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9 Instagram trends to watch in 2024

There are over 200 million business accounts on Instagram—that’s a lot of competition if you’re looking for your brand to stand out. However, if you keep up with the latest Instagram trends, you can leverage these trends as part of your Instagram marketing strategy that grabs attention and fuels growth.

In this article, we dive deep into the top nine Instagram trends for 2024. We’ll cover innovative tactics like AI-driven content creation and community building with examples to incorporate them into your own Instagram strategy.

1. Video takes priority over images

Do me a favor: Open your Instagram app and scroll through the first 10 to 15 pieces of content. As you scroll, you might notice a common theme—most of the posts are videos.

Instagram continues to prioritize video—specifically Reels—in 2024. In fact, the platform is regularly releasing new features to encourage creators to make more video content.

For example, you can now:

  • Reply to a Reel with another Reel
  • Add new effects, music and voice overs to your Reels
  • Upload video stories up to 60 seconds long with no cuts
  • Host interactive live streams

Leaning hard into video isn’t just encouraged at this point—it’s essential to thrive on Instagram right now. Convey your brand’s authentic personality. Show your products in action. Give behind-the-scenes glimpses of your team. Talk to your followers in real-time.

Using video not only helps you build genuine connections with your audience—it also drives reach and engagement by appealing to the Instagram algorithm.

Instagram Reel trends for 2024

Instagram Reels launched in 2020 and slowly rolled out to all users throughout 2021. This micro video addition to Instagram was created to compete with Snapchat and TikTok. It has continued to grow in popularity. Many brands and content creators will repurpose their videos across each of the platforms—TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts.

Here are some Instagram Reel trends popular with brands this year:

Social media managers acting as brand spokespeople

Instead of hiring paid actors to deliver scripted messages, social media managers are now stepping in front of the camera when creating Reels.

Social media managers have an intimate understanding of the brand’s voice and values. And they’re able to quickly create content that deeply resonates with the audience at a fraction of the cost. Our social media managers here at Sprout Social hop into Reels from time to time to act as spokespeople for our social media marketing software:

three examples of Sprout Social using its own social media manager to act as a spokesperson for its brand on Instagram Reels

An added bonus to this is that social media managers’ appearances help build stronger personal connections between the brand and its customers over time.

Video memes

Memes, of course, still are trending on Instagram. Brands are remixing meme Reels with trending audio and putting their own spin on funny clips or pop culture references to be relevant to their brand and audience like Visme did.

a screenshot of vismeapp creating a meme Reel

Remember to align your meme content with brand values while still showing the lighter side of your business. When done right, it can get lots of positive engagement when you’re conscious to position your brand as relatable and culturally aware.

Instagram post trends for 2024

Just because Reels are trending on Instagram doesn’t mean static posts are dead. If you look at your feed, a good 25-30% is likely still are image, video and carousel posts.

Instagram has also rolled out a small but decent update in this area. You can now add audio to static posts to make them more engaging.

Brands continue to use Instagram posts in unique, creative ways. Here are some noteworthy trends to watch and try this year:

Photo dump

This Instagram post trend is specific to carousels. The photo dump involves sharing a series of images that may seem candid and unrelated at first glance but collectively convey a story or a theme.

It’s like flipping through someone’s personal photo album. It offers a glimpse into behind-the-scenes moments. For brands, these moments could include events, user-generated content and photoshoots. For example, Coach used this trend to showcase their fashion collection for Fall 2024.

Text posts

Traditionally, Instagram has been all about the visuals. However, at the moment, there’s a growing trend of text posts. The theme is to make the text post a static image or flip-through series within a carousel.

Brands are posting stats, listicles, tips, how-tos, quotes, announcements, customer testimonials and more as aesthetically pleasing, minimalistic text posts that align with their branding.

Text posts stand out in a visually saturated feed and are great for offering bite-sized value or sparking conversation with followers.

