Instagram can be a powerful tool for nonprofits wanting to connect to a broader audience. The social media platform has more than 1 billion users — beating Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok — and is especially popular among people aged 18-29.
The platform, however, is different than Facebook or Twitter. Instagram is all about visual content, meaning you’ll need a new approach to use the site effectively.
Here are four strategies your nonprofit should keep in mind when using Instagram for fundraising:
1. Start With the Right Profile Type
Instagram offers two account types — business and personal profiles. When creating an account for your nonprofit, you should choose a business profile over a personal one. Selecting a business profile will allow you to add “Nonprofit” to your bio. It will also grant you access to more advanced analytics and improved ad campaign management, as well as enable you to add contact information to your page.
You’ll also be able to add a special Donation sticker to Stories and Live videos and a “Donate” button to your profile once you connect your profile with your verified Facebook Page approved for Charitable Giving Tools, which will let users go directly from your content to a donation page.
If your nonprofit’s account is already active but registered as a personal account, you can also switch over from a personal to a business account without losing followers.
Once you’ve set up your account, be sure to include a relevant hyperlink in your bio. Instagram doesn’t let you add links to post captions — meaning that users who click through will always go through the contact info on your page or a link in your bio.
2. Build a Content Strategy
Your Instagram strategy won’t get very far without high-quality content. How you should manage your content strategy will vary depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re developing your nonprofit’s content strategy yourself, start by investigating how other nonprofits approach content management.
For example, Feeding America is a nonprofit with a national network of more than 200 food banks. On its Instagram page, the nonprofit mostly publishes testimonials and photos from people who have received support. These posts provide both an emotional connection for the audience and a material demonstration of the impact the nonprofit’s work is having.
Other orgs take different approaches. The Nature Conservancy’s page is big on professional nature photography. Doctors Without Borders uses Instagram to show off the work their doctors are doing in the field. In general, it will be a good idea to provide an emotional aspect for your audience to connect to and demonstrate the real-world impact donations can have. Beyond that, there’s a lot of room for creativity.
High-traffic content will provide an opportunity to link out to a donation form using Instagram’s donation sticker. Regular updates to your Instagram page also show that your nonprofit is active and demonstrates how your brand is accomplishing its goals.
You should also create a mixture of photo and video content. These two content types have their own advantages and disadvantages. They also appeal to different audience segments. Posting both photos and videos will ensure you reach the most people possible with your content.
3. Work With Influencers
Influencers are prominent online figures with sizable, dedicated followings. These individuals work with organizations to create posts or campaigns highlighting the services they offer or the work they’re doing.
Influencers can lend some legitimacy to your nonprofit or help you connect with a community you haven’t been able to reach. For example, an influencer with strong ties to a city or town can spread the word about your nonprofit in their community using Instagram posts and Stories. With this content, they can encourage their followers to donate or volunteer.
You will need to choose the influencer you work with carefully based on what you want your campaign to accomplish. Smaller accounts — like micro-influencers, who have between 10,000 or 500,000 followers — tend to have a niche and often have a closer relationship to their audience. Partnering with a micro-influencer who has close ties to an audience you want to target or experience in a relevant niche can be an effective fundraising strategy.
Many of these influencers are also associated with local events that may be looking to partner with a nonprofit. For example, the 2018 TwitchCon — a livestream gaming conference in San Diego — raised more than $200,000 for 10 charities. These events are becoming more popular every year, and influencers may help you get in touch with organizers.
Some influencers will even work pro bono for nonprofits — but it’s a good idea to have something to offer these influencers. Ideally, the relationship between your nonprofit and its influencers should be as two-sided as possible.
4. Take Advantage of Instagram’s Advertising Features
Be sure to take full advantage of Instagram’s ad targeting features. These features can help you ensure you’re serving your ads to the audience you want to attract. Like Facebook, Instagram’s ad targeting is powerful and can give you a lot of fine-grain control over who will see your ads. For example, you can target based on location, demographic information, user behavior, and interests.
The platform also has some advanced targeting algorithms that will let you automate your ad targeting or serve ads to users similar to your existing audience.
Strategies for Fundraising on Instagram
If you want to use social media to boost your nonprofit’s fundraising techniques, Instagram can be a great platform to use. With influencer relationships, profile design, and the right content strategy, you can use the site to drive donations and build awareness.
Productivity Theory, a blog by Kayla Matthews, is dedicated to helping you accomplish your definition of success. Not everyone wants the same things out of life but, whatever you want, chances are you can get it by being a more motivated and productive you.