Staying Instagram Relevant

Ways to optimize your presence and maximize your impact on this ultra-visual social platform

So you’ve launched an Instagram account, and your organization has announced it to the world. Your key stakeholders have been informed, and you have shared the good news about your expanded online presence to friends, followers and fans on your other social media channels. But what now?

When it comes to social media, no matter the mechanism, the easiest part is getting started. Staying active, engaged and growth-focused, however, is a different ball of wax. And this is true even for those who have been at it for a while. Sometimes organizations with the best of intentions underestimate the time and strategy involved in maintaining a quality social media presence.

And newer platforms, like Instagram, leave even more to the imagination; though it is a popular social media site, it still pales in comparison to more established counterparts like Facebook. So many nonprofits are still navigating a learning curve in determining how best to leverage the opportunities on the visual-centric network.

To help ease that transition, here are four tips for sustaining your organization’s Instagram presence beyond the “getting-started” stage.

  • Use an editorial content schedule to plan out your posts so that you stay on message.

The content on your organization’s blog and the content on your social media accounts should complement each other. This is not to say that your social media posts absolutely must mirror your blog (though sharing original content via social media is a smart practice). However, there should be a clear integration and intersection between the two. The themes of the day or week that are taking center stage on your blog or other produced content (e.g. newsletters) should similarly be emphasized and cross-promoted on your social media sites, including Instagram.

  • Rally the troops.

Creating a robust and meaningful network is part social media’s beauty. Not only can your organization connect with others for strategic purposes, you can extend your brand for the sake of advocacy and awareness. To do this, begin following other individuals and organizations; they will often return the favor and begin following your organization, too. Also, activate your involvement by commenting on others’ posts, engaging with them just as you want them to engage with you. Finally, incorporate the use of hashtags. Make sure you do a bit of intel and find popular hashtags associated with your topics or ideas. Apply them to images and videos, so they show up when others search for posts with those hashtags.

  • Capture the moment, in the moment.

There’s something to be said for sharing photos from events as they are in progress. Doing so provides a sense of truly being in the moment, especially for followers who can’t be there in person. Those who follow you on Instagram will feel a sense of inclusion and participation by getting to experience events underway, rather than viewing post-event snapshots. Moreover, live photo sharing can prompt active engagement through commenting, conversations and chats, deepening the momentum.

  • Evaluate performance.

It is important to know if your organization’s social media strategy is working. Through analytics, you can see in real-time, and over specific periods of time, how your posts, outreach efforts and audience metrics align. With Instagram and other social networks, assess the ROI and success of your accounts and campaigns on a monthly basis using tools like Hootsuite or other third-party apps from iOS or Android. 

How is your nonprofit using Instagram? Which other highly visual Web or social media platforms do you use? How do you balance photographic content with editorial content? Share with us and other marketing, PR and event professionals on The Wakeman Agency’s Facebook page.

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