Instagram Your Way To Year-End: Four Tips For Fundraisers

A recent study by Forrester looked at more than 3 million user interactions with more than 2,500 branded posts across seven social networks. And while six of those social networks generated an engagement rate of less than 0.1%, one did remarkably well: Instagram. The photo-driven platform generated a 4.21% per-follower engagement rate—or about 58 and 120 times more than Facebook and Twitter respectively.

It can be easy to overlook Instagram during year-end fundraising season, though. Case in point: Instagram doesn’t support external links anywhere outside of a user’s profile (which developers have no intention of changing), which can make it both clumsy and frustrating for organizations trying to drive traffic to a donation page.

These same constraints make for an effortless (read: attractive) user experience—and such a high engagement rate is undeniably compelling. What can organizations do to turn Instagram engagement into year-end traffic? Here are a few tips.

1. Put a face on fundraising.

Your supporters are inundated with asks during year-end. Is there a way to make your appeal feel more personal? Serve up behind-the-scenes moments from your employees and volunteers that resonate in a new way with potential donors. Let those who have given in the past inspire others by sharing their images, quotes, or videos. And most importantly, let the communities you serve express why your work matters, as Habitat for Humanity did.


#WeBuild homes that change the lives of families in communities around the world.

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2. Think beyond a single frame.

Think outside the constraints of a single image and take advantage of native features, like tiling. With the “Long Drive Home” campaign, Mazda created a row-by-row journey with its cars and supporters as stars. Highly-detailed, tag-rich images captured a bit of attention individually, but the bigger payoff came in viewing the entire tableau in one place, as below. Incidentally, that meant visiting Mazda’s profile page, which included an external link to the brand’s site.

3. Find new ways to direct traffic to your site.

Driving Instagram followers towards an outside page can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. IKEA got creative and developed Instagram’s first-ever catalogue. The Russian campaign involved a central profile, as well as 32 connected accounts, one for each piece of furniture in a newly launched collection. By tagging each item’s account in the photo, and including the item’s unique URL in its profile info, IKEA effectively turned Instagram into a funnel for e-commerce.

4. Measure your progress.

While Instagram doesn’t have a native analytics tools (yet), outside sites like Iconosquare can help you identify what content receives the most engagement. Check in on your own site’s analytics, too, to see how much traffic you’re getting from the platform.