Looking to harness the power of visual communication and outreach during your Giving Day?
You can easily begin to improve your engagement with current and potential supporters using impactful images and catchy captions on Instagram.
Instagram is a social media platform that has been growing in popularity since its launch in 2010. It is primarily used to share images and videos to a social network of followers who can like and comment on posted photos as well as share your photos with their own networks.
Never used Instagram before? Check out this “Getting Started” guide to set up a business account for your organization. We do suggest that you create a business account so you can take advantage of analytics and performance tools for strategy and planning.
After following the steps to create your Instagram account, use the checklist below to amplify your marketing efforts on this channel.
Your Instagram Checklist
1. Follow Others to Build Your Network
Remember that your intention behind creating an Instagram account is to drive engagement. You can do this by following local businesses, your supporters, board members, and any other Instagram users you know that have a connection with your organization.
By following other accounts, you will be able to see their posts in your Instagram feed and can interact with them through liking or commenting on their photos or sending them a direct message. You can also “tag” other accounts in your Instagram posts when referring to them or the work you are doing. For example, if you are hosting an event with a sponsor, you can create a post thanking them for their support and tagging them so they can see you were mentioning them.
2. Connect Your Instagram and Facebook Accounts
Since Instagram is a product of Facebook, you have the ability to link your organization’s Facebook with your Instagram account. You can easily configure your settings so that when you create a post on Instagram, it will also be automatically posted on Facebook. We understand that saving time is an important necessity for nonprofits. By connecting Facebook and Instagram you can harness the power of both social media platforms at once while reaching a wider audience.
Like your supporters’ posts, and consider re-sharing posts that stand out and speak to your cause. Showcasing the stories and individuals that propel your organization’s mission will help you gain more followers, recognition, and traction in advance of your events. Also, take this opportunity to cross-promote by liking and re-sharing other organization’s posts to boost visibility in your community.
4. Find Powerful Images
People-centric, positive images will help you draw in new followers. Focus on sharing images that speak to your organization’s mission and your target audience. We recommend using Canva.com as a great way to take your own photographs or a stock image to the next level. If you want to include important dates, statistics, or quotes, Canva lets you add text right on top of the image as well as providing you with a suite of photoshop tools.
Don’t let your fear of not having high-quality images keep you from posting on your organization’s account. People respond well to organic and real photos of smiling faces and adoptable puppies! This is a platform designed to show off what your organization is all about.
5. Use Creative Hashtags
Hashtags are a way to categorize social media posts using keywords or phrases with no spaces that are connected to a # symbol.
Users can search Instagram using these hashtags to find relevant posts. For example, if your organization is taking part in a Giving Day that has a dedicated hashtag such as #GivingDay, users can view all posts that used this hashtag leading them to find your organization’s account.
Using 3-5 hashtags per post is the sweet spot. Start with a branded or specific hashtag–like a tagline or fun phrase. Follow this with the name of your organization, then a broader hashtag tied to your cause. Having a succession of hashtags helps with branding and lets your users understand the focuses on your organization.
6. Create a Schedule for Posting
We recommend posting at least 2-3 times per week to stay in your supporter’s feeds. If you integrate your Instagram posts with Facebook, you’ll want to consider how your Instagram posts will fit in with your other scheduled Facebook posts.
Consider making posts that show a chronological story – increase engagement and make an easy-to-follow schedule for your organization!
7. Host an Activity
There are so many fun ways to keep your followers engaged with your account:
- Launch a photo contest asking your followers to share a photo that reminds them of your organization with a brief description of why. It’s a great way for your followers to get the word out about your work in a personal way!
“Tag a friend” campaign
- Create a post asking your supporters to tag a friend in the comments so you can connect with a larger network. Offer an incentive for those who tag a friend to encourage more participation!
Instagram Story “Take-Over”
- Offer your supporters, staff, or board members the opportunity to take over your Instagram story for a week. This allows you to showcase the individuals that make up your unique community, how they embody your mission, and what your organization means to them. “Take-Overs” can help show the impact your organization has on the community.
8. Have fun!
Instagram is a really playful platform, and the perfect opportunity to let the unique personalities, humor, and convictions of your organization shine through your photos, captions, and hashtags. Instagram is a fantastic opportunity to relate to your supporters, showing them who you are and what you stand for.
The use of Instagram stories to grab your network’s attention has been steadily rising in popularity. It is the first thing a user sees when they go on to Instagram and they are always eager to check out new story content.
An Instagram story allows your organization to give quick updates with photos and videos that appear for 24 hours at a time. They are typically used to highlight something fun happening around your office that may not want to post in your Instagram feed.
When you post to an Instagram story you have the ability to add “stickers.” These allow you to add different overlays to your photo or video such as a gif, timestamp, or your location. There are so many different stickers to choose from that add some flair to your posts and make them fun!
Instagram Donate Sticker
One sticker that may stick out as being especially helpful for your organization is the donation sticker. Organizations now have the opportunity to fundraise directly through their Instagram story by adding this sticker to the photo/video. If you already collect donations through Facebook it is easy to set up and start soliciting funds. Instructions on how to set this up can be found here.
Instagram Image Guidelines
Choosing the right image is key because it conveys a message about your organization and your team.
Consider the following criteria when deciding on photos:
- Human-centric and personable
- Pictures of smiling faces to convey the positive effect your organization has
- Family-specific and/or individuals when possible, not just groups of individuals
- Photos that convey a sense of urgency
- Utilize Instagram filters
- Shareable images
- Images that highlight your organization’s brand
- Images with quotes
- Images that relate to your target audience
- Create short videos or use Instagram’s live feed function (similar to Snapchat!)
- Capture and use images from live events or daily activities
- Customize photos with information, dates, text, and more!
Instagram Caption Guidelines
Just like your photo selection, you’ll want to use a caption that leaves a positive impression for your organization.
Consider the following for creating an effective and empowering caption:
- Front-load the more important content in your caption, as there’s a word cut-off “See more” section in these posts
- Include a clear call to action – maybe have a small “tag a friend” contest, or “repost”, “tag us in your photos of “x” effort”, “host a ‘takeover’ for a week”, etc.
- Turn your posts and captions into a chronological journey when you’re working towards a specific appeal or campaign
- Ask a question in your photo and caption
- Direct people to a link in your bio
- Consider using links with UTM tracking codes
- Instagram has a lighthearted tone, so be sure to leverage that!
Instagram Hashtag Guidelines
- The magic number of hashtags really depends on their relevance to your content –HubSpot suggests to use 4, this article on LinkedIn says 11, and this article recommends 7!
- Your very first hashtag should be your organization’s name or brand (i.e., #GiveGab), then the next 1-2 should be your slogan or an aspect of what you do (i.e., #NonprofitGivingPlatform, #MoreHappyNonprofits), and the last hashtag should be community or generic-based hashtags (i.e., #OnlineFundraising, #NonprofitSoftware)
- Keep in mind that hashtags can be a great way to show your nonprofit’s personality, humor, and wordsmithiness 🤓!!
Follow these tips and watch your marketing efforts take flight!🕊