Why Organic Instagram Isn't Dead (And What Works) (Dorien Morin-van Dam)

Dorien Morin-van Dam

Those who run ads on Instagram know that advertising works. Data is straightforward. It tells the story of success and failure, so that when ads do not deliver results, you are justified in turning them off.

Those who run organic social media for companies don’t always “know” that their organic posts work, or deliver ROI.

While some people might like to count followers and views, likes and comments, the actual ROI from organic posts could be brand awareness, clicks to a website, or DMs.

Whatever your goals are, remember these two things:

  1. You can measure ROI
  2. Organic Instagram is not dead

What does work on Instagram? Let’s take a look!

Where and how to get traction on Instagram

Instagram offers quite a few ways to gain traction with organic content. It’s a visual platform where pretty images, videos, and short-form content shines.

Here are 5 features on Instagram that give you the most bang for your buck. If you want to get more engagement, increase your reach, and grow your audience, start here!

1. Reels

TikTok, the short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share short videos on any topic, has taken the world by storm and now has over 1 billion active users.

Reels are Instagram’s answer to TikTok.

Instagram Reels are not only popular on Instagram, they can be automatically cross-posted to Facebook! The reach of a single Reel can therefore be quite extensive if it’s re-shared in the Instagram feed, in a story, and on Facebook.

What is an Instagram Reel?

Instagram tells us:

“Reels are short, entertaining videos on Instagram where you can express your creativity and bring your brand to life. People come to Reels to participate in cultural trends, collaborate with the community and discover new ideas.”

If you don’t have a Reels strategy in place, start playing! While you do not have to know how to dance, sing or entertain, having a sense of humor and some creativity will help you stand out among the many Reels on the platform itself.

2. Stories

Instagram stories continue to deliver results for those who use them. While stories disappear after 24 hours, you can save a story as a highlight on your Instagram profile, thus extending the life of a story.

Stories can be still images, videos, or a combination of both. Stories can be enhanced with stickers, links, polls, and music, just to name some of the features.

The more people click on and engage with your stories, the further your reach will go. Therefore I highly recommend you experiment with question and poll stickers, which involve engaging your community members, if you are not yet taking advantage of these features in stories.

3. Carousels

Carousels are the hidden gem among the many Instagram features. A carousel is an Instagram post that contains up to 10 images or videos. This single post’s images and videos can be viewed by swiping left, giving the user that carousel look and feel.

A 2021 Instagram carousel study released by Socialinsider revealed several key findings that have helped me get the most out of organic Instagram carousels:

  • Carousels bring higher engagement than single images or videos on feed posts.
  • The overall carousel engagement rate is highest when using all 10 carousel slots.
  • Mixing videos and images in one carousel brings the highest engagement.
  • Including the phrase ‘swipe left’ in the carousel caption increases the engagement rate.

Have you been taking advantage of carousels? I encourage you to start incorporating carousels in your Instagram strategy today!

4. Video

As much as Instagram is a visual content platform, videos continue to deliver great ROI for those who use them on this platform. Whether your videos are shown in stories, in Reels, or via “Instagram Video” which replaced IGTV in 2021, video content allows for a more intimate behind-the-scenes look at your business and life than pictures alone can offer.

If a picture is worth a 1000 words, a video might be worth 1.8 million words. Integrating video content in your Instagram content strategy is a smart way to boost your organic reach on this platform.

5. Group chats

Besides having one-on-one conversations with fans, friends, and family, did you know you can use the Instagram chat feature to send group DMs too?

Group chats can be used for those who coach, have a brand ambassadors program, or offer a loyalty program with special perks, just to name a few ways to take advantage of Group Chat.

If you have an Instagram live show or a podcast, group chat can be a great way to notify fans of the next episodes.

Group chats create exclusivity, intimacy, and a sense of belonging. Use this feature to grow your community!

Organic Instagram is alive!

Using all available features together strategically gives you the most organic reach. As always, on all platforms, organic reach performs best when content is created with the end user in mind and is posted consistently!

Organic Instagram is alive and well and can be used to connect with potential customers, build community and a loyal following, and reach the right people to grow your business.

Vary your content, test all features, stay consistent, and have fun doing it! See you on Instagram.

Organic social media isn’t dead

Curious about organic reach on other platforms?

I’ve got you covered.

Check out these other articles in this series!

Organic Facebook isn’t Dead
Organic LinkedIn isn’t Dead
Organic Pinterest isn’t Dead

Dorien Morin-van Dam @dorien
Organic Social Media Specialist | International Keynote Speaker | Certified Agile Marketer | Community Manager | Content Marketer #StrategyTalks :studio_microphone:

Tell Us Below:

Are you using any of these Instagram features? What has worked best for you?


I do use Carousels but didn’t realize how useful they were! And I haven’t been doing group chats at all. Must fix!


Carousels are working fantastic! According to Socialinsider’s research, I now do 3-4 OR 9-10 images. Either give them a little, or give them everything! :partying_face: