3 Ways to Make Instagram Posts More Engaging

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Given the growing popularity of Instagram, more TV stations are adding the social media platform to their daily promotional push.

Pew Research Center says 37% of U.S. adults use Instagram now. That’s about a 10% increase in the last three years. Facebook commands almost double that audience.  However, it’s popularity is diminishing according to some reports.

What works on one platform doesn’t work on others

Instagram is primarily a photo-sharing app. It requires a different content strategy than Facebook and Twitter, which rely more on text.

Tropical Storm Barry Forecast InstagramAccording to Instagram research, users are looking for creativity, visual beauty, and freedom of expression in their feed.

One meteorologist whose Instagram posts fulfill all three criteria is Ryan Vaughan, Chief Meteorologist on KAIT-TV in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Nothing is boring about his Instagram feed.

Vaughan uses an app called Word Swag to turn technical, meteorological data into engaging, artsy graphics.

“Our media team at church uses it, and it got me thinking about social media and weather,” Vaughan told me. “I’m getting a huge response and engagement with simple communication.”

Cold Front Impacts Instagram“Simple” is a critical word. Vaughan’s graphics usually include just one message. For example, he recently highlighted the impact of a cold front using one sentence and one number.

The free version of Word Swag offers limited features. A subscription costs $4.99/month. That includes the ability to import the station logo, more than 70 fonts, and several other options. Finished graphics can be uploaded to social media directly from the app.

Eiffel Tower Forecast Instagram

Tom Sorrells, Chief Meteorologist at WKMG-TV in Orlando, uses the free Meme Generator, available from Google Play.

Sorrells got a favorable reaction from his Instagram post comparing the weather at two well-known landmarks: the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France and the smaller version at nearby EPCOT.

There are many similar photo editing apps. Canva is one of the more expensive options, at $12.99/month. However, it offers many more features. Those who lack artistic talent will appreciate the 60,000 templates included with a paid subscription. Pick one, edit, and share.

None of these Instagram posts are very complicated. But the graphics are certainly more interesting than the typical weather map.


1. Keep it simple. Post one idea, one fact, one thought. That’s it. If you need to say two or three things, create separate posts.

2. Be conversational. Don’t use meteorological phrases or terminology. Write like most people talk. And avoid cliches. Call a spade a spade.

3. Use photos or artwork. Instagram is all about the pictures. Don’t use traditional weather graphics. Most apps include royalty-free images and allow you the option to import your own.


Broadcast meteorologists might want to consider Instagram Stories for more significant weather events and time-sensitive content. Stories allow multiple full-screen images to be featured together, and they expire within 24 hours.

Like all social media, it’s quality over quantity. It’s better to have fewer excellent posts than a feed full of lackluster content.

Tim Heller is an AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and Talent Coach. He helps local TV stations connect with their community through essential weather information.

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