You’re probably no stranger to Instagram, at least from a personal standpoint. You may use it compulsively to keep up with family, see what celebrities are up to, or share funny dog videos with your friends. You know well enough how to publish a new photo, post a comment, and write captions.
But maintaining the Instagram account of a professional organization is a different ballgame. There are currently over 500 million daily users on the platform
. No matter what the target demographic of your organization may be, they are most certainly on Instagram, making it a very potentially lucrative online arena you can’t continue to ignore.
Switch To A Business Account
First things first! If you haven’t already, you will want to switch your Instagram to a (free) business account. Valuable features of an Instagram Business account include the ability to:
- Check your analytics. Gain insights on the best time to post and who your followers are.
- Advertise on Instagram. Run promoted/sponsored posts for your fundraising initiatives.
- Showcase your industry. Instantly let new visitors see that you’re a nonprofit organization.
- Add a contact button. Give users the opportunity to call, email or visit your physical HQ (more on that later).
To switch your profile to a business account:
- Go to your profile and tap the menu icon
- Tap Settings
- Tap Account.
- Tap Switch to Business Account.
- Instagram recommends that you connect your business account to a Facebook Page that is associated with your business. This will make it easier to use all of the features available for businesses. At this time, only one Facebook Page can be connected to your business account.
- Add details such as your business or accounts's category and contact information.
- Tap Done.
Pick A Profile Photo That’s Recognizable From Afar
The majority of Instagram users are accessing the platform on their phones, so it’s important that your profile photo is easily recognizable even when it’s scaled down to its tiniest version (such as in comment sections). This means an image with no words and a minimalist design. For most organizations, their logo on a colour-branded background makes for a good profile photo:
Set Up Your Contact Information & Call-To-Action
Your Instagram feed intends to (hopefully) inspire action, so don’t leave your audience hanging once they’ve gotten excited about your cause! Add your contact information (phone, email, brick-and-mortar address) and CTA to your profile page so that supporters have somewhere to go next after falling in love with your content.
To edit your contact information and add a CTA button to your business profile:
- Go to your business profile on Instagram.
- Tap Edit Profile.
- Under Business Information, tap Contact Options.
- Tap Add an action button.
- Select the action button you want to add to your business profile. You need an existing account with a partner to select them. Visit the website of the partner you want to add to learn more.
- Tap Submit.
Request A Verified Badge For Your Profile
Have you noticed that little blue check mark badge next to the usernames of celebrities, businesses, and yes, nonprofits? It might not seem like much, but the verification badge gives a sense of instant credibility and trustworthiness to your profile.
- Make sure you're logged in to the account you're requesting a verified badge for.
- Go to your profile and tap the menu icon.
- Tap Settings > Account > Request Verification.
- Enter your full name and provide the required form of identification (example: government-issued photo ID).
Strategize The Link In Your Bio
In an effort to minimize spam on their platform, one downside to Instagram for organizations is that you can’t share links in your posts/captions. You are only allowed to share one link on your Instagram page. That link sits directly beneath your bio, so you will want to make the most of it.
Many bloggers, nonprofits, and businesses on Instagram update the link in their bio periodically depending on what they’re promoting in that moment. For example, your environmental nonprofit might publish a new post that urges followers to donate in the next 48 hours to help stop a wildfire. Alternatively, you might encourage users to go sign up for your mailing list to get a particular freebie, and so you’ll update your bio link accordingly.
Need to give users access to multiple links at once? Check out LinkTree
, a free tool that generates a custom link to put in your bio that, when clicked, gives your Instagram followers instant access to all your vital links in one place. So useful!!
Most Importantly… Be Consistent!
Of course, all the Instagram advice in the world can’t help if you’re not posting regular, relevant content on your organization’s account. Instagram’s infamous algorithm tends to favour accounts that post often because it keeps users engaged (AKA using the app) for longer.
When you’re just starting out, you will want to try aiming for a realistic posting schedule (ex. 2-3 times a week). If you find yourself hitting that goal consistently, then you can get more ambitious over time. The general consensus seems to be that posting at least once a day keeps your followers engaged
while attracting new users.
Since Instagram is such a highly visual platform, the more photos and videos you can share of your team, volunteers, and initiatives in action, the more you can get your followers excited about your mission! But whichever schedule you choose, remember that high-quality content is always better than quantity — in other words, the best schedule for your nonprofit will be the one that you can keep up with long term.