According to statistics from Oberlo, Instagram is estimated to have over 1 billion users in 2021. That is almost 74 million users more than the figure in 2020.
As an advocate of sickle cell disorder, I have always thought of the internet as a great tool for advocacy.
Also, social media platforms like Instagram cannot be ignored as well.
Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platform.
And to be honest, I love the platform.
Whether you are also a chronic illness advocate or you wish to advocate for a cause you are passionate about on Instagram, this post is for you.
You will learn everything about starting on Instagram and how to use Instagram for advocacy.
Let’s get into it,
How to use Instagram for advocacy in 2021
1. Create an Instagram account
Of course, you need to create an Instagram account.
But if you already have an Instagram account, you can move on to the next step.
Follow these steps to create an account on Instagram
- Download the Instagram app
- Tap sign up
- Fill in all the details
- Choose a username and password
It’s that easy.
2. Switch to a creator account
Instagram has three types of accounts.
There is the creator account, business account, and personal account.
Avoid the personal account if you want other users to see your account.
Having a personal account means that your account will become private like the one below.
Also, a business account is best for business owners.
You have access to Instagram business tools like shop and business insights when you switch to a business account.
But you are not a business so you need to switch to the creator account.
The creator account will give you access to Instagram creator tools and insights that will help you grow your account.
You might then ask, how do I switch to a creator account?
- Open your Instagram app
- Click on settings
- Click on account
- Tap switch account
3. Create a content strategy
If you want to use Instagram for advocacy or anything really, you need a content strategy.
See, Instagram is an addictive platform. You can spend the whole day liking pictures of celebrities, watching entertaining reels and videos. There is so much for you to consume.
A content strategy helps you stay focused and reduce unproductive use of the platform.
You need a content strategy.
Tips to create an Instagram content strategy
- Start with a goal
This is the most important step.
What is your Instagram goal?
Are you a non-profit that wants to reach more people? Are you an individual who wants to advocate for your chronic illness? Decide your goals.
What do you hope to achieve on Instagram?
Knowing this will help you craft a strategy that is based on that goal.
- Determine your content type
When making a content strategy for Instagram, you need to outline the type of content you will be posting more of.
Are you going to be using more videos or pictures or reels or carousels?
What type of pictures? Maybe quotes or close up shots of you.
Determine the type of content you would be posting.
It is important to test different post types before you settle for one. Study how they work using the Instagram creator insight tools.
Also, focus on your strength. If you love creating carousels, fine, create more of them and so on.
- Collaboration Plans
Include collaboration plans into your content strategy. How do you plan on collaborating with other advocates and influencers?
Whether you know it or not, collaboration is an effective growth strategy.
If you want to grow and reach lots of people with your message, collaborate often .
- Engagement style
The Instagram algorithm is built on engagement. So, the more you engage with an account, the more you see their posts.
This means if you want to increase your reach, you need to engage with other accounts.
Hence, you need to decide how you will engage.
Are you going to spend fifteen minutes or fifteen hours engaging? What accounts will you engage with the most?
- Feed aesthetics
Okay, so this is another interesting thing to add to your content strategy.
What do you want your feed to look like?
When people visit your profile, the appearance of your feed can influence their decision to follow or not follow you.
There are different ways to make your feed appealing, I explained some in this post I wrote.
4. Optimize your page
When someone visits your page, they are most likely to read your bio first.
So, you need to make it craft a well optimized bio.
Tips to write an optimized bio
When writing your bio, make sure you
- State who you are and what you do
Start by stating clearly who you. For example, if you are a chronic illness advocate, let people know from the first statement.
Whatever you are, state it clearly, then tell us what you do or what you intend to do with your page.
- State who you serve
Speak directly to your audience. Who are they? What do they call themselves?
For instance, someone with a chronic illness might call themselves warrior. You need to let them know if they are your audience.
What do they gain when they follow you. Let them know.
- Include emojis
Emojis are nice. They brighten your bio and show a little bit of emotions.
You might include emojis in your bio to show what you are feeling.
- Include personality
Feel free to include your personality. Use words to express who are, after all it is your account.
But when optimizing your Instagram page, your bio is not the only place to optimize.
