Is your nonprofit using Instagram yet? Pinterest?
I’m going to suggest you give it some serious consideration.
We live in the age of information overload. A wealth of information creates a scarcity of attention and thus a need to efficiently allocate attention.
Visual to the rescue!
Visual is a huge trend in marketing, using the power of digital to communicate your message and stay within the diminishing attention span of today’s online readers –8 seconds (one second less than the attention span of a goldfish).
If human minds are adapting to information overload this way (to multitask, prioritize, and consume quickly and efficiently), it makes sense for your nonprofit to adapt as well.
Otherwise, you’ll work really hard to put messages out there – that no one will read.
Want to stop working just hard and start working smart?
Instagram vs Pinterest: Two Great Options
In the past, I’ve been a big Pinterest booster. I’m still a fan. Here’s why:
- Pinterest drives approximately 7.17% of all social media referral traffic to websites — second place only to Facebook.
- 93 out of the world’s top 100 brands have accounts on Pinterest.
- Pinterest drives sales directly from its website. Of account holders, 21% have purchased an item after seeing it on Pinterest.
- A tweet lasts 24 minutes, and a Facebook post yields 90 minutes of visibility in the News Feed. A pin can last 151,200 minutes.
- Pinterest pins are worth more than Facebook likes, coming in second only to Instagram in terms of brand interactions with brands.
Which brings us to… Instagram
- Instagram rivals Twitter’s user base in number. Since 2010, Instagram has been one of the fastest-growing and highly engaged social media platforms.
- Instagram enjoys a strong youth demographic; Pew research, reveals roughly half of all internet-using young adults (ages 18-29) use Instagram (53%). Half of Instagram account holders use the site daily.
- Instagram users are very engaged; the interactions to followers ratio is 30 times greater than that of other major social networks.
The beauty of both Instagram and Pinterest, of course, is they rely primarily on pictures. Which, as you know, are worth a 1000 words! People can gobble up a photo lickety-split.
Visual for Quick Message Processing
There’s all sorts of data showing people process images much, much faster than text.
This means more people will view your message if you attach it to an image! In fact, a post with visual content gets 94% more total views on average than content without images.
I love Pinterest both for quickly (1) showcasing the depth and breadth of what you do and for (1) telling individual stories.
MODELS: Here’s are examples of two nonprofit Pinterest profiles, and one pin. They do an awesome job of drawing the viewer in and making them want to learn more. Plus ASPCA proactively engages users by including calls to action in Pin descriptions – including next steps for advocacy engagement, how to attend an event and how to donate.
Monterey Bay Aquarium – Showcasing Depth and Breadth of Mission
ASPCA – Board with Multiple Stories
ASPCA – Individual Storytelling Pin
Visual for Nonprofit Storytelling
Much has been written about the power of storytelling to inspire people to become engaged and invested with your cause.
Online, the quickest, most emotionally compelling way to tell a story is with a photo or video or infographic. Ideally, your visual will be so captivating folks will want to jump into the picture and become a part of it. You can simply add a caption, or you can accompany your image with a quick one paragraph story. The image captures attention; the narrative draws folks in further.
A great strategy is to drip stories continually, showing different sides of your mission. Your donors want an ongoing tale. A little today. A little next week. And so forth. There’s no better delivery mechanism for “drip” storytelling than social media.
MODELS: Here’s an example of drip storytelling on Instagram from Princeton University. They feature narrators of different stripes: a student; an alumnus; a professor.
Visual for Sticky Communication
Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about seven bits of information (plus or minus two). This is why, by the way, that we have seven-digit phone numbers. Images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.
– Dr. Lynell Burmark, Ph.D., Thornburg Center for Professional Development
A recent guide to visual storytelling practices reveals that when information is presented orally, people tested 72 hours later remember only about 10%. That jumps to 65% when pictures are added!
Pictures stay with folks. This means you aren’t starting from scratch every time you message people on social media. And this is particularly true if you use consistent branding (i.e., graphics, design and colors). Each message builds on the previous one – because people remember pictures!
Visual for Going Viral
I already noted that Pinterest generates an enormous amount of referral traffic. Instagram does the same. In fact, Instagram has the highest percentage of viral content (posts with greater than 250 interactions); overall, 49% of Instagram pictures and 60% of Instagram videos get that level of engagement.
You definitely want this, because it drives new people to your website.
Besides having the power to grab consumer attention, visual images are shared 40% more than text messages.
You definitely want this too, because it also drives new people to your website.
Visual for Persuasive Fundraising
A 3M-sponsored study found presenters who use visual aids are 43% more effective in getting people to do what they want.
So… what about a fundraising campaign on Instagram?
One nonprofit, St. Baldricks, suggests to their peer-to-peer fundraisers that they use Instagram to inspire donations.
Other Visual Options
If you ultimately decide Pinterest and Instagram are not for you, you can – and should! – still use visuals. Here’s why:
- Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images.
- Tweets with images receive 89% more favorites.
- Facebook posts with images see 3X more engagement than those without images.
- Organic Facebook engagement is highest on posts with videos (13.9%) and photos (13.7%).
Visual content lasts longer and goes further than non-visual content.
People remember it and share it.
While the results will differ for every nonprofit, the bona fides of the visual trend are supported by numerous research studies showing it definitely yields results in terms of interactions and sales for various businesses.
Instagram and Pinterest are not just photo albums. If you’ve not used them, take a look at some of the many ways nonprofits are using them today to share their story, demonstrate impact, advocate for support and solicit donations — all using one of the most emotionally visceral mediums possible: visual media.
You owe it to yourself and your cause to give visual messaging platforms serious consideration.
Got the picture?
Image courtesy of Pixabay