With more than 200 million active monthly users, Instagram reports that it shares more than 20 million photos every day with a combined average of 1.6 billion likes.
Instagram engagement is also more than 15 times that of Facebook with a user base that is predominately young, female and affluent, according to a recent report by L2, a think tank for digital innovation.
Therefore, it’s no wonder that 92 percent of prestige brands prominently incorporate Instagram into their social media strategies, according to the same report.
However, many local governments have been slow to adopt this rapidly maturing platform, even though many of their constituents are already actively using it.
So how can local governments utilize the power of Instagram to promote citizen engagement that is still organic and social?
Creating Instameets to promote local government events, parks, civic landmarks and institutional buildings may be part of that answer.
Once an Instagram meetup community is created for a city any user can suggest a “meet-up” where members get together at a set place, date and time to snap away at a landmark, festival, or other event of note – preferably with a unique hashtag so that photos can be easily shared.
For example, where other marketing efforts to brand the City of Atlanta failed, #weloveatl has become a popular, organic hashtag that crosses cultural and economic boundaries for photographers looking to share their favorite things about Atlanta and benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
And in May, users were able to combine that energy with a worldwide Instameet campaign to photograph Streets Alive Atlanta, a major initiative by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.
This organic collaboration provides a unique example for local governments seeking to promote their cities and use Instameets.
Below are some tips for utilizing Instameets to amplify social discussions and promote citizen engagement:
1. Find something unique to photograph
Nothing is more boring than a photo that could have been taken anywhere. Find something unique about your city or county that stands out from all the others, then organize an Instameet event at a set time and date that will encourage people to come out and enjoy themselves.
Meet at a park or public area, keep it simple and set ground rules. If you organize your Instameet ahead of time, people will naturally reach for their cameras or smartphones and share photos in real time. Think about where you want to walk your constituents to see good objects for photos.
2. Let people know about it!
Of course, to ensure a good turnout and effective Instameet, you need to direct potential participants to your event page.
Use your other social media platforms by creating event pages on Facebook, publishing reminders on Twitter, or publishing images teasing the event on Instagram, for example.
Design special invitations on Phoster, Labelbox or ComicBook! for social sharing on your networks that draws attention to your event. Also, create an event hashtag #instameetyourcity or #instameetlocation
And don’t forget to leave space on your website for information about the event for people that want to know more.
3. Partner with other organizations
Whether that involves bringing in catering from a local business or having proceeds from the event benefit a community organization, make sure there is a local connection that will entice community members to show up.
4. Encourage users to bring their friends
Fact: Photos with people in them tend to engage more users. Instameets are a great way for people to gather together in a civic way to promote their community. Social media is always about relationships. Events strengthen and reinforce communal bonds.
Want to learn more about how to utilize Instagram to promote civic engagement in your community? Contact us.