Here is an example from Sprout Social:

an Instagram carousel of Sprout Social using text posts on its feed

Soft launches to tease products

Brands are teasing new products through “soft launch” posts. They are portraying new products with subtle hints, behind-the-scenes peeks or cryptic messages. Usually they are dropping a few posts over a period of time to create anticipation and hype for the launch of new products from those following.

This is an excellent strategy for engaging your audience to peak curiosity about what’s coming next. Additionally, creating buzz around a product before its official launch helps generate early interest and demand.

Check out how Huda Beauty did this soft launch Reel seamlessly:

example of HudaBeauty doing a soft launch of its new product on an Instagram Reel

2. Empower social content creation with AI

Just like most other tech brands, Instagram—and its parent company Meta—is investing heavily in AI this year. For marketers, this trend could seriously change the way they create content.

Currently, Instagram offers the following AI features for creators in specific regions:

  • AI generated stickers: Users can enter prompts to create custom AI stickers. From there, they can send those stickers in chats or add them to their stories.
  • Start a chat with AI: Ask for recommendations and advice, talk about interests, and even view and follow AI profiles and the content they post.
  • AI backdrops for stories: When you share a photo to your story, use the AI backdrop tool to create a new background based on a text prompt.

Mark Zuckerburg has also announced two new AI capabilities that might soon come to Instagram—AI image editing and high quality video generation. Users would be able to quickly remove unwanted objects, manipulate images, change the background and generate creative, original video clips that match their vision by simply typing in prompts.

Aside from using Instagram’s built-in AI features, brands are tapping into third-party AI tools to create content quickly and easily. For example, you can use Sprout Social’s AI capabilities to analyze sentiment, share posts at just the right time, write engaging captions, brainstorm campaign ideas, generate competitor reports and personalize support messages.

Sprout Social's providing caption recommends from its Suggestions by AI Assist function

But does this mean AI is going to replace social media managers completely? Not anytime soon. It is, however, increasingly becoming a part of social media strategies.

AI can help marketers slash time in half by automating certain tasks and accelerating creative processes. Used smartly, it can help you scale content creation, improve user experiences, drive more engagement and stay ahead of the competition.

3. Increase engagement with community experiences

Driving engagement on Instagram takes more than just a pretty feed. With the algorithm now actively favoring genuine community engagement and interaction, brands need to prioritize building connections with their audiences.

For example, Instagram launched broadcast channels last year as a one way messaging tool for creators to engage with their followers. These channels will give creators an opportunity to give the latest updates to their followers in a more intimate and interactive space.

This is an example of Quek Shio‘s broadcast channel to get a better understanding of what they look like:

an example of Quek Shio using broadcast channels on his Instagram feed

Currently, creators can send text, photo, video and voice notes in broadcast channels. They can also share question cards and polls to gather fan feedback. However, it’s still unclear whether this feature will expand to business accounts or if it will remain just for digital content creators.

Alternatively, brands can add followers to their Close Friends list to share exclusive content, stories, offers and updates. Gather feedback, answer questions, share behind-the-scenes footage and even create an exclusive list for customers only.

Invite people to join your Close Friends list by talking about it in a post or story like Tina Davies Professional.

4. Increase traffic with multiple links from bio

Remember the good ol’ link in bio?

Previously, you could only add one link to your Instagram profile. Most marketers relied on tools like Linktree to condense all their important channels and pages into a single link.

Now, you can include up to five external links in your Instagram bio. See Ring Concierge’s Instagram profile to see how they show up when you click into them: example of RING CONCIERGE using multiple links in bio on Instagram

For omnichannel brands, this is a huge opportunity to drive traffic to multiple channels and touchpoints. A retail brand could take users to their best selling product page, FAQs section, YouTube channel and online shop. A SaaS brand could send people to their highest converting landing page, latest blog post and a new downloadable eBook.

Here’s how to add multiple links to your bio:

  • Open the Instagram app
  • Tap on your account
  • Tap Edit profile under your profile picture
  • Tap Add links
  • Tap + Add external link
  • Enter the URL and title of the link you want to add
  • Hit Done in the top right corner
  • Tap + Add external link again to add another link

You can also delete links and/or change them anytime you want. This offers a lot of flexibility to brands that want to boost new campaigns and content on channels other than Instagram.

