We look at the social media giant and suggest some tips to help you make the most of your Instagram presence
Instagram has established itself as a major player among the social media platforms, accruing 30.36 million users in the UK since its launch in 2010.
Early adopters to the platform were predominantly Gen Z and Instagram has been seen as an opportunity to reach younger audiences. As the platform has become more established, however, the average age of an active user has risen to 25–34, within the Millennial age bracket.
In 2020 Instagram added new functionality to enhance the user experience, including donation stickers for stories and the ability to fundraise via Instagram lives. Other improvements included an updated shopping function, the addition of Reels, and new advertising placements, such as IGTV.
Charities can use Instagram to reach new audiences, generate income, collaborate with influencers and partners, and get creative with content production to grow an engaged community of supporters and service users.
Instagram’s user base in the UK has a bias towards womxn in the 25-40 (millennial) age bracket, living in urban centres. If this demographic is represented in your charity’s target audiences, Instagram is a great opportunity to reach them.
In order to reach more people with your posts, you will need to develop a good hashtag strategy. Hashtags are used as an indexing system and may influence how the Instagram algorithm distributes your content. Users can follow each other, but they can also follow hashtags. Using a hashtag in your post increases the likelihood of your content being shown to people who follow that hashtag. Add hashtags to Grid posts, IGTV posts, or Reels to increase their reach.
You can use up to 30 hashtags and they should be a mix of tags that are highly relevant to your content and caption, tags that are commonly used by your target audience, or tags that relate to your cause. Include one or two hashtags with large reach (in the millions) but focus mainly on those with smaller reach (in the thousands or hundreds of thousands).
Instagram offers multiple opportunities for charities to fundraise, but to take advantage of them you must sign up for Facebook’s Charitable Giving Tools.
Once you have been approved for these tools your supporters will be able to set up fundraisers for you as part of their posts or collect donations for you via their stories and Instagram lives.
As a charity, you can use Facebook giving tools on your own Instagram posts, stories, and lives. Think about how you can use storytelling across your content to generate awareness, engagement, and support from your followers.
Facebook’s shop function is moving towards a full e-commerce model including in-platform check out. You can set up a ‘shop’ for your charity across Facebook and Instagram to display a product catalogue and product collections.
These will appear within the ‘shop’ tab on your Instagram account. You can tag products in grid posts, use the product sticker to include them in your stories, or tag products in your IGTV videos or Reels. Instagram shops are an interesting opportunity for charities with an existing retail arm or those considering an increased focus on ecommerce as an income stream.
Instagram is the home of influencer marketing and offers lots of opportunities to collaborate with influencers and partners. An influencer is a creator with a significant following that is likely to include one or all of your target audiences.
You can grow relationships with creators who could become collaborators by engaging with their content and learning whether their values and style are a fit for your cause. An easy way to do this is to create a ‘collection’ of saved content from each of the influencers you want to engage with to remind you to check in with them regularly.
Increasingly, organisations are choosing to collaborate more with smaller influencers. Micro-influencers (10K–50K followers) or nano-influencers (1–10K followers) have high levels of audience engagement and are more likely to influence their followers to support your cause.
Instagram content must contain an image or video, so you have to be really creative about how you represent your work and engage your audience.
You could create educational Reels (Instagram’s answer to TikTok), live conversations with experts or people with lived experience, animated infographics demonstrating your impact or a peek behind the scenes with stories that disappear after 24 hours.