by Ellen Foell, International Program Specialist of Heartbeat International
I have a confession to make: I am a baby boomer, born in 1957. That means I still use Facebook. I laugh at Facebook Reels and TikToks that my children send me but cannot create one. I use LinkedIn to get articles for free but usually do not respond when someone wants to connect. I text and I do not write in all caps—REALLY! Finally, being a boomer, I have an Instagram account—like 2 billion other people—but I don’t post regularly. In 2022, the typical Instagram user spent around 12 hours per month using the platform’s app, up from an average of 11.2 hours per month in 2021. I think I am maximizing my use of Instagram when I “like” or “heart” a post. End of confession.
I am aware of the power of Instagram, and that is probably why I have a love/hate relationship with the platform. I have issues with anything that has that much influence over people because I think of all the unsuspecting people who may have a regular, but uncritical, “diet” of what Instagram has to offer.
On the other hand, it is a great way to reach people; and that is why I started an Instagram account: to be where my children are. They are no longer on Facebook; they do not read my long emails detailing every aspect of daily life, and I think they only communicate on the phone because they know how Neanderthal I am. If I could carry a cave wall, I would totally send my children pictographs. So, if rule #1 of marketing is that we need to be where our clients are, then Instagram seems to be the place.
Instagram has 2 billion active users, making it one of the most popular social networks. That is a lot of people. Only TikTok, WhatsApp, and Facebook have more users.
According to a page on HubSpot dedicated to marketing on Instagram, “Instagram’s primary advantage over other social media platforms is its visual nature. If you have a business that benefits from the design of your product or if you have a service that has a visibly noticeable end result, Instagram is the best platform to showcase that content.
Video, imagery, and illustration are all great content fits for this social media platform, but your marketing strategy will ultimately determine what type of content to publish and how often to post it. Establishing a strategy before diving right into a new social media platform, no matter how well it works for everyone else’s business, will keep you focused on your goals and — most importantly — your audience.”
If the pregnancy help movement wants to reach young women, we cannot ignore the breadth and depth of reach Instagram has. If you look at Instagram's worldwide audience, you’ll find that Instagram users are almost equally split between males (51.6%) and females (48.4%). Worldwide, the largest group of females were those ages 25-34, making up 16.4%.
According to the Pew Research Center, “In the 46 states that reported data to the CDC in 2020, the majority of women who had abortions (57%) were in their 20s, while about three-in-ten (31%) were in their 30s. Teens ages 13 to 19 accounted for 8% of those who had abortions, while women in their 40s accounted for 4%.” Thus, 88% of women having abortions are in their 20’s and 30’s. And statistically, a lot of them are on Instagram.
I shop at almost the same places every week. When my children were small, I even went to the same checkout line if the cashier was friendly to my children. It wasn’t just that I liked the brand, I liked the prices, and I really liked the people. It is not that different from Instagram. According to Forbes, “Of those Instagram users who follow businesses, 26% typically visit business profiles every day. Another 27% visit business profiles every week.” Repeat customers are good customers. They come back, they remember, and they spread the word. A good Instagram account can reach loyal customers and they will spread the word for you.
Best of all, because I love a bargain, Instagram is free. It’s true: I do not like the time-vaporizer that it can be as a user, but looking at it from the other side of the screen, isn’t that what we want? To have young women consuming Instagram posts, remembering the source, and spreading the word?
Finally, Instagram can be used to let your donors, or potential donors, know what you are doing to change the world and culture to be more life-affirming, even those not looking for your organization. In 2022, Social Media Today reported that “Instagram says that many users have requested more direct ways to support charities, while it also consulted with several organizations on the project to ensure that it was taking the best approach to amplify relevant movements.”
We have a relevant movement. What you do matters. Let people know so they can support you.
You can use Instagram to reach not only clients but donors. It is an effective way to reach women with a carefully crafted message of life and reach donors with a well-articulated appeal. In other words, Instagram helps to market not just your brand but your message, and it can serve as a powerful fundraising tool.
I urge you to engage with potential clients where they are—right now—who are on Instagram. If you agree, please “like” and share this article.