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10 Types of Post Designs to Boost Your Social Media Engagement

Laura Busche September 22, 2023 · 6 min read

In the digital marketing world, the word engagement has become part of our everyday conversations. If you want to build a receptive audience for your brand’s message and cultivate a community, understanding what prompts them to action is an essential starting point. To get seen by the customers you’re seeking, you’ll need a basic notion of how algorithms work on social channels.

While they’re all different, there’s one factor these algorithms seem to weigh heavily: engagement. Put simply: just how much users are excited to interact with the message you’re sharing. Something else they have in common? Their dislike for engagement actions that are not authentic, such as automated responses. Depending on the platform, there are some specific actions that signal a high level of interest and can become ranking factors:

  • Expressing appreciation for your content (likes, favorites, or hearts)
  • Being so excited about it, you’re willing to share it (shares)
  • Perceiving it as something valuable enough to store and go back to (saves, bookmarks)
  • Feeling interested enough to add something to it (comments)

This is intuitive: as a social networking site, your goal is to keep users active, entertained, and invested in what they’re looking at. If you’re wondering what types of posts might have a better chance of achieving that, read on. Throughout this article, I’ll describe 10 types of social media designs that are prone to get interacted with, boosting your engagement. Though we’ll look at Instagram examples, remember these engagement principles apply to any other social platform with an algorithm that values relevance.

Question posts and stories

Curiosity is creative fuel. Ask questions and open up spaces for users to ask you questions. You’ll be surprised at the kinds of things others want to learn about you. Aside from boosting your engagement, these types of posts make for great audience research.

Carousels with step-by-step instructions

You don’t have to say everything at once. Walk your followers through an interesting sequence of steps they can swipe to uncover. Whether you’re presenting a list of resources, a tutorial, or general advice, these types of carousels are proven to increase interactions through the curiosity gap they create. SocialInsider studied 22 million Instagram posts and found them to be the most engaging post type.

Notifications and reminders

Designs incorporating phone messages have been trending for some time, and with good reason. In general, the kinds of messages you’d insert in an alert are the kinds of messages followers may want to be reminded of in the future. That makes these kinds of posts particularly effective at getting saves and reshares.


Instagram Stories incorporate a handy countdown feature where followers can turn on a reminder when a specific day/time is near. Naturally, there’s a higher chance they’ll re-engage with you if they are alerted to do so at a given point in the future. Add these stickers to your stories and make sure your audience is notified of big launches and campaigns.

Quotes worth bookmarking and sharing

Sometimes a certain phrase is just the sign you’ve been waiting for. Sometimes it’s the sign you think your friend has been waiting for. That’s why quotes tend to do well in terms of saves and comment tags, both of which keep the content circulating far beyond its initial publication.

Polls and this/thats

When it comes to topics we care about, we like to voice our opinions. Especially, we also want to know how those opinions compare to others’. Quick social polls allow us to do both. The image-based this/that format, specifically, has become popular because it appeals to the visually-driven: you don’t really need to put in words what it is about something that strikes your preference. That je ne sais quoi is, more often than not, exactly that: a special something you can’t name.

Infographics and diagrams

In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with new information, simplifying complex topics is invaluable. That’s why you rush to save or bookmark the recaps that really help you remember the ideas that matter to you. This is also true in social media, where the right chart can continue to drive traffic to your account over time. If deemed valuable, they’ll get reshared, saved, and commented on for others to see. Here are some examples of information graphics you can share:

  • Cheatsheets
  • Challenges 
  • Checklists
  • Charts and diagrams

Giveaways and freebies

Nothing beats free. A giveaway can be the perfect magnet to place your brand in front of new eyes and refresh your audience. When they are organized so that followers need to tag friends/colleagues, these initiatives are strong engagement drivers.

Story templates followers can fill out

…and reshare, obviously. Like I mentioned earlier in this article, it is a very human desire to express one’s opinion freely. Templates like quizzes and fill-in-the-blanks give us that opportunity without structuring questions or designing the tool ourselves. When those new stories roam freely and link back to the original creator, a very natural form of engagement emerges: you’re being credited and remembered.

GIF and meme posts

Humor goes a long way. Reshare content that reflects your own brand of humor and let followers in on one of the most distinctive aspects of your personality. The World Wide Web is truly a meme-centric culture these days, and there’s a space for you within it — no matter what makes you laugh.

Quick videos like Reels and IGTV

Gone are the days of 20-minute online videos. Platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok have reshaped what we’ve come to expect of video content, both in terms of post-production (zero, apparently) and duration (tending towards zero?). In such an environment, you can add a personal touch by including some simple design elements like cover images and animated section title images that still allow you to publish videos on the go.

Your turn!

Engagement is not without its fair amount of controversy: some question how far content creators are willing to go to get seen and how much time users should wisely spend on these platforms. Exercise good judgment and always be mindful of your content’s impact on your audience. Are you testing out one or more of the post types above? Share your links and let us know below!

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About the Author
Laura Busche

Brand strategist. Creating design tools to empower creative entrepreneurs. Author of the Lean Branding book. MA in Design Management from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).

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