Reaching Millennials – Building A Successful Nonprofit Instagram Campaign

Reaching Millennials – Building A Successful Nonprofit Instagram Campaign

Reaching Millennials – Building A Successful Nonprofit Instagram Campaign

When Mark Zuckerberg paid $1 billion to purchase Instagram in 2012, many thought it was just a new internet bubble. But since then, Instagram has proved more promising and rewarding than originally believed. Instagram recently surpassed Twitter in number of users, with more than 400 million (Twitter has around 316 million users). Instagram is growing at a faster rate than Facebook and Twitter, especially among millennials, and gaining more new members on a monthly basis than Facebook.

Given its popularity, Facebook is investing more energy into Instagram — and so should you. Did you know that Facebook and Instagram share the same Marketing API backbone? Are you taking advantage of it? More exciting developments are in the works to help causes have more impact in the world using social media, so let’s help get you up to speed with some tips for success below.

Representing Fission as one of Facebook’s only Preferred Marketing Developers that specializes in nonprofits and causes, I’m inspired from the recent F8 Facebook Developer conference. I was excited to be invited to speak at [email protected] — Facebook’s select summit for nonprofits and allies just before F8 — about the innovative ways uses Facebook APIs for cause-related technology.

It’s exciting to hear about the 10-year horizon from Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, in which Instagram plays a key role.

Facebook now has a 10 yr roadmap – here it is! #f82016 #f8

A photo posted by Cheryl Contee (@cherylcontee) on

Many of the things you can do with Facebook ads, you can now do with Instagram ads 🙂

Our team at Fission has achieved remarkable successes for nonprofit client campaigns with Facebook ads. We are thrilled that this Instagram opportunity has happened over the last year, opening up new possibilities in reaching millennials with custom audiences and lookalike audiences. Take a look at and follow these steps to set up an ad.

With so much momentum, it makes sense for nonprofits to get comfortable with Instagram to promote causes through the power of visuals. Our team assists nonprofits in developing social media strategies and implementing them. Today we share our top recommendations for nonprofits that are using Instagram, and hope you find them useful!

1. Influencers are your gold mine

Engaging influencers can make a big impact in your outreach. People tend to take social messages more seriously when they hear it from the influencers they follow. Through research, we found that an average nonprofit can reach 40 million people online, if they reached their influencers properly.

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 10.51.56 AM

Nonprofits on Instagram should start by identifying their influencers — by searching for individuals within their mailing lists who are already active on Instagram. Fission helps nonprofits use their accounts to identify their influencers (note: I’m a co-founder of and then use that knowledge on social media. Once you have identified your key influencers, you need to engage them in ways that pique their interest, and these influencers will be able to get your message to millions more people than you might be able to alone.

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 11.56.28 AMOur client the Global Teacher Prize used to identify influencers in the email list and follow them on social media. In this picture, actress Freida Pinto is endorsing the #TeachersMatter campaign.

2. Interact – no one here is interested in your monologue

Instagram is a *social* network. And in social networks, people are looking to have a conversation, not to listen to your monologue. You need to interact with other people or organizations on Instagram. You need to follow them, like and repost their posts, and of course reply to them and engage them in a meaningful conversations. You need to ask questions, organize competitions, and lead campaigns.

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 11.59.37 AMOur client, ONE Campaign, engages their audience in Instagram campaigns.
(Notice the number of likes the post got?)

3. Make your ask on the photo

People on Instagram tend to focus on the pictures, and overlook the associated text. So, if you want to get your message through, incorporate your message in the picture itself. And if you are promoting a special hashtag, then your hashtag belongs on the picture as well. Finding it awkward to get your image from a computer over to a mobile phone in order to post on Instagram? Just use Hootsuite to share those designed images from your computer to your Instagram account.

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 11.52.47 AMOur client, Everytown for Gun Safety, always makes sure to have their ask on the photo. (Link)

If your organization needs some help identifying your influencers on Instagram, or building strong campaigns on social media, feel free to contact us asking for help and assistance!

About the author: Cheryl Contee @ch3ryl is CEO of Fission Strategy and loves doing tai chi sword in her spare time. Written with Maikel Sanad @MaikelNabil, New Media Fellow, and Adriana Dakin @apdakin, Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy & Research.

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