Ways elected officials can maximize Instagram

Instagram LogoInstagram is rapidly rising through the social media world.  More than 75 million people use Instagram on a daily basis, with more than 60 million photos uploaded every day.  It’s users tend to trend towards the younger end of the demographic spectrum, which means that the service has plenty of room to grow and will become more and more ingrained in daily life as its younger users grow and become a heavier part of the economy. Most elected officials who use Instagram do so in an effort to show where they are and what they are doing.  That’s a totally acceptable way of using the service, but I think there is more that can be done.  So, to that end, here are a few tips on getting the most out of your Instagram use: Make it different The selfie and pictures from press conferences is all well and good, but that’s a pretty common photo on Instagram.  To break through the clutter, your pictures need to be different and unique.  How can you do that?

  • Download an app that combines your photos into multiple ones.
  • Photos with a written message on them.

Use it to make announcements Instagram photos for announcements can be effective because, again, they are different.  Take pictures of locations or messages and upload them, with a more in-depth explanation of whatever you are announcing in the caption.  Remember, however, that if you automatically integrate Instagram with Twitter, you have to keep the caption under 140 characters or the text will cut off. Use local hashtags Hashtags are widely used on Instagram and can be a great way of expanding your reach and breaking out of your traditional circle.  To that end, make sure that you use appropriate local hashtags, like with your municipalites’ name.  Again, it’s local hashtags that are key – after all, you want to connect with people in your jurisdiction, so using a broader hashtag won’t have much real-world effect. Constituent-centered As social media pushes its users towards vastly increased levels of narcissism, elected officials have to make sure to use the medium to be other-centered, not self-centered.  To that end, don’t overdo it with selfies or showing events that you are at.  Use Instagram to take pictures with constituents or of local organizations that are doing good in the community.  For someone in a public role, that’s a much more effective use of this medium. Any other tips to add?  What did I miss?  Let me know in the comments!

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