7 Great Reasons to Use Instagram for Social Activism

Do you have causes you care about deeply? Are you on Instagram? You may not realize this, but social media is one way to support and promote those causes.

Instagram, bought by Facebook in 2012, has over one billion monthly active users, making it hard to ignore this social media platform.

You may think that Instagram is primarily an image and graphic-sharing tool, naturally attracting product-based businesses that rely on visuals. But as Instagram has evolved, more and more people find ways to learn something new, build relationships, and show support for causes aligned with their passion.

Instagram didn’t start as a platform for social activism, just like Facebook didn’t start as a political platform.

  • Instagram’s use to fuel activism came into its own in 2020 during the BLM protests honoring George Floyd, when hashtags #blackouttuesday became popular, along with the black square profile picture.
  • According to Teen Vogue, younger users find creative ways to use the platform to speak up about current events and social justice, educate, inspire, and build a loyal following.
  • Influencers, organizations, and entrepreneurs who used to be unfazed by current events have joined in to support political and social causes on Instagram.

Instagram activism is most effective when it doesn’t start and stop on Instagram. It’s possible to meet people where they already are, educate and inspire them, and get them to take action outside of Instagram.  It’s time for more of us, including older adults, to use this tool.

As with any social media platform, it’s up to you to fact-check. Many Instagram accounts are purely based on conversation, commentary, and community and are not intended to be journalistic sources.

Whether you use Instagram to promote your cause or support organizations important to you,

Here are seven great reasons to use Instagram for social activism:

1 - Find the others

  • Use the Instagram search bar to type in keywords, and you’ll find various people and organizations aligned with your interests.  
  • Exploring #hashtags, which are how Instagram organizes and categorizes content, makes it easy to find like-minded people active in your area of interest. 
  • When you begin to follow accounts, Instagram will suggest similar versions, making discovering new people and organizations easy.

2 - Show support 

  • Show your support for accounts that post great content consistently by following them, sharing their posts, and mentioning their account handles with an @ sign.
  • Instagram will begin suggesting other similar accounts, leading you to deepen your engagement in your areas of interest.
  • Not interested in an account anymore? It’s easy to unfollow. They won’t know unless they specifically try to find you in their follow list. 

3 - Show your personality

  • Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where the same message is sent to the masses, hoping it resonates, Instagram is the place to show your personality.
  • Instagram users expect content to be informal and messy, especially in stories and reels, allowing the personality and values behind your cause to tell the story.
  • Tools like Canva make it easy to be creative with graphics and video without constantly showing your face, which is a bonus for many people.

4 - Make your message visual

  • 10-image carousels are a way to educate and inform the masses about your cause one slide at a time.
  • Creating a 10-image carousel is a chance to get your point across in a mini-slideshow, easy to put together in a tool like Canva.
  • These posts find their way to the explore page or are reposted by people passionate about your cause.  

5 - Give them a reason to share

  • When Instagram was first introduced, success was measured solely by likes and comments, giving content a short shelf life.
  • Instagram has since made it easy to save and share content, allowing people to come back later and share your content in a direct message or to Instagram stories.
  • Focusing on creating content worth saving gives it a longer life span and uses the algorithm to amplify your cause.

6 - Scaling down to scale up

  • While some businesses, brands, and entrepreneurs think the key to success in marketing is scaling up, the key to success on Instagram is scaling down.
  • You're creating loyal fans by consistently posting content to educate and inspire your followers and responding with comments, likes, and direct messages.
  • People who resonate with your message and align with your values are much more likely to take action to support your cause.

7 - One-on-one engagement with anyone

  • Engaging in stories is a great way to show your spontaneous and personal support for the person behind the cause.
  • These direct messages (DMs) are a great way to build relationships with people you may not otherwise have access to, which builds loyalty, making it easier to take action.
  • You may receive messages from people you don’t follow, but these messages are marked pending, and you can accept or delete them.

As you can see, Instagram has unique features that make it possible to educate and inspire people who may not be active on other social media platforms and get them to take action to support your cause.

Jan Golden is a Change AGEnt for Changing the Narrative, as well as the founder of Age-Friendly Vibes, a stationery brand focused on spreading age-positivity.

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