How to Attract Instagram Followers – Part I

Instagram is the powerhouse of an actively engaged network of people. Want to leverage this opportunity to target the right audience for your cause and ramp up followers? Read on!



Do you need reasons to believe that Instagram is a productive platform to meet your potential donors?

We can give you three.

a. The country with the highest Instagram percentage reach is Kazakhstan. This means your content has the power to reach everywhere, and your donors could be from anywhere across the map.

b. The gender mix on Instagram is pretty even: 51% female and 49% male. For gender specific causes, you get a fair chance to target your preference.

c. Nearly two hundred million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily. A right approach can make you one of them.

So if your NPO’s Instagram business account is redundant with old posts, then it’s time to revamp it. However, having more IGers and increasing your engagement rate is not an overnight process. But it is achievable with a little homework. Here’s how!

1. Target well

The first set of audience on your account is primarily your team members, peers, and people in your immediate social circle. Next, you may have donors or volunteers from your previous events or campaigns following you. 

But growing your follower list beyond this point requires you to identify your target audience. If your organization has created user-personas, great! If not, then you might want to brainstorm about who your ideal donors are, what they do, and why they will be interested in your cause.

Once you identify them, you can reuse that information to define your target audience and start creating content that resonates with them.

This is literally the next step in growing your fan following and begins with a conscious exercise of tracking your posts and their performance.  

Track the number of likes, comments, and shares for every post that you create. If you notice minimal or no engagement, try to DM your audience to ask questions or create posts that prompt them to answer.

Your starting point could be your current supporters. You could also send out an informal poll requesting them to vote for the kind of content they expect from your end. Additionally, you can sneak- peek into their profiles to get a glimpse of their interests and preferences. 

2. Understand and use hashtags strategically

A post with at least one hashtag on Instagram averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without it. But the last thing you want to do is come up with far too generic ones such as #donations, or #nonprofit.

Since Instagram is a hashtag-heavy platform, below are some of the best practices for using hashtags and getting more eyes (and engagement) on your posts.

a. Learn what hashtags your target audience is using. When you study their profiles to see what posts interest them, you may find relevant hashtags too

b. Identify which hashtags you can create. Use tools like Tagdef to make your list

c. Studies recommend using five to ten hashtags per post. For best results, stick to eight

d. Avoid using hashtags in your post caption. For better outcomes, use hashtags in comments instead of your caption

People on Instagram search content or follow hashtags as per their interests. Since hashtags help users discover useful content, using the right ones can bring you right in front of your intended audience.


3. Focus on user-generated content

User-generated content is one of the most effective forms of building a community around your campaign.

Start by creating a few simple and unique hashtags for your campaign. You can then ask your audience to take particular action like click photos or shoot videos and post them to your account along with the hashtags you created. You can feature the best picture or video on our page that most relate to your existing or current campaign.

Check out this user-generated post created by Feedingwestmich. See why the post got a good number of likes? 

Instead of trusting brands or NPOs, or beneficiaries that people have never interacted with, they are more likely to trust regular people. Also, if they see real people supporting a non profit, it is much more likely they’ll make a bigger impact that whatever you might post yourself.

While it is necessary to grow your fan following and have increased audience engagement, it is important to remember that most donors act from the heart, not the head. Stay true to your organization’s cause and share content that helps nurture your relationship with your donors.

And before we get to part II of this article, intermittently, you can adapt some of the best practices and tell us how it helped your Instagram following in the comments below.

See you next week!

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