More than half the U.S. population uses social media on a regular basis. Of the 179.7 million on social networking sites, 60.3 million use Instagram®. This number is predicted to increase 8 percent over the next year.The free, online photo- and video-sharing app can be a fun and engaging way to share and connect. But it’s not just for selfies, baby pics and vacation snapshots. Governments are using it, too, to connect with citizens, promote departments and services, and tackle complex issues. Take a look at some creative ways to use this tool in the public domain.
The city of Mobile, Ala., used Instagram as a way to tackle its blight problem. Enforcement officers photographed blighted properties, and the app automatically documented and mapped locations and problem areas. It also enabled the city to discern between minor problems, such as un-mown lawns, and major ones, such as fire-damaged homes at risk of collapsing.
Instagram is a great way to share and spread beauty. From neighborhood parks and nature preserves to national landmarks and forests, Instagram can be the perfect tool to promote and share magnificence. Upload your own photos and encourage visitors to share theirs as well. Use hashtags on promotional literature and signage, and encourage users to post their experiences with rewards for doing so. Consider a custom-printed Multi Purpose Cleaning Cloth, tech back strap or an Adhesive Cell Phone Wallet.
Inform and educate
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) uses Instagram to provide travel tips, including how to fly with pets or pack carry-ons. The Department of Energy provides lab tours on its feed. And at a more local level, municipalities share snapshots of those hard at work at neighborhood events and meetings.
Once you have a “must-follow” Instagram page, you’ll want to promote it. Include icons on all online communications so community members can easily follow your account. Hashtags will help users find your content; best practice is to use at least one but no more than five hashtags. And, incentivize people to join and engage by providing random drawings for engagement. Magnetic photo frames and Hashtag Stress Relievers imprinted with your logo and account name make nice prizes.
Remember, Instagram isn’t just for sharing selfies—it can be a great way for government agencies to connect with, engage and inform the community it serves. How will you use Instagram in your agency?
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