09 Jan 2022

Icon’s Impact: Building a presence for conservation on Instagram


What was the goal we set out to achieve

Icon’s Strategy 2017-2022 sets out our strategic aim to increase public awareness and participation in conservation. 

Our mission is to represent and support the practice and profession of conservation by promoting the public value of caring for cultural heritage.

We learned that social media is an excellent avenue for this.

While Icon has maintained accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube for a number of years, it was notably absent from Instagram.

This year, we set ourselves the goal to establish a presence on Instagram to promote the work of conservators to new audiences.

Icon instagram grid.png


What did we do

We launched an Instagram account at the beginning of 2022. Our initial  campaign was a review of key projects and highlights from 2021.

Prior to the launch we utilised the professional skills of James Murphy, one of our co-opted trustees to develop a rigorous plan for building up an account from scratch.  

During the first few months we strategically built our followership and gained knowledge about the audiences we can reach on Instagram, and the kind of content our target audience likes to consume.


What was the outcome

Instagram story example 1

Icon gained 1000 followers in the first few months, with posts getting good engagement rates – up to 140 people engage with a post.

Instagram has now been integrated into our Communications Strategy, and we use the platform to promote conservation stories, share the work of our members, and form partnerships with other organisations.








What did we learn

Instagram story example 2

The account was initially set up as an experiment, however after a few weeks it became clear that there was palpable enthusiasm for  conservation content on Instagram.

We found that people are interested in learning about conservation or reading conservation stories in post descriptions, which contrasts to other platforms like Twitter where the attention span is shorter. This makes Instagram ideal for advocacy and championing the value of conservation.

We also learned that Instagram is a good platform to reach young people, private practitioners and international conservators, which ties in to our Communications Strategy goals.

Lastly, we learned that many Icon members run Instagram accounts, so Instagram is a great platform to share projects and amplify their voices too.


What will we do next

Instagram story example 3

Now that we have devised a strategy for producing content specifically for Instagram, the next phase is growing our followers.

We want to conduct audience research and reach new accounts, so that conservation stories will reach more and more people.

We are also planning to develop the structure of the account, making use of the Highlights Feature to showcase members, upcoming events, and job opportunities.





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