Instagram in 2016: Best Practices for TV Shows

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Since it launched on October 6, 2010, Instagram has become a massively important social network, with more than 400 million active users. Originally available exclusively for iPhone, this mobile-first, image- and video-sharing network is increasingly accessible across all platforms.

In this post, we look at a few of the Instagram tactics being used by TV shows/series to drive audience.

1.  Sphere of Influencers

The practice of paying Instagram “influencers,” i.e. those with at least 20,000 followers, to post about products and services is widespread.  More than 80% of Instagram’s top accounts by number of followers are celebrities, however, brands don’t always have to pay Kendall or Cara-sized cash in order to get results.

The US comedy-drama series, ‘Younger’ identified that the audience of Instagramer, Daniella Monet, aligned with the show’s target demographic.  Younger contracted Monet to promote the series’ season 2 premiere.  Monet’s  posts earned more than 29,000 likes, driving significant awareness for the show.

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The creators of the movie ‘Pixels’ used a similar strategy to reach an entirely difference audience. ‘Pixels’ collaborated with online gaming vlogger Ali-A. The partnership was well targeted given the film features unique virtual-gaming elements that appealed to Ali-A’s fanbase. 37,000 of Ali-A’s Instagram followers liked his Instagram post, which linked to a YouTube video he created based on the film’s content.

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2.  A Lighter Side, Behind the Scenes

The massively popular TV show ‘Game of Thrones’ is full of violent imagery, so one might expect the show’s Instagram account to be equally dark. Instead, it takes a lighter approach depicting scenes from the program using vinyl toys:

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The account frequently shows the show’s stars interacting with the big-headed dolls:

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The GOT audience seems to love these posts, as they regularly receive tens of thousands of Likes and hundreds of comments.

Other top TV shows on Instagram such as ‘Orange is the New Black’ and ‘The Tonight Show’ also post behind-the-scenes footage and images that keep things light.

‘Orange is the New Black’ frequently reposts fun, candid shots from cast members’ accounts to its official Instagram account:

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Although ‘The Tonight Show’ posts a mixture of material, the profile’s most successful posts in terms of audience engagement are candid shots of Jimmy Fallon having fun with guests backstage:

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3. Pay-To-Play Is Here

Like Instagram, Facebook began as a free channel for content creators and brands to connect directly with their audiences via media rich posts, contests, premium content, etc.  Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion … and things began to change.  The focus shifted to paid engagement to generate revenue.

Today, building engagement organically on both platforms is more difficult. Engagement rates, e.g. the number of people who like or comment on your post, are falling  on Instagram, while paid advertising gains momentum.  In short — if you are looking to a large audience quickly, it is now necessary to buy ads.

Therefore, it is more important than ever to have a firm grasp of the advertising opportunities Instagram offers. In Part 2 of this Blog series, we will look to the future of Instagram by identifying best practices for advertising on the platform.