Instagram has become one of the most heavily utilized social media marketing channels for organisations of all sizes due to the platform’s huge user growth in such a short period of time. With cool features and settings, we can transform everyday photos into pieces of art. You don’t have to be a professional to create amazing photos your supporters will love. With Instagram, anyone can do it. Despite this, many struggle with how to build a relevant Instagram following that ultimately provides value. Here are some ideas to get you started

1. Make sure you carefully curate photos your target audience would be interested in

This may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked by organisations on Instagram. Think about who you want to attract as your ideal supporters and figure out what kinds of photos they would most likely be interested in.

It is important to clearly define what your organisation is looking to achieve by having an active presence on Instagram from the beginning. This will help you to define what type of content to share by understanding what images support those goals

2. Encourage supporters to share their stories

Users on Instagram often create and share more photos about your organisation than your team could ever possibly create. This community can have a substantial impact on how you’re perceived online.  By consistently monitoring content created by users, it is possible to better identify influencers and advocates already talking about your cause.

Once these power users are identified, many organisations reach out to them to build a relationship that will likely lead to more advocacy on behalf of the charity in the future. Measuring the presence of this content can help your charity identify users that are already genuine fans of your work and the cause you support.

3. Use hashtags to join relevant conversations

One of the primary methods of tracking photos on Instagram from influencers posting about your brand is by monitoring hashtags. Follow hashtags of your brand name, related to your cause and those created by you for campaigns and events.

Using a hashtag for a contest or promotion can help your nonprofit track entries and understand how effective the campaign was on Instagram overall. When creating a hashtag to measure and monitor the success of your campaigns, choose a unique grouping of words that clearly identify your brand or cause and that have not already been used in the past. If the hashtag was used in past, make sure its use is appropriate for your brand positioning and audience on Instagram.

4. Talk, share, tell people about yourself

One of the major benefits of social media is the freedom it provides for the public to have a voice, give feedback, and have a two way dialogue about a cause with a charity they support or are thinking of supporting. Instagram may be a visual channel, but as with other forms of new media, it is an interactive channel that works best as a way to communicate directly with your audience.

Take advantage of this opportunity to like, comment on, or repost user generated content that places your cause and your organisation in a good light. If there is a photo shared with negative feedback, then also take the time to address the issue when appropriate. Monitoring the user generated content created about your business will help ensure you don’t miss these public moments on Instagram, regardless if they are positive or negative.

5.Tell stories with pictures

For charities, Instagram isn’t just about pretty pictures. It’s about the people they’re interacting with and the stories behind the images. Invisble Chidren share pictures about the people they help, to show people why they are campaigning. Hellen Lalam hasn’t seen her daughter since January 16, 2006, when she was taken by Joseph Kony’s group while collecting firewood.

 

Medecins Sans Frontiers shared this picture to highlight the challenges they faced in a detention centre in Yemen. The authorities there carried out a campaign to release hundreds of migrants held by traffickers and began to repatriate them to their home countries. Since then, the number of people who voluntarily approach the detention centre for migrants seeking repatriation has greatly increased. The detention center in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, has a maximum capacity of 200-250; the centre currently houses about 750

6. Share behind the scenes images

24 of us are staying in this little hotel in #Magdalena #Peru, just 30 minutes from the district of #Asuncion. It was the closest to #westernstandards we could find w/o being to far away. The hotel, like all others also suffers from water shortages. Water arrives for a few hours in the morning and a few at night. Tomorrow we wake up early to set-out on our first day in the field to do a baseline study of what the water and sanitation

7. Show the problems

Pictures can be a powerful way to show people the challenges your charity faces everyday. The public are more likely to connect to a cause when the see the impact it has on real people.

This is a picture of homeless people queuing for shoes outside the Los Angeles Mission. Pictures are a much more effective way of showing people the scale of the problems you face.

Share pictures of your supporters and volunteers

 

Show supporters what you are doing with their help

Most often, photos can capture the spirit of your organization more than words. The powerful imagery in photos can evoke emotions that words simply cannot express. Waer Aid shared this picture of children cheering as a woman draws water from a pump in Nyeama, Sierra Leone. This pump was built last year, and WaterAid is aiming to help other communities in the area to give more people access to clean, safe water.

10 year old Anik Malakar holds a hygiene education card at a slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2011. Two deep tubewells with overhead tanks were installed, each one serving 200 households meaning the community has unlimited water supply now.

 

8. Get the word out. Tweet, Facebook, and blog your Instagram photos

Don’t limit your photos to just Instagram. You can set up your app to allow you to share to Twitter and your Facebook personal profile. If you want to share photos to your Facebook page, you will need to go to your profile on the web, click on the photo you want to share, and grab the URL for that specific page.

Another way to share your Instagram photos is via Tumblr. You can create a whole blog on Tumblr for your Instagram photos or integrate your Instagram activity into your current Tumblr blog by connecting it to your Instagram app.

If this seems time consuming you could use IFTTT to automate how you share Instagram images you upload onto your other social channels