If you’re looking for new and innovative ways to promote our non-profits, social media is a great way to do just that. Often, when we think of social media we think of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, but there are several other great platforms that can help get your message out. Instagram is a platform many non-profits don’t think about, but it has over 130 million users and utilizes the popularity of mobile photography. An Instagram account can be of great benefit to a non-profit if photo sharing is well planned and executed.

Recently I read an article on Instagram’s blog, “How to Host a Photo Contest on Instagram.” What was really great about this post? They chose to feature a brand that actually ran a contest. In this article the brand was a band called Deftones. The band asked their fans to take photos of the band while on tour. The fan had to tag the band and the city they were in with a hashtag in order to enter. The band then featured a top photo on their Facebook page monthly. Once the contest was over they chose the winner, did a write up, and featured the image on their website and across their social media accounts.

Now we aren’t all as well known as Deftones, and we don’t all go on large, multi-city tours. But non-profits do hold events. LOTS of fundraising events. Why not create a contest around those events? Get your donors involved, and get others excited about your non-profit.

After reading the article on Instagram, I have a few tips above and beyond what was shared in the Deftones article.

Chose a hashtag for your non-profit.

This seems simple enough, but you want to be wise about what you choose and, if possible, try to find something no one else is using. Be creative, but make sure you view it before you choose it. Sometimes a great idea looks funny when the words have no spaces between them.

Plan how to promote the contest.

Just because you say you are going to run it, doesn’t mean people will magically participate. You need to get the word out. In your planning, make sure you give plenty of time and planning to promotion of the event.

Read Instagram Terms of Service.

The Deftones article was written 2 years ago. Since then Facebook has purchased Instagram and things have changed. Make sure you read the Terms of Service and follow all of the rules.

Create an Instagram account.

I know that almost goes without saying, but sometimes we need to state the obvious! Create an account with Instagram, play with it, take your own pictures, use and test the hashtag you created.

As I said above, we aren’t all as well known and popular as Deftones. We can all be rockstars on Instagram, though! Take a look at the article referenced above for more tips on a successful Instagram contest. As a side note, I am having a lot of fun on Instagram recently, and I can see the possibilities for your non-profit.

Check it out and run a contest, you might be surprised who you will reach!

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