Social media platforms are constantly changing, and Instagram is no different. Over the last year, they’ve made some big developments to their algorithm and features. 

And when things change so quickly, it can be tough being an influencer. 

So what are the best Instagram best practices to follow in 2022? What type of content creates the most engagement? And how do you reach the most Instagram users based on these changes?

If you’re wondering this too, you’ve come to the right place! Below you’ll find the Instagram best practices you need to be a successful influencer.

And the best part is many of these tips are backed by an analysis of 650,000 posts and Stories that come directly from the platform and Instagram.

Let’s get into it!

Perfect your profile

You’ve more than likely seen incomplete profiles or feeds without a clear style or theme. What was your first impression? 

Having a completely polished profile and working on your feed layout and overall aesthetics can really make a difference. A professional looking profile will help you build credibility with your followers and grow your audience. It’ll also help you get more interest from brands looking to collaborate.

Here are a couple Instagram best practices for setting up your profile the right way:

Profile picture. Make sure you choose a profile picture that fits your style and niche. For example, if you’re an influencer who makes content about travel, a picture of you standing in front of an amazing view is a great idea!

The same goes if you’re a fashion influencer. Showing your unique style in your profile picture is a great way to show people what you’re about straight away.

Bio. Make sure your bio includes a great description of you. This can include your job title, interests, and achievements. You should also include your niche to let people know what type of content you create. For example, lifestyle, fashion, and gaming.

If you have a media kit, website, or other social media channels, it’s also a good idea to include a link to that in your bio. Many influencers use services like Linktree to store all their important links in one place. 

Learn how to create a winning influencer media kit.

Feed aesthetic. A well-thought-out and aesthetically pleasing feed gives a great first impression too! Your feed should showcase your best work, so think about how the post looks as part of your feed overall.

Pay close attention to your color theme so that it matches your overall style. 

To create an appealing feed, you should ask yourself a few questions:

  • What are the main colors I want to feature in my feed? 
  • What do I want my overall aesthetic to be? Clean and minimalist, or loud and colorful? 
  • What 5 types of content can I make every day to post consistently?

Once you’ve figured this out, you’ll have a good idea of how to structure your feed.

Here are a few examples of feeds with a great aesthetic:

An Instagram profile showing a variety of images

An Instagram profile showing a variety of colorful images

If you need to “clean up” your feed, you can start by noting any previous posts that don’t match your theme. But you don’t have to delete them. You can archive them instead by using the archive button in the top right corner of the Instagram app. 

Matching your content’s color tone and style makes your feed look well-thought-out and consistent. This helps your feed have a professional feel that will appeal to both followers and brands alike!

Instagram Story Highlights. This feature is great for showing a snapshot of your day-to-day content at the front and center of your profile. And because you can create custom categories, they can offer real value to your followers by organizing things in creative ways.

For example, if you create travel content, you can use Story Highlights to showcase places you’ve visited. You can also create categories to share great collaborations you’ve done with brands in the past, or other work your followers will find interesting. 

And to top it off, Story Highlights remain on your profile until you remove them, instead of disappearing after 24 hours like regular Stories. This feature is great for sharing some of your most compelling or useful content with existing and new followers easily!

Check out this example below to see how an influencer has set up his Story Highlights:

An Instagram profile

As you can see, this influencer has categorized his Story Highlights clearly, separating them into different places he’s been. He’s even included a Story Highlight that promotes a course he’s offering!

To get started, you can save your best Stories to your archives. Then, it’s just a case of selecting and categorizing them.   

If Story Highlights don’t show up on your profile, make sure you’ve turned them on. You can do this by going to Settings > Story Settings > Saving > Save to Archives (Turn On).

Now that we’ve covered some of the Instagram best practices to perfect your profile, let’s look at other tips you should follow.

Embrace Instagram’s changes

Like many social media platforms, the way Instagram works changes over time with new developments and adjustments to their platform. 

Here are a couple recent changes, and how you can work with these Instagram best practices.

Reach more users with video

Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, recently shared that they’re going to double-down on video and center all their video formats around Reels. You may have even noticed more videos popping up in your feed from people you’re not following.

