How the Financial Times found a winning Instagram strategy
THE Financial Times is using the power of Instagram to push their visual content – and they appear to have hit upon a winning formula.
Renowned as the best financial publication in the world, with a daily combined online and print readership of 1.8 million, the title boasts 517,000 Instagram followers with thousands being added daily. But what is the FT doing to create a unique and intriguing online presence?
Building a unique online presence
“It’s important to make sure we’re not just joining in with what other publications are doing, that we have our distinct voice and identity,” Jake Grovum, social media journalist at the FT told Digiday.
This was the scene in many parts of Catalonia on Sunday as the region held its independence vote despite Spain's objections and the country’s constitutional court saying it was illegal. Catalan authorities said more than 760 people were injured in clashes around polling stations on Sunday, and there are fears that Spain's efforts to stop the vote have only fuelled the separatist movement. Spain's prime minister said there was "no self-determination referendum" held in Catalonia, despite votes being cast on Sunday. The level of turnout was still unclear on Sunday night, although the regional government claimed that 96 per cent of polling stations had been able to open for at least part of the day. It says it will declare independence within 48 hours if there is a Yes vote. In much of Catalonia, voting took place peacefully. Picture by Getty #spain #catalonia #Barcelona #barca #catalan #catalans #politics #europe #independence #independent #eu #rajoy #vote #politics #España #barça #madrid
Their strategy of creating a distinct voice and identity is resonating with Instagram users.
This new-found identity does not copy the style of their print publication, nor does it thrust facts and figures at the audience.
Instead it aims to build a narrative around news and current events via the Instagram Story option. This connects the viewer to the brand using snippets of information with the option to read further.
When it comes to hot topics such as Brexit or Trump, FT tries to create an awareness of the situation via updates and a running commentary, rather than presenting it in a wordy news format.
Knowing where pretty pictures belong
The FT‘s Instagram page is dedicated to lighter lifestyle content.
Beautiful pictures of mountainous terrains, satirical cartoons of George Bush dressed as Captain America holding up the US’s nuclear war policy and images of protests all engage the audience, but do not pressure them to subscribe to the news provider.
FT Photo Diary 📸: A bird soars near Mount Ararat (also known as Agri Dagi), some 5137m high, outside Yerevan on October 6, 2017. See more photos from around the world at FT.com/week-in-pictures 📷: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images #ft #financialtimes #photooftheday #picoftheday #photo #photography #photographer #onassignment #bird #mountain #mount #ararat #mountararat #agridagi #armenia #mountains #ksy #bluesky #bird
The FT bio, found at the top of the page, often contains links to their main site, but as Grovum told Digiday: “It’s not like we’re opening the paywall. They’re easy to use — we don’t want the audience to copy and paste the link.”
The FT is also paying attention to an area of Instagram content which was once sneered at: charts. Not perceived as pretty, or easy-to-read, charts stood out from the social rules of Instagram.
The UK’s currency has leapt to its highest value against the dollar since the Brexit vote. This surge in the pound’s value came after a speech, from a Bank of England policymaker, suggested that interest rates may be set to rise for the first time in a decade. But sceptics say this is all part of a plan by the central bank to limit the rise in inflation. Will interest rates really be moved higher? Read more at ft.com #ft #financialtimes #sterling #pound #brexit
FT‘s success on Instagram came through their ability to know where news belongs and where appealing images and snippets of insightful text fit into the bigger Financial Times picture.
Of course, though, the ROI calculus is not as simple for financial service publishers as it is for consumer brands, who can link their product in their post, such as Taoboa.world.
But this is not a huge concern for FT, as brand exposure and public engagement hold high value in themselves for the publication and provoke discussion, which in time can generate subscription.