Reaching, acquiring, and engaging young professional members is a constant challenge. And that makes sense when you think about how each generation comes with new and exciting (and possibly confusing) ways to communicate with them.
One channel that’s been engaging for this current generation is Instagram - and Instagram Stories, in particular. If you’re not familiar, Stories is a feature in the Instagram app that allows users to post pictures, videos, and text “stories” that’ll disappear 24 hours after posting.
And it’s no wonder they’re so engaging - it’s an easy way to flip through content and, with all of the tools designed specifically for engagement, there’s a LOT an account can do to, well, tell its story.
It may seem overwhelming at first, but if your organization is already active on Instagram, we encourage you to dive in and give Stories a shot. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Follow other brands - especially ones that target the young professionals.
Make a list of two or three other brands to focus on, and study what they’re doing. If you start to see that these brands are repeating certain types of stories, that probably means it’s working well for them.
You’ll want to choose a variety of accounts: Those related to associations, chambers, or your industry will give you good examples that are relevant, while consumer brand accounts will show you what's popular and give you something to aspire to!
Pro Tip: Are you already following some young professional members on Instagram? Take a look at who they follow, and start your list there.
2. Don’t be afraid to try certain features - but focus on a couple at a time.
Like I said, there are a LOT of things you can do to make your story more engaging. Going live, including GIFs, using polls, asking questions (and responding to them), building “highlights” on your main page...I mean, the list goes on and on.
But don’t be discouraged! Experiment with two or three different features at once and give yourself time to really understand 1) how it works, 2) different ways you can use it, and 3) whether or not your audience is engaging with it. Before you know it, you’ll have a few go-to features you know will work for your audience.
3. Plan your stories in advance.
Now I will say, some great stories will come about spontaneously. But if you know you have an event coming up, or something that you know you’ll want to feature specifically for the young professional group’s benefit, then plan for it in advance! That’ll ensure you’ll get the videos or pictures you want, help you plan the text in advance, and know what features to use in order to get the engagement you’re looking for.
It’s always a good idea to experiment with new channels and platforms when it comes to engaging young professionals. You want to meet them where they are! But the good news is, there are a few things about recruiting YPs (and getting them to stick around) that will never change. That’s why we wrote Recruiting Young Professionals for the Long-Haul: A Guide for Associations and Chambers!