Download the guide below to learn how to properly setup your Instagram account.
5. Create valuable content
If you want to use Instagram for advocacy, you need to create valuable contents.
Your content is the most important aspect of your Instagram account. If you have great valuable content, you are able to create a community.
A valuable content is one that passes your message and is helpful to your audience.
It could be an inspiring quote or an educational video.
This means that, you need to understand your audience and know your message before creating contents.
Make sure you carry out an audience research.
- Who is your content meant for?
- Why should they care about your content?
- What is it you want them to know?
6. Use hashtags
With the right hashtag you can attract the right people that needs your message.
Hashtags are important for smaller accounts, it helps them grow faster.
When using hashtags, keep these in mind
- Avoid over-crowded hashtags
When you search for an hashtag, you can see the number of posts under that particular hashtag. Look out for that number.
Any hashtag more than 1million posts, avoid it. Such hashtag is an over-crowded hashtag and your post will not be able to compete or rank high.
- Use relevant hashtags
I’ve seen people make the mistake of using hashtags not relevant to their account or message. That is wrong.
You need to use hashtags relevant to your message. For instance, if you are sickle cell advocate, you have no business using a hashtag like #socialmediainfluencer under a post that talks about sickle cell.
Take your time to search for relevant hashtags.
One of the fastest ways to get your message out and advocate to more people is by collaborating with other advocates or influencers.
Search for people who already have influence in your niche and reach out to them.
It is important to find someone in your niche because they have the audience you want to share your story with or pass your message to.
If you are thinking of ways to collaborate with others, here are some ways.
- Create guest post for them
Some Instagram users allow you to create a post for them. You can collaborate with them and since you have similar audience, your post will be valuable.
- Go live with them
Another way is by going live. You can go live to discuss a particular topic.
I have had different live sessions on Instagram with other sickle cell advocates and this has given me exposure.
Going live with them does not only give you exposure, it also helps you grow your account.
- Instagram story takeover
You can collaborate by letting them take over your Instagram stories for 24 hours or vice versa.
This means that when people view their Instagram stories, you get a chance of been seen.
Sickle cell advocates to follow
Here are some advocates from my Instagram account doing great job advocating for sickle cell disorder. I think every warrior should follow them, you’ll get so much inspiration from these accounts.
Anne Welsh is an internationally recognized author, entrepreneur and sickle cell warrior.
She is the founder of painless universal and the author of a pain-less book, a memoir that reflects her struggle with sickle cell.
Her brand has grown over the years to provide inspiration and educate people. Follow her on Instagram @ladyannewelsh
When I first saw Precious’ Instagram account, I was proud of being a sickle cell warrior. She immediately became one of favs on Instagram.
Even though the struggle is there, Precious refuse to allow it stop her.
She is an international speaker, podcaster, coach and advocate.
Follow her @preshgaza
Judith wears the warrior badge proudly. Her energy towards sickle cell disorder is out of this world.
She is the founder of joscefoundation, a non-governmental organization helping to create sickle cell awareness.
Follow Judith on Instagram @sicklemotivator
Sharon B. Peter
Sharon is the founder of cells of a generation initiative, a family organization with the aim to increase awareness of sickle cell disorder and improve the lives of people living with the disorder.
Sharon lives with sickle cell and she is defying myths of sickle cell.
Follow Sharon on Instagram @sharonbpeter
Another favorite on Instagram. I love what this account stands for.
Crescent kids is a non profit organization that supports kids with sickle cell. They also provide tips and support for parents with kids living with sickle cell.
And yes, I am affiliated with crescent kids as well so shout out to us.
Follow crescent kids on Instagram @crescentkids
I can go on and on with these accounts but if I do, then this post will not end.
This shows that you too can use Instagram for advocacy.
Make sure you pin this to your Pinterest boards
It is indeed true that you can use Instagram for advocacy. It does not matter what your message is, you will find your tribe on the platform.
The most important aspect of your account which will lead to more reach for your account is your content.
With great content that passes your message, you attract an audience that want to listen and you can build a community.
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Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and send me a message.
You can still download the guide to optimize your Instagram page for growth below.