BBC News creates the world’s biggest news Instagram account

By Kady Wardell

BBC News

London, United Kingdom


BBC News’ Instagram channel has surpassed 20 million followers in the past few months and continues to grow every day. Since the pandemic began, people have turned to social media for news more than ever. Misinformation spreads quickly, so people are turning to trusted news sources for the facts.

Our aim at BBC News is to deliver the very best content to our audiences — to inform, educate, and entertain in an impartial way.

With growing audiences relying solely on social media for their news content, we understood the need to provide in-depth explainers in an accessible format to cut through the jargon and break down the news. We found our explainers were being shared widely and have continued to use them throughout the past couple of years on stories with complicated backstories, including the war in Ukraine.

We focus on our audience and a team of data analysts keep across what does and doesn’t receive maximum engagement. We are always trying to improve by delivering content that matters to our followers and beyond.

BBC News launched its Instagram channel just over a year ago, and it grew quickly.
BBC News launched its Instagram channel just over a year ago, and it grew quickly.

Insta success

Just over a year ago, we launched our News Daily Instagram Stories. Picking the top three stories from the morning and the top three stories from the evening, we shared the headlines, encouraging audiences to swipe up to read more. We had great success with referrals back to the Web site and have since developed our strategy further to share the stories that our audiences on other social platforms are also interested in. We now post around 20 Insta Stories a day and our referrals have risen fivefold.

We have a strong team of journalists and senior journalists with a talent for finding stories that work well on the platform and are able to tell them visually. Our team members are not only based across the U.K., from Glasgow to Cardiff, but also include colleagues in Washington and Singapore.

New skill sets

Instagram requires a different style of writing than the BBC News Web site and our other social media platforms. Our style aims to be friendly and personable, while not undermining the trust and impartiality audiences expect from the BBC.

BBC News has lots of specialists in all subjects, and we work closely with content creators to ensure Instagram is thought about when stories are being covered. For example, our exclusive interview with Novak Djokovic featured a one-minute cut-down for the platform that was very shareable and encouraged engagement.

We post regularly to the Instagram feed, with breaking news taking priority. Our audience is international, with the biggest followings in India, United States, United Kingdom, Nigeria, and Brazil. We constantly monitor which posts do well in different locations and are always aiming to reach younger audiences.

About Kady Wardell

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