With 300 million monthly active users and over 70 million photos shared daily, Instagram is now officially bigger than Twitter, and has positioned itself firmly as one of the largest and fastest growing social networks available to non-profits.
However, according to a recent study by Justgiving, only 1 in 5 charities use Instagram as part of their social media strategy. In the article below, we outline three reasons why Instagram is an excellent platform for charities, and how to leverage it as quickly and easily as possible.
Why? Involve your supporters
With an ever-growing user base, chances are a number of your supporters are already on Instagram. Social is a two-way street, and Instagram is the perfect platform to connect with your fans and curate user-generated content. There aren’t many better advocates for your work than your supporters, so why not start harnessing their enthusiasm.
• Hashtags: set up a hashtag for your charity or a specific campaign and ask users to use it when they post. Perform a daily search for the hashtag (5-10 minutes a day), along with your charities name and engage with any posts you find. This is where the user-generated content comes into play; use an app such as Repost for Instagram to “regram” an image into your own feed.
• Video: Diabetes UK produced this tailored video to thank one of their supporters. (OK, this is Vine, but you get the idea!) Of course it would be impossible to do this with all of your supporters but this example shows the innovative and creative ways you can reach your supporters over the more traditional methods, it also shows that video production doesn’t have to cost a fortune!
• Contests: Action Against Hunger asked their followers to share images depicting what food meant to them, offering the prize of being entered into a national photography competition. Not only did this engage with their current followers, it also piqued the interest of those who previously may not have been aware of the organisation and their cause. The National Trust is another fantastic example of how to utilise contests with their weekly completion #NTChallenge.
Why? Bring people closer to the action
Instagram is the perfect place to give users the why they should support you. Visual storytelling is an extremely powerful medium to inspire your supporters, and can be effective in encouraging action.
• Live streaming: share your events with your followers for those who can’t make it, and set up a hashtag for those who are present at the event to share their own pictures. Again, think user-generated content: Instagram allows you to have hundreds of photographers from your event right at your fingertips.
• Real-time updates: WaterAid set up an Instagram photo diary to highlight their campaign, The Big Dig. The idea of this was to highlight to their followers the impact of the work they do, and also give a first-hand account of the communities they were supporting. With the rise of social media, users want their information at a faster rate than ever; don’t make your supporters wait for key information!
Why? Build your brand
Instagram allows you to share both the issues and success stories of your charity, and curate content that resonates with your followers. With 41% of users aged 16-24, this gives you a great opportunity to open your brand up to a new audience.
• Demonstrate your impact: social media success is all about strong imagery, and obviously Instagram is an almost entirely visual platform. It gives you the perfect opportunity to simply, quickly, and effectively demonstrate your work to supporters old and new. Of course, professional photography always looks great, but in-the-moment shots snapped straight from your phone resonate strongly with users. Think, if someone found your Instagram page without any prior knowledge of your cause, would they leave with a good understanding of what you do and the impact it has?