30 Jan 5 ways your social enterprise can use Instagram (even if you’re not a visual brand)
Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms and an excellent marketing opportunity for brands – with 75% of users taking action (such as visiting a website or making a purchase) after looking at a brand’s post.
Like many social enterprises you might be wondering how Instagram could work for you – especially if what you do isn’t particularly visual.
But gone are the days when Instagram was purely a photo sharing app.
There’s a whole community of ethical and sustainable Instagram users coming together on the platform to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals and positive impact projects around the world.
In fact, Instagram is the fastest growing nonprofit community engine online.
The 2017 M&R Nonprofit Benchmark Study found that for every 1,000 email subscribers, organisations can expect to have 39 Instagram followers.
Nonprofits experienced on average a 10% Instagram audience growth in 2016 too.
Instagram is not as affected by algorithms as Facebook, so it’s still relatively easy to spread the word and build a loyal following if you use the right strategy.
So how can you use Instagram to move the needle for your cause and grow your social enterprise?
1. Connect people with your purpose
Images might be the first thing people see on Instagram, but engaging captions are why they stick around.
You can treat the platform like a ‘micro blog’ and use it to tell your impact story.
Live videos, Stories and well crafted posts can show people the impact you’re trying to make, tell your story and help connect them to your cause.
When values are at the heart of what you do, you’re able to build an emotional connection that inspires people to take action – whether that’s commenting on a post, following you or even purchasing from you.
Here’s a recent post where I told more of my personal story and connected people to the causes behind my brand – achieving over 1.3k likes and 81 comments.
Overall, I reached 11,560 people with these post – 28% weren’t already following me – which means it helped raise brand awareness and put my business in front of potential new customers.
Generally between 1% and 3.5% are considered an average/good engagement rate on Instagram. This post has an engagement rate of 14.4%
So what does that mean for my social enterprise?
Well as a result of this post 118 people visited my profile to find out more about me, 7 people followed me and 4 people left Instagram to visit my website – which means I’ve got my brand in front of new people and I’ve further developed my relationship with everyone who took action – which means 129 potential new clients.
2. Educate people on the issues you care about
Coming together to support a shared cause is one of the most effective ways you can build relationship with your ideal customers, stakeholders and supporters.
As the ethical and sustainable community continues to grow on Instagram, it’s the perfect place to educate more people on the issues you care about and show them how they can support you and make a difference.
With 75% of Instagram users taking action after seeing a post that’s great news for those of us trying to rally people around our cause.
Here’s a post I shared back in May after watching an inspiring BBC documentary about the plight of the Pangolin, the most poached and illegally trafficked animal in the world.
I shared facts from the documentary and some personal insights into why their cause is so close to my heart, and the post got an engagement rate of 14.7% – resulting in 59 profile visits and 2 website clicks. That’s 61 people moving further through my sales funnel!
3. Demonstrate your impact
Instagram is a great way to keep in touch with previous customers and stakeholders too. You can share insights into what you’re working on, how you’re making a positive impact and what’s working.
For example, I recently mapped out the clients I’ve worked with against the Sustainable Development Goals and found that I’ve supported at least one business or organisation for every goal – so I decided to share this on Instagram to celebrate the SDG’s 3rd birthday last week.
You can tie this into your impact story to build stronger connections and show people the importance of your work – like I did in this post which shares my motivation for doing the ethical marketing work I do, and shows how I give back to entrepreneurs in developing countries.
This can inspire others and help them share your story and spread the word for you too!
4. Share social proof
If you receive a good review, customer testimonial, piece of press coverage or an award – make sure you share it! Not only will your current followers want to celebrate in your success, but it’s also a great way to build trust with potential customers too.
Here’s what happened on Instagram when I won ‘Green & Eco Influencer of the Year’ at the UK Blog Awards.
After such a rush of congratulations and support from current followers, I was able to reach over 154 new people, had 3 clicks through to my website and even had people reach out to me with new writing opportunities – helping me further achieve my business goals.
5. Do market research
Social Enterprises can’t neglect their commercial focus – that’s what drives the income that allows you to achieve your impact. Fortunately, when you have an audience of loyal followers, you already have plenty of potential customers.
It’s much easier to sell your products or services when you find “Product Market Fit” – the sweet spot between what your customers need and want, and what you can provide.
Instagram is the perfect platform to get feedback, start conversations and even run polls and surveys using the new Stories features. Whether you’re pre-launch or looking to refine a product or service further, market research can be done in a natural, unobtrusive way which engages your audience and informs your business decisions.
Even if you’re not a visual brand, there is space for you to be successful on Instagram.