Instagram turns 10 this year, and if you’ve spent the past decade pondering whether the photo sharing platform is a fit for your organization, here’s some information that may help you decide if and how to use it.
Claiming over a billion monthly active users, Instagram ranks amongst the most popular social media networks. With the lion’s share of its massive user base between the ages of 18 and 29, Instagram remains a steady favorite for millennials and Gen Z. Since its launch in October 2010, the platform has evolved from a place to show off your photography skills and expert application of the X-Pro II filter to a dynamic app that features video and messaging functionalities and is responsible for the creation of the modern influencer.
While Instagram’s strictly visual format may seem like a challenging fit for organizations focused on turning out longer form blog posts and calls to action, a creative application of graphics, screenshots, and “link in bio” can make the platform accessible for all types of campaigning and advocacy.
In the world of political and issue advocacy, Instagram provides a plethora of opportunities for organizations to use visual content to reach, engage with, and, well, influence their audiences. Instagram’s fundamental feature, the feed, which provides a space to share captioned photos and videos, naturally lends itself to highlighting moments in the field and from events like rallies, actions, and meetings with supporters.
If you’re lacking a steady stream of fresh, original photo content to fill your feed, don’t fret: groups like the AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood Action, and Black Lives Matter have curated engaging feeds with a combination of graphics and screenshotted tweets and articles. Some content examples follow:
The stories feature, which enables you to share photos and videos in a slideshow format that disappears after 24 hours, is an excellent tool for publishing a higher volume of content and for sharing informal moments that may not quite feel feed-worthy. Stories provide a number of interactive engagement opportunities through Instagram’s ‘sticker’ tools: you can use stickers to create a poll to ask for followers thoughts on an issue, solicit questions for a Q and A, ask for donations, or share a countdown to an upcoming event. By employing Instagram’s photo feed and stories to share behind-the-scenes glimpses and lighthearted moments, your organization can show a human face and cultivate connections that go beyond policy.
During the coronavirus pandemic, live video has enabled organizations and elected officials to continue connecting with supporters and constituents in lieu of in-person events. Through Instagram, users can stream live video events like Q and As and virtual town halls for up to one hour. Followers can watch along and submit questions and comments, providing yet another opportunity to engage in real time with your audience.
Politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (through moments like her live-streamed IKEA assembly session) and Elizabeth Warren (through supporter selfies and Bailey content) have deftly utilized the platform to showcase their personal sides and foster authentic connections with followers.
Advertising on Instagram
If you find yourself doubting that Instagram is right for you, you still have an opportunity to reach the platform’s users through Facebook ads. Facebook, which owns Instagram, enables you to easily format your existing Facebook page and ad content to run on Instagram’s feeds and stories. Whether it’s through your own Instagram account or via your existing Facebook page, Instagram offers your organization a number of ways to reach your audience and get your message out there.
If you need more help deciding whether and how to use social media to reach your target audience, or where you should be spending your limited time and resources online, we're here to help. Set up a free strategy call with us today.