This is why videos are performing better. In fact, there’s been a 9% increase in reach for video posts on average, between 2020 and 2021.

Two graphs side by side showing the growth of reach rate for video on Instagram

Instagram will likely recommend even more videos this year, so you can expect video performance to continue improving.

You should take advantage of this by making videos a priority in the content you create! Reaching the largest number of people can help you grow your audience and attract brand collaborations. 

But this doesn’t mean you should neglect other types of content. Carousels for example, can generate lots of engagement.

Get the most out of Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories can be a great way of creating behind-the-scenes and authentic content. And because you can add emojis, questions, and polls, they’re great for interacting with your audience too.

But to reach the most users, is it best to share photos or videos?

If you looked at how Stories performed by the end of 2021, the average reach on Stories with photos grew by 36% compared to the year before. The average reach of Stories with video also grew by 16%.

Two graphs side by side comparing the average reach rate of Instagram Stories with photos and videos

While reach on Stories with photos grew more than Stories with videos, you shouldn’t just stick with photos.

Both types of Stories have their advantages. Some users favor watching a quick story with photos rather than videos. And using photos means you get the most reach so more people will see it. This of course helps you build a larger following. 

But videos can be a powerful way to tell stories. Sharing videos offers you a way of creating rich, immersive content, which photos can’t always do.

Using a combination of the two can be a great way of making compelling content that resonates with your audience. Check out how this influencer uses a combination of photos and videos to create a great Story Highlight that shares his trip to Nepal.

Use carousels to get the most engagement

Carousels are a great way to share multiple pieces of content at once. They can be used to share before and after and behind-the-scenes content, and they’re great for storytelling.

And they’re very popular too! In 2021, Instagram users posted 42% more carousels than in 2020.

To top it off, reach on carousels increased by 7%! This is because it’s common for carousels to pop up on a person’s feed more than once on a different photo or video.

Succeed with brand collaborations

In 2021, there was an 8% increase in the number of sponsored posts on Instagram created by influencers. Not only that, 64% of influencers got similar or better reach with sponsored content than they did with unsponsored content. 

With an increase in sponsored content on Instagram, it’s even more important that you ensure your performance doesn’t drop. Here are a couple of Instagram best practices you should keep in mind when creating sponsored content:

Decide if the brand is the right fit for you 

If you find your sponsored content is performing considerably worse than your ordinary content, it might be because you’re promoting a product that doesn’t resonate with your followers. 

One of the reasons your audience follows you is because they’re interested in your niche. But promoting a product or service that isn’t relevant can have a negative impact on your performance. You may even lose followers!

To learn more, check out our ultimate guide to brand collaborations on Instagram.

Create high quality, authentic content 

An analysis of Instagram profiles showed that influencers can get similar or better reach for sponsored posts as  unsponsored posts.

This shows audiences like yours are still receptive to sponsored posts as long as the storytelling is good, and you’re creative and authentic. 

Aim to share a brand’s message in a way that resonates with your followers. The best collaborations are the ones that are personal. 

You can do this by giving real life examples of how you use a product or explaining how you see it fitting into your life. 

Deliver results brands expect

Brands you work with care about how well your content has performed during a collaboration. And one way they can measure this is by using benchmarks. 

This is also how they identify which influencers to work with for new collaborations. 

Put simply, benchmarks are performance results your content should be achieving based on your follower size and niche, like Lifestyle or Fashion. 

This is why it’s super important to create content that resonates with your audience to deliver the best results. This will help your content hit the benchmarks for your tier, or even do better! And performing well will help you build credibility and maintain strong relationships with your followers.

To see examples of successful brand collaborations, check out our ultimate guide to brand collaborations on Instagram.

Final thoughts

You’ll now have a good idea of Instagram best practices for 2022! Instagram’s latest developments mean you have some different types of content to focus on this year like video, Stories, and carousels. 

Videos are expected to be even more popular this year, so diversify your posts by creating them. Stories with photos are great for maximum reach, but don’t forget to use Stories with videos too.

And for the most engaging content type, carousels is the way to go!

Finally, make sure you’re really hitting the mark in your brand collaborations by producing authentic content that resonates with your audience.

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