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Instagram Formats - How to Use Them
Instagram Formats - How to Use Them
Marcos Plaza de Ayala avatar
Written by Marcos Plaza de Ayala
Updated today

In the previous chapter, we saw which variables the algorithm likes the most to show your video to many people. Yes, you heard right, VIDEO. It is not the same to publish an image in the feed as a reel or a story. The current algorithm is different for each format and the TSS method doesn't work the same for everyone.

In the table below, I have organized the different formats you can find on Instagram and the appropriate occasions for their use.

Grow ๐Ÿ“ˆ

Nurture ๐Ÿคฉ

Sell ๐Ÿค

Stories

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โœ”๏ธ โœ”๏ธ

โœ”๏ธ โœ”๏ธ โœ”๏ธ

Simple Post

โœ”๏ธ

โœ”๏ธ โœ”๏ธ

โœ”๏ธ

Carrousel

โœ”๏ธ

โœ”๏ธ โœ”๏ธ

โœ”๏ธ โœ”๏ธ

Reels

โœ”๏ธ โœ”๏ธ โœ”๏ธ

โœ”๏ธ โœ”๏ธ

โœ”๏ธ

0 โœ”๏ธ --> Non

1 โœ”๏ธ --> Low.

2 โœ”๏ธ --> Medium
3 โœ”๏ธ --> High

Reels - The best way to gain followers

Reels are the format that Instagram loves to show to people who don't follow you. This is the format you should exploit to the fullest if you want to expand and reach a new audience. These are the posts from strangers that regularly appear on your Instagram account when you spend hours scrolling and watching content.
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Reels are a powerful tool for gaining visibility as they are the format Instagram most frequently uses to showcase your content to people who don't follow you, leveraging 100% of the algorithm's power. Simply observe the posts that appear in your feed from those you don't follow, or check the explore page. You'll see that the majority of these posts are Reels. This is because Instagram considers short video format to be the most engaging for users.
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Being short and entertaining clips, they make it easy to reach a wider audience thanks to their algorithm designed to promote the discovery of new content. They are ideal for showing your creative or informative side in a concise and engaging way. Use a TSS technique to make the most out of this format!


โ€‹Example

Imagine you have a clothing store. A Reel showing different ways to combine a garment for different occasions can not only capture the attention of potential new followers but also present the versatility of your products.

Carousel - Generate a large reach among your followers

Carousels are perfect for when you want to share detailed content without overloading a single post. They can be used to tell stories, explain processes, or list the benefits of a product, all while keeping your followers engaged by scrolling through images or videos.

They are perfect for generating a great reach among your followers since their main feature is that they can appear several times at the beginning of your scrolling.
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Example

If you're a nutritionist. A carousel with "5 Healthy Breakfasts to Start Your Day" can provide practical and tangible value to your followers, while demonstrating your knowledge on the subject.

Stories - Increasing personal connection and driving sales

Don't try to gain followers or reach new people with them. They will only be shown to your followers and specifically to those who already have more interaction with your accountโ€‹.
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This makes it the perfect format for people to get to know you and your business.

Stories are perfect for nurturing and selling to your followers. They are an excellent way to get your followers from the first step of the funnel (visitors) to the second (leads). Remember some of the strategies we saw in the first chapter of the sales funnel for social networks.
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Example

If you run a cafe, you can have highlights that showcase past events, customer reviews, or even the arrival of new products. This provides an authentic glimpse into your business and builds community loyalty.

Simple Post - Try to avoid them

Without nice words and no more twists to give, this is the content that performs worst on Instagram and over time, lost a lot of relevance. There is little information and interaction that can be generated with a simple post. Nowadays it is used more than anything else to nurture and provide information. But it loses strength in front of the carousels. It can be useful in some particular cases.

Feed - Give value and generate authority

The Instagram feed is the pillar on which your digital identity is built. The posts here are permanent and make up the first impression that users will receive when they visit your profile. Use it to showcase your work, products, or any content that reflects your professionalism and dedication. The first 3 posts of your feed are the most important and they should show the core of your solution. I recommend you think about them carefully and leave them pinned at the top. Another good strategy is to leave pinned posts that have had the best interaction since they are probably aligned with the solution you offer.

Example

If you are a photographer, post your best shots highlighting the quality and diversity of your work. A consistent series of essential images could attract potential clients interested in your style and skill.

DM's - Cultivating Relationships and Sales

DM's are the perfect channel to move from step 2 of the funnel (lead) to step 3 (Opportunity). After a person interacts with your content, there are many platforms available that allow you to automatically communicate with them via chat. This is where you can provide specific content that will make the lead consider your product even more as a solution to their problem.

The use of DMs on Instagram should not be underestimated. This more intimate space is ideal for building direct relationships with your audience, answering questions personally, and eventually, closing sales. DMs offer a direct channel for communication and feedback, strengthening the brand-customer relationship.
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Example

You create a story sequence with a call to action telling your users to write you privately with a keyword. As soon as they talk to you via chat, you send them a gift which could be a free consulting, a study, a recorded master class, a PDF with the strategy, an offer to meet by call, etc.


Each format on Instagram has its unique purpose and potential. By wisely combining these formats, you can cultivate a strong and diverse online presence that not only reaches more users but also establishes deeper and more meaningful connections.

The goal is not to make viral posts but to make a viral account

Remember this premise and build a strategy that utilizes all formats

As you experiment with these types of content, keep an eye on metrics to see what resonates most with your audience and adjust your strategy accordingly. With patience and creativity, your Instagram profile will be an invaluable tool for growing your brand or business in the digital world.

Remember always to create content that entertains, educates, or inspires. In other words, provides real value. If your content is not relevant to your audience, you will be wasting your time.


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Instagram & TikTok

  1. SEO in Social Media (coming soon)

  2. Key Metrics and How to Analyze Them (coming soon)
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