One in seven of the world’s population is on Instagram, with over 200 million users visiting business profiles every day – a potentially vast audience for your brand.

And with 71% of businesses now active on the platform, they’re signed up to a whole new market demographic, one that craves personalised visual content.

Some businesses are guilty of creating content for the platform that does not add value or engage the audience. What can they learn from the charitable sector?

Many charities and not-for-profit organisations have been establishing themselves on the social media site for some time – and have a lot to teach corporates in how to leverage those square tiles to deliver powerful brand messages. 

Here are five lessons:

Use people power

Research shows that images with faces in them are 38% more likely to be ‘liked’ and 32% more likely to be commented on. Instagram is a platform that rewards you for humanising your brand. Unicef, the world’s leading organisation working for children in danger, has grasped this. Take a look at some of its recent posts:

 

 

 

 

At the time of writing, these were Unicef’s most liked images from the last seven days. Unicef is using its key personnel and the children it helps, as its subjects. 

Businesses should replicate this. Use real people, strong images and human examples where you can to make your posts more relatable.

 

 

Unlock emotion

Charities know that using images and real life examples evokes emotion in the reader or audience. Follow Greenpeace and Doctors Without Borders for strong examples.

B2B companies might not be telling stories that have the same emotional resonance as those from charities, but it is still possible to find stories from your organisation that build a connection. 

Consider how you can engage your own people to share their thoughts, purpose and passion on your Instagram feed.

Think of Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle. If you’ve got a product to sell, communicate either through evocative imagery or compelling captions why what you’re doing is important.

Captions are also a useful storytelling tool. Instagram allows up to 2,200 characters on its captions which is ample room to complement the imagery beside it. 

Well-written captions bring the story to life, and can act as the post’s main emotional pull if the supplied image lacks sentiment.

Use Stories

500 million people use Instagram Stories every day – and a third of the most viewed Stories are from brands. This is an area for marketers to exploit, especially as they are expected to outpace feeds in 2019.

Dogs Trust regularly posts Story content to its channel as a way to extend brand awareness even further. The charity also makes use of the highlights feature, allowing it to save past stories permanently to the top of its profile, instead of disappearing after 24 hours. Because of this, Dogs Trust can share powerful evergreen content to its followers, such as health tips and dog safety. 

50% of businesses are creating Stories every month, an interestingly low statistic given the obvious advantages.

Stories are an effective way of driving traffic to your website using the ‘swipe-up’ instruction. A strong call-to-action in an Instagram story can direct people to relevant pillar content hosted on your site.

Unleash the power of video

Video content receives 38% more engagement on Instagram than regular posts – and 2.1 times the amount of comments. 

Pencils Of Promise and The World Economic Forum are prime examples of not-for-profit organisations exhibiting quality video content across their Instagram channels. 

The accounts have high volumes of followers and specialise in posting informative, short-form videos commentating on world news and topics. 

Bearing in mind Instagram’s one-minute cap on video content, both organisations ensure that their message is conveyed clearly and concisely within the timeframe. 

The Forum’s content has caught the attention of influencers such as Leonardo DiCaprio, who has reshared many videos on environmental issues. 

Post often and keep it relevant

This isn’t as obvious as it sounds. If you’re posting to Instagram once a day, but the actual contents of your post doesn’t add value or spark joy in some way, then there’s no point. Focus on quality over quantity.

The most successful charitable Instagram accounts focus on ensuring that every post shows what they’re working towards; whether that’s a cure, global aid, rehoming animals or caring for people with disabilities. 

Even if it’s only twice a week but it’s relatable, captivating imagery, your followers will appreciate it far more and wait eagerly in anticipation of the next instalment.

READ MORE: 

How present should a CEO/CMO be on social media?

Lessons in content marketing: why your ‘why’ should come before your ‘what’

 

If you would like to know more about how Formative Content can optimise your social media strategy, please email seb.budd@formativecontent.com

About the author: Seb Budd is the Content Marketing Executive for Formative Content. He is responsible for planning, executing and driving the social media and blog content for the company. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.

 

Facebook has announced its intention to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram and its Messenger app. While all three will remain as standalone apps, the services will be linked, so that you can send message across platforms.

The messaging app merger will redefine how the 2.6 billion people that collectively use these apps connect with each other.

By announcing the merger, Facebook is signalling its intention to move towards what could be called the ‘WeChat model’.

WeChat world

WeChat is a multi-purpose app developed for the Chinese market by Tencent. It has 902 million daily active users and has been described by tech publications and experts as a global ‘super-app’.

