Is your Instagram account a ghost town? Do your posts tumble past your followers sight unseen? Are you haunted by the success of your competitors’ Instagram accounts?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time for an intervention. Or an Insta-vention, if you will.

Here are 11 picture-perfect Instagram post ideas from local Arizona business, Fluff It Marshmallows, that’ll keep your followers interested and turn your account into a valuable and profitable marketing tool for your small business.

1. Hop on the Trend Train

Source: Fluff It Marshmallows Instagram

Is a trend lighting up the social media world to the point that it’s suddenly everywhere (like that unicorn frappuccino from Starbucks)?

Hop on that trend train as fast as you can (before your competitors do) — if you can relate it back to your business or products in a fun, entertaining, touching, or funny way.

In the post above, Fluff It Marshmallows uses the unicorn trend to their advantage by creating their own magically delicious, unicorn-themed treat.

But did they stop there?

Nope, they used hashtags to lure in #unicorn fans and imaginative language to describe their UniCone as “magically dipped in chocolate and coated with fairy dust.”

Instagram post ideas that capitalize on trends, like this one, require a fast response and creativity.

But even if you can’t create a new product to go along with a trend, consider changing the verbiage of your product description or your title.

For example, maybe you sell handmade blankets in a variety of colors, which, at first glance, has nothing to do with the unicorn trend — until you make it so.

You could snap a photo of a few blankets in different hues and caption the post something like this:

“Our handmade blankets come in a rainbow of colors fit for a unicorn. (But humans love them too.) #unicorn #shoplocal #handmade”

2. Highlight Promotions on Your Images

Source: Fluff It Marshmallows Instagram

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create a pretty post for Instagram like Fluff It Marshmallows did above.

Personally, I love using Canva to create text-based images because it’s incredibly simple and free, but you can also use PicMonkey, and Pablo, (also free). Try one or all and see which you like the best.

Choose your font and color, and type the details of your sale on a portion of your image that is free from distractions. (Notice how Fluff It placed the text above their marshmallows.)

Create an enticing caption that matches your sale, and post away! (Just don’t forget to include a link in your bio to your website or information on where followers can purchase.)

3. Try Crowdsourcing

Source: Fluff It Marshmallows Instagram

Looking for Instagram post ideas that’ll help you grow your business, reach more customers, and make your existing customers feel appreciated?

Try crowdsourcing.

In the example above, Fluff It Marshmallow’s post asks followers to suggest a filling for their ‘Cherry Bomb’ marshmallows. As you can see, they got some great suggestions — and made their followers feel valued with this interactive post.

And you could even take it a step further by letting your followers know that the person who submits the winning suggestion will get your product for free.

4. Keep an Eye on the National Calendar

Source: Fluff It Marshmallows Instagram

National Chocolate Chip Day? Yeah, that’s actually a thing. And Fluff It Marshmallows wisely took advantage of this fact by posting their fun chocolate-chip-filled Cookie Monster dessert on this day.

Notice their use of these hashtags:

  • #nationalchocolatechipday
  • #chocolatechip
  • #cookies
  • #cookiemonster

Using corresponding hashtags is crucial because you want Instagram users to see your post immediately — and, as a bonus, posts with at least one hashtag gain 12.6% more engagement.

Keep up with these aptly named “hashtag holidays” by using a site like National Day Calendar. But use only the national holidays that are relevant to your business and don’t overdo it.

5. Feature Your Fans

Source: Fluff It Marshmallows Instagram

Do you check Instagram for mentions of your business or products? As you can see, Fluff It found that a fan had posted about visiting their shop, so they did the three following things:

  • Reposted the fan’s post on their own account using Repost App
  • Added their own caption while giving credit to the fan by using his handle
  • Included their own hashtags

You won’t want to highlight every fan who posts about your business on Instagram, but peppering them in here and there is a great way to mix up your content — and show customer appreciation.

(But, it’s a good idea to actively monitor brand mentions on Instagram and at least leave a comment on those fans’ posts, whether it’s a positive or negative mention, so they know you’ve seen it and you care.)

6. Show Off Your Employees

Source: Fluff It Marshmallows Instagram

Your team members are the face of your business — so why not show them off to your followers periodically?

