Inside Instagram: An Exclusive Look at How An App is Changing the Face of Entertainment

on May24
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What to Know

  • Instagram finds emerging talent on the app and reaches out to them.

  • Instagram says people using all their features will get the most benefit from the app.

  • Studios and networks are using IGTV to release long form content.

If you’re looking for a new show to fill the void left after “Game of Thrones” ended, you might try Instagram for some inspiration. With more than a billion users, Instagram has clearly made an impression on the population. And they aren’t just turning to Instagram for fashion pics in front of colorful walls.

The entertainment industry is using the app in new ways as well. Studios, networks, actors and production companies have increased the content they share on the app in the hopes of interacting with fans, who will then tune in or turn out to the theater.

Freeform is one of the trendsetters in this area. The young adult brand of the Walt Disney Company focuses on creating new, engaging content for fans that is only available through the app. Freeform says they create that content on Instagram because that’s where most of their fans are. And if fans are engaged with the show, chances are they will continue to watch.

“We use social media as a way to expand and extend our shows. And we’re always looking for innovative ways to do that,” Dalia Ganz, Vice President of Social Media, Digital Marketing and Synergy at Freeform.

Freeform also uses Facebook Groups to give fans access to spoiler culture and behind the scenes content. That’s something they say the fans have responded to in a big way.

“For our show ‘Good Trouble’, they cover important topics,” Ganz said. “So we partnered with Attention to create a companion series to the show. And every week we would release an after show with a topic that was featured in the show. We had high hopes for the series, and it got nearly 20 million organic views. So that was a great way to use Instagram.”

Lauren Schutte oversees Global Marketing Strategy at Instagram and Facebook. She says they have teams in place to work with members of the entertainment community to make sure their content is visible by potential fans.

“We focus on building the right products that are useful for the entertainment industry, and that the entertainment industry is using them,” Schutte said.

Schutte says stars like The Rock and Kevin Hart have embraced the tools Instagram offers by posting longer form content on IGTV. Before IGTV, users could only post up to a minute of video in their feed. Now, Schutte says studios and stars are using it to post trailers, and almost vlog like videos from set to attract viewers.

“Disney just released preview trailers for ‘Aladdin’ that are cut specifically for IGTV. That’s been a huge change,” Schutte said.

Another huge change is the number of celebrities being discovered, and made, through Instagram. Lala Milan has 2.7 million followers on her Instagram channel alone. She started creating parody videos 5 years ago and her popularity has grown so much through the app, she’s being cast in TV shows.

“I got a TV role on ‘Boomerang’, a hit series on BET,” Milan said. “It’s opened the world to so many opportunities, including so much money.”

Milan has reached celebrity status in the influencer world and is crossing over into more acting roles. She has built her business on Instagram but also shares her content on other platforms like YouTube and Facebook to make sure she doesn’t have all her eggs in one basket.

Instagram says they are also always looking for emerging talent on the platform. Many up and coming users are discovered by teams at Instagram and are invited to go to the studios there to create content. Schutte says there are several ways you can grow your following and get noticed whether you’re an indie filmmaker, aspiring actor or singer.

“It’s about having a point of view, having a focus. And then using our features,” Schutte said. “You use your feed to highlight the really big moments, then you have IGTV especially for filmmakers, to showcase their longform things. Basically it’s about using Instagram as a billboard for your passions.”

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