12 Instagram Marketing Trends Your Brand Should Follow in 2021

Instagram started as a visual-sharing platform. Unlike Facebook, this social network focuses on highly-curated content—creative photos and videos. It’s like Pinterest’s twin, only with messaging features and the ease of connecting with friends and new people. But what started as a “personal” platform has become the new online marketing hub. Businesses are flocking to the social site to promote their products and services, acquire new customers, and collaborate with influencers.

Instagram marketing trends are all about innovation and perpetual motion.

You may wonder: is Instagram still popular in 2020? The answer is yes, and its fame won’t be stopping soon. As long as influencers are active on the social network and businesses are still generating sales and revenue, Instagram will remain one of the best platforms to grow your business. If you’re keen to know what is the latest trend on Instagram, this is your ultimate guide. 

1. Image Content

Image content still reigns, and believe it or not, people are more inclined to less polished images than highly-edited ones. Rawness is the name of Instagram’s game. If you want to edit your photos, make them as natural-looking as possible. Simple color correction will do. You may also apply filters, but the shade and tone should be professional-looking and should align with your brand image.

2. Video Content

Instagram allows you to upload a 60-second video on your feed. At first thought, it might seem hard to create a video that lasts for only a minute. But it’s actually the ideal length for teasers, sales announcements, and product launches. Professional video producers already know how to tell a brand story in seconds. 

Also, remember that Instagram video has a different orientation from Facebook. The recommended video dimension for Facebook is 1280px by 720px in a landscape format. Meanwhile, Instagram video should be 1080px by 1920px with an aspect ratio of 9:16. When you publish video content on multiple social platforms, remember to produce horizontal and vertical formats for the best results. 

3. Stories

Ever since Stories came to life, people are posting less on their feeds. Instagram stories are like a quick update on your day or a follow-up post to your latest product announcement. You can post multiple photos and videos on your IG story and even create polls. But unlike your IG feed, the maximum length for each video slide is only 15 seconds.

IG stories inspire authentic conversations while increasing your brand awareness.

Instagram stories are more than just photos, videos, and polls. If you have more than 10,000 followers, you can add a website link to your stories. You can even put locations or hashtags to increase your visibility. Currently, marketers are exploring Instagram marketing through customized GIFs and stickers. The more people use your GIFs and stickers, the more your brand awareness and audience base will grow. And of course, the best thing about Instagram stories is that they drive more direct messages than Instagram feeds. 


We’ve already mentioned the limits for video posts and stories. If you feel like your video content to be longer, you can use the IGTV feature. IGTV videos can be up to 10 minutes long, but if you have a larger account, you can upload a 1-hour video. The Instagram TV feature is best for make-up tutorials, how-to videos, cooking demonstrations, and workout sessions. If your business belongs to any of these niches, you should explore the IGTV feature. 

5. Instagram Live

You may think that Instagram Live is only for celebrities talking about their new favorite milk tea or a day in the life of Kendall Jenner. But businesses can actually benefit a lot from IG Live. This feature is the best tool to use during company events, live interviews, or doing a series of campaigns. 

In fact, PR consultants would prefer IG Live when marketing on Instagram because it appears unfiltered, unscripted, and spontaneous. It’s easier to build credibility and audience interaction when your content is casual or unplanned. Plus, you can reply to comments and feedback in real-time—increasing your engagement rate and responsiveness. 

6. Reels

Instagram reels are still a booming feature as they’re not yet available in some parts of the world. But as soon as they’ll be accessible to a larger population, the Reels usage will rise. If you’re familiar with TikTok videos, Reels won’t be a stranger to you. This latest Instagram feature allows its users to create 15-second video clips. You can post the videos on your feed or stories.  

The more fun and creative your Reels are, the more people will engage with your content.

Again, Reels are a mere adaptation of TikTok content. Hence, you can mostly see dances, lip-syncing, creative facial expressions, and other fun content in Reels. What is Instagram’s marketing strategy when it comes to Reels? Use it with influencers to promote higher visibility and a wider reach. 

7. Influencer Marketing

Speaking of influencers, influencer marketing is one of Instagram’s best discoveries. If you’ve been with the platform since its inception, you’ll know that prominent creators were born on this network. Previously, celebrities are the only ones considered to be influencers. But when businesses became more niche-driven, the criteria for choosing the best influencer changed. 

Today, influencers are considered experts in their niche. They not only promote products—but they use them first-hand. Hence, when a credible influencer testifies about a product or service, their followers will automatically patronize that brand. This is the advantage that influencer marketing has over other 2021 Instagram visual trends mentioned in this guide. 

The top 3 factors that you should look for in an influencer are their following, engagement, and the type of audiences they have. Read this HypeAuditor review to get connected with the best influencers. 

8. Online Shopping & Product Tagging

If you’ve ever seen Jeffree Star holding a make-up brush and when you try to click the photo you see the actual brand name, that’s product tagging. In-app shopping is also one of Instagram’s latest features. According to statistics, over 100 million users are tapping on shopping posts and making direct purchases on Instagram every month.

This feature is most especially helpful to startups and small businesses. While larger brands may have established shopping sites already, setting an Instagram shop can give you great benefits. These include authentic advertising, increased engagement and sales, and a simpler, quicker, and shorter buying journey. Customers are generally up for hassle-free transactions, and Instagram shops are the best way to cater to their needs.   

9. Carousel Ads

Carousel ads were first used in Facebook marketing. It’s a set of multiple images with clickable links for each slide and your official website link placed on the last slide. The best thing about carousel ads is they don’t only provide plain images and links—you can put different links for each image. Aside from links, you can also put product names and prices directly on images. Again, it transforms the selling and buying experience of Internet users.     

10. The Explore Tab

If you’re one of those users who are tired of scrolling through their following feed, then you’re likely spending more time on your Explore tab. This section shows posts that you’re interested in or you’ve most interacted with for a certain period. To make your content visible on your potential customer’s Explore tab, use relevant hashtags and optimize your content for visibility.  

11. Cross-Platform Content Sharing

Have you seen TikTok videos on other users’ stories or Twitter quotes on posts? This strategy is called cross-platform sharing. YouTube videos can also be uploaded as IGTV content. Aside from posting links on your bio or captions, you can now directly share different media from your other social accounts. It’s an effective method to grow your audience base not just on Instagram but also on your other social profiles.

12. Social Media Management Tools

If you’re doing your marketing efforts manually, it’s time to switch to social media management software. Social tools help you schedule and publish different content across multiple platforms. They also aid marketers in responding to all social comments in a single dashboard. The best part? Social media management tools show real-time analytics and reports, helping you keep track of your online successes and failures. 

Use these Instagram marketing trends to your advantage

Look at these Instagram algorithms to improve your social marketing. | Source: Later

So, how do you market on Instagram in 2020? If you’ve been successful with your social marketing in the previous year, follow the current Instagram trends to continuously expand your online business in 2021. For optimal results, grow your following, work on your engagements, and perform the best SEO practices for social media marketing.

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