Last year we spoke about how political campaigns could use Instagram to engage a certain demographic for upcoming elections. Growing fast, Instagram has become a haven for the photo-loving supporter, the person who will stop at nothing to let you know that they too were there, “If you don’t believe me, check my Insta!”.
Hillary, Bernie and Donald (all of whom we are on first name basis with obviously) have experimented with Instagram, dabbled in how they will appear cool and down with the kids and we tip our hats to them and their social media squads.
We too ventured into the Instagram world, nervous and unarmed. We didn’t foresee that the canvassing hashtag wouldn’t be a hot commodity, who knew? #Canvassing #EveryoneUsesIt #Right?
We started simple - post that team pic we thought, wait for the flood banks to open and be inundated with new followers and comments. We even got our own hashtag #ecanvassing, creative I know!
Next up, we tried the “insert inspirational quote here” method - again, nothing. So we did what a lot of us do when things fail - start posting random pictures of food - if you can be bothered, make it insta-worthy, slap on a couple of filters and off you go. I’m not sure what I expected this to achieve, maybe that Dominoes or Four Star pizza would come on as our company sponsor and provide leftover dough balls to hungry canvassers on the campaign trail - could still happen!
So to put it simply our Instagram journey had started to look a little bit like this:
- Young and Naive
- Attempts to make canvassing cool
- Doubts that canvassing is cool
- Panics and eats feelings
- Realises you can’t win at Instagram
- Decides to persevere on with the food idea
- Gains weight due to Instagram errors
- Gets a grip
- Makes the most of the platform
- Continues to engage as best we can
- Forgives Instagram for being so difficult
So, we don’t claim to be experts in anything except political campaigning, voter management, canvassing and constituency management, but we'd like to think we are a pretty determined bunch.
If we were to offer some pieces of advice about navigating the maze that is Instagram, it is this:
Go Hashtag Crazy:
Don’t hold back - If you sell spoons, hashtag bloody #spoons. If you don’t use the #, then your photo won’t travel. You want your image to be seen so if you think someone will search for it, use it. Politically minded individuals like ourselves will catch on eventually and use #canvassing and hopefully our customers will start using #ecanvassing, we can only hope!
Ah the old “stand out, don’t blend in” speech. Easier said than done, we know, believe me. Everyone is out there nowadays being alternative, so much so that they are all the same, Hipsters eh? Get in your own lane and build on your brand. Try and carve some kind of unique Instagram formula that elevates you above the nearest political software company (we attempted that with the pizza,we are now trying again).
Another thing we failed on - we drifted in and out, sometimes went weeks without posting a picture while we tweeted daily. This was a mistake. Instagram is there to aid you, use it to bolster your other social media feeds if it isn’t your main port of call. It is another channel of outreach to your customers, remember that.
Follow Accounts You Admire:
How can you improve if you don’t follow the experts. Draw up a list of the people in your field who you could learn something from, you don’t have to copy them but assess what works for them. If they use Instagram to give behind-the-scenes glimpses of their work environment, maybe you could introduce your team through this platform. It isn't just other Instagram accounts that you can learn from. Some Customer Success blogs like Alina Mazur's http://www.cs-success.com/ have loads of helpful tips too!