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By Sandy Sponaugle
Posted on July 13, 2017
Filed under: Economic Development, Social Media

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5 Instagram Strategies for Economic Development Organizations

Instagram is a very visual, user-friendly platform and a great place to tell stories through photos, videos, and small captions. This social network is all about the pictures or short videos and captions of the pictures. It incorporates hashtags, so people with common interests can search the hashtag and find your photo.

In this 6-part blog series, you’ll get social media strategies for Economic Development Organizations on the top platforms. Today, we’re breaking down key strategies for engaging your audience and getting more leads via Instagram.

30 Social Media Strategies for Economic Development Organizations

Here are 5 Instagram tips for Economic Development Organizations:

#1: Show the highlights of living in your city

Think about who your target audience is. If you want to reach young entrepreneurs, Instagram could be a great way to reach them. 28% of Internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram. 4% of internet users between the ages of 30 and 49 use Instagram.

Young entrepreneurs who you might want to attract are going to be interested both in the cost of doing business in your community, as well as the work-life balance of your community. Show the highlights of living in your city, whether it’s the great restaurants, hiking trails, breweries or other interesting entertainment.

#2: Support your existing businesses and highlight local talent

Instagram is a good opportunity to highlight existing businesses, local talent, and things you want to attract more of. Every week you could tackle a new industry. You could do an “Instagram takeover” where you get someone from a certain industry to take over your account. Here are some ideas as examples:

  • Manufacturing Month – You could have manufacturers sharing photos inside the industry.
  • National Education Week or Teacher’s Month – You could feature public schools or public school teachers.
  • Fall Back-to-College Season – You could focus on higher education in local community.
  • Transportation – Pictures of people walking and biking, sharing rides, highlighting diff transportation routes.
  • Mass Transit – Picture of mass transit could link to a blog about transportation network.
  • Healthy Lifestyle Initiatives – Picture of people biking could link to blog about bike to work day or an initiative in promoting healthier lifestyle.
  • Restaurant Week – You could highlight upcoming restaurant week and share pictures of food from different restaurants.

#3: Try out Live Streaming

Through Instagram Stories, you can record short videos, and these will be available on your page for 24 hours. You can also save these to your phone and then put all them all the videos together to be a screen capture of your day.

Instagram LIVE videos can be viewed as you are recording them, which can be exciting for followers to catch you in real time. Instagram LIVE videos are also available to be viewed for the next 24 hours.

#4: Use hashtags

Hashtags are very popular on Instagram, and a way to find other relevant audiences. Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement.

#5: Drive traffic to Instagram through your other avenues

Instead of people only finding you by stumbling on your Instagram account, send them there via

  • Your website
  • Your newsletter
  • Your signature blocks in emails
  • Hold message in voice mails

Encourage them to check you out on this and other platforms. Give them your Instagram handle and make it easy for them to find you!

As of this writing, Instagram is probably one of the least popular social media platforms for Economic Development Organizations. It’s more popular for Tourism Organizations who use photos more often in their marketing. Depending on how your EDO is set up you might align really well with Tourism, and decide to do something with your city or state that plays off the Tourism industry.

As an EDO, you could start thinking more creatively about sharing more pictures and appeal to different people in your audience through Instagram. Try out Instagram “stories” — a lot of Instagram users prefer the stories to regular Instagram posts. Other people will enjoy seeing a “LIVE” video pop up on their feed. Others will enjoy regular posting on their feed. Mix it up and have fun with it!

30 Social Media Strategies for Economic Development Organizations

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