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How your nonprofit can use Instagram

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It’s easy for an organization to become overwhelmed when trying to keep up with the constantly changing world of social media. Planning content and strategy for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, in addition to maintaining an updated website and consistent email newsletter can feel like a lot of extra work—especially on top of all the other business responsibilities you juggle. When considering adding another social media channel to the list of ones you already use, nonprofits must be sure that it is worth their time and effort. While it often flies under the radar for organizations, Instagram may be the next social account you should consider.

Since its launch in October of 2010, Instagram has grown rapidly. From gaining more than 1 million users within the first two months, to boasting 600 million active users in 2016, the trendy photo-sharing app has shown no signs of slowing down.

Here are a few facts about Instagram that will benefit your nonprofit if you decide to create an account:

Instagram’s high engagement percentage

Instagram is now tied with Facebook for the social platform with the highest engagement percentage. Of the total users on both social channels—1.86 billion monthly users for Facebook and 600 million monthly users for Instagram — 66% checked into their accounts daily as of February 2017. Instagram was also ranked as the second most popular social network, barely losing to Facebook, and beating out Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

Instagram’s high engagement rate

A study of brand accounts on Instagram done in 2014 found that the companies received 58 times more engagement (measured in likes, comments and shares) per follower on Instagram than they did on Facebook and 120 times more engagement per follower than they did on Twitter. This means users on Instagram are more likely to engage with your nonprofit, which makes a presence on the app worth your time.

Now that you understand the impact and potential an Instagram account has, check out two engaging ways nonprofits can utilize the app:

To share stories

At 4aGoodCause, we often talk about how organizations should be aiming to tell good stories about their impact when appealing to potential donors. Visual content is one of the best ways to communicate these stories in an engaging way. Since Instagram’s layout is centered around photo and video sharing and has a 2,200-maximum character count for captions, posting photos and using the caption to expand on the story your photo already tells is a great strategy for nonprofits looking to share their impact.

Feeding America
Example Instagram post from Feeding America
Charity Water
Example Instagram post from Charity Water

To create calls to action

Photos can be the visual story tellers that drive followers to action. Though Instagram does not allow web links to be posted in photo captions, users are allowed to place links in their bios. Many brands will update these links in keeping with the campaigns they are running and then ask followers to check their bio for the link in the captions of their posts. This method is one way nonprofits can use Instagram to create calls to action. Instagram could be a great tool to use to remind followers of annual cause awareness days, upcoming events or for campaigns your nonprofit is hosting.

Example Instagram post from TWLOHA
Feeding America
Example Instagram post from Feeding America

If your nonprofit decides to start an Instagram account, be sure you’re ready to fully commit to creating consistent content, engaging with followers and developing a strategy behind your posts. Participating in Instagram’s online community—following other charities and users, replying to comments on your photos and commenting on others’—will score you more followers and gain your nonprofit more exposure.

Maintain consistency in your posts by creating a content calendar like you would have for a blog or other social channel. Spending time at the beginning of each month planning out your content will make it easier to manage in addition to your charity’s other social accounts. For maxmimum impact, consider posting once a day to Instagram or at least 4-5 times a week. Experiment to find a schedule that works best for your nonprofit.

Ready to get started? Download the app onto your phone and begin by creating an account. Plan out your content calendar and start sharing the images that communicate all your nonprofit does for its community.

Our blog is full of tips for nonprofits looking to improve their social presence, grow their donations and increase their impact. Subscribe today to have these tips delivered to your inbox once a week!

Image credit

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Since founding 4aGoodCause in 1998, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves - building software that makes a difference in the world. For almost 20 years, Ronald and the 4aGoodCause online fundraising platform have helped raise millions of dollars for nonprofits from Maine to Hawaii. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @4aGC.

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