WeChat allows users to send messages, mobile payments, order car rides, order food and even operates as a social media network. It is essentially like Facebook, Uber, WhatsApp and PayPal all fused into one service.

Facebook’s move to the beginnings of a similar model makes sense from a development perspective. It gives the company greater control over its users and creates a closed system of its apps that will help it fight off competition from other messaging services.

Data fears

However, Facebook’s move to the WeChat model is likely to raise concerns about privacy and data security.

WeChat, for example, is required to share all the data that it collects from its app’s 902 million users with the Chinese government.

Concentrating control over the data of 2.6 billion users into a single organisation like Facebook – a company that has already faced government inquiries on data privacy and user information – is bound to bring even more scrutiny from regulators and politicians.

The Irish Data Protection Commission has already issued a request to Facebook for an “urgent briefing” on the proposed changes.

Facebook is still in the early stages of implementing this change, with the project estimated to be completed by late 2019 or the start of 2020.

Whether it can complete the move to the WeChat model remains to be seen.

 

If you’d like us to help you get the most out of your digital marketing in 2019, get in touch.

Enjoyed this post? Read:

2019 digital marketing trends – what the experts say

Consumer trust and digital skills will be key to business success in post-Brexit Britain

 

Chinmay Jadhav is a Content Manager at Formative Content.

Social media is a constantly changing landscape for marketing professionals. Algorithmic updates on both Facebook and Twitter – which affect how corporates promote themselves on these platforms – show that marketers need to be aware of the wider social network opportunities available.

One of these is Instagram. Launched in 2010, this is a platform that has grown increasingly popular with brands and marketers. A big reason for this is an algorithmic change in 2016. Before this the site would show your posts in chronological order. Now the algorithm tailors your newsfeed in response to the posts users engage with; this means that the posts people like, comment on and share are more likely to be seen by a bigger audience.

At first this change was unpopular with users, but the platform now reports that people are “engaging with the community in a more active way” following the update. What this means is that Instagram offers untapped potential for brands to explore, so here are some tips to help you get started.

What to post

The difference between Instagram and other social networks is that you are not able to include links on posts, so the focus of your content is photos and videos rather than text. While it is easy to think such posts are not well suited to corporate brands, with the right strategy you can make them work for your company.

Types of content that do well on Instagram are:

Choose a theme

At first sight, your Instagram profile can seem a confusing place as it displays all your images at once; so it is important to think carefully about how your visuals work both individually and collectively. The crucial thing here is to have a posting strategy and plan what events or announcements you want to place on it and when.

Alongside this you might want to consider how background themes and reoccurring motifs in your posts can help to bolster your corporate identity on the platform. For example, (RED) uses pastel backgrounds that give all of its images a gentle brand identity while UNICEF mostly posts photos of people and children, which reinforces its emphasis on young people and families.

Hashtags

Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more user engagement on Instagram. The more that people interact with your content, the more chance your posts have of being featured on a hashtag page, which increases your potential reach.

Credit: Instagram

People who follow the hashtags will then be able to see your post, giving you the chance to reach a new audience.

Stories and Live

Instagram Stories – used by more than 300 million people a day –  are short videos or photo sequences that can provide insight into one topic. These live on the platform for 24 hours and, if you have a verified account with more than 10,000 followers, you can add links that can gain traffic, generate leads and increase sales.

The kinds of stories that brands can produce varies enormously. One method is to use them as a type of video. National Geographic, for example, uses them to tell a narrative that makes great use of wildlife and natural photography that is clearly aligned to the brand’s core identity.

Others use Instagram Stories to give behind-the-scenes views of an organization; NASA uses them for events but also to explain what employees do.

Credit: Instagram

Meanwhile, Instagram Live is a real-time streaming service that can be particularly useful for event coverage and generating a conversation with your audience. Like the stories, these are available for 24 hours after the livestream has ended.

While instagram does not follow a similar pattern to Facebook or Twitter, the potential for promoting corporate content should not be ignored. By using all the available features, and having a carefully planned posting strategy, you will be able to reach a new audience on a platform that is rapidly growing in popularity.

 

If you’d like us to help you get the most out of your social media strategy, get in touch. 

Email: office@formativecontent.com or call our team on +44 (0) 20 7206 2687.

Enjoyed this post? Read How to curate quality social media content

Laura Nash is a Content Producer at Formative Content and specialises in digital content and writing for social media.