For many politicians and their communications teams, Instagram is frequently viewed as an afterthought social media platform where grainy photos are posted at irregular intervals. It’s time for them to commit to a new Instagram strategy as part of their New Year’s resolution.
Need more convincing? Consider this. Users under 35, better known as Millennials, now make up nearly three quarters of Instagram’s more than 800 million active accounts. By next year, Millennials will pass Baby Boomers as the country’s largest adult generation, and with that growth also comes the opportunity to surpass Boomers as the largest bloc of eligible voters.
Of course, turning those Millennials out to vote is a completely different thing, and it requires engaging them in familiar forums. If a craft is out of reach, Instagram is right at your fingertips.
Here are my tips for getting started in 2019:
- Repurpose the 80-20 rule. The 80-20 rule is a common social media concept which suggests 80-percent of a brand’s content should be informative or interesting, while 20-percent should be self-promotional. For electeds, that 20-percent is best used giving followers a glimpse at who you are as a person- not just as a public servant. Tell your story beyond the policies. It’s important to showcase your personality in addition to showcasing your policy positions. Post photos of your exercise routine. Tell us about your family history, or your kid’s dance recital. Pet photos are always guaranteed gold.
- Be authentic. There is a level of authenticity to Instagram that is lacking on Facebook and Twitter. For content creation purposes, this means that posting screen grabs of press releases every day is an ineffective means of connecting with an audience. Skip the press release in favor of a photo or video that better tells the story.
This tip also goes to some of the most well-known politicians who are already killing it on Instagram. Posting a highly produced social media video every single day is about as inauthentic as it gets. It could also cause users to put up blinders when constantly they see the same subtitle design in their feed. Switch up your content schedule to incorporate more of that aforementioned 20-percent of personal content.
- Incorporate video. While having a professionally edited video is nice, sometimes the best videos are recorded and posted straight from a smartphone. In the age of smartphones, not having a videographer on staff isn’t an excuse to avoid video. Consider recording and publishing quick, 30- to 60-second explanations of bills or current events. There are myriad free apps like Apple’s Clips that allow you to cut the video down.
- Respond to comments. Instagram isn’t a one-way conversation. After you post content, take the time to respond to comments. Often, you’ll find yourself responding to supportive messages which require simple responses of gratitude.
Lastly, I’m not including this as a tip because it is a must-have. You MUST commit to posting regularly to your Instagram page. Consistently racking up likes on your posts will ensure your content is seen by a wider audience, thus increasing your following. If you think you don’t have the time, simply posting once a week would be a marked improvement from posting inconsistently every few weeks.
As other social media platforms will continue to experience growing pains in 2019, Instagram will still be on the rise. Align your social media growth with the fastest growing platform by hitting the reset button on your content strategy.