This is Part 2 of How to Stand Out on Instagram!
Click HERE to read part one
click HERE to download the whole FREE eBook in the shop called How to Make a Killer Instagram for Nonprofit Organizations.
Posting With a Purpose
Each picture and post on Instagram should have a purpose.
Are you trying to raise awareness for an event that is coming up?
Are you wanting people to donate to your cause?
Are you wanting people to see your post and click through to your website?
These are some of the potential reasons your nonprofit might have for posting on Instagram. Sometimes the purpose of a post might be to show your followers what is going on in the organization, and that is fine, but don’t just post a picture because you haven’t posted in a day or two. It is more important to post when you have something useful to post. Also, notice that the picture is only half of the post. Most of the purpose comes out in the caption below the picture.
Examples of Purposeful Instagram Posts
What is the purpose of this post?
I notice two things: (1) each person has the opportunity to change the world of one child, and (2) we can change the world for a child by volunteering on Saturday.
The organization’s reason for posting this is to encourage people to volunteer on Saturday. That is a very specific call to action, which is great. You want to tell your supporters EXACTLY what you want them to do, and it is good to mix it up. Some days you can encourage supporters to visit your website, sometimes ask them to donate, sometimes ask them to tag a friend in the comments below to increase your reach. These are all actionable ideas that ask your supporter to really do something, not just double-tap and move on.
What is the purpose of this second post?
First of all, they are showing us a picture of the boy they talk about in the caption. This is connecting us to an individual beneficiary (Plus, did you know that people are more likely to donate to an individual with a story than a mass statistic? This can be useful, particularly with Instagram). Secondly, they are telling the audience how this little boy’s life was saved because of the donations Saving Moses received. This shows us the literal impact that our donations can have.
Notice, this post does not have a call to action, but it does connect with the audience and promotes community, while raising awareness. Plus, people are more likely to donate if they see that their money can change a life like the cute boy’s from the picture.
The third example I want to show you has two parts. The first picture was posted the day before the second. Also, in addition to the second post, there was also a post that I haven’t included, which showed a teaser clip of a video that UNICEF posted on YouTube. This is a smart way to use Instagram, to build up hype for something you are going to post, and to connect your Instagram supporters to some of your other social media platforms.
Now, to the pictures:
What are the purposes of these posts?
I mentioned a couple of these above, but here are some of UNICEF’s purposes:
- To build hype for a video they have created
- Connect their Instagram supporters with their YouTube channel
- Raise awareness for child marriage
- Really pull at the emotions of their supporters. Who wouldn’t want to help UNICEF after seeing this video??
(If you haven’t seen the video, I HIGHLY recommend checking it out.)
Your Organization’s Instagram Feed: Purposeful Posts and Captions
Now, it is time for us to discuss your own organization’s Instagram feed.
Do your Instagram posts each have a purpose, or do they look more like my cousin’s Instagram account?
If your organization’s Instagram feed is looking more like my cousin’s, then here are some possible ideas for what you can start posting on a regular basis. Plus, remember that every purposeful post is combined with a purposeful caption. A picture can show us the face of a beneficiary, but it is in the caption where we learn about them and are told to donate or volunteer. Therefore, most of these suggestions discuss what you would post a picture of, as well as what you would talk about in the caption.
A Call to Action
Try posting pictures that ask your audience to do something, like we discussed with the picture of the girl hugging the globe. Ask them to click through to your website or to donate. If you have an event that is coming up, ask them to get involved and tell them exactly how they can get involved. Your supporters are more likely to act if they have been asked.
Statistics and Quotes
I would recommend adding statistics and quotes from your beneficiaries to pictures of individuals. This is because of what I mentioned above, people are more likely to donate to an individual than to a statistic. This can be a great post for those days that you aren’t sure what to post because you can keep a pile of beneficiaries photos and then just add a statistic or a quote as the caption.
Pictures of Beneficiaries
This connects with #2 as well as #5. We all love connecting with real people. We love seeing faces and learning about other people’s lives. So, use your Instagram feed to introduce us to the people your organization is working with.
Pictures from a Recent Event
Did your organization just host a dinner? Did you do a service project? Did you donate shoes to the local orphanage? Show us what your organization has done recently and tell us about the experience.
Pictures from the Field
Most of your supporters are not in the field with you every day. So, tell them what happened in the field today. Are you building a school somewhere? Show them pictures of the progress. Did you meet a really cute baby that your organization is now going to help? Show us a picture and tell us their story in the caption. We all love connecting to others, especially when we feel like we can help them by doing something (like donating or volunteering).
Here is what I would have you do: go through your Instagram feed and ask yourself for each picture, “What purpose did we (the organization) have for posting this?” Then, with the same picture, ask yourself, “What purpose would the audience see for us posting this picture?”
