Instagram is one of the most popular social networks worldwide, with over 500 million active users. More than half its users are outside the US, making it a truly global network. Its simple interface is the key to its popularity, allowing for beautiful photo and video uploads with a variety of fun filters and image editing capabilities. Instagrammers interact with one another by following accounts, liking posts, leaving comments, and tagging other users.
For nonprofits, Instagram is very engaging for cultivating awareness for your nonprofit. Instagram is a highly responsive community, and you are far more likely to receive likes on Instagram posts than on Facebook or Twitter. Read on to learn more about the best practices for engaging with your community on Instagram.
1. Post Videos
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. Create videos of your organization’s work on the field, and show live footage from events, volunteer days, and your work office. Record interviews with your constituent groups! Live footage can allow supporters to feel like they are participants supporting your efforts in real time.
2. Leave a Link in Your Bio
One limitation of Instagram is that you cannot insert links into captions or comments, so many posts will remind followers to find the “link in bio,” which is a link you can insert into the top of your profile page. This could be your organization’s website or a direct link to your donation page. If you should run ads on Instagram, you will have the capability to create a link prompt directly in your post.
3. Include Inspiring Captions and Use Hashtags
With each post, make use of statistics, quotes, and clever descriptions to motivate support. Your caption is a great place to make a call for action, thank your donors and volunteers, and remind supporters of the importance of your mission.
And better yet, include hashtags with your caption! Hashtags make it easy to find all photos tagged with certain labels. If you have an event with many participants, you can start a hashtag to find people who Instagrammed your event and like and regram their photos, creating new following relationships. You can make use of hashtags for other occasions as well, such as #GivingTuesday or a timed donation campaign. You can also use general associative hashtags to increase your reach, such as #dogood and #volunteer. See a list of great nonprofit hashtags at NonprofitHub.
4. Follow Users, Like Others’ Posts, and Regram
Following your supporters and related accounts, including other inspiring nonprofits, is a great way keep up with engagement on Instagram. Your likes and comments will be appreciated, and you will probably acquire new followers on your account.
“Regramming” is the Instagram form of sharing another post. Take a screenshot of a post you find meaningful—perhaps a photo from one of your events shared by a volunteer—and let your followers know in your caption who you are regramming and why you love this gram. And of course, make sure you “like” the original photo if it was posted on Instagram by another user.
Need to grow your Instagram feed? Start with this list of 50+ inspiring nonprofit Instagram accounts.
5. Use an Analytics Program
Instagram analytics programs like Iconosquare let you track your Instagram stats and popular posts so you can keep posting the most meaningful and interesting material.
6. Keep Up With Post Quality
It’s important to post regularly enough so that your followers are reminded of your presence, hard work, and mission. However, users don’t want their feed cluttered with unappealing posts. The best posts will tell a story about your nonprofit’s impact, but you can get creative with how to go about this. Your photos can show your team in action, your target groups, your volunteers, an inspirational quote, or imagery of a related cause you care about. Using captions with your posts, you can paint a full picture that inspires your followers.
Does your nonprofit have an Instagram account? If so, which have been your most engaging posts? Tell us about your experiences with Instagram, and share with us your favorite nonprofit accounts!