5. Boost visibility using Instagram SEO

Social search is a rapidly growing trend. Last year, a combined 29% of Gen Z and Millennials flocked to social media platforms instead of actual search engines to find information. And this number continues to grow in 2024.

Optimizing for native search is more important than ever. Instagram’s algorithm is working constantly to deliver relevant, personalized and intent based content to users’ feeds. To stand out, marketers need an Instagram SEO strategy that goes beyond just using the right hashtags.

Here are some tips to help your Instagram content rank higher in Explore and user feeds:

  • Find the right keywords: Pinpoint specific keywords your audience is searching for to guide your content creation strategy. For instance, if there’s a rising interest in vegan recipes, create content around keywords like “vegan breakfast ideas” or “plant-based dinners.”
  • Optimize subtitles and captions: Incorporate keywords into the text part of your Instagram posts and stories. Use them in subtitles, captions, tags and stickers. Don’t forget to keep it engaging. You could start with a question like “Who else loves smoothie bowls?” to prompt user engagement and include keywords naturally.
  • Follow and engage with similar accounts: Actively comment on and like posts from accounts in your niche, such as other vegan food bloggers, to increase visibility and encourage cross-engagement.
  • Add alt text to your posts: Adding descriptive alt text to images, like “vegan avocado toast on a rustic table,” improves your post’s accessibility and helps Instagram’s algorithm understand and categorize your content better.
  • Hop on the latest trends: Stay updated with viral hashtags or challenges and incorporate them when relevant. If #Veganuary is trending, join the conversation by sharing your unique vegan recipes or tips.
  • Stick to the official guidelines: Ensure your content follows Instagram’s recommendation guidelines to boost its chances of ranking higher in feeds and showing up in front of the right audiences.

6. Create brand partnerships with native Instagram tools

Instagram has long been the top platform for brands and influencers to work together. It’s easy to see why—consumers are 1.5x more likely to be interested in viewing branded creator content on Instagram than on other platforms.

In 2024, Instagram is taking brand collaborations more seriously than ever. They’ve already introduced a bunch of tools and features to facilitate these partnerships.

For example, brands can allow other Instagram accounts, such as influencers or partners, to add product tags in their posts. Users who click on these tags will be taken directly to the brand’s Instagram shop and would be able to check out on the platform.

Brands can also share collaborative posts with partners and influencers. Users can “invite collaborators” to a post as well as tag brands in paid partnerships, having both involved accounts show up—and publishing the post to both collaborators’ profiles.

To see what they look like, check out this collaborative post done by food blogger, Appetite Foodie, and Bang Bang Oriental, a food hall in London:

The influencer Appetite Foodie on Instagram creating a collaborative post with a food hall, Bang Bang Oriental

But perhaps the most exciting update is the launch of Instagram’s Creator Marketplace. It’s kind of like Instagram’s own influencer management platform where brands can find creators to work with, share campaign ideas and structured outlines with them, manage communication, discuss compensation and more all in one place.

a screenshot of Instagram Creator's Marketplace's dashboard

Image Source: Instagram

Creator Marketplace is currently only available to brands in the US. Businesses interested in joining the marketplace can fill out this form.

7. Food content is trending on Instagram

If you’ve been on Instagram for a while, you know food content is big on the platform. We’re not just talking beautiful, mouthwatering photos of food. This year, it’s also about quick, easy and healthy recipes and Reels users can’t stop watching.

And it makes sense. Most people on Instagram are 18-34 years old—an age group that significantly contributes to food culture online. On top of that, Gen Z isn’t afraid of what’s trending on the plate. In fact, they’re fascinated by it. A notable 45% are intrigued by vegan products, while 42% are willing to try plant based meat.

Plus, when you look at larger societal shifts towards saving money as well as health, wellness and mindful eating, it’s easy to see why users want more content about making and consuming restaurant quality food at home.

