Five Reasons the Civic Sector Shouldn’t Sleep on Instagram

Launching and maintaining a social media channel is hard work. Content creation takes time and followers don’t materialize overnight.

A lot of public agencies, nonprofits and foundations may feel maxed out with Facebook and Twitter and may not be able to see how a new channel could fit into the mix. Others may feel burned after they jumped onto the [insert defunct social media fad] bandwagon only to see their efforts go to waste.

We see you. We feel you. But we promise you Instagram is worth it.

Number 1: Everyone is on Instagram

A billion – yes, you read that right – a billion people are on Instagram, and 500 million of those users are on the site every dang day.Now of course not all of those 1 billion followers are your target audience, but given the widespread reach, it’s safe to say some of your people are already on the site.

Number 2: Expand the reach of your content

Guess what friends – you can post your tweets on Instagram. I know that sounds crazy. Instagram is a photo-based platform. Why would you post tweets on Instagram? Well, not all your Insta followers are Twitter users and sometimes your very best tweets deserve extra exposure. So, work smarter, not harder—and give your content new life on a different platform.

Some of our favorite public officials and nonprofits use this tactic successfully. Take a look:

Number 3: You can share news on Instagram

New York Times – Gender does a really good job of distilling news stories into perfect Instagrammable bites. Check this one out!

In the example above, I can swipe through four images and get the core message of the article. It may move me to click through to read the entire piece on the New York Times website, but if it doesn’t, I still come away with an appreciation of the Times’ reporting.

This is a great tactic to take with a major announcement or report release. Pick the top three to five takeaways you want your followers to understand and turn them into a swipe series.

Number 4: STORIES

We can’t all be as cool as Crooked Media, but we can all learn something from how they use Instagram stories. Our favorite Pod friends release a newsletter every evening, but instead of hoping everyone will click and read it in their inbox, they share a version of the same content in their Instagram stories. This tricks people like me, who think they might have posted a cute dog video, into reading the newsletter, even if I may have missed it in my inbox.

Try this with your next blog post or email blast – be sure to feature your strongest graphics in the story.

Number 5: A little personality

Instagram is a great place for public agencies to show a little personality – especially if your Twitter account is devoted to customer alerts. MTA New York City Transit uses their Instagram account to give their followers a taste of who they are beyond the daily agitations of commuting during rush hour.

Now that you’re convinced about the glory of Instagram, check out their step by step instructions for setting up an account. Before long, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without the ‘gram.