I’m having you ask yourself both of these questions because sometimes they are very different answers. For instance, You may have posted a picture of a child in South America that you gave shoes to with a caption talking about how cute the little girl was. In your mind, the organization meant to show a beneficiary and tell their story. Unfortunately, your caption wasn’t descriptive enough, and the audience didn’t know you served this girl. We thought you just took a picture of a cute girl on the street.
After you do this, make 5 purposeful Instagram pictures and captions.
- A Call to Action
- A Statistic
- A Quote from a Beneficiary (of how your services have changed their life)
- A Recent Event
- A Field Picture
There is a hierarchy of importance with your posts on Instagram:
The quality and consistency of your pictures and posts are much more important than the quantity.
First, focus on the quality of each Instagram post in your nonprofit organization’s Instagram feed. Much of what we have already talked about in this book has referred to the quality of your organization’s Instagram posts. This refers to the quality of your pictures, picking and following a theme, and posting with a purpose.
Now that we have mastered the quality of your organization’s Instagram posts, it is time to focus on posting consistently.
Posting consistently is important for a number of reasons:
- It allows your organization to engage with your audience on a regular basis. Your followers and supporters are following you for a reason; They want to know what is going on in your organization. They want to see the impact that you are making, the lives that you are touching, and the events that you are hosting.
- It helps grow your following. The more often you post, the more likely it will be that other people come across your posts and decide to follow your organization.
According to TrackMaven, Instagram use and engagement is consistent throughout the week with a slight spike on Mondays. Additionally, it has been found that one of the best times to post on Instagram is between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM Eastern Time Zone.
Since Instagram users typically check their Instagram feeds every single day, multiple times a day, Instagram is a great platform to post at least once a day. I have heard various recommendations: Some people recommend posting only once a day, while others say you should post up to 3 times a day.
Personally, I would recommend posting once a day. While posting multiple times a day might initially grow your following quickly, it also has the potential to drive followers away from your organization’s Instagram account because your organization pops up on their feed too many times each day.
Now, keeping in mind the hierarchy from the beginning of this lesson,
it is now time to decide when, and how often, your organization will post on Instagram.
As I mentioned above, Instagram is a great platform to post once a day. But, if that seems like too much, then decide to post on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or some other combination of days. Either way, pick the days that you will post on Instagram as well as the times.
Here is an option for how to schedule your posts:
Creating or using a scheduling planner allows you to make posts ahead of time. This can be extremely important when you know your organization is going to be busy, but you don’t want your social media to suffer.
There is also the option of using latergram.me to schedule Instagram posts. This option allows you to edit photos, upload images, write captions, and use hashtags. Then you schedule the picture for a future date and time. Since Instagram doesn’t allow you to use apps to actually post pictures to your account (unlike Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), Later gram will send you a reminder for you to go in and click “confirm to post.”
Your task with this lesson is to decide which times and days you are going to post on Instagram. Remember to keep in mind that you want to post regularly, but only when you have quality content to post.
The “Social” of ‘”Social Media”
Once you post on Instagram, it is time to interact with other people and organizations. Your Instagram will not go anywhere if you do not interact with others through the platform because that is how you will create relationships and gain a larger following.
Here are a few ways you can interact with others through Instagram:
Post using hashtags
An easy way to connect with like-minded people is to use hashtags on all of your Instagram posts. Use hashtags that connect to your cause as well as to the nonprofit community as a whole.
- Some great nonprofit hashtags: #nptech #nonprofit #nonprofitorganization #nonprofitleadership #charity #give #donate #giveback
- Examples of hashtags to add based on your cause:
- Animal shelter: #dogs #cats #catsofinstagram #dogsofinstagram
- Drilling water wells: #water #international #(where you drill) #(country)
When you find an individual or organization that seems extremely suited for your cause and organization, reach out to them. There is the option to direct message people. Send them a little note. Tell them who you are, why you are reaching out to them, and ask if they would ever like to collaborate on anything. You might be surprised by the relationships you can form through these simple acts of reaching out.
Comment and like other’s Instagram photos
It is most effective to like other’s photos when they are connected to your organization’s cause. A great way to find posts with this connection is by using the search option. Type in one of your commonly used hashtags and begin scrolling down to interact with like-minded organizations and people.
One of the most effective ways to interact with others on Instagram is by setting aside a certain amount of time each day to do the aforementioned interactions. Personally, I dedicate about 30 minutes each day to these tasks. That might be too much time for you to dedicate to Instagram, or you might be able to do even more. You can also decide whether or not to interact for 30 minutes straight, or to dedicate 3 times of 10 minutes.
Your task is to decide which days and how long you will dedicate to interacting with other’s on Instagram. Reach out to organization’s and people who are doing the same things as you.
The Next Steps
Now that you’ve created the perfect Instagram feed and have a plan for your future posts, it is time to grow your following.
Check out some of these great articles about how to grow your Instagram following:
As a last note, now that you have fixed up the organization’s Instagram account, it is important to share what you have done with the rest of the organization. Particularly share the theme that you have chosen and help other’s (who might take pictures for the Instagram feed) to learn how to take pictures that you will be able to use on the feed.