What’s the Story? Using Instagram Stories for Government Agencies


If Instagram already drives you crazy because their API doesn’t allow for scheduled posts, you’re not alone (just take a look at the #gsmchat archives). And if you thought posting daily was a challenge, how are you supposed to use Instagram Stories?! It can be a hard sell for a government agency that’s already strapped for resources (spending time on content that disappears in 24 hours? No thanks). Still – even if you aren’t using Instagram Stories over 250 million users are… daily. How can you capitalize on something that’s so difficult to implement?

Here are some ideas:

  • Do more exhaustive coverage of popular events. When you have an event that gets people excited, there’s really great potential for all kinds of visuals (Boomerangs! Videos! Emojis!). But, you don’t want to clog up your feed. Instagram Stories to the rescue! Barrage your audience with posts and paint a complete picture of the event without getting unfollowed.
  • Did someone say “Takeover?” What better way to implement Stories – just hand the responsibility to someone else! In all seriousness, giving departments/divisions the chance to own the account for a day is a great way to put the spotlight on them and give your residents an “inside look” into government services. It definitely takes a little bit of preparation (picking the right people, training, story mapping, scheduling), but in my experience, it’s totally worth it. Your departments get to do a little shamelessself-promotion, your Story has purpose, and your residents get educated about how local government works.
  • Cheat (just a little). The nature of Instagram Stories requires that you post content that’s been created in the last 24 hours, but if you have a collection of photos at your disposal, you can take screenshots to make them current on your camera roll. I’VE CERTAINLY NEVER DONE THIS! But, it might help you…
  • Forget photos – use graphics! A sequence of graphics is a great way to get a point across without going on-location. You can use the draw and text tools to create a design in-app, or you can use a program that makes social media graphics easy, like Canva or Adobe Spark. Seek out other brands on Instagram to see how they’re using this method effectively.

One of the great things about this particular part of Instagram is that it’s there when you need it, but not something you have to use every day to get a return on your time investment. So get on there and tell your Stories!

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