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Inspired by Non-Profits: 5 Instagram Conversion and Loyalty-Building Tips

Human beings are highly visual, therefore visual marketing is so effective. 90% of information sent to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text.

No wonder we see so much visual content being published online every day!

Instagram is the social media platform with the hugest unused potential these days. It’s not over-crowded with marketers yet, not yet over-monetized. You don’t see ads everywhere when you login. (It’s actually the smoothest experience for the user!)

Lots of models, foodies, moms, photographers, etc. have taken over the site: Instagram has become a solid independent career path for so many… But the marketing applications are still unclear for many people who haven’t quite figured out how to best utilize the platform’s unique features.

Instagram is one of the most efficient visual marketing platforms, but it’s also the hardest one. It’s hard to stand out on Instagram (every other account there publishes something awesome!) and it’s even harder to convert: How to get people act if you can’t even link?

Non-profits are among the earliest and the most successful Instagram adopters. Let them teach us a few Instagram lessons!

#1. Force Viewers To Empathize

Empathy is a powerful force, one that can bring even the most different people together. the ability to put ourselves in another’s shoes and feel for them remains one of the greatest  strengths of humanity that is too often lost in us.

Non-profits often use forced empathy to gain attention and visibility, and to push people to act.

For example, this photo with a touching and personalized caption (sharing the dog’s name) is a great example of empathy:


It sparked a heated debate that spanned across many personal pages, official pages, and groups. Empathy drew a crowd that couldn’t help but participate in the discussion despite not usually interested in the issue.

#2. Use Hashtags That Provoke Action

Hashtag marketing is pretty standard across Instagram now. While experts used to warn against saturating posts with too many hashtags in a single description, Instagram is where you can rest assured that hashtags won’t annoy anyone. Hashtags have become a norm and a special slang there.

When choosing the hashtags to include in your description, select those that are directly related to your campaign. People searching those tags are probably interested in acting!


Cyfe is a multi-purpose hashtag marketing solution that can help you discover related hashtags, monitor hashtag context, keep an eye on how your competitors use hashtags and watch your Instagram stats: all in the same place.

I use Twitter and Google Plus widgets on Cyfe to get more context for hashtags and I use Instagram widget to watch the progress. I also have my Google Analytics “goals” widget on the same dashboard to track Instagram conversions as well.


Cyfe works best for me because it supports multiple Instagram accounts, so I can watch both my personal and my business accounts there:

#3. Make Leads Conversions Through CTA’s

There are two possible ways to call to action on Instagram. One is the newly-launched Instagram CTA solution (available to Instagram advertisers).

Instagram CTA

The other one is incorporating calls-to-action into your visual content (without sounding too salesy). This is where you can learn from nonprofits: Their call-to-action are perfect!

Timely call-to-action

[For example, post timely calls to action: Combine a holiday with the action!]

You may want to consider having a specific page linked in your profile that goes to Instagram specials. It gets past the problem of not being able to link to the product itself, and makes the CTA more powerful and relevant.

You can also direct them to PM you for information on making the purchase, though keep in mind how much extra work this could cause. It is best for very small businesses where there will be fewer inquiries. Or big businesses that have enough funding to hire people to manage the messages coming through the account.

#4. Utilize the Power of Influencers and Visual Quotes

Visual quoting is a powerful content marketing tactic, and not just on Instagram. You can market your visual quotes on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr: When done well, they work like a charm everywhere.

Visual quotes build trust by association: And trust provokes action.

Visual quotes

Visual quotes

Here are lots of image editing tools to create and market awesome visual quotes.

#5. Add Loyalty-Building Print Products to Your Marketing Strategy

Instagram is a perfect way to market your flyers, gift cards, calendars, and catalogs. Consider providing print products that build loyalty.



Building up that product line is not at all hard or expensive. Budget-friendly services like PrintMePoster custom posters, Square gift cards and Minted calendars are just a few easy-to-use low-priced platform allowing to build, print and ship your loyalty-building products.

All you need is to come up with a catchy message!

Takeaways and Final Thoughts: How to Build Instagram Presence?

  • Create convincing nice looking images that provoke emotion rather than action
  • Provide good content consistently: 3-4 times a week
  • To ensure consistency, use Instagram scheduling tools
  • Try to schedule Instagram updates to around 5 pm. It’s believed the best time to post to the visual platform.
  • Additionally, use tools to determine your own best time to Intagram. Here’s mine:

Instagrm report

  • Research related memes, events, local events, etc and find specific hashtags that can drive action and awareness
  • Keep an eye on your competitors: Take note of hashtags they are using and the campaigns they are building. No need to replicate someone else’s tactics (You want to stand out!) but keep an eye on what’s working
  • Try Instagram ads: They work best in combination with Facebook advertising
  • Read and interact more than you post, especially at that start. Not only will it help you to build up your initial following, but also it will help you better understand Instagram marketing: What its users best react to, what they like to interact with, etc
  • Use visual marketing tools to create custom images: Canva lets you create templates, so you can save time building new visuals after you build up some content over time.

Are there any non-profits you are following on Instagram? Please share in the comments!

Images: Author’s Own


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Ann Smarty is an experienced blogger and entrepreneur running a lot of projects including Viral Content Buzz and TekSocial. She is also community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann Smarty is the serial guest blogger running My Blog Guest, the free guest blogging and content sharing platform.

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  • Thanks for this excellent list Ann – they are all great examples

  • Todd @ Divorce the Workforce

    Bookmarking this page. I’m working Instagram hard, but trying not to do too much as to be obnoxious. One thing that really helped me network recently was when the Traffic and Conversion Summit was taking place last week, I found the hashtag people were using for that meeting, and, while I didn’t use the hashtag on my own material because I wasn’t there, I interacted with people who were using that hashtag…liking pictures, commenting on really cool items posted from that event. I had some good interactions and had quite a number of follows from people who are into the same thing I’m into. I am attending the World Domination Summit, so I’ll use the hashtag on my content from that, as well as interact heavily with others posting from the event, too. Great article, Ann. I’ll probably read it 3 or 4 more times and take some notes as I really enjoy Instagram for what I’m doing. Cheers!

  • Location and event hashtags are most powerful in my experience! Thanks for the comment, Todd!

  • Thanks for having me contribute here, Sian! Glad you liked it!

  • Thanks Ann even though it is tailored to the Non Profit sector I picked up some good ideas. Questionn I have how do you know what time to post if your international or does it show your time zone and adjusts?

  • so many social media sites – ahhh!

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