Win Fans and Friends with Instagram

My team and I use instagram daily, and it is steadily becoming my favorite social media channel. You can coordinate it to push on facebook simultaneously, and I'm all for doing 2 things at once.

So when Constant Contact released a blog post on Instagram Best Practices, I was instantly interested. Below are tips and tricks from Constant Contact social media specialist Kristen Curtiss.

"Show who you are."

More than most other businesses, your audience wants to know who you are. They want to see your personality and meet the people behind the doors of your nonprofit. Your biggest strength is the passionate community you already have. Take advantage of it.

Instagram is a fantastic place for you to show your audience who you are and what you do. Take pictures of your staff doing what they do every day. Take pictures of your volunteers working hard for the cause. Go behind the scenes to show your personality and what you stand for.

"An Instagram is worth a thousand words."

As a nonprofit, you probably hold more events and fundraisers than other businesses. This is a great opportunity to show your supporters what they can expect from your events. It’s also a simple way to promote your next event.

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Taking pictures of your event is great, taking pictures of people at your event is terrific, but taking pictures of volunteers in action is powerful. Have your event attendees take pictures and use a designated hashtag to group all of these images together or use your handle when publishing the image. That’s right…Instagram allows you to use hashtags! If you’re not familiar with hashtags, they’re basically a fancy term for the actual # symbol used in front of a word or phrase on Instagram. Hashtags help categorize photos so that they can be easily found.

"Build awareness with #hashtags."

Just like Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, Instagram uses hashtags to group images together. A large number of people peruse Instagram by searching for their favorite hashtags. Make sure to use this technique.

There are many hashtags out there that can help build awareness. Search around and find the ones that are right for you. Some of the most popular hashtags are #nonprofit #activism or #socialgood, but there are plenty for you to choose from.

Remember though, if you are going to use hashtags, you should only share your photo with other social networks that also use hashtags.

"Connect the dots."           

One of the best features of Instagram is how easy it is to connect your account with your Twitter, Facebook, Email, Tumblr, Flickr, Foursquare, and even your website. This makes Instagram a dynamic tool that can help you build awareness and connect with your audience.

"Get comfortable with something new."

The best way to get to know any new social network is to take the time to see how other nonprofits and businesses are using it. Mashable wrote a great article highlighting 10 nonprofits and how they use Instagram. This is the perfect place for you to start.

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After you’ve researched how other nonprofits use Instagram, set up a personal account to get comfortable with the app and its features before you direct your audience to your nonprofit’s new Instagram page.

You've gotta have fun with it.

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