Instagram has one billion monthly active users worldwide and is the main communication channel for a lot of brands and influencers, who announce new products and partnerships on the platform and keep in touch with their audience.

But with Instagram’s algorithm always changing, and experiments like hiding total Like counts in play, the Instagram landscape is shifting fast. From emojis to video, photos and lengthy captions filled with hashtags, what exactly should you be posting on Instagram to get the most out of your brand’s digital marketing exposure?

A new report by Social analytics platform Quintly provides a bit of an insight into what’s working on Instagram for brands right now. The study analysed more than 34,000 Instagram business profiles, and 5.4 million posts, published during the first half of 2019.

Despite the rising popularity of video content, images remain the most popular post type for brands on the platform (by quite some way) and beyond that, the carousel is seeing significantly more engagement than images.

When it comes to captioning these images, the results are quite surprising. While many influencers say that long-form captions are a better way to engage with their followers – and indeed 67% of all posts are longer than 150 characters – Quintly’s research found that unless you have over 1 million followers, captions of between 1 and 50 characters saw the best response rates.

But make sure you leave room for emojis within that character limit. While Quintly’s research found that the majority of brand profiles are currently not using emojis in their Instagram post captions, the higher the number of emojis used, the higher the amount of interactions with the post, regardless of the number of followers.

And last but not least, hashtags… According to the analysis, those with fewer followers (0 to 1,000) tend to use more hashtags (30% have 4-10 in a post), while in the 10m+ followers account group 37% of all posts were published without hashtags. The engagement activity correlates – smaller accounts received better interaction when their posts included lots of hashtags, while larger accounts performed better when there were little to none included. 

But what does that mean? Well, as it is harder for smaller profiles to be seen or to grow on Instagram, using a lot of hashtags can definitely help build followers and engagement as they can be found more easily by Instagram users. So, if you’re an SME it’s worth keeping them in!

If you need help figuring what content you should and should not be including in your business’ digital and social media marketing material, contact the team at Air Social, we’ll be happy to help. 

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