Best Content Formats for Outstanding Thought Leadership on Instagram

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Did you know that although only 30 percent of B2B companies use Instagram for content marketing, the platform generates 20 times more engagement than LinkedIn? That means low competition and plenty of room for your thought leadership content to stand out and reach more people.

Because Instagram is all about visuals, positioning yourself as an industry thought leader requires aesthetically pleasing, share-worthy images, videos, and stories that show value, knowledge, and expertise. Bite-sized quotes, lists, infographics, and mindset shifts should be in order.

If you are planning to leverage Instagram for your thought leadership content marketing, read on to learn what types of content formats you should use and how to optimize them for excellent reach and engagement.

Post-Single Images With a Smooth Visual Style

Growth mindset quotes and helpful facts are a thought leader’s bread and butter on Instagram. Share tips on how to succeed, give your opinion about the latest trends, tell your audience about a happy client, provide answers, and ask questions that make your viewers think hard.

But more than just publishing images that are valuable, educational, and engaging, your Instagram images should look neat, cohesive, and aesthetically seamless when placed next to each other to show professionalism and foster trust and credibility.

For that reason, creating a design template for Instagram is crucial. Your Instagram profile is laid out in a 9x9 grid—plan the sequence and timing of your content around that layout for best results. As for dimensions, a square Instagram post should measure 1080 by 1080 px, while a portrait post should be 1080 by 1350 px.

Create Useful, Data-Packed Videos

A short but data-packed video can boost your thought leadership presence on Instagram, such as interview clips where you are seen sharing unique and valuable insights. Done right, Instagram videos generate 38 percent more engagement than images.

Animated infographics are also a good addition to your Instagram video mix, dividing a huge set of information into digestible pieces, one frame at a time. For variety, show data in statistical, timeline, tutorial, comparison, and list forms.

Make sure to hook your viewers within seconds because video duration matters a lot on Instagram. The longer the video runs, the lower the rate of engagement. For newsfeed videos, a length of 60 seconds is ideal, while videos for Instagram stories should only be 15 seconds long.

Take Advantage of Carousel Posts

If there is a platform where you should make carousel images, this is it. Also known as a “multiple-image post,” a carousel post features a combination of up to 10 photos that feels and looks like a flawless slideshow. It is best used to avoid overwhelming your audience with too many single images.

To make an effective carousel post, use a collection of similar photos that tell a story. Fonts, colors, and design elements should complement each other to create a natural flow while keeping in line with your branding.

Use your carousel post to educate your viewers about your industry, walk them through a product or service, or emphasize benefits and salient points of the latest forecast, news, or blog article.

Share a Story

Last but not least, share your images and videos on Instagram Stories. Five hundred million Instagram members use this feature every day, and you shouldn’t miss out on the reach and engagement it produces. Fifty-eight percent of users say they become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it on the Stories tab.

You can choose to share an already existing post or create one specifically designed for Stories (dimensions are 1080 by 1920 px).


Every day, 4.2 billion likes happen on Instagram, with users spending an average of 30 minutes on the platform. Those numbers are still growing, making Instagram a fertile ground for thought leaders to gain more business opportunities, one brilliant and beautiful post at a time. Don’t forget to add relevant hashtags.

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