A hub of fast-paced interaction and home to over 1 billion active monthly users, Instagram is a staple in today’s digital society and an increasingly popular marketing tool – but is it useful for charities? Yes!
More often than not, charities will be keen to minimise their marketing budget so they can spend more on what really matters, which is why Instagram is so great: it’s free. It’s also a great platform to deliver powerful content in a memorable way, because after all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Oh, and let’s not forget the infamous hashtag. When used correctly, the hashtag can attract a huge amount of awareness and engagement for your charity, which means more opportunity to drive action, deliver your message and achieve your goals.
Whilst this all sounds great, you may still be unsure of how to use the platform to achieve your objectives. Of course, this will be different for everyone and completely depends on what you are hoping to achieve, but if you’re looking for inspiration, this is a great place to start.
1. PETA (@peta)
With over 1.3 million followers, Peta is one of the largest charity accounts on Instagram – but how do they do it? They produce engaging content that starts a conversation.
Known for creating a stir with their disturbing campaigns and controversial tactics, PETA are no stranger to shock advertising. From publishing images and statistics so shocking you simply have to share them, to framing their posts with captions so emotive and direct, they create a call to action that cannot be ignored. One thing’s for sure: PETA knows how to attract attention.
2. Cancer Research UK (@cr_uk)
Cancer Research UK also adopts a shock advertising approach, but adds a more personal perspective to their posts. They use ordinary people, living normal lives – just another person, like you or me – but then the dreaded ‘C-word’ is introduced, and the reader is sent into a state of shock and fear. It’s something we are all used to hearing; cancer can affect anyone and everyone, but until it impacts us directly, we don’t really take notice – it’s just another phrase. This is why Cancer Research’s Instagram is so effective: they use real stories from relatable people; putting a face to the name and making the harsh realities seem more human.
By sharing stories in a more personal way, Cancer Research is able to connect to their audience on a deeper, emotional level; it makes them realise it could be their mum, brother, or even them impacted next. This strong emotional response makes them inclined to take action – but it doesn’t end there. To further motivate their audience, Cancer Research UK always closes their posts with a clear call to action; recognising the need to exploit an opportunity whilst you have it – if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
3. UNICEF UK (@unicef_uk)
UNICEF UK highlights how celebrities can be used to boost Instagram campaigns. Using a famous face can not only help to reach a much larger audience, but also encourages the viewer to take action as they are being inspired by their role model – a trusted and credible source.
UNICEF UK also really knows how to make the most of a video; delivering strong messages in an engaging, easy to digest way. Whilst videos are a powerful marketing tool, you may be wondering whether the benefits are enough to make it worth the investment? In short, yes. Not only do videos allow viewers to retain more information, they also increase engagement and encourage shares – with social videos being shared 1200% more than text and images put together – and increased engagement and more exposure equals more opportunity to drive action!
4. Dogs Trust (@dogstrust)
Dogs Trust take a more light-hearted approach to Instagram, choosing to post comical images with #relatable captions. They create shareable posts: ones you want to send to your mum, add to your story or tag your friends in. Their positive posts put a smile on everyone’s face and convey a strong message; showing the happiness a dog can bring to your life (and you can bring to theirs) when you choose to rescue or sponsor – and what is happiness? An emotion. That’s right, an emotional response doesn’t have to be a sad one; people can be just as inclined to make decisions based on their joy.
5. Macmillan Cancer Support (@macmillancancer)
Similarly to Dogs Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support also chooses to play on positive emotions. They post inspirational content – from survivor stories to fundraising success stories – encouraging the audience to take action by showing them anyone can get involved, and allowing them see the difference their donations can make.
It’s clear to see there really is not right or wrong when it comes to how you choose to market your charity using Instagram. The key thing to remember is that you’re communicating with humans, and what do humans respond to? Emotion. And of course, as with any marketing content, clarity is key. Your posts need to have a strong purpose with a clear call to action – think, if you were the viewer, what would motivate you?