For food and restaurant brands, this presents a major opportunity on Instagram. Get creative with easy-to-follow recipe tutorials, cooking tips or mouthwatering food styling Reels. Go live while preparing customer favorites or spotlighting local farms that supply your ingredients.

Here is an example of how The Baker’s Grove in New Jersey did it well:

an example of an Instagram post of heirloom tomatoes with 206 likes

These bites of food content, especially when optimized with Instagram hashtags and captions that spark conversation, can drive huge visibility for your business.

Not just for restaurants, brands selling kitchenware, meal services, courses and more can all capitalize on users’ cravings for cooking inspiration. Show how your product can help them elevate homemade meals or present enticing close-ups of dishes your item helped prepare.

Even brands in unrelated verticals should incorporate food content when possible. Take this example from IKEA:

IKEA's food Instagram post to market it's dishware

There are opportunities to spotlight office kitchen areas or cafes. Show your team enjoying meals prepared by featured vendors. Genuinely connect with audiences over universal topics like favorite comfort foods or go to late night snacks.

Food has exceptional power to build strong, personal connections. Find creative ways to incorporate food content into your Instagram strategy while keeping it relevant to position your brand for growth in 2024.

8. Leverage user generated content

User-generated content (UGC) currently dominates Instagram—for good reason. Hard selling promotional tactics don’t work anymore. People now crave authenticity and relatability, especially on a platform they’re spending hours on daily.

And the strongest brands tap into this free marketing by creatively repurposing posts from real customers. It’s the most powerful way to build trust, drive engagement and grow on the platform.

So, how do you get your hands on quality Instagram UGC?

Big brands like BMW, Samsung and Apple use hashtags to source user-generated content.

Samsung has even created a separate Instagram account to showcase UGC. Creators looking to get some exposure on the platform gladly tag photos taken with their Samsung devices with #withGalaxy for a chance to be featured on the brand’s page—which has an impressive following of 4.8 million users.

Samsung's Instagram profile boasting the hashtag #withGalaxy in it's bio name and description

Another way to encourage UGC is to run competitions and reward the best entry or entries. Or, partner with influencers and creators in your niche. Ask them to share honest product reviews or send them free PR packages to create unboxing videos you can repost on your brand’s page.

Jake the Bengal, the cat influencer, and Cheerble, the Pet Store, created a collaborative paid partnership post to advertise Cheerble’s cat toy.

paid partnership collaboration for user-generated content on Instagram between jake.the.bengal and cheerble.official

You can ask permission to repost organic stories and posts featuring your product from non influencer public accounts. These are highly effective as they show genuinely happy customers using your brand in their day-to-day lives.

9. Paid promotions expand your reach

As the popularity of social media platforms grows, the need for algorithms to best serve their users also grows. And when an algorithm is deciding who gets served your content, you might see a decline in reach. Because of this, Instagram paid promotions are a growing trend in 2024.

Let’s go back to our exercise from the first trend, where we scrolled down to see the first 10 to 20 posts.

If your feed was anything like mine, you saw about nine Reels, six regular posts and five sponsored posts. That means about 25% of your feed is filled with paid ads, like the Deel one below.

getdeel's Instagram paid promotion post

While that might seem like a lot, let’s look at it from a different perspective. It also means that 25% of your target audience’s feed is filled with sponsored posts. And that if you start investing in Instagram ads, your brand can own part of that 25%.

Use Instagram trends to update your strategy

Thousands of factors influence Instagram trends—other platforms, new features, consumer behavior and societal shifts are just a few. Keeping up with the current trends on Instagram freshens up your content and shows your audience you’re not afraid to try new things.

Looking to level up your Instagram marketing in 2024? Check out our guide to using Instagram for brands to learn how to set goals, create a content strategy, drive engagement and grow your business on the platform.

The post 9 Instagram trends to watch in 2024 appeared first on Sprout Social.

March 1, 2024

Original Source https://sproutsocial.com/insights/instagram-trends/

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