Many agencies are already using platforms like Facebook and Twitter and they’re looking for other tools to reach citizens. Have you wondered how Instagram can fit into your social strategy?
Instagram is a free iPhone and Android photo-sharing app where users can take and upload photos from their mobile phone. The platform has been around for nearly three years, and last year Facebook acquired it for $1 billion.
I’m doing a lot of traveling for events this year, so I finally set up a GovGirlBlog profile on Instagram to easily capture and share some of these experiences. Your agency can find other ways to use the simple app, such as snapshots of public parks and buildings, neighborhood events and meetings – you name it.
Many governments are already using Instagram and taking advantage of the crop and filter tools available in the app. Check out the profiles of Detroit and Morgantown, W.Va., for some surprisingly breathtaking shots. Arkansas State Parks is using another approach of pulling in a feed on its website of citizen pics tagged with #arstateparks.
Instagram has a cool Twitteresque feature I love where you can tag and search for hashtags. I did a search for #govgirl and found photos that people have taken with me at events. Are you or your agency already being tagged on Instagram? Do a quick search and find out!
Unlike some mobile apps like Vine, Instagram also stores your content on the Web. Visit my brand-spanking-new GovGirl page on Instagram. There are limited opportunities for branding on the platform, with just a standard profile picture, short bio and website link.
Instagram integrates with other social networks, making it easy to push images automatically to your existing government profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and even good ole-fashioned Flickr. To enable this feature, find the settings under Profile > Options > Share Settings. Make sure it’s connecting to your official accounts and not defaulting to your personal networks that you may already be logged in to!
I have to note that in late 2012, after user backlash that new terms of service language gave Instagram the ability to sell users’ photos or use them in ads, today’s revised terms of service indicate that Instagram does not own your photos. (Still, the language isn’t crystal clear and you should run it by your legal team as usual).
Instagram is a quick, free way to enhance your social media presence with visual content. Let me know in the comments about your experiences on this platform, or tell me about any reservations your agency has in creating a profile.
Kristy is known as “GovGirl” in the government technology industry. She is a former city government web manager who has a passion for social media, technology and the lighter side of government life. Kristy is the CEO of Government Social Media.