Bloomberg (@bloombergbusiness) had a big year on Instagram in 2018: growing their audience and video views significantly, and zooming past other business news competitors on Instagram. How did they do it? We asked Senior Social Editor Kevin Young to share his secrets for success.

Kevin Young in the Bloomberg office.

Your growth on Instagram has been impressive this year! To what do you credit it?

We’re thrilled that @bloombergbusiness saw a 391% increase in followers during 2018, and has now passed the 700,000 mark. We’ve come from behind to overtake other major publishers in the business and finance arena, and we’ve also had more video views than any of those accounts, with a 617% rise last year.

Videos have been an integral part of our success, but our growth really exploded when we began posting more graphics. We’ve harnessed the power of Bloomberg’s analytics skills to bring business news to life through clear, concise data visualizations and maps, as well as using bar charts and color to illustrate dramatic market developments. We’ve also had great success by posting inspirational quotes from business leaders, which appeal to our young, global, aspirational audience.

View this post on Instagram

Was it human error that caused Singapore-listed Jardine Matheson Holdings to lose $41 billion in value in a pre-market trading plunge? That's the theory of traders, who say a "fat finger" error may have caused the dramatic drop. The stock quickly recovered the losses and was even trading higher later in the day.

A post shared by Bloomberg (@bloombergbusiness) on

Analyzing data and finding trends is so much a part of your newsroom’s DNA. How do you apply that approach to your Instagram strategy?

We closely monitor the analytics to learn what our Instagram audience likes and wants. We know they’ve been gripped by the dramatic rise and fall of Bitcoin, for instance, with huge engagement on this topic. They’re also fascinated by the stories behind the world’s most successful people and the advice they have to offer, and we’ve seen that individuals such as Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Jack Ma are hugely admired by our followers.

Once we’ve identified trends or topics in which our audience is interested, we’re also careful to explain the news in everyday language that avoids unnecessary jargon. We consider @bloombergbusiness to be the home of business news on Instagram, but you don’t have to have an MBA or an investment portfolio to understand what we’re describing.

Your video views are high relative to some of your competitors. How have you managed to be so efficient?

We use videos to explain the stories behind the headlines, and even though we only have 60 seconds in feed posts, we’ve seen high viewing figures for our concise digests of topical issues. We developed an Instagram template for these clips, to ensure they were uniform in style and appearance, and we’re careful to cherry-pick the topics we thought would resonate most with our audience.

We developed a weekend video strategy where we run feature-based material for Saturdays and Sundays, when people had more time to watch it. Viewing figures rose and many of our most successful clips are the ones we run on weekends.

View this post on Instagram

It's only the second week of the year and already the outlook is worsening for a growing number of companies worldwide.

A post shared by Bloomberg (@bloombergbusiness) on

A lot of your Instagram Stories prompt users to swipe up to read more. What role does referral traffic play in your overall strategy on Instagram?

Driving referrals to Bloomberg.com is our primary goal for Instagram Stories. We’ve developed the “5 big stories” sequence on Saturdays and Sundays, which takes 10 of our most popular articles of the week and presents them for an Instagram audience. We’re regularly generating clickthrough rates of 25% for these Stories.

We also use polls to produce simple quizzes, encouraging followers to swipe through to the website for the answers, and regularly publish Instagram Stories to promote our best articles.

What else should we know?

We’ve found the key to success on Instagram is to be yourself and develop your own voice.

@bloombergbusiness offers material that can’t be found on any other Instagram account, whether it’s our charts, our videos or our exclusive photography. Maintaining our distinctive look and tone will remain key to building on our success and hopefully passing the 1 million follower mark in 2019.

Your video views are high relative to some of your competitors. How have you managed to be so efficient?

We use videos to explain the stories behind the headlines, and even though we only have 60 seconds in feed posts, we’ve seen high viewing figures for our concise digests of topical issues. We developed an Instagram template for these clips, to ensure they were uniform in style and appearance, and we’re careful to cherry-pick the topics we thought would resonate most with our audience.

We developed a weekend video strategy where we run feature-based material for Saturdays and Sundays, when people had more time to watch it. Viewing figures rose and many of our most successful clips are the ones we run on weekends.

A lot of your Instagram Stories prompt users to swipe up to read more. What role does referral traffic play in your overall strategy on Instagram?

Driving referrals to Bloomberg.com is our primary goal for Instagram Stories. We’ve developed the “5 big stories” sequence on Saturdays and Sundays, which takes 10 of our most popular articles of the week and presents them for an Instagram audience. We’re regularly generating clickthrough rates of 25% for these Stories.

We also use polls to produce simple quizzes, encouraging followers to swipe through to the website for the answers, and regularly publish Instagram Stories to promote our best articles.

What else should we know?

We’ve found the key to success on Instagram is to be yourself and develop your own voice.

@bloombergbusiness offers material that can’t be found on any other Instagram account, whether it’s our charts, our videos or our exclusive photography. Maintaining our distinctive look and tone will remain key to building on our success and hopefully passing the 1 million follower mark in 2019.

Follow @kevinyoungnews and @bloombergbusiness on Instagram.