why you at least have to tinker with Instagram

News from a couple of weeks ago: Instagram’s daily users surpassed Twitter’s. I don’t know if that’s a blip or a trend but it got my attention. My buddy Jon has been after me for weeks to jump on the Instagram bandwagon, but who has time? Yet . . . more daily users than Twitter? Wow. Better at least play with it.

Most of you are on Facebook and probably Twitter. I do FB because I’ve learned my way around it. It does what I want it to do. I’ve mostly sorted out how to keep the professional and personal lines fairly clear (it’s almost impossible to keep them completely segregated). Hopefully you have, too. Because you just can’t ignore Facebook, at least right now. There’s too much happening there and way too many people there who you want to connect with to ignore it.

Twitter isn’t my bag. Oneicity does Twitter unevenly because that’s what we can do. Simple: the ruthless prioritization of running a growing small business. If you’re like most organizations, you’re twittering (one of my issues with Twitter is terminology — I have a real struggle taking “tweets” and “twittering” seriously — but that’s my problem). Good, if you have a Twitter strategy, go for it but always be careful to watch the metrics — is anyone really listening and engaging?

Instagram has been a blast to play with. I’m shooting photos of my life. Jon turned me onto a cool app called Snapseed, which made it even more fun. Now I’m back in the darkroom but with even more control and toys to play with. I’m not good yet but I’m experimenting . . .

Now I’m imagining how this fits into the professional’s social media tool kit. What should my Oneicity Instagram stream look like? More importantly, what could your Instagram stream look like?

First, you want to do like on FB, segregate your personal and professional . . . as much as you can. So, maybe like me you start out experimenting and it’s a mix of professional and personal. Careful on the personal, you know can inadvertently let the bad guys know when you’re on vacation if you’ve allowed the whole world to see your Instagram feed.

Second, think visual. That whole 1,000 words to 1 picture deal is true. If you can manage powerful, interesting, impactful non-boring photos, you might have something. What do you have to show that would allow donors and supporters to have a peek into your world?

How about:
-Shots of the staff at work?

-Do a series on what happens at 9:12AM. It could be fun to set your alarm and every day be in a different spot in the building to capture what is happening. One day in accounting. The next day at your reception desk. The next day catch the boss dozing at her desk (kidding). But you get the idea.

-Do a series of shots of what “need” or “problem” your ministry solves. What does hunger look like? What does homelessness look like? What does domestic violence look like? Obviously, with photos you have to be careful about privacy and permission. But don’t let that scare you. Make that part of the fun. Most people will let you take a shot if they understand what you’re doing and you draw them into the process. Plus, with Snapseed (and other apps) you can have the creative process right on your phone with the other person. Maybe let them do the “creative” part. Then they’re artists, too!

-Or break out Photoshop and put scripture or stats over photos to add to the stickiness of the image.

-And naturally, if you’re having an event you want everyone to see it (and you want everyone to share it).

As I’m sorting out this Instrgram thing I’m realizing that this is about sharing images . . . (duh) not a steady stream of “tweets” or boring posed photos. Share images and moments. Don’t promote yourself. Woo us. Entice us. Make us curious. Give us a reason to lean in.

You’re going to want to be careful about how you use it, because images are powerful, but don’t chicken out. Jump in.

I think you should post on Instagram and then link to your Facebook so that people can find you on Instagram. You won’t start with a bunch of followers, which is good because that will reduce your embarrassment. As people see photos on FB they’ll come over and find you on Instagram.

And if you have a Pinterest strategy . . . well this fits quite nicely into that, doesn’t it?

I’m adding my Instagram info to my email signature to test what happens with that. You should do the same.

And then as you get it figured out, you can begin pushing out photos and “how to find me on Instagram” info. If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy giving people a glimpse of what your world is like. And, most importantly, those images can begin to draw people into your work . . . and that’s when the real fun begins.

So what about you? Are you experimenting with Instagram? What do you think so far? If not, why not? I’d love to hear how it’s going.

And you can find me on Instagram at: oneicity_st — of course, I’d love to see what you’re up to there as well.

And one more thing, if you’re not signed up for Silicon Alley Insider’s Chart of the Day, you’re missing out on a pretty good resource — free and delivered fresh to your Inbox or on Twitter (I don’t have any connection with them, but do appreciate their work).


Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity

(photo credit: Steve Thomas)

Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

1 thought on “why you at least have to tinker with Instagram”

  1. Pingback: oneicity // income solutions for non-profits » Instagram for fundraising and development

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