eMarketer’s February 2016 Internet Usage Forecast reveals Instagram’s popularity is continuing to rise. This year alone, 89.4 million Americans will use Instagram at least once each month and by 2017 the number of social network users who use Instagram will bypass 50%, hitting 51.8% to be exact. Further, the social network is projected to grow an additional 15% this year.
So, why is Instagram so popular? For starters, its visual nature is engaging. The content is easy to consume and digest. And, it’s a powerful storytelling tool. The last of which may explain why nonprofits are flocking to integrate Instagram into its social media marketing mix.
Before you decide it’s time for your nonprofit to join the Instagram marketing craze, ask yourself those all important questions – Do we have time to maintain Instagram and do it well? Is our content suited to the platform? Is our audience on Instagram/do we have the potential to grow a qualified audience on Instagram?
If the answers to the questions above leave you thinking it’s time to dive into Instagram, start by taking a look at how other nonprofits are leveraging the platform and identify how you can set your nonprofit apart from the competition. Here are
nonprofits that are excelling at telling its story on Instagram to help get you inspired.
The last time I blogged about charity: water, it was recognizing its donate your birthday initiative and the personal “thank you” calls they enlisted its volunteers to make to those who donated to the occasion. This time, it’s to talk about how they are using Instagram to build community and tell its rich story. From vibrant photos to messaging that reinforces its commitment that 100% of donations go towards clean water, charity: water is a great example of using Instagram as an extension of your brand and strengthening your story through visual marketing.
While not the nonprofit that may immediately come to mind when you think about Instagram – after all, radio isn’t inherently visual – NPR has grown an audience of nearly 500,000 to date on the photo sharing platform. Through Instagram, NPR is drawing more attention to its on-air content and staying top-of-mind amongst listeners even when they aren’t tuned in. NPR is also a great proof point that there isn’t one type of nonprofit who can succeed on Instagram.
I’ve always appreciated DoSomething’s mission to engage youth in changing the status quo and its Instagram is a great example of tying its mission to stories of change and impact. A mix of event photos, tie-ins with timely events such as World Recycle Week and some light-hearted content as well, DoSomething’s Instagram demonstrates a strong understanding of its target audience. And, much like charity: water, its Instagram presence is consistent with its overall mission and brand positioning.
Smithsonian’s Instagram ties together its 19 museums and one zoo to tell a comprehensive brand story. The content is a rich mix of history, gardens and animals, all showcasing the brand’s depth and breadth. Smithsonian’s Instagram is an example of using curated images along with authentic photography to tell an organization’s story. For causes who are less visual in nature, this model can help you to clearly communicate your key messages while still harnessing the visual power of Instagram.
With the mission of connecting kids to “real food”, FoodCorps Instagram shows a process that starts with volunteers and planting, and ends with in-school education and opportunities for kids to taste fresh, locally grown foods. By showcasing the process and the outcomes, FoodCorps is able to tell a story that resonates with a broad national audience. By blending its partner acknowledgments and “thank you’s” into its content mix, FoodCorps’ Instagram presence shows how nonprofits can also use the platform as a donor relations tool.
Whether your nonprofit is local or national, grassroots or a national affiliate, there are opportunities to tell your cause’s story on Instagram. They key, as with any social media marketing platform, is to ensure that you can generate a steady stream of high-quality content that will resonate with your target audience.