Instagram is an online application or platform that allows users to share pictures, videos, messages, and stories. Kevin Systrom launched Instagram in 2010 and sold it to Facebook for $1billion in 2012. (Aslam (2017). Facebook’s purchase enabled Instagram to upload posts onto Facebook. As of August 10, 2017, Instagram had 700 millions of active monthly Instagram users. Of these, 77.6 are Americans (Aslam, 2017). Instagram is one of the most popular platforms that people use to connect, entertain and share.

Visual communication has been a major factor in the growth of this platform. According to Russmann & Svensson, (2016) “images can be seen as a complementary source of communication to written or spoken texts” (p.3). This means that visuals help to convey information. Images are a great way to make people more aware of the content and help them engage. Instagram can be used to effectively communicate the message of a company.

Instagram is a great tool for businesses. It can be used to advertise and market any organization, whether it’s a profit-making or non-profit one. The user can change their account from a personal profile to a company profile. There are several useful features for the business. For example, the option to promote (for an additional fee) items related to the business. They also have access to insights on the account in terms of followers and postings. As an example, the publisher can see the engagement, impressions and reach of each image or video. The market is assessed by calculating the efficiency and effectiveness.

Instagram is also a great tool for analysis. Sometimes, communicating through such platforms is more effective than using text (Russmann-Svensson, 2016). In order to achieve this, non-profits can use Instagram images and videos in order to send a strong message of values such as integrity, unity, or solidarity. Samaritan’s Purse is a non-profit that uses this app to explain to people how they can help. Instagram can be used to spread a message across the globe.

Instagram also has a lot of disadvantages. For example, it promotes unhealthy products, and this can negatively influence people. It is difficult to manage thousands of posts that are negative because they can only be removed by someone reporting them. This can be a problem because it could affect the impact that non-profits like World Wildlife Fund have. Non-profits need to be more influential on social media, in order for them to have a smaller negative impact from damaging posts.

The possibility of a fake account is also a major disadvantage for non-profits. Instagram allows users to create accounts easily. All they need is an email address, which can be a fake. There are many people who set up fake accounts in order to spread false information and falsify the accounts of others. In this case, the fake account could ask for donations to be sent to a fraudulent bank. Non-profits who have Instagram accounts are advised to be on the lookout for any fake accounts.


  • rhysgraham

    Rhys Graham is an educational blogger and professor who writes about topics such as literacy, mathematics, and science. He has written several books, including one on the history of science. He is also the co-founder of the website Learn Out Loud, which helps educators create and share classroom activities.