The Best Instagram Marketing Trends of 2021 & Beyond

/ July 29, 2021 | 11 Mins Read

The Best Instagram Marketing Trends of 2021 & Beyond

Here are the best Instagram trends 2021 to follow to build a huge brand on Instagram.

If there is only one marketing tool you want to use for your business, it has to be Instagram. It is that powerful. Ever since Facebook bought Instagram, it's quickly evolved into something more than just a photo-sharing app. And it has more than half a billion active users.

With all the noise on Facebook and other social media platforms, Instagram still keeps it simple and elegant. This is also one of the reasons why Instagram is a good marketing platform.

Recommended: 15 Essential Instagram Tools Every Content Creator Needs

Amongst all its users, one in every two-person follows at least one business page. Given its power, every business has a profile on Instagram, but the important question is how to reach your audience. However, just having a page will not be enough, or just keeping posting images with random hashtags will not help your business. You need to follow the trends. 

Here are the top 12 Instagram trends 2021 and beyond.

1. Instagram Reels 

instagram reels

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-white-sleeveless-shirt-and-blue-denim-skirt-holding-black-smartphone-6003271/

Instagram Reels has picked up like no other features in the past. Yes, Insta stories have been a huge success, but Reels is taking Instagram to a new level. It is one of the most popular Instagram trends that has been widely adopted by users. And now users can monetize their Instagram too.

Instagram Reels has huge similarities with TikTok, and the advantage of Instagram Reels is that users don't have to create a separate account. They can do the same as what they could do on TikTok without a different account. 

With efforts being halved, Reels have become popular in less than a year of launch. The trend is expected to grow more from here. There are a lot of influencers who regularly upload Instagram trending posts through reels. 

Reels lets you create and discover short and entertaining videos on Instagram. You can record 15-second multi-clip videos with effects, audio, and creative tools. As to how long can Instagram reels be, you can make them 15-seconds long or 30-seconds long, depending upon the need of your content. The best apps for Instagram reels are iMovie, Adobe Premiere Rush, Quik amongst others.

Individuals are using Reels to their advantage, but businesses and organizations are using them too. As per a recent report, two-thirds of the entire NBA's franchises have posted at least one Reel since the feature launched in the United States on August 5, 2020. The NBA franchises have got 22% higher engagement than the average engagements they have had from standard Instagram posts. 

If you want to create professional videos for Instagram Reels, you can use some tools to make the videos. For example, you can use tools like Inshot, Clips by Apple, and FilmoraGo.

2. Instagram Stories 

If Reels is really important and most popular today, the backbone of influential marketing on Instagram is Instagram Stories. 

The Instagram Story feature was launched four years ago, and in no time, it came as a top Instagram trend, on par with the Reels.

Insta Stories have completely revolutionized the way businesses were using influencers to reach a wider audience with their products. Canva, Inshot, Unfold, Mojo are some of the best apps for Instagram Stories. 

Nearly 8 out of 10 brands have admitted, Instagram stories have created a strong positive impact on their business. The top influencers around the world are using Stories to publish the content. Going forward, it is going to continue being the hottest and evergreen Instagram trend.

For instance, National Geographic makes perfect and engaging use of stories. They share fascinating video clips and also stay true to their mission of education. 

In addition, they often invite their followers to join in on the learning as well. Their audience is regularly quizzed on relevant facts using Instagram's poll feature. 

instagram stories

(Image: https://images.app.goo.gl/7ra1d3hgaSyV35ar8

3. Augmented Reality Filters

At the end of the day, Instagram is about sharing beautiful pictures and short videos. The majority of users nowadays use filters to make Instagram trending posts. 

One way to ensure you are creating eye-catching pictures and videos is by using augmented reality (AR) filters. They help you enhance your Instagram stories and posts with visual effects. 

The best part about AR filters is building your exclusive filters using the Spark AR Studio platform. 

These filters are a great way to interact with the audience and boost engagement and have been in trend in the recent past. If you are thinking about how to get more likes on Instagram, using AR filters in your stories and reels might be the answer.

Using AR filters, you can streamline the aspect of your business or brand that makes you unique and special. 

So if you want to leverage Instagram to enhance your brand using AR filters, it can prove to be a great idea! AR filter promises to be the next popular Instagram trend of 2021 amongst the influencers. 

Augmented Reality features

(Image: https://images.app.goo.gl/AFQuV6YdfzAKzJYs9

4. Going Live with Instagram 

instagram live

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-in-white-knit-cap-holding-black-smartphone-4612131/ 

Another Instagram trend that is growing very fast is Instagram Live. In the past year, many people have started spending more time at home (due to the pandemic of 2019). 

Being social animals, we like to interact with others, and hence Instagram Live has become really popular. It lets you interact with many others. As per the Business Insider report, Instagram Live usage increased by 70 percent in 2020

The initial popularity of the feature was because of lockdown, but even now, when the situation has improved in most parts of the world, the Live feature continues to be a popular Instagram trend in 2021 as well.

