Has your charity taken the leap onto Instagram yet? It’s been around for years, but some charities have neglected the social app until recently, lacking the authentic, visually-led content to grow and capture an audience.
Another reason charities have avoided Instagram is demographics – we know it’s mostly younger people using the app, who aren’t the traditional donor target audience.
It is notoriously difficult to send people onto your website to make that crucial donate or action conversion from Instagram.
IG Stories has seemingly turned these common preconceptions on their head. Lots of charities are now using it in authentic, innovative and engaging ways.
Who is your favourite charity Instagrammer?
Here’s some of the reasons why your charity should be making the most out of IG Stories
Full-screen experience – no distractions
As Stories takes up the full phone screen, there’s no noise from other posts cluttering the screen.
Holding people’s attention long enough to stop them from swiping through to the next story is a big issue, so creating an eye-catching first story is key. Don’t leave your CTA to the fifth story in, get in early with it!
Full screen is great for an immersive experience. I loved this from UN Women, using video and photo of real market traders in Guatemala and making it feel like you’re part of the story.
Great alternative to live-tweeting (arguably more engaging)
Stories has become a staple of the live social experience. Increasingly charities are turning to Stories at live events like the London Marathon and relying less on Twitter or Facebook to communicate in real-time.
As well as heavily updating their story through the day, theyalso featured an Instagram Live video, which generates a separate Story in your feed, giving them double the coverage!
Apart from anything else, creating a Story is so much fun. Stories is packed with fun ways to engage people, like polls, emoji meters, asking questions and adding gifs, stickers and face filters.
The creative possibilities are seemingly endless, and you’re not just stuck with the in-app creative options – you can upload just about any full-screen photo or video creative (up to 15 seconds) you could want.
It’s bigger than Facebook
A bold statement, but since Instagram released Stories on the app – a more or less direct copy of Snapchat’s 24-hour limit full screen content formula – Instagram has seen huge growth.
Recently it was reported that the number of active users on Instagram Stories has doubled the number of active users on Snapchat, while Snapchat has for the first time recorded a drop in daily active users
Facebook’s integrity has suffered in the wake of a proliferation of ‘fake news’, fake accounts, alleged election meddling and the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, causing many users to turn Facebook off and turn to their (Facebook-owned) IG Stories feeds instead.
You can finally link to your website in a sensible way
Instagram seemingly listened to social marketer’s complaints about being unable to drive people to their websites, as the ability to tap on a URL is included in IG Stories. The swipe up feature allows marketers to add a link to any photo or video story.
The catch? It’s only been available to verified accounts since launch. And it’s not easy to verify your account; there’s no form or option to ask Instagram to get your account, so this option will be closed to many smaller charities.
Until Instagram opens this up to non-verified accounts, the rest of us will have think of other ways to capture our audience’s attention.
Touted as a potential rival to YouTube, the newest feature on Instagram is IGTV, a long form full-screen video platform which easily integrates with Stories.
As well as a standalone app, IGTV can be accessed above the Stories timeline, and currently gives users options to browse long-form content from accounts they’re following, watch other popular content, and search for accounts to follow.
Since launch, some charities with large accounts have racked up hundreds of thousands of views on their IGTV videos, although it’s unclear at the moment what a view is, 3-seconds or otherwise.
The handiest feature I’ve discovered is the ability to link to one of your IGTV videos from a photo or video Story regardless of your verified status, allowing users to tap from your Story and taking them directly into your IGTV video. Website links also work when placed in the IGTV video description.
A link to your IGTV channel is automatically added you’re your Instagram page after uploading your first video.
You can advertise
No free social feature would be complete without ways to monetise, and Stories is no exception.
A Stories advert can be set up and run through Facebook Ads Manager, which is best run on desktop, and allows marketers to make full use of Facebook’s targeting and optimising functions.
Although some users complain about adverts, Facebook makes sure advertisers keep to the Stories limitations (full-screen only, 15-second limit to photo or video creative). When browsing through your Stories feed, adverts are seamlessly served to users between one story and the next, and there’s probably an algorithm to determine where ads are placed in the Stories feed.
Facebook advertising also places your ads in a Stories format automatically if you select it as a placement.