Marketing Minute: Exploring Instagram

Marketing Minute is a monthly post series by guest blogger, Amber Recker

amber recker 3-12

Within the past two weeks, four nonprofit professionals have asked me about Instagram and if I thought their organization should be active there. I love the application and use it personally and professionally for my for-profit business, but I did not use it when I was with Cancer Services. I don’t have a good reason why, so I decided to explore the topic of Instagram for nonprofits.


Instagram is a free application for smart phones that allows users to take pictures, apply filters, and share them. Other users can follow your account and like your photos. The application also allows you to share to other networks like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Tumblr. As of March, Instagram has 200 million users, which is certainly nothing to scoff about.

Before you Start:

Pictures are powerful and can be used to inspire. What story can you tell about your organization through pictures? The first step is to observe how others are using Instagram to gain insight for your strategy. Here is a link to help you get started.

Ten Inspiring Nonprofits on Instagram

Some local non-profit organizations are doing a great job integrating the application into their marketing strategies, as well. Take a look at how these organizations are utilizing Instagram:

NeighborLink Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne Dance Collective

Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Fort Wayne Cinema Center

Downtown Improvement District

Getting started:

So you’ve decided you want to give it a try. Here are some steps to help you get started.

1-     Create your account

Download the app and follow the steps to set up your account. It really is as easy as that.

2-     Take some pictures

Take a few pictures of activities around your organization. A good place to start might be to introduce your program staff or highlight pictures from a recent event.

3-     Promote your account

Once you are set up and have a few pictures posted, promote your Instagram profile on your other social media channels like Twitter and Facebook, and encourage folks to follow you.

As always, you must consider your overall marketing strategy and how a new application will fit with your goals. Don’t join Instagram just because someone said you should. Make sure it aligns with your brand and your marketing plan. If you have questions or ideas for this blog, please email me at I’d love to connect with you on social media too.


Digging Instagram? Want more on where to start?
Check out this useful and thorough post on resources for Nonprofits using Instagram from nonprofit social media maven, Beth Kanter. – Lettie

Nonprofits and Instagram: The Ultimate Curated Collection of Best Practices, Examples, and Tips – on Beth’s Blog – includes links to resources on: 

  • choice list of best practices
  • using Instagram for contests
  • starter steps to strategically grow your nonprofit’s instagram following
  • cheat sheets and tips for your CEO
  • tools and apps for photo editing, measurement, and more!
  • more good examples


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