Credit: Photo by Cristian Dina from Pexels

With more than one billion active users worldwide, Instagram is one of the most popular social networking platforms. Media brands like the BBC, The Washington Post, and Vice have already built a solid following made of younger and more diverse audiences, while many other outlets are trying to carve their own niche.

But with such a wide user base, you need more than just pretty pictures to rise above the noise. We explore the three main ingredients for growing your Instagram presence.


In a list of tips, content marketer Jillian Warren says Instagram is more likely to recommend your posts to someone who has previously ‘liked’ or interacted with them.

Focus on repeating engagement by identifying popular type of post and consistently publish content with similar styles or themes.

The BBC, for example, posts news stories accompanied by pictures at regular intervals. All the details are saved for the captions, as the posts are very minimal in text and design.


Instagram Reels, a feature heavily inspired by TikTok, are likely to play a big part in your Instagram success, according to social media consultant Matt Navarra.

Although it is possible to download videos straight from TikTok and reupload them to Reels, it is not ideal. Lower quality of recycled footage is one of the reasons why Instagram does not promote videos with the TikTok watermark on its feed. Navarra advises that journalists should produce original content for Reels, as well as Stories, its short vertical video feed, and IGTV, the section for longer videos.

That means you want to mix up video lengths. Keep Reels to around 15 or 30 seconds long for quick posting. Longer videos posted natively to IGTV are rewarded by the algorithm - aim for anything between two and five minutes for best results.


'Authenticity' continues to be the buzzword on social in 2021, said Navarra, so try to form deeper connections with your followers through user-generated content (UGC).

"One way journalists could lean on UGC is by inviting their followers to contribute photos, videos, or comments to feed into a news story they are writing about," he explains.

"Once published, they can reshare some of the contributions, along with an IG Stories-optimised edit of the final news article or video they produced."

Nothing says authenticity quite like a personal response, so you can strategise around replying to messages, suggests content creator Dani Rodriguez.

Think about how you reply to DMs and comments on posts, or consider engaging with other Instagram accounts to widen your reach.

If you are looking to get serious about your Instagram presence, join this course with former BuzzFeed and Bloomberg QuickTake producer Kassy Cho and learn how to tell hard news stories through social video.

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