Moreover brands and businesses are using this feature to reach out to a wider audience base remotely.

For instance, Jay Shetty made great use of the Instagram Live feature to market his newly released book 'Think Like A Monk,' sharing glimpses of his book signing events and thus interacting with his followers. 

5. Crossposting for greater Visibility

Crossposting is another one of the Instagram trends which is very popular. When you create a post, and if you can share the same post/content across multiple platforms, you are crossposting, and this trend is increasing. 

For example, Facebook Inc lets you share your Instagram Stories with Facebook Stories. This allows users to reach a wider audience and get more engagement using the same content. 

Users are using the content they are posting on Twitter throughout the day as a thread and posting it on Instagram Stories/Post. The trend of crossposting is going to continue as users find more innovative ways to get higher engagements from different platforms.

6. Instagram Shops and Instagram Checkout 

There is no doubt the popularity of Instagram and the number of active users are. Along with these, online buying has become really popular in the last decade. As a result, the number of online buyers across the world is continuously increasing.

All these factors combined, one of the popular Instagram trends in 2021 is shopping on Instagram. Instagram and Facebook have been a platform where users discover most of the products they end up buying. 

With the fact that users are spending the maximum time on Instagram, it won't be surprising if in-app shopping continues to grow from here on.

For instance, Lisa Says Gah is an independent boutique and blog devoted to connecting people with unique pieces. Based in San Francisco, Lisa Says Gah soon became an Insta-famous shop. The brand has a huge following on Instagram, where its fun prints and unique style stand out. 

7. Influencer Advertising Regulations 

Influencer Advertising is trending on instagram right now big time. There are thousands of influencers on Instagram, and they all have a large number of followers. 

Instagram is working to ensure the influencers are not spreading misinformation about a service or a product to their followers. 

Certain community guidelines have been set for the influencers, and they must follow them. In addition, they must understand the difference between branded content and paid partnership. 

Read the Influencer Advertising Regulations Guidelines here.

8. Instagram Guides 

Instagram Guides is perhaps the latest addition to the Instagram feature, and it is already one of the popular Instagram trends. This feature gives users an easier way to share and consume helpful recommendations and tips in an easy-to-digest format. 

Instead of leaving valuable content on the feed for followers to search through themselves, you can make it easy for them to consume by allowing them to combine your posts together in the form of a guide. 

These are especially useful for businesses wherein they can create a guide for each product or service and put all posts related to the product under a single Guide. 

This way, a user does not have to scroll through hundreds of posts if they are looking for something specific on your profile. The feature will continue to become popular as more and more people start creating Guides on their profiles.

Here's UNICEF India's Instagram guide on managing trauma and loss during COVID-19. 

9. The Explore Tab 

Another interesting place to gain visibility is the Explore tab. As per data, more than 50 percent of Instagram users use this tab once a month. To make it attractive and user-friendly, Instagram is coming with new designs very frequently. Hence, it continues to be a prevailing Instagram trend. 

If you can strategically boost your brand's or business' presence on Instagram Explore, then you can generate more engagement and visitors for your company. Thus directly increasing your opportunity to connect with a wider audience, acquire new customers, and boost sales.

The Explore Tab is deemed to be one of those Instagram trends that will be most appreciated by brands and businesses, as it directly promises a wider reach.

instagram explore tab

(Image: https://images.app.goo.gl/QCcg5988PnHJLyHi8

10. IGTV Ads 

This feature has been launched in 2021 only and is not available in all the countries, but is being rolled out slowly and gradually to all users. 

Using this feature, creators can monetize their video content. The ad appears to the user when they click on the IGTV video to watch the complete video from the preview button. 

Given the success of Youtube ads in between the videos, there is not much doubt, IGTV ads will be highly successful and continue to be in trend in the coming years. 

As of now, it is very new to the platform but is a time-tested formula, and hence there won't be any issues growing from here.

IGTV

 (Image: https://images.app.goo.gl/tJVhhw5gZHkRjxQB9

Also, the average CPC for Instagram Ads is higher than it is for Facebook, pretty consistently, so many people shy away from them. Instagram engagement rates are through the roof, however, so this trend has high potential in terms of ad revenue as well as user engagement.

11. Digital Stickers 

instagram digital stickers

 (Image: https://images.app.goo.gl/A33V1WC4bM2RtCsYA

Digital Stickers is a design trend that is all over Instagram, which lets a user add virtual stickers with extra information to the images. It is a promising Instagram trend, especially for the millennial generation.

It could be putting a price on a shopping item or a validity period of an offer, or an inspirational message. 

These stickers provide eye-catching elements that stop thumbs from skipping to the next story in the users' queue. 

For businesses, this provides the ability to brand content and enhance users' experience on the platform. It also offers businesses the chance to utilize pop culture and current events to provide relevant and trending additions to social media that have their brand stamp. 

You will see more and more stickers being used in the coming time as the trend picks up in the second half of 2021.

