Instagram, the mobile photography app purchased by Facebook, has been getting a lot of attention lately. From critics saying it is killing photography to hype and hoopla from marketing pundits saying it is a must-have as part of your “visual marketing tool box.” In Steve Rubel’s Ad Age post, “The Revolution Won’t Be Televised; It Will Be Instagrammed” points out some underlying trends that might make some of the hype less hype:
- Smartphone use has become pervasive, siting recent research reports from Pew Internet for America Life research
- Visual marketing is becoming an important part of the online marketer’s tool box – especially because images are global, easy to digest, and distributable.
There are some nonprofits, early adopters, experimenting with Instagram. I’ve been following charity:water that has been posting a photo of the day. But charity:water’s CEO, Scott Harrison, is also using it quite skillfully to share imagery about his organization’s work. Like many nonprofit leaders and staffers, Scott is “mixing up the personal with the professional brand.” I think instagram is a terrific platform to do that – if you have a culture that is comfortable with mixing it up and, of course, people who like to share photos.
Others are using Instagram by sharing visual stories about their programs using a branded profile, like Children’s LA and Unicef USA. And take a look at the how the US Embassy in Wellington, NZ uses it.
Instagram is one of those channels where a nonprofit could start with a small pilot that is strategically linked to communications or marketing objectives and pick a success metric and track it. But first best practices and measurement, learning, and improving. This guide for business marketers is relevant to nonprofits. It boils down the techniques to simply: Curate, Snap, Hashtag, Engage, and Repeat. Simply Measured offers a free report that lets see which of your photos/stories was most engaging.
I ran an analysis on my Instagram experimenting and discovered that my most engaging photos included Monks, Clouds, and Cats! Porter Mason from UnicefUSA also suggests this other measurement tool: Staigr.am
Is your nonprofit experimenting with Instagram? What have you discovered? How are you defining and measuring success?