How to Create Scroll-Stopping Content on Instagram

Wondering how to create scroll stopping content that gets noticed on Instagram?

If you’re like many business owners, you’ve probably seen your reach fall dramatically on Instagram in the past year or so.

You may find that content that used to get tons of likes and comments just isn’t getting seen anymore…which may make you question whether all your efforts are even worth it.

I recently sat down with Chalene Johnson, speaker, author, fitness pro, and founder of the Marketing Impact Academy.

She also has multiple well-known Instagram accounts in the social media space, so I was excited to get her thoughts on how to create Instagram content that actually gets traction and help you stand out!

We talked about stories, IGTV, and much more…so let’s jump in.

What Is IGTV, and How Does it Work to Help You Create Scroll-Stopping Content?

Chalene is a big fan of using IGTV, and has gotten HUGE results with it. But I know some people – even those who have been on Instagram for a while – may be wondering what IGTV is, and how you post to it.

To put it simply, IGTV is an app you can use to post longer videos on Instagram. You can use IGTV either on its own, or within Instagram.

Fortunately, according to Chalene, Instagram has made IGTV super easy to use. In the past, it was hard to find; however, you can now upload a video to IGTV the same way you upload any content to your feed. Simply select whatever video content you want to post, just as if you’re posting to your feed. But when you click “next”, it will detect if your video is longer than 60 seconds, and will ask if you want to post to your feed or to IGTV.

After Uploading Your Video

After uploading your video, you’ll have the option to create a title, description and thumbnail image.

Think of your IGTV title as the first line or comment under your video. It will also appear across your video while it’s playing.

The next line is a description of your video. Use this as you would use a caption for your regular posts. The goal here is engagement, so it should always include some type of question or call to action.

For your thumbnail, Chalene recommends creating something that’s really going to get people to stop scrolling. It doesn’t need to be an actual image from your video, but it needs to be just as captivating. It should tell people a little bit about what’s in your video, and it should grab their attention.

Here’s a GREAT tip from Chalene about your thumbnails: don’t even bother leaving the app to create them. You can simply create an image in Instagram stories, save it, and then use it as your thumbnail image.

That’s what Chalene did for this post:


And this one:


As you can see, these thumbnails are super simple and straightforward. You don’t need to get fancy or spend tons of time creating the “perfect” thumbnail!

What are Some Features of Instagram That Will Help You Create Scroll-Stopping Content?

Many people are hung up on simply posting to their Instagram feed, rather than taking advantage of IGTV and stories.

However, according to Chalene, both of these – especially IGTV – can be game-changers: “If your Instagram is on life support right now, IGTV can bring it back. Instagram has put so much time and effort and money…into the development of IGTV. They’re coming for YouTube”.

What this means for you? Instagram is going to favor people who are using IGTV. This means when you use IGTV, your content is far more likely to show up in people’s feeds and on the Explore page.

Clickable Links

Another feature that’s a total game-changer, according to Chalene, are clickable links. The cool thing is that unlike with regular posts, you don’t have to wait until you hit 10K followers to use them…you just have to create a video that’s longer than one minute. You can then put a link in your video description.

For his birthday, Chalene posted an IGTV dedicated to her son. As a “happy birthday” to him, she put a clickable link to his business course, and it reached 50% of her followers (which means it reached approximately 250K people).

That’s Ah-MAZing! It got 539 shares, 506 saves, and 14K likes. And perhaps most importantly, it got 2K clicks.

When it comes down to it, Chalene recommends really focusing on the types of content Instagram is going to push out into the feed. And, what Instagram doesn’t care about right now are regular posts, because they don’t keep people on the platform for long. Instead, focus on posting content that’s going to keep someone on the platform longer: in other words, longer videos, rather than simple photos or a couple of carousel swipes.

Instagram Series

Another cool feature that can help keep people engaged are Instagram series. Think of these as Instagram’s version of playlists on YouTube – complete with a subscribe button so people are notified when you add a new video.

You can have as many series as you want, so you can organize your videos in countless different ways.

For example, if you’re someone who does equipment reviews, you may want to have a series on cameras, your favorite apps, and the best social media tools.

And our favorite thing about using series? It allows people to binge-watch your content, keeping them engaged with you for a much longer amount of time!

The Shift from Perfect to Real and Why it Matters for Creating Scroll-Stopping Content


Chalene and I talked about how social media has changed over the years, and how this is impacting reach on Instagram.

When social media first started, it was all about broadcasting and attracting people. However, Chalene and I agree that the key these days is real connection: moving from a monologue to a dialogue.

For years, you were the person posting and telling people about your life, and telling them what they should do with their lives. But, what people need and crave now is dialogue: “[T]hat’s what’s creating trust more than anything else…it’s far more important than likes. It’s far more important than reach. It’s the depth of those relationships”.