This feature was launched in 2017 and since then has become very popular. In 2021, nearly one in every five posts is a Carousel Post, making it one of the most famous Instagram trends. 

It is basically a post that lets users post multiple videos or photos, and viewers can view them by clicking or swiping left. 

Users can put up to 10 images or videos in a single post. This is a great way to give complete information to the user through images or videos in a single post. 

A lot of businesses are using it to inform users about their products and services. It is also being used as an explainer post where something is explained to users through images. 

Given the higher engagement on such posts, the trend is going to continue for the coming years.

For instance, Prada features a series of parties, activations, and shows, each perfectly categorized that took place during their legendary Prada Mode events. 

Here's another great example of Carousel posts by Mad Over Marketing regarding the alcohol brand Corona and how it tried to rebuild its brand in Mexico during the "Coronavirus pandemic: 

Promotions with Nano influencers paid collaborations.

Promotions with Nano influencers paid collaborations.

Image source: https://images.app.goo.gl/pVCJYQRLkqVdmfsC6 

If you want to use Instagram as your preferred marketing tool, you have to start incorporating the above trends in the marketing plan. Another important thing you need to do is advertise with influencers. 

Influencer Marketing is trending on Instagram right now just like any other platform. Influencer Marketing is the answer to many Instagram issues today like not getting social proof and massive reach instantly. It is also a solution for businesses who don't want to spend big on famous celebrities to market their products.

The big influencers with millions are very costly and may not fall in the marketing budget of most businesses. Hence the nano and micro-influencers are very popular at present. 

You should explore the option to do paid collaborations with the nano influencers. If you have the question ‘how to see what someone likes on Instagram 2021’, check what the influencers are marketing. 

Quick Ways to improve your Instagram Marketing

If you are struggling with your Instagram marketing plan and looking for quick ideas to improve, we've listed some for you: 

  • Study your market and industry and join the Instagram engagement community.
  • Choose a color theme that matches your brand image. Stick to these color themes for all your posts and stories. For instance, KitKat strongly associates with the color red. 
  • Create content keeping in mind what's trending. 
  • Create captions for your instagram post keeping in mind the crux of the content you want to get across. 
  • Never lose sight of your product and customer while focusing on trends.
  • Invest in Instagram marketing tools and technologies 
  • If required, go with a growth hacking service. 
  • Most importantly keep self-educating on Instagram marketing.

Why Do Some Of the Users Have Difficulty in Gaining Momentum on Instagram?

Instagram is a good platform from a marketing point of view in 2021. Instagram provides many tools, but few users are able to gain sufficient momentum and visibility. This is one of the major Instagram issues today that is faced by some users. 

It is, however, true that to grow an account, you do not need to set a high marketing budget. The cost of efficient Instagram marketing isn't very high. All you need is the right strategy and the ability to piggyback on current trends.

Optimizing your Instagram shouldn't mean you simply put more hours into it. 

Apart from putting into use the trend mentioned above, there are a couple of basics that you might be getting wrong if you are unable to get the engagement on Instagram that you desire.  

It is vital to remember that using correct and relevant hashtags as well as catchy and cute Instagram captions is very useful. Cute Instagram captions also attract a lot of engagement but make sure these cute Instagram captions do not turn out to be borderline cringe.

You don't need to worry about how many people will be turned off by the number of hashtags you use because relevant hashtags will make your post reach more and more people. 

Although, keep in mind that Instagram has a limit of 30 hashtags per post.

Here's a summary of the Instagram trends you need to know in 2021:

  1. Influencer marketing on Instagram will continue to be dominated by Instagram Stories (Tribe Dynamics, 2020).
  2. Instagram Reels, which were launched in August 2020, may gain traction soon and compete directly with TikTok by the end of 2021 (Influencer Marketing Hub, 2020).
  3. The popularity of Instagram Live skyrocketed 70 percent during the Coronavirus pandemic and will continue to rise in 2021 (Business Insider, 2020).
  4. Shoppers use Instagram nearly 70 percent of the time for product discovery, with 130 million users per month viewing Instagram shopping posts (Facebook, 2019). 
  5. At least half of all Instagram accounts use Explore each month (Hootsuite, 2020).
  6. Cross content sharing across multiple social channels, including TikTok and Twitter, will become more popular on Instagram (Hootsuite, 2020).
  7. A billion people have used brand-named AR filters on Instagram since they went public and they will go mainstream on Instagram (Economic Times, 2020).
  8. Today, one out of five Instagram posts published are carousel posts (Marketing Charts, 2020).
  9. For Instagram users, a fundraiser feature is now available that allows them to raise money or donate to specific causes (Instagram, 2020).
  10. IGTV users now have the opportunity to make money from Instagram through advertisements (Social Media Today, Instagram, 2020).

Conclusion 

Instagram is one of the most potent tools of recent times for brands and businesses to use. The massive audience-base it offers with the multiple ways to target them, makes it one of the most profitable platforms for brands and businesses. 

Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

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