Discussions

To Instagram or not to Instagram

Posted by Alison @erohne, May 19, 2016

Hello! It was wonderful to meet so many of you at the member meeting this week. I’m hoping you can help me make my case against Instagram (yes, against):

Our event coordinator is pushing for an Instagram account, and I strongly believe that Instagram is not a good platform for our organization (we do cardiovascular research and education, so there isn’t much that is photo-worthy in our day-to-day operations). She argues that Instagram is a great platform to promote and publicize events. I agree with that, but the problem is that we only have 3-4 events every year. So in between those events, the account would sit dormant.

I don’t believe in having an account on every platform just because it’s popular at that time, but she thinks we’re missing out on an important audience (millenials) by not using Instagram. That may be true, but I’m arguing that if we don’t have the content to share, there’s no point in setting up an account. I’d rather explore other ways to use our existing channels (FB/Twitter/LinkedIn) more strategically to reach new audiences.

So my question is: what are your thoughts on establishing accounts on Instagram and other popular platforms when you don’t really have the right content to share? Have you seen any articles or best practices that can help my case against using IG? Thank you!

To piggyback on your question, what are the best practices on posting frequency for Instagram? How many times daily? That answer, too, might be a deciding factor.

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I agree @erohne that there is no point in being every where, but before you make a decision to leave the platform, have you checked the analytics and engagement for the times you have used it? If it’s worked well for you even for a short time, it’s worth considering staying on it. I find creating visually appealing quotes, facts, etc helps me to maintain sites like Pinterest and Instagram when I’ve run out of things to post. And this type of content always seems to get the most shares, likes, etc. I find it really quick and easy to repurpose existing content in this way, I have some tips here on creating images which might be helpful https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lets-get-visualwith-social-media-marie-ennis-o-connor I’m also interested to hear others’ thoughts on this topic.

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@MarieEnnisOConnor

I agree @erohne that there is no point in being every where, but before you make a decision to leave the platform, have you checked the analytics and engagement for the times you have used it? If it’s worked well for you even for a short time, it’s worth considering staying on it. I find creating visually appealing quotes, facts, etc helps me to maintain sites like Pinterest and Instagram when I’ve run out of things to post. And this type of content always seems to get the most shares, likes, etc. I find it really quick and easy to repurpose existing content in this way, I have some tips here on creating images which might be helpful https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lets-get-visualwith-social-media-marie-ennis-o-connor I’m also interested to hear others’ thoughts on this topic.

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When people give me the “we want to connect with such-and-such audience, and they’re using this platform” argument, my response is “How are they going to find you? Most people are on this platform to watch cat videos and see their friends’ posts, not to look for hospitals to connect with.”

You could also point to the possibility of Instagram’s algorithm changing. If that happens, it seems likely that your 4x-a-year event photos won’t even show up in many followers’ feeds: http://fortune.com/2016/03/29/instagram-algorithmic-filtering-concerns/

Liked by Vicki Bencken

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This is such a great question. Instagram is a beast that needs to be fed pictures and you need to post several times a week to keep it satisfied. It’s also growing at a faster rate than the other channels, I think in part because people simply love pictures, so it’s not a channel to ignore. Additionally, Instagram is very international, of the 400 million users on IG right now, 300 million are outside of the US. If you want to reach an international audience, to draw people in to travel to your events that’s something to consider.

My thought is that 3-4 events a year could definitely produce enough content to post for the 3-4 months in between events with the right approach. The event Instagram feed could keep people engaged all year long. It can also help sell tickets beforehand with a link in the bio to the ticket sales site for whatever is coming up next. You could also use the hashtag for the events to encourage users to post.

People follow organizations on IG to find an emotional connection. Viewers enjoy seeing behind the scenes and slice of life content, for event that could be as simple as an action shot of everyone in a conference room poring over diagrams of the space and looking up to smile, or showing the messy desk of a busy event planner as he/she is on a call and takes a second out to wave to the viewer. When you think about capturing images of everyday life on your phone and then using the built in filters to make the images look great, it doesn’t seem as daunting to feed the picture beast.

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It might be useful to have the event manager identify the target audience for these events and determine if your audience is on Instagram. Instagram appeals to a younger demographic, and I’m guessing that’s not the main audience you want to capture. This can help make your case. I also agree with Annette re: identifying best practices for Instagram, including frequency of posts, etc. If your audience isn’t on Instagram and you aren’t going to be able to meet minimum best practices, the channel will clearly be a waste of time.

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Have you thought about breaking it down into costs? Managers are used to making decisions that way.

Such as your time to run the Instagram account properly (hours by your hourly rate) vs. your time to setup paid ads (FB or Google) and spending the money of them when the events roll around. They might be surprised to see the cost of running an Instagram account and decide to spend that money on FB/Google ads instead.

Liked by Vicki Bencken

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