Instagram is a free, online photo-sharing application and social network platform.

Instagram allows users to edit and upload photos and short videos through an app. Users can add a caption to each of their posts and use hashtags and location-based geotags to make them searchable by other users.

Like Facebook, users can like, comment on and bookmark others' posts, as well as send private messages via the Instagram Direct feature. People can follow other people or pages.

When you post a photo or video on Instagram, it will be displayed on your profile. Other users who follow you will see your posts in their own feed.

You can share content direct to your profile which will show in another user newsfeed or you can post a ‘story’. The stories feature is a secondary feed that appears at the very top of your main feed and displays content for 24hours in a slideshow format.

Why use Instagram?

Instagram is the best platform for showcasing your club’s ‘personality’ and communicating your clubs’ brand, mission and values with followers. It’s visual, simple and it’s attracting the younger generations more than other social media platforms.

Your audience will come to your Instagram page to get ‘behind the scene’ experience and to learn about what your club does and how it does it. Instagram is more about sharing the moment with others.

Setting up an Instagram is easy - the Instagram help page will get you started.

Your Audience

Now that you have successfully set up your club’s Instagram page, it’s time to consider who your audience is as this will help create engaging content. You need to consider and speak to all your different audience types and keep them all in mind when creating content.

Inner Sanctum: Those that are closest to your club –

  • Players
  • Coaches
  • Volunteers

Rookies: Those that do not have a connection with your club but are considering your club –

  • Potential new members/volunteers
  • People looking to join a club

Super Fans: Those that have a connection with your club and are interested in the happenings at your club –

  • Families of players
  • Fans of the club
  • Locals
  • Surrounding businesses

Stakeholders: Those that have an interest in your club as your club has an impact on their business -

  • Sponsors
  • Your local league and competition
  • Pathway clubs

Each audience will be coming to your page for different reason and at different times. Brainstorm their needs and characteristic – this will help you set a relevant plan and ensure your content is engaging the correct groups at the correct time of season.

Tips for Instagram

Instagram can be a great for reaching a wider audience and building a strong connection but its important you do it right to get the best outcomes.

1. Create a plan!

This will help you post regular and relevant content to ensure your audience is engaged. 

2. Create an asset library

This sounds scarier than what it is! All it means if create a file of good quality photos and videos to use on your digital media platforms. Invest in hiring a photographer to take various photos of your club and its members – the investment is worth it.

If you don’t have the money for a professional photographer, reach out to your club members to see if anyone is a hobbyist photographer or if anyone has a good camera and can take a few photos. Another option is to approach your local high school, Tafe or university to see if any students are willing to build their portfolio for minimal costs.

Another idea is holding a ‘Photo of the Week’ competition. Members can post/share their pictures which doubles as asset collection and audience interaction. It’s a win-win option!

3. No photo, no post!

You cannot post on Instagram without a photo or short video. Images must be good quality as aesthetics are extremely important on Instagram.

  • Bright, colourful e.g. no dead grass, no dark clouds, where possible
  • Consider the background e.g. no carparks, no toilet blocks, no bins
  • Landscape format when possible (formats better to social platforms/websites)
  • Not zoomed in and blurry - get in close, fill the frame
  • No clip art or googled cartoon images
  • No logos as photos – action shots will get you much further

4. Hashtags are key

The two big functions of hashtags are making your posts searchable while also encouraging hashtag shares among your audience. People can search for content through hashtags (and geo-tags) - if a photo or video has a hashtag, anyone searching it can find your content.

Choose hashtags that are relevant to your post and club but don’t do crazy with heaps of hashtags. To make your post look cleaner, work hashtags into your description or at the end of the description. An example could be:
“#markoftheyear taken by one of our @aflauskick champions at @McloydeOval this weekend. Head down to the ground to see the youngsters #inaction.”

Tagging other pages and locations using the “@” symbol can also reach a wider audience and increase your chances of the content being shared by others.

5. Interact with your community

Instagram LOVES it when you interact #Zuckerbergiswatching. Like and comment on other clubs, league and football posts using the club account.

IMPORTANT: Do not engage with negative/troll behaviour – this is not a good look for your club. Consider who else is watching your page/club members contribute to negative behaviour online.

  • Think: Do I want sponsors to see the club/its members interactive negatively?
  • Think: Do I want parents of the next generation seeing this?
  • Think: Do you want this to be the example younger members of your club look up to?
  • Think: Is this the culture we want at this club?

Other fun ways to interact with your audience can include “Caption this photo” posts, polls on humorous matters like “Who wore it better?” from presentation nights or “socks up or socks down?”.

6. Don’t forget about your bio

Use the bio to sell what your club is about. This is a perfect spot to include your club’s mission, club’s website and/or link to registration form and any hashtags specific to your club.

7. Invest in simple graphics

Similar to creating a bank of photos, invest in creating the following graphics to assist over the year:

  • Quarterly score updates
  • Fixture
  • Ladder
  • Goal scorers
  • Professional flyers to promote club events e.g. Ladies Days, Come and Try events, etc.

This will make your posts much more engaging and lessen the amount people have to read in the post description.

8. Get everyone on board

Social media is a great way to showcase the club’s ‘personality’. The more people you can get involved, the better. Ways to do this can be:

  • Sharing member/follower content
  • Getting players involved e.g. 24hr player take-over social media day
  • Use member photos and/or videos
  • Get young, tech savvy players to create content

When to post on social media?

Unfortunately, there is no magic posting schedule, or one size fits all method. The best way to work out when to post your content is to experiment remembering different posts may have different engagement levels depending on your target audience.

Its important to think about your target audience and what their social media habits are. For example, if you are targeting adult players, posting at lunch time during the week may be better than at 7am in the morning. If your target audience are parents, 3pm-8pm maybe a bad time to post as they are doing school pickup, cooking dinner and getting the kids ready for bed. If your audience are those that cant make a game, consider posting scores and game updated during game days.