At, we aim to provide you with the latest ways that you can reach your audience and enhance your programming and marketing. To that end, that we’ve written posts showing you how you can best use Vine or Raise Your Visibility Using Pinterest!

In this post, we are going to explore how you can use Instagram, a relatively new six-second video app, to attract people to your events and causes. Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them on a variety of social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.

A distinctive feature is that it confines photos to a square shape, similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images, in contrast to the 4:3 aspect ratio typically used by mobile device cameras. Users can also apply digital filters to their images. The maximum duration for Instagram videos is fifteen seconds.

As of late, Instagram has skyrocketed in popularity. For the first time, roughly half of internet-using young adults ages 18-29 (53%) use Instagram. And half of all Instagram users (49%) use the site daily. See this link.

Advice for Rabbis and Educators

Instagram is a fantastic way for your small or large organization to engage with your congregants and students, show them what you’re up to, and continue building strong relationships.

In a study by Forrester Research, Instagram was shown to generate the highest consumer engagement level of all the social networks. The study found that Instagram delivered 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter!

And so, with all of those eyeballs and clicks now headed to Instagram, it’s important to know how you and your organization can leverage this new online and mobile tool.

Below, are some ideas of how you can use Instagram:

Have a Social Strategy

Rabbi Ozzie Burnham, director of special programs for Meor says, “I would definitely recommend getting an Instagram account. Instagram is the most savvy, hip, and in certain ways the most popular, tool for photo sharing in the social space.“ However, he cautions that there is no point in doing unless an organization has, “a ‘mehalech’ on how you want to consistently use the social space to engage students.”


A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then your profile should take your followers on your journey. Take people with you when you read the megillah and burn your chometz. Shoot your family dragging home your schach or a close-up of putting the nails into you succah boards. Change the angle or perspective and get those close-up shots to portray action. Even a trip to your local park can look exotic if you show it in a new way.

Now that you truly realize a picture is worth 1,000 words, it’s time to study a bit about lighting, exposures and how you can capture the best picture for your organization or school.

Study How to Take Pictures

If you are going to be taking photos for your organization on your smartphone, we encourage you to read this article in which a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer shares tips on how anyone can snap the perfect iPhone picture. For more information, see here.

How to Tag

On Instagram, you can’t tag your photos with a URL. This means that if you want people to be able to find you or learn more about your organization you have to stash your contact info elsewhere. Also, as this is your chance to explain who you are and what you do, make sure to make yourself sound unique.

It also makes it easier to find you elsewhere if your name and profile pic are the same as those you use for all of your social media projects. Keep this cross-connection with your other platforms by linking your Instagram profile with your other accounts like Facebook and Twitter, and make sure you use icons for all of them on all of your pages.

Engage Your Audience

Gabby Santi advises (see here) readers about the importance of remembering that engaging is a two-way street. Before you begin sharing photos, think about the message you want to communicate to your customers. Instagram allows businesses and nonprofits to build visual connections and inspire “brand loyalty” — so make sure your images evoke a consistent tone and message.


Offer Something Exclusive

Extending promotions and giveaways is a great way to stay active, drive engagement, and encourage users to purchase your goods.

Incentivize your congregants and students to re-post your photos to receive a certain percentage off their next class or trip. Give the first twenty customers who like your photo a small product giveaway. Encourage customers to take a selfie at their favorite class or trip and tag you!

These are all simple ways to gain more followers and general awareness of your organization.

Show Your Appreciation

People love to know that they are appreciated. Ask a congregant or student if you can share a photo of them at your class, baking challah or on your Israel trip.

Add a brief description of why you wanted to share their photo or ask them to give a quote on why they love your small business. This is a great way to engage existing people and show potential congregants and students what is great about your community and the the loyalty your brand inspires.

Coming Up Next…

In part two, we will explore how to use Instagram video and discover some of the top Instagram rabbis and educators out there!



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