Using Instagram for Picture-Perfect Photo Sharing

By Katelyn PrestonApril 22, 2016

Does your organization take a lot of photos? If not, you should be; visuals have been proven to increase engagement and are, of course, pleasing to the eye. As a nonprofit, visuals can help you to share your story and engage with your supporters on social media platforms like Instagram.  

Since its inception, Instagram has evolved to be a community of over 400 million users, incorporating video, advertising and other features. Nonprofits and charities can use this visual tool to connect, engage and interact with their target audience, and help to raise awareness of what they care about most. How can you use Instagram to interact with your audience?  

Tell Your Story with Images and Video 

With cellphone cameras as great as they are today, anyone can take photos of shareworthy moments – yes, even at a fancy gala! – to post in real-time. Whether you’re at a bake sale, walk-a-thon or telethon, assign a volunteer or someone else in the organization to take photos. Later on, you’ll be so glad you did.  Plus, if your images fall victim to bad lighting, need cropping or other adjustments, Instagram offers editing tools and filters right in the app so you can get as creative with the photos as you want to.  Instagram also offers 30-second video capabilities, and they’re now testing out 60 second video ads with large companies like T-Mobile and Warner Bros. For smaller organizations, 30 seconds of video and a catchy description can be enough to engage the viewer, get a “like” and even a follow of support. 

Use Hashtags for Branding 

Just like on Twitter, hashtags on Instagram serve as keywords attached to your photos. Adding relevant hashtags to the description of your photo will ensure your post shows up if someone does a search for that hashtag. Do some brainstorming with your team and come up with your own hashtag, which you can then use on all of your Instagram posts. This could be as easy as your nonprofit’s name or catch phrase, or something more creative and original.  

Be Active! 

Building up a following on Instagram doesn’t happen overnight; it takes some effort. If you can, posting multiple times a week (if not once a day) is ideal, as long as you have the content to do so. The more original content, the better. It is important to be strategic about what you post; if you use other social media sites, you’ll want the messaging (including your photos) to be consistent across all platforms, always tying back to your organization’s purpose and goal.  

Advertising With Instagram 

Under its parent company (Facebook), Instagram has implemented an advertising platform, allowing users a more direct way to connect with their target audience. You must have a Facebook ad account and a Facebook page in order to run ads on Instagram. Offered in a number of formats, including single image, carousel, video and marquee, the images you use in your ads should be high quality and, of course, visually interesting. Another tip is to make your ad blend into the feed; in other words, don’t make it look like an advertisement! Check out the Instagram Advertising Basics from Facebook for Business to get ideas and learn more. 

Now that you know a little more about Instagram, get your team on board and start sharing. The app is available in the App Store and Google Play.