How to tie Instagram into your online giving campaigns
It’s likely that when you launch a new giving campaign, you do so via the channels that you know best. But, are you thinking about all the channels that your nonprofit has a presence on and how to cross-promote that content across them?
While many nonprofits have started to beef up their presence on Instagram, it is still a channel that remains underutilized for online giving campaigns. And, if you’re looking for ways to engage young donors, Instagram is a great option since half of Instagram users in the U.S. are between the ages of 18 and 29 years (Statista.com).
Looking for help? Here are 8 ideas for using Instagram for online giving campaigns:
Customize your bio
Instagram bios only allow for 150 characters, so many organizations use those to describe who they are or a version of the nonprofit’s mission statement. When you kick off a fundraising campaign, however, use your bio as another avenue to talk about the campaign and build a strong call to action. Rather than keeping a generic link to your organization’s website, change out your link in your bio so that it goes directly to your campaign landing page or online donation form.
Use pictures to tell your story
It’s likely that you’re already using imagery in your campaign emails, Facebook posts or direct mail pieces. Take your imagery development one step further and create similar images to post on Instagram during the campaign. Images on Instagram should be designed 1080×1080 pixels and can mirror what you already have created for other channels. Here are just a few ways you can use imagery on Instagram to support your campaign:
- Share funds raised status via a thermometer or other tracking visual
- Create thank you images throughout the campaign for donors
- Highlight pictures from an on-location giving events
- Share pictures of those that benefit from the donations being received
- Post behind-the-scenes pictures of your staff/team
Watch your links
Instagram does not make it possible for your audience to click on URLs straight from the post or photo caption. When writing copy for Instagram, it’s best to use “see link in bio” if you want people to take action or donate online. Remember, you can change out that bio link as many times as you want to; if you have a specific landing page you want viewers to see, prompt them with the content in the newsfeed and change out those bio links as often as you need.
Use Instagram stories
Video can grab attention and using Instagram stories is one such way to do that. When you post a video (or image) to your Instagram story, you can also choose whether or not to auto-post those stories to Facebook, whether or not to tag locations/other pages, and/or whether or not to add additional CTA text. If you are asking for donations as a part of the post, take the time to spell out where or how viewers can make those donations online.
Instagram stories only stay on your profile for 24 hours, so think strategically on what and when you’re posting. To get around the 24-hour rule of stories, you can add highlights to your Instagram profile. Highlights stay on your profile and can be modified throughout the year with your campaign. Check out Pencils of Promise on Instagram for a great example of Instagram profile highlights. And for more insight on creating Instagram stories, check out this post by Buffer.
Create a campaign hashtag
Hashtags are an easy way to gain traction and additional followers as users look to what’s trending on the platform. Create a hashtag that is specific to your campaign and encourage donors to post pictures on their personal Instagram accounts, tagging your organization and using the campaign hashtag. You can search for those hashtags and repost and/or comment when you see these posts throughout the campaign, creating an extension of engagement.
Instagram allows for up to 30 hashtags, but your sweet spot should be between 5 and 6 hashtags per post. You can use a combination of hashtags that are specific to your campaign and those that coincide with your theme.
Promote SMS (text-to-give)
Images on Instagram can help leverage your SMS campaigns, too. See below for a quick example from The Humane Society. Take your SMS campaign a step further by planning daily images around why giving is important with instructions on how to give in the copy of the post.
Try Instagram ads
You will need to ensure your Instagram account is converted to a business profile before running ads. Once this is done, Instagram ads can be a great option for creating content that is clickable right in the newsfeed itself without having to direct users to “see link in bio”.
Collect donations right on Instagram
Instagram provides nonprofit users with a great step-by-step guide on how to raise money on the platform. You first need to be a registered 501(c)(3) in the U.S. as well as enrolled in Facebook Charitable Giving Tools. From there, you can start fundraisers and add donation buttons directly to your account(s). For more information, see Instagram’s how-to page on setting this up.
Cross-promote on all channels
You may have a top channel for donor engagement—it could be email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.—but as you are crafting messaging for this top channel, do not forget to do the same for the other platforms where you have a presence. Pre-planning your content will help. For instance, if your number one channel of engagement is email, start with your content development strategy there and work your way down. What can you piece out from the email campaigns and use on social media as well? When your emails go out, when will corresponding social media posts go up that mirror the content?
As with any new channel that you add to your fundraising mix, keep a watch on engagement rates, types of content that resonate with your donors and general ROI (return on investment). Instagram Insights is one such way to monitor your success on this channel as well as where your donations are coming from (or how donors hear about you). At the end of the day, it’s all about consistency and reaching your audience on the channels where they are most active.