The benefits of highlighting your employees include:

  • Giving fans a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your business
  • Helps followers make a personal connection with your brand
  • Encourages shares/reposts from the employee’s friends and family

You can also do a quick Q&A with the employee or ask them one simple question, like what their favorite flavor/style/color/etc of your product is or go completely unrelated and have them share a fun fact about themselves.

If you have a retail location, be sure to add it to your post — or at the very least, put the city and state of where the photo was taken.

Why? Because posts with a location receive 79% more engagement.

7. Toot Your Own Horn

Source: Fluff It Marshmallows Instagram

Have something cool going on? Where you might’ve simply sent out a press release in the past and called it done — now you can also tell your followers about it on Instagram like Fluff It Marshmallows did here.

Whether it’s a TV segment, a newspaper mention, a celebrity customer, or anything else, snap a creative photo of the moment (yes, you can even take a photo of a newspaper or magazine clipping) and post it on your Instagram account.

Include the following:

  • Handles of anyone involved
  • Relevant hashtags
  • A descriptive caption

P.S. Posts that include another handle gain 56% more engagement — so be sure to include them whenever possible.

8. Get Seasonal With It

Source: Fluff It Marshmallows Instagram

Seasonal marketing allows you to market your products for any holiday, season, or occasion — if you use a little creativity like Fluff It Marshmallows did in the example above.

They created “Carrot Cones” for Easter, marketed them toward parents to reach the demographic most likely to love something like this (children), and created a fun and funny themed image for their Instagram account.

You can do the same with your products, no matter if it’s Christmas or Father’s Day to help increase seasonal sales year-round.

9. Let Your Followers Behind the Curtain

Source: Fluff It Marshmallows Instagram

Looking for Instagram post ideas that go beyond a basic picture? How about a video! You can’t tell from the image above, but this post is actually a short video that shows how Fluff It makes their marshmallow version of a Somoa Girl Scout cookie.

If you watch the video, you’ll see how each ingredient is tantalizingly poured into the mixture, making the viewer want to buy one of these marshmallows ASAP.

But you don’t have to be in the dessert business to try this idea.

Here are a few ideas for incorporating videos into your Instagram feed:

  • Give your followers a tour of your art studio
  • Film a quick how-to guide for your product
  • Post a series of responses to your most popular FAQs
  • Show models wearing your clothes
  • Film dogs devouring your latest flavor of pet treats
  • Post a quick video of your next team get-together
  • Have someone film the creation process for your product. (For example: A pile of yarn, you crocheting it into something recognizable, and the finished product.)

10. Celebrate Your Small-Biz Status

Source: Fluff It Marshmallows Instagram

Do your followers know you’re a small, local business? You might assume they do — after all, you’re not a huge chain with a nationally recognized name.

But, that doesn’t mean your followers will instantly think of you when they think about shopping local.

That’s why you should constantly remind your followers of your local status by using hashtags like #shoplocal and #smallbusiness.

And you should also see if there are any hashtags used specifically for the city or state you’re in, like how Fluff It uses #localaz because they’re based in Arizona.

In addition, it’s also smart to post on national small-biz holidays, like Small Business Week, Shift10 Day, and Small Business Saturday because consumers are looking to shop local on these days.

So give your followers a reason to support you on the biggest small-business holidays of the year by proclaiming your local status loud and proud.

11. Reward Them for Being a Follower

Source: Fluff It Marshmallows Instagram

Here’s a fun and easy way to reward your followers: offer them an exclusive discount or freebie that they’d only get by following you on Instagram.

In the example above, Fluff It uses their birthday as an excuse to treat their followers to a free marshmallow pop. All followers have to do to redeem is show this Instagram post on their phone when they come into their retail shop. Easy, huh?

You could follow this format or ask that your followers repost to redeem to help further your reach.

If you’re online only, you could offer a freebie with a purchase of X amount using a specified discount code.

Keep ‘Em Interested By Mixing Up Your Instagram Post Ideas

Would you get bored if you ate the same meal every day for the rest of your life? It’s probably safe to assume you would.

Your followers also get bored if they see the same type of post in your Instagram stream over and over again — and it’s also a reason they might unfollow you.

So don’t let your Instagram account turn into a ghost town — keep your followers on their toes by trying some of these Instagram post ideas throughout each week to avoid follower burnout and prevent unfollows.

Which of these Instagram post ideas will you try?

This post was originally published on The DRIVE Blog.