How Does This Apply To Instagram?

For one thing, your Instagram feed doesn’t have to be perfect anymore. It doesn’t have to be branded or cohesive like it once was.

Chalene is hearing from many people who simply aren’t getting reach or likes anymore, whether that’s on Facebook or Instagram. People wonder if they’ve been shadow banned, or if something is wrong with their account.

But the truth is, if you want your content to be scroll-stopping, it has to stand out…even among your own content. For example, if you typically post very soft, white, professional-looking photos with a long comment underneath, you’re really staying on brand. People expect this of you. The problem with this, however, is that they glance at it, immediately know who it belongs to, and may not even look at it anymore.

Becoming White Noise

According to Chalene, your posts begin to feel like white noise: “It begins to feel like all the other things you post. And now what we’re looking for are the things that stop the scroll…It’s not Instagram who’s not showing your stuff to people. Instagram is dying to show your stuff if people are interested in it. But we’re not interested in things that look the same”.

To create content people are actually going to stop and look at, think about what YOU stop and look at on Instagram.

Typically, you’re going to scroll right past stuff that all looks the same, or that’s expected. The key, according to Chalene, is to focus on posting content that’s a little messier, more real, and maybe more controversial.

She’s quick to point out we may still need the help of photographers and graphic artists, but our posts, stories and videos have to look less polished: “It’s real. It’s not as calculated. And it’s less professional”.

How to Get More Traction for Your IGTVs

Struggling to get people to watch your full IGTV?

According to Chalene, one key to getting more reach is to get people to watch your IGTVs after the first minute. This is because only the first minute shows in the preview on people’s feed. A little reminder pops up that says “Continue watching on IGTV”. When people click on that, that’s how you get additional reach, as you’re signifying to Instagram that people are engaged with your content.

So, how do you get people to watch longer than the first minute?

Around the 45-55 second mark, you need to include some kind of cliffhanger…something that’s going to grab their interest and get them to keep watching.

The problem is, it’s pretty hard to plan out a video that way! So rather than building that cliffhanger into your original video, Chalene recommends going back in afterwards and making an edit around the 55-second mark. She might say something like, “At the very end of this video, I’m going to share the #1 place to put your hashtags. Make sure to watch until the end”.

This is an easy, but very effective way to boost engagement for your IGTVs, without having to script in your cliffhanger ahead of time!

The Best Place to Use Hashtags on Instagram

One proven way to get more reach on Instagram is to use relevant hashtags. But many people wonder whether it’s more effective to put them in their description or in their comment.

I asked Chalene this question, as her team manages over 15 Instagram accounts with over 5 million users total. They also regularly survey the 5,000 members of their Marketing Impact Academy, so she actually knows what she’s talking about!

In terms of the best place to put hashtags on regular posts, their data is inconclusive – and has been for a long time. In other words, it doesn’t seem to make a difference whether you put your hashtags in your caption or comment when posting to your feed.

However, there is an exception to this: Chalene and her team have also tested putting hashtags in the comment under an IGTV.

The results? The IGTV blows up.

On a recent experiment, Chalene found that when she did this, she ranked for some huge hashtags that she would normally never rank for. These are super-competitive hashtags, and she’s ranking above the fold, sometimes in the first or second spot.

Chalene’s not sure how long this will last for, but definitely recommends giving it a try with your own IGTVs!

How to Get More Reach with Your Stories

As already mentioned, stories are much more likely to get traction than regular posts.

However, one of the biggest concerns I hear from people about using stories is that they don’t want to be in front of the camera. Instead, they want to design some pretty graphics ahead of time, and then use them in their stories.

Chalene’s thoughts on this? “No, no, no, no, no. If you’re in this fricking game, stop hiding and trying to make perfect content”.

She’s noticed many people using other programs (like Canva) to create their stories, and they’re very curated, using the same fonts, colors, and designs.

However, according to Chalene, this could actually be working against them. Rather than seeing the “picture perfect” images and stories, people want to see who you really are.

How are you doing in the middle of this crisis? What does your hair look like? What does your house look like? Who are you? Because if they can see who you are, then they’ll like you and trust you.

Posts That Are Relatable

Chalene recently talked to someone who said he spent a ton of time creating a “perfect” video for Instagram. Unfortunately, despite all his hard work, the video got crickets. Then he showed her another post, which was a picture of him and a client who had lost 100 pounds. It was a super-grainy, basic photo, and yet it got so much more reach in the feed.

According to Chalene, there’s a simple explanation for this: the one he spent so much time on was all about what he was doing, and what he was offering. The grainy photo, on the other hand, was about motivating his followers. It was about them…not himself.

