In 2010, the world gained a new social media platform unlike any other at the time: Instagram. The photo-sharing platform quickly gained so much traction that Facebook bought the platform just two years after they launched.
Should your organization be on Instagram? How can small businesses and nonprofits best use it to connect with their audience? Let’s take a closer look at this platform.
Instagram is a visual platform that relies on images or videos, plus additional features like stories, IGTV, and reels. In other words, there’s a lot going on with Instagram! As of 2021, Instagram has 1.074 billion users worldwide.
The platform’s biggest demographic is those between the ages of 18 and 34. In fact, 71% of the gram’s audience is under the age of 35. In the US, 43% of users are woman, and 31% are men, according to the Pew Research Center.
Instagram users spend an average of 53 minutes on the app each day, while 500 million accounts use Instagram stories every day[LW1] . If you are a small business considering Instagram as part of your marketing efforts, you should know that 50% of users follow at least one business account and 80% of users buy a product or service they have been shown. (Source: Oberlo)
Ways users can engage with content
There are multiple ways to view content in the app, including the main feed for standard posts, the stories feed, a search option, reels view, and a shopping view. (Though there’s a good chance that will change at some point, as social media platforms are constantly adapting to meet the needs of their users and their advertisers.)
Some users are the type to simply scroll through the posts and stories from close friends and family and maybe a few brands or influencers that they enjoy following. Others are the type to hit the search looking for specific content or browse hashtags of interest, while still others will scroll through the reels feed or suggested content and simply see what they can find.
Using Instagram for small business or nonprofit marketing
How should you leverage Instagram for your business or nonprofit? The most important thing to keep in mind is that Instagram is a visual platform. Everything about it — posts, stories, reels, and IGTV — uses a photo, graphic, or video.
If your brand has visual content to share, then Instagram might be a good platform to consider. If you don’t have many photos to share and don’t want to create graphics for use on social media, it might not be a good fit. As with any social media platform, you need to be consistent with posting engaging content if you want the algorithm to keep showing it to people. If it’s not right for you, that’s okay! You don’t have to be on every social media platform.
Now, if you do want to use Instagram to promote your small business or nonprofit, think about the type of content you want to share and how you want people to engage with that content.
- Posts – Great for photos, graphics, and short videos. These live on your feed forever.
- Stories – More options for sharing photos, graphics, or videos with overlay text plus fun features like polls where followers can vote on things. These are only available for a short window of time unless you save them as a highlight on your profile.
- Reels – Similar to TikTok, these are short videos of a single clip or multiple clips that you share.
- IGTV – This is where longer videos live, and people can click through from a short version on your profile and continue watching the longer version.
When posting on Instagram, don’t forget about those hashtags! Hashtags are critical when it comes to sharing content on Instagram. The average post on Instagram has 10.7 hashtags, and those hashtags help more people discover your content. The more relevant your hashtags are to your industry and your area, the better chances you have of more people seeing it.
We recommend scheduling some Instagram content using a third-party tool (Social Pilot is our fave for social media scheduling) plus posting some in-the-moment content that fits your brand. Stories are a great way to get people to engage with your brand, plus you can use any feedback you gather from polls to better understand your audience and what they want to see from you in the future.
Most importantly, as with all social media, it’s important to be true to your brand on social media. Keep that in mind as you develop content for Instagram (or decide if it’s right for you).
If you’ve wondered about using Instagram for your brand but aren’t sure if it’s right for you or are struggling to keep up with content, the StoryPath Communications team can help. Contact us to book a consultation today.