Inspiration

Instagram for Nonprofits: Tips on how to use Instagram to increase followers and engagement

Instagram is among one of the most popular social media platforms in existence today. With 600 million active users per month, and 400 million active users per day, it is one of the best ways to grow your audience! One of the strengths of Instagram is its simplicity. Primarily a tool for sharing images (with an optional caption), it is an efficient way to share what goes on in your world. However, because it is only fully accessible through mobile, it can be tricky when it comes to building a brand — in particular, a nonprofit organization. That said, here are some tips for how to use Instagram for nonprofits.

Instagram for Nonprofits

The good news: many nonprofits have successfully built a strong following by using Instagram.

Unfortunately, despite having the best intentions, the reality is that many nonprofits and NGOs do not have the resources to hire a marketing expert to run their social media accounts. But don’t worry! At Visit.org, we have tapped our professional ambassadors — many of whom are heavily-followed social media influencers — to give their tips and tricks on how to use Instagram for nonprofits. Follow these steps, and you will increase your followers and engagement in an authentic and organic way.

With thousands of followers, these orgs show us how beneficial nonprofit Instagram accounts can be.

Instagram Best Practices for Nonprofits and NGOs

1. Have an informative bio

One of the first things that a new follower will see on your Instagram page is your “bio” — a short description of what and where your organization is. That said, one of the most important ways to use Instagram for nonprofits is to ensure your bio captivates your audience and nicely summarises your organization. You only have 150 characters to use so make it stand out.

Another important Instagram tip for nonprofits: You MUST include a link in the bio. This is your call to action for anyone who wants to visit your site. You can change the link at any time e.g. Leave the default as your current website. But if you want to promote a blog post, or are running a fundraising campaign, then link that instead.

You can edit your bio and profile infoat too many posts can become spammy. Generally the best times to post on Instagram are lunch time (11am-1pm) and evenings (7-9pm). However, if you are running a nonprofit Instagram account, it is best to keep in mind what times your particular audiences are online. For example, if you are targeting the USA but are located in South East Asia it’s best to post in peak USA times.

3. Strive for great quality and variety

rmation by clicking on ‘Edit profile’, or in the settings section at the top right-hand corner of the screen.

2. Practice consistency in your nonprofit Instagram account

Ensure your posts are consistent. That means: post regularly, and around the same time every day.

The average Instagram user posts once a day. And keep in mind that Instagram is visual. Make sure your picture tells a story and reflects on the personality of your organization.

Think about how you want to portray your organization to the world. Think about what your goals are and use Instagram as a way to achieve those goals.

While it’s great to have powerful and engaging photos, you can also mix it up with quotes, reposts, or light-
hearted posts.

How to use Instagram for nonprofits: be strategic about your hashtags

4. Use a lot of strategically-chosen hashtags

Hashtags  are one of the main ways to connect with a wider audience when using Instagram for nonprofits. You can use up to 30 hashtags per Instagram post. Some say this looks spammy but studies show that anything less than 11 will result in little engagement.

It’s important to choose the right hashtags to go with your images, so some important Instagram tips for nonprofits are to choose hashtags that:

  • are related to the aims of your organization
  • are related to your target audience
  • are being used by others in your niche
  • are a mix of unpopular and popular hashtags
  • are specific/personalized to your nonprofit Instagram account

Example:

You are a community organization in Bali, Indonesia called Bali Community Tours. You run cooking classes that raise money to help a local school. Your organization also offers volunteer opportunities and promotes environmental sustainability.

Niche Hashtags: #responsibletourism #responsibletravel #communitybasedtourism #travelgood #sustainabletourism #ecotourism #environmentalsustainability #travelplussociaigood #communitybased

Local Hashtags: #volunteerbali #visitindonesia #balitourism #travelbali #responsibletourbali #travelgoodbali #communitytourismbali #withlocalsbali #incredibleindonesia

Popular Hashtags: #travel #volunteer #Bali #Indonesia #traveler #cookingclass

Personalised Hashtags: #balicommunitytours #bctvolunteer2017 #volunteerbct

Bonus tip: Save your hashtags into a note in your mobile device, so you don’t have to type them all every time.

5. Social Sharing

You can connect your nonprofit Instagram account to your Facebook page and Twitter feed by going to Settings>Linked Accounts.

Instagram tip for nonprofits: Share your Instagram content on other channels

When you share an image on Instagram, you have the option to share that image and caption to Facebook and Twitter for extra engagement. Don’t worry if you don’t share your image on the first go. You can go back to any photo and click on the three dots on the top right of the photo and share any time. You can even edit the caption!

6. Reposting others’ posts on your nonprofit’s Instagram account

You can repost other people’s images using the Repost App. This is among the most important Instagram tips for nonprofits, because it is a good way to engage with other pages and their followers.

Instagram tips for nonprofits: Repost other orgs’ content on your page.

  1. Firstly, download the Repost App onto your phone.
  2. Find an image you would like to repost (preferably a partner organization or similar niche). Click on the three dots on the top right of the image. Click ‘Copy Share URL’ (This will save the image to your clipboard).
  3. Open the Repost App. Click on the repost image. Choose what section you would like the credit to go in, click repost and copy to Instagram. Their caption will be on your clipboard to paste when you are ready to share (along with the credit of course).

7. Instagram Stories

Aside from imagery on your main feed, Instagram allows users to upload videos or photos in their Stories feature.

Stories, like Snapchat, will vanish after 24 hours. The feature appears in a bar at the top of your feed. If you can’t see it, you must update your Instagram app.

Instagram best practices for nonprofits: Take advantage of the Stories feature to add human touch to your account.

To create a story on Instagram, you have to tap a new “+” or camera icon at the top left-hand corner of the screen and take/upload a photo or video, just as you would normally on Instagram. After, you can use a range of filters and also add text and drawings to your content.

Stories are a great way to share behind-the- scenes content and live, timely content that people can share relating to your organization. If you have a public account, anyone can see your Stories.

8. Using Instagram for Business

Even though you are trying to figure out how to use Instagram for nonprofits, the app’s business tool may be helpful. Instagram recently created the option for users to switch to a business account. 

The business account allows you to get insights into followers and see how they interact with your posts and stories. You can also add extra information about your company, such as business hours, location, and phone number which creates a specific ‘Contact Us’ call to action.

To switch to a business account click Settings>Switch To Business Account, and visa versa to switch back to personal.

Unless you plan to do any promotional activity e.g. paid posts, the main advantage of a business profile are the insights that can help you know when your highest interaction is, so you can tailor posts to meet that traffic flow.

(Note that insights will only be available for the posts you create once switched to a business profile.)

9. Free photo editing apps that will be useful for nonprofit Instagram accounts

Snapseed – For image enhancements and corrections

VSCO – For image adjustments

Canva – For text over images and infographics

Instaquote – For quotes


Now that we’ve gone over some basic Instagram tips for nonprofits, you should be able to run an engaging account that draws in a wider audience.

Just remember the Instagram best practices:

  • Commit to maintaining your Instagram regularly
  • Balance consistency and quality
  • Post during peak/high traffic times
  • Tell a story
  • Call your visitors to action
  • Use 11+ hashtags
  • Use the right amount of quality hashtags
  • Take advantage of social sharing
  • Expand your reach

Please share this post so that other orgs can learn how to use Instagram for nonprofits.