Top 5 Performing Content Pillars on Instagram in 2023

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Instagram’s user base has grown to over 1 billion monthly active users, making it a vital platform for businesses to engage with their audience. With its emphasis on visual content, Instagram requires businesses to create content that is both visually appealing and engaging in order to stand out. 

To achieve this, it’s crucial to focus on the content pillars and styles that have been proven to deliver high performance on Instagram. By doing so, businesses can increase their engagement rates, reach a larger audience, and ultimately drive more conversions and sales.

Content Pillars That Drive Business Results in 2023

Understanding and utilizing the proven content pillars and formats that drive high engagement on Instagram is crucial for achieving success in social media marketing. In fact, according to recent statistics, businesses that incorporate these content pillars into their Instagram strategy experience up to a 7x increase in engagement rates and a 40% growth in their follower base. These pillars include:

Trend Content

Jumping on-trend content can greatly help with high performance on Instagram by increasing engagement rates and reaching a larger audience. When you create content that aligns with a popular trend or topic, Instagram users are more likely to engage with your post by liking, commenting, and sharing.

This increased engagement will signal to Instagram’s algorithm that your post is popular and relevant, and as a result, it may appear on the Explore Page or in users’ feeds who don’t follow you yet. 

For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a trend of sharing at-home workouts and healthy recipes. Fitness influencers who jumped on this trend saw a significant increase in engagement as their followers were interested in staying healthy during quarantine. As a result, their content reached a larger audience and gained more followers.

An example of this is Spartanaesthetix who made this post below, you can check it out here.

However, it’s important to note that jumping on a trend should not compromise the authenticity of your brand or content. You should always ensure that the trend aligns with your values and brand personality. Also, avoid jumping on trends that are controversial or divisive as it may harm your brand reputation.

User-Generated Content

Instagram is all about community, and creating user-generated content (UGC) is a great way to tap into your audience’s creativity and build a stronger relationship with them. 

This could be anything from reposting photos that your followers have taken of your products to running a hashtag campaign and showcasing the best submissions on your feed. For example, GoPro reposts user-generated content featuring their cameras in action. 

Examples of user-generated content include this picture of a pregnant lady standing on a beach at sunset, you can check it out here.

When followers see their content being shared by a brand, they are more likely to engage with that brand’s content. This engagement can come in the form of likes, comments, or shares, which all contribute to higher engagement rates for the brand’s posts. 

UGC also adds a layer of authenticity to a brand’s Instagram presence. When followers see authentic content from real people, they are more likely to trust and engage with the brand. This will lead to increased engagement and ultimately, more sales or conversions.

Behind The Scene (BTS)

Giving customers a peek into what goes on behind the scene of their favorite brand or influencer might just be what you need to increase engagement today. 

BTS content can include glimpses into the production process, employee spotlights, or even a day in the life of a business owner. This type of content helps to humanize a brand and build trust and authenticity with your audience, and can also be a great way to showcase your brand’s personality.

This picture below shows BTS of an award winning fashion designer and brand based, in Lagos, Nigeria. You can check out the full Instagram reel, here.

BTS content can be in the form of reels or pictures that will be shared to feed or stories. Sharing BTS as a reel will help with increasing reach while sharing BTS on IG stories helps with engaging existing audiences and nurturing a loyal relationship between your brand and your followers.

Educational/How-to Content

Educational content is content that teaches followers something new. People love to learn new things, and Instagram is a great platform for sharing informative content. 

This could be anything from a step-by-step tutorial on how to make a recipe to a quick guide on how to do a certain exercise. Brands that focus on creating educational content tend to see high engagement rates and a lot of shares. 

For example, Hootsuite shares social media tips and tricks on its Instagram account, they include this content that speaks about how social media managers can protect their mental health, you can check it out here.

Educational content also positions a brand as a thought leader in their industry, and helps with building confidence in the brand.

Inspirational Content

Inspirational content is content that motivates and inspires followers. Instagram is a platform that’s known for its positive and uplifting content, and brands that tap into this tend to see high engagement rates. 

This can be in the form of quotes, stories, or even images that evoke emotion. This type of content can help to build a positive brand image and connect with followers on a deeper level. 

Nike often shares inspirational content on their Instagram account, including this type of post below.


While there are multiple content pillars that can lead to high engagement rates on Instagram, focusing on these five proven pillars is the key to achieving your desired visibility and engagement. 

As an entrepreneur, creating content within these pillars is a strategic and effective approach to standing out on this highly visual platform and achieving your social media marketing goals. 

So, if you want to take your Instagram game to the next level and increase your brand’s reach, start incorporating these five content pillars into your social media strategy today.

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