Organic Content for Instagram: What is Working in 2023

A new year, a new social media marketing strategy. At least that’s how it should be! If you haven’t updated your Instagram marketing plan, or are simply wondering what content is working best on one of the key social platforms, this is the article for you. Packed with tips from the experts on the Zebra 360 Digital Marketing team, you’ll be armed with all the knowledge you need to make the most of Instagram this year.

The Ever-Present Algorithm

As with many social platforms, ensuring your content is leveraging the internal algorithm for the best results- and finding the right audience for your content- is key. We’ve been told Instagram in 2023 is focusing on three key areas:

  • Creativity: A wider Meta push, they want to see you using native tools and producing original, not repurposed content.
  • Connection: Building on the wider online marketing idea of connection, not hard-sell, they want to see community connection and conversations around content. Using their engagement tools will be critical
  • Discovery: The point of the algorithm (although sometimes it doesn’t seem like that) is to make it easier for people to find more of what they like. This means the recommendation engine, and creating content that can feature as suggested content, is key.

Updating Instagram Strategies- Content First

What do these lofty ‘3 pillars’ mean for your content strategy?

Firstly, collaborative posts are a smart idea. Many of us are algorithm throttled so only followers see your account’s content. Finding the right people to help you expand that reach through access to their own, complementary audiences will be essential. Remember Instagram has a collaboration tool built in for you to use. This allows the content to appear on both communities’ grids, easily increasing your reach. Remember that this doesn’t include paid brand partnerships, which have to be marked on the platform as ‘paid partnerships’.

While ‘viral hashtags’ are no longer quite what they were, using smart and relevant hashtags does help you maximise growth opportunities as much as possible. Particularly engaging content could even appear on the hashtag’s top-performing post page. It’s probably not smart to use particularly oversaturated hashtags, however, where there’s little room to compete.

Using relevant keywords through all aspects of the posts is still critical, too. Make sure your headlines, posts, and reel captions tell Instagram what the content is about, increasing your search changes. Don’t forget on-screen text, either! While theoretically there’s nothing against adding these with third-party tools, it may be smart to use the native tools on the platform, instead, to ensure Instagram ‘understands’ what it’s seeing the best.

Recommended content no longer has the power it once had, it’s still worth consideration. Make sure your account qualifies for recommended content. At the end of the day, however, you still need to make sure your focus is on original, engaging content. Your data should be able to tell you what existing posts reached the most non-followers, so try to replicate that magic for future posts.

What Content Types Boost Engagement on Instagram?

Since engagement is a key Instagram ranking criteria, leveraging the most engaging content types will help you. Since 2022, Instagram has placed high value on its short-form video content. While Reels may have been the be-all and end-all of their focus last year, they’ve realised this went too extreme. 2023 is the year where a better balance between video and photo content will be in the spotlight.

This means carousel posts can be used to leverage a multi-faceted approach to engagement-ensure you are encouraging them to swipe for more! Keep focusing on Reels, but make sure you’re using hooks and transitions to boot engagement, and that you’re not over-favouring reach over engagement. Both Reels and the Instagram Remix tool are great for covering trending content, too.

Don’t forget user-generated content, either. It often outperforms even the best branded content, and helps add brand authenticity, too. Deepen your surface-level engagement through using message buttons to encourage deeper engagement. This will also boost your ROI through generating new leads, so it’s a win-win.  

Remember, no social media marketing plan is evergreen, and you will need to regularly refine and tweak what you’re doing to match with new trends and updates. If it’s time to dust off your Instagram marketing approach, the dedicated Zebra 360 Digital Marketing Agency team is always here to help.