Why You Should Post Long Content to Instagram in 2021 (And How)
Instagram recently had its tenth birthday. During its lifetime, it has seen many changes. At its start, it was a social network for posting filtered images with just a few words in the caption and maybe a few hashtags. Since then, Stories, videos, IGTV, reels, and guides were added to the app. As a result, Instagram content became longer and more intricate. At the start of 2021, Instagram is a mini-blogging platform that can be used to convey complex ideas and long-form content.
Two connected phenomenons can explain this change:
a. Users spend more time on Instagram and are looking for longer content
The way we use Instagram has also changed throughout the years. A few years ago, we opened an app to see the selfies posted by our friends. Today, we turn to it from a variety of content from across the world. One of the popular ways to use Instagram is a non-stop feed of videos, similar to YouTube or TikTok. This leads to people spending more time on the app, and all surveys confirm that the average time people spend on Instagram is on the rise. And to all this, we can add the pandemic that caused all of us to spend more time on social media.
b. Instagram promotes accounts that keep users on the platform
We don’t know for sure how the Instagram algorithm works and can merely try to reverse-engineer it based on our experience. But, we can assume that the time users spend on a particular profile directly impacts its success. That means that profiles have a clear interest in offering content that requires users to pause and read or watch. Creating long-form content is right in the short and long terms.
So how can you add long-form content to your Instagram profile and keep users engaged longer? Here are several ways you should consider:
1.Long Posts Captions:
Just 2-3 years ago, social media managers recommended brands on Instagram to create short captions for their posts. Instagram was widely recognized as a short-form network with catchy phrases considered the best way to capture the scrollers’ attention. But the length of post captions jas been rising steadily. An experiment published on the Later blog showed that the optimal size for Instagram captions in 2021 is at least 70 words.
Beyond the sheer length of Instagram captions, you should also write with keywords in mind. A few months ago, Instagram announced, it will be adding a word search to its account and tag search tools. So any text we will post on the platform will be analyzed and possibly used to improve users’ search results.
All of this doesn’t mean that every post you write should include several paragraphs. But it’s definitely worthwhile to include long texts in your content plan.
2. IGTV videos
We’ve listed before the advantages of investing in your IGTV channel. But it’s worth repeating that this currently the only Instagram feature that allows everyone to incorporate a clickable link and send traffic to an outside website. You can post videos up to 10 minutes long and reach audiences looking for long, informative content. Don’t forget to pay attention to the video description. Here too, your choice of words can influence the reach of your video.
3. Story Series
Brands have a lot to learn from content creators and influencers who create beautiful and informative stories for their followers. The experience for the user is like leafing through a great magazine. Recipe demonstrations, beauty routines, sightseeing, and other events are divided into long series of images, videos, and texts with the unique story vibe we can’t get enough of.
One of the frustrating things about Instagram is that even your most popular post will eventually disappear down the feed. The new Guides feature tries to address this by letting you edit previously published posts into collections. A sort of Highlights for posts.
There are 3 types of guides you can create on Instagram: Places recommendations, Product recommendations, or recommendations for posts you’ve previously posted or saved.
For the user, this is an entirely new way to browse content on Instagram. Not as a chronological feed, but rather by subjects. Brands that will learn to use this new option will get more exposure for previously posted content and “bonus points” from the algorithm for keeping users longer on their profile.
In 2020, Instagram saw a significant rise in informative posts that combine texts and graphic elements rather than photos. One of the popular formats for these is a carousel of consecutive slides. A great way to deliver tips, lists, or recommendations. The added advantage here is the engagement you gain when users swipe on your post and spend more time reading it.
To sum things up, if you thought Instagram is just for sharing photos, think again. Informative content and longer texts are essential to Instagram success in 2021.