Andrew Mucci, a New Jersey-based vlogger who is also Social Media Coordinator at Sennheiser, likes to use Instagram not only as a platform for the brand but also as a place to experiment with content on his own account.
Sennheiser, the German-based company that specializes in some of the world's best headphones, has close to 200k followers on Instagram and an eye-catching feed that sticks to a theme and never detracts from its main purpose — to sell you high-quality products that don't disappoint.
When Andrew isn't doing social for @Sennheiser, he likes to make short story films fit for multiple different platforms. He documents his family, his tips on using Instagram, and everyday things that he experiences as a young parent living in America — all the while seamlessly creating videos fit for either vertical or horizontal viewing.
I asked Andrew about his best tips for using Instagram as a brand and as a regular user. He shared with Gadget Hacks advice on how to use the app as a tool for businesses, as well as some top tricks for creating content. We edited the chat below for clarity.
Bettina Mangiaracina: Running multiple Instagram accounts is a full-time job and it must be hard to keep track of how well one account is doing compared to another. What tools do you use to help you manage Sennheiser as well as your own account?
Andrew Mucci: We will primarily gather data from Instagram's Business Tools so we can make sure we're getting accurate impressions and reach. We also use Brandwatch to monitor conversations happening on the web. On my own account, I really only use Social Media Wall. It allows you to see other trending hashtags that people use in addition to the hashtags that they already post. It's really helpful in finding communities of conversations happening. The hashtags are not as large as #likeforlike or #instagood, but it's a really good tool in helping you find more niche audiences. Canva is also another good one. I don't know a lick of Photoshop, so I'll do everything in Canva on the computer — for my personal account as well as for Sennheiser. I use it mostly for sizing between square and landscape content. If I'm going to post something to Stories, the content will be a bit longer. If it's going on Feed, it will be a bit shorter.
BM: So you use Canva to size posts for Stories?
AM: Correct. I've used Canva to make the correct size for Stories. Then I'll import that content into Final Cut Pro [for Mac only], and I'll zoom in a little or zoom out depending on how it lays vertically. This will give more of a vertical-video feel to it.
BM: Do you ever try and upload a video or image into Stories and find that it's all blown out? I have yet to find a way around this.
AM: Final Cut Pro is my go-to and a good way around this. If you're posting to Stories the dimensions are 1080 x 1920. If you're posting to Feed, it's 1080 x 1350. It's helpful to know the sizes of each because many times you'll shoot in full frame, and then the size will change the minute you go to upload it.
BM: I noticed @Sennheiser's feed doesn't contain a lot of videos but rather images. How do you choose content for that account?
AM: Video is something we're moving towards more. We've been focusing a lot of energy creating vertical videos for Instagram Stories and we hope to incorporate more video into our other feeds. We chose the content by creating high-quality assets to maintain a premium brand image. We look for ways to showcase product features and small details.
BM: After getting that perfect shot, where do you go to edit all of it?
AM: It's all done in Final Cut Pro. I've tried a few editing apps, but what I didn't like is that when you go to upload the edited image to Stories, the size completely changes. I haven't found a mobile editor that can do a full-screen mobile editing experience. That's why, I know if I use the right dimensions in Final Cut Pro, it will come out the way I want it to.
BM: What phone do you work on for your personal account?
AM: I have a couple phones that I use. I use the iPhone 6s and a Galaxy S6 Edge. I don't really take photos or videos in either, but I like to understand how both Apple and Android users experience content as a regular user scrolling through Instagram. I also like to understand how to use both operating systems. I'll likely upgrade to the next iPhone. Speed is the most important thing to me. Which device I can take out of my pocket and start filming on the quickest. Fluidity, too! For my Instagram content, though, I like to use a Canon G7 X point and shoot.
BM: Are you into any hashtag apps, or are you a fan of Notes?
AM: I like to copy and paste from Notes. Sometimes I'll even paste hashtags into Stories and then just drag them off the screen. It's a lot cleaner.
BM: I saw your YouTube vlog on how to hashtag your Instagram Stories to increase engagement and thought it was great. Have any top tricks for Instagram Feed or Stories, besides these tricks?
AM: I think finding ways to get more creative with photos. It's crazy how good photography has gotten, so there's really a need now to find ways to separate yourself. There's this app called Plotagraph [for iOS]. It creates a looping animation, so you can take a still image, and then it creates a lot of movement on it. Like if there's water in the background, then it can create water movement. Also, getting away from the standard Instagram tools that are available, like Boomerang, and finding more ways to get creative outside of the app. I think that brings a lot more attention to your posts. Whether it be the quality of the video you're shooting or the way you edit it.
BM: That's great. I'm always so concerned about where to repurpose my Stories, though. YouTube won't do it justice and Instagram Feed cuts it off. Have you found a place to store all your vertical content after it expires?
BM: What's your favorite thing about Stories?
AM: You can really do anything in Instagram Stories. If you want to draw something and post it, you can. If you want to do a time lapse, if you want to load it up with stickers, you can. It's a place where you can just put anything in and it goes away in 24 hours. I know that's like a double-edged sword, people can screenshot and stuff, but I think people should get as creative as possible. There are no rules to it. It's just like an open playground to do whatever you want.
BM: Who are your top three accounts to follow on Instagram?
AM: For the type of video-style that I like to shoot, kinda like a YouTube-vlog feel with cinematic effects, I follow @Jessedriftwood. He does an awesome job at Stories. Another person that I like is @Caseymcperry. His Instagram feed is more like a mosaic and he does some vertical content as well. There's also a skateboarder in New York City that I like. His name is @Johnhill and he does a lot of vertical content on Instagram. I try to follow people that are really trying to push the envelope with vertical video.