Another reason that photo likely got more traction is it was relatable.

When I first got started in social media, my husband didn’t understand how I could post a picture of my dinner, and have 300 people like it.

My response to him? Everybody eats. It’s relatable. People think, “I’d like to have that right now”, or “I had that last week”. It’s all about that connection, and that relatability factor.

I think many people forget this when they do stories. If you can’t show up, be more personal, and let people see who you are through your stories, you might struggle to get a lot of traction.

Chalene offered another great tip for helping your stories get more traction: for every other story, give people a reason to physically interact with it. Do a slider on a poll, or ask them to respond to a question or leave a response in a DM.

The more they’re engaged with you, the more likely your story content is going to show up for them in the future. Any type of interaction you can get with your audience is one layer of insurance your content is going to show up before someone else’s.

So if you’re not encouraging people to interact? According to Chalene, you’re missing the boat.

Final Thoughts

The key takeaway I got from my talk with Chalene is this: whether you’re posting to the feed, stories or IGTV, your audience wants to see YOU.

Not the picture perfect, manicured, scripted you – the messy, relatable, REAL you.

In a time when getting traction on social media is harder than ever, this is how you’re going to stand out.

So get out there and share the real you with the world!


Need more help with your Instagram? Check out my post, 7 Steps to Insta-Success: How to Use Instagram For Your Business.

What are you going to do this week to stand out on Instagram? Let me know in the comments below!

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84 thoughts on “How to Create Scroll-Stopping Content on Instagram”

  1. I saw this article.I read this a to z and now I am feeling like yeah I have got something special in the end.Nice article thanks❤

  2. I must confess, I have been avoiding IGTV – burying my head in the sand because I don’t understand it – but this post has convinced me that it’s time to get involved! Thanks so much.

  3. Grate ArticlesI saw this article.I read this a to z and now I am feeling like yeah I have got something special in the end.Nice article thanks

  4. Hi kim,
    Thank a lot for sharing this awesome info. I personally like this topic. I love to share on social media. Kep It UP!!

  5. Trust me guys, this is what i’m looking for. Not all points but some are very important and worked for me. Thanks

  6. Great info, thank you. I always wondered why people post their hashtags in the comments and whether it made a difference on regular grid posts, so it’s helpful to know it doesn’t, especially as I always post mine in the description!!

  7. This is such a very helpful article. Anyone can do blogs on Instagram but not everyone can think of and create a fantastic blog content. Thank you for sharing these informative post that has a lot of tips on how to create scroll-stopping content.

  8. This is great advice! Very honest and practical.I really enjoyed this post. these tips may help Great post, Thanks so much for a detailed post! It is very helpful to avoid the mistakes.

  9. Informative stuff.. I m also a instagram apge handler ..and for sure I will use your all these gamechanging deep you explain every point .thanks for sharing your meeting with Chalene . keep sharing .

  10. Thanks for sharing the information. Very insightful for me. Noted the points you mentioned in this article.
    Keep up the good work.

  11. Thank you so much for the information about using IGTV. I never thought about using it like that. Thnka you for the easy to read and follow information. Keep it up!

  12. Great article, scrolling through Instagram is so mind numbing, i really think everyone could benefit from a “digital detox” every once in a while.

  13. Most.Qumrunnaher Kakoli

    Wow, Great article. Good Information about Pinterest. I am trying to grow a business on Instagram. This tape and tricks will help a lot.

  14. This is great post! I really enjoyed this post. these tips may help in future, Thanks so much for a detailed post! i love to increase my instagram post thank you kimgarst

  15. prasanjeet sarkar

    Hi Kim,
    Thank a lot for sharing this awesome info. I personally like the last point and follow in my blog. I love to share on social media. Keep It Up !!!

  16. Hiii Kim,
    Great Thanks for Sharing Awesome information about how to create scroll stopping content on INSTAGRAM,
    I really Love to read your GREAT BLOG as well as Your GREAT KNOWLEDGE about Social Media.

  17. Hi Kim,

    Thanks for sharing information about “How to Create Scroll-Stopping Content on Instagram”, it is really helpful for my work. thanks a lot.

  18. Really nice share. Thank you, this is very helpful and detailed contents for beginners like me. I sincerely thank you for learning so much from this article. Keep sharing the new ones. Hope to hear more interesting topics from you.

  19. HI kim,
    First of all Thank you to share this blog tocreate scroll stopping content that gets noticed on Instagram.
    I hope this will help me to improve my business’s Instagram profile

  20. “Hi I Checked You Website I Really Appreciate Your Work – Keep Doing Your Hard Working Work – Very Well Wishes For You

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