Instagram for Nonprofits

Instagram is a social network that allows users to share images and short videos with followers.

Pros and Cons

Instagram is a great visual medium for sharing photos and videos. While 71% of online adults are using Facebook, only 26% of online adults use Instagram. On the other hand, its more than 400 million active monthly users show much higher rates of engagement with companies than Facebook does. So if you’re looking to interact with your community, Instagram is a great platform to consider.

The app has the highest concentration of young people than any other major social media sites. Over half of all users are under 30, so consider who your intended audience is when building your social marketing strategy. Links don’t work in Instagram captions, which can make it difficult to drive traffic through to your other platforms.

Instagram is primarily a mobile app, so its web-based capabilities are quite limited. To get the most out of this platform, you’ll want to download the phone application. This will require whoever is managing this platform to be vigilant in identifying moments that ought to be photographed, often as they are happening.

Here’s the difference in terms of what you’ll see on the web vs. on the phone app:

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Since smartphone owners in the United States now access the internet more often from their phones than from their desktops (51% of the time and 42% of the time, respectively), it can be a benefit to be active on mobile platforms.

Set-up

1. Download the app to your phone and open it.

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2. You will be prompted to create an account either by connecting to your Facebook profile or by entering an email.

3. Create a username and password for your account.

4. Start adding photos. Make the most of your hashtags on Instagram. If you’re using branded tags on Twitter, use the same ones on Instagram, too.

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5. Follow other accounts and interact with them by liking or commenting on their posts.

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Since Facebook now owns Instagram, they two platforms integrate well together. You can connect your Instagram account with your Facebook page so that your followers will be able to see your feed from there:

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Content

Consider the Instagram audience when crafting posts. What are the key messages you want to generate for the demographic, those under 30? This market may or may not be donors, a volunteer base, or potential board members. Generate images that are pertinent to your followers and will inspire whatever action you seek of them. Also see what comparable nonprofits are doing.

Photos on this site are expected to be aesthetically pleasing and interesting. Use a discerning eye and try out filter options when uploading images. However, be careful not to get so carried away with the editing that your message gets lost! It’s also important to post consistently, without letting the quality suffer.

In addition to artistic images, posts that contain (minimal) text and quick information work well. When running contests or campaigns, be sure to encourage your followers to use your branded hashtags in their own photo responses.

Pictures are a great way to personalize your office and staff, but be sure to include images that have a more general appeal, too. Since the app is mobile, try posting pictures from events in real-time.

How to Measure Success

Instagram does not currently have any built-in analytics systems, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still monitor your profile’s progress. Set reasonable benchmarks for interactions (likes, comments, new follows). Keep track of which of your posts get the best responses and adjust your strategy accordingly.

If you want to measure the traffic that Instagram pushes through to your website, you can track the click-throughs using Google Analytics. Since the only clickable link on your page is the one you listed under your bio, use a link shortener or build a custom URL.

Using branded hashtags for your content, you can also monitor user engagement and interest by keeping an eye on how often others use the tag on their own images. If one of your goals for the site is to increase interactions with your community, this metric will give you a good sense of how well your efforts are working.

If one of your goals is to become a resource or conversation leader, keep an eye on who is sharing and commenting on your content. If you can connect with Instagram influencers, you can amplify the reach of your message. These users have strong followings of their own and if they advocate for you or interact with you regularly, they can help to expand your audience.