All Things Instagram, Part One

With over one billion active users, Instagram, is taking the world by storm. And one of the most common questions we get from our clients is, “How do I grow my Instagram following?”

I recently interviewed Nils Smith, our own social media expert, on The Dunham Podcast. He offers some great insight in this first part of our conversation…

Nils:  When it comes to growing your Instagram following, there’s not a magic bullet like many think. As with most social media, good content always wins. Stay highly engaged and use smart strategies.

At the core, you want to produce great content in your posts, focus on creating good Instagram stories, use IGTV videos, and as a result, people will share them. That’s the best way to grow.

Trent:  So, nothing has changed in the world. Content is still king?

Nils:  Content is still king. And I think there’s a big mistake people make. They want to put everything on an assembly line and just go through the motions. But with social media, you have to catch people’s attention and that takes a lot of creativity.

Stay consistent with good photos and remember that videos work really well on this platform. Keep creating Instagram stories that are shot with an iPhone or even edited professionally. The key is figuring out how to catch people’s attention… and then keeping it as you continue to engage with them.

Sometimes people ask me, “But how will we ever get there?” Then I look at their Instagram and see that they haven’t posted anything in two weeks. And I’ll say,

“Well, doing nothing isn’t going to get you there!”

Another key element is staying personal. People connect to people better than they connect to organizations. Even if you’re using your organizational account, the more personal content that you create, the better.

Think about a church. People are going to connect with the pastor more likely than they’re going to connect with the church. Or if we’re talking about a nonprofit, the CEO likely has an opportunity to have a personal presence on that platform.

But remember, it’s a shifting landscape. What worked five years ago won’t necessarily work today. The key is to stay consistent, authentic and creative.

Trent:  Can you speak to some of the recent features of Instagram and how to best engage them?

Nils:  I would first say that as Instagram continues to develop and change, keep adapting!

IGTV is a popular feature on Instagram right now. At first it seemed to fail, but now it’s back and it’s a big hit. On IGTV videos, you can upload a video that’s five to seven minutes and only the first minute plays as an Instagram post. Then, you can tap “watch more” and see the rest of the video on IGTV.

Another popular feature is Instagram Live. This is a function that’s been around for a while. Rarely does it get significant engagement like Facebook Live did when it was new. For that reason, we don’t recommend spending a lot of time on Instagram Live. But Instagram ‘stories’ on the other hand have become extremely popular.

The key to stories is figuring out how to get creative in those 15-second videos or pictures. It’s this constantly evolving platform that is pretty vital if you want to grow and engage where people are spending their time.

In fact, I recently read that the average American is spending more than 30 minutes a day on Instagram. There is a lot of time spent on this platform and the ages are diverse. Specifically, ages 18 to 35 are the sweet spot for Instagram.

All in all, I think this is a platform that is going to continue to pick up momentum.

… So don’t miss out!

For more helpful tips on growing your Instagram following, be sure to check out The Dunham Podcast episode, All About Instagram.

More Insights from Dunham+Company: “The Company I See (Part One)

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