20 words per video frame
  • Square format
  • Optimized for sound-off viewing

Pro tip: Create your Instagram content for a mobile-first experience.

When you follow these guidelines and be sure that your post has all 5 of those important elements, you’re on your way to making a top-performing Instagram post.

Share this post