Here at CitySourced we are all about citizen engagement. Did you know Instagram for government is an effective way to communicate directly with citizens through images, videos, and short snippets of text?

It is a wonderfully versatile platform. More and more governments are joining the ‘gram train and are using Instagram to share and connect. Instagram allows you to increase transparency, raise awareness, take polls, share some of the day-to-day operations of government officials, and more. Citizens can like, share, and comment on the content they care about. It’s useful, personable, and fun for everyone.

If you’re just getting started on Instagram, here are some quick tips:

  • Balance business with fun.
    • Include fun images and videos as well as important information about local or national issues.
  • Link Instagram to Twitter and Facebook.
    • Encourage Twitter and Facebook followers and friends to follow you on Instagram.
    • Automatically publish your Instagram feed to Twitter and Facebook.
  • Use popular or government related #hashtags to gain visibility. Some examples:
    • #localgov – local government
    • #egov – eGovernment (tech savvy, internet friendly government)
    • #gov20 – government 2.0 (policies that improve transparency and efficiency)
  • Reciprocate.
    • Follow your followers back.
    • Like and share their content.
    • Even leave comments, time permitting.
  • Use Instagram apps to drastically enhance your content.

The best way to become Instagram savvy is to learn from great examples. Here are 12 government Instagram accounts you should follow.

1. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti

Garcetti shares photos of the city, local establishments, and current events. Occasionally he includes more personal photos using the hashtag #tbt (Throwback Thursday).

Eric Garcetti     Eric Garcetti

2. The City of Monterey

Monterey posts images of its gorgeous town, both on ground and in the water. The folks who man this account really take advantage of the text you can include with each photo. They post about city projects, places to visit, fun facts, and award-winning attractions.

Monterey     Monterey

3. York Region

Located in Ontario, Canada, York Region joined Instagram in June, 2014 and has featured a wide variety of content. What’s great about their Instagram is that they are experimenting with branding on images, holding Instagram contests, and posting videos like this one about pedestrian safety.

York Region     York Region

4. iEfficiency

iEfficiency is all about ending water waste and motivating Californians to engage in drought-tolerant landscaping. They communicate the message “Your future is more important than your lawn” by incorporating text into their images for maximum impact. They keep their image descriptions short and to the point.

iEfficiency     iEfficiency

5. The City of Eastvale

On the City of Eastvale‘s Instagram, which has been active for almost a year now, you’ll find weather updates, event flyers, lost dog notices, information about local businesses, occasional beautiful images of the sky, and more. Their posts are usually very specific and very helpful.

Eastvale      Eastvale

6. The City of Issaquah

Averaging at least a post a day, the City of Issaquah, WA is very active on Instagram. They often share seasonal and holiday specific images. Recurring themes include the gorgeous foliage and the Salmon they’re known for. Issaquah’s Instagram is friendly, fun, and inviting.

Issaquah     Issaquah

7. The City of Ballarat

The City of Ballarat, Australia is proud of its history. In addition to beautiful images of their city, they use the hashtag #wbw (Way Back Wednesday) and create hashtags of their own like #loveballaratinspring and #loveballaratinwinter.

Ballarat     Ballarat

8. The City of Sydney

The City of Sydney puts an emphasis on local events and local art, but also often posts images of the stunning cityscape.

Sydney     Sydney

9. The TSA

The TSA is on Instagram! There are a lot of travel tips and images of weapons discovered in carry-on luggage at airports around the U.S. They also feature TSA Explosives Detection Canines. (Cute! But they mean business.)

TSA     TSA

10. NASA

NASA is on Instagram too, with space related images and time-lapse videos of earth to boot. It’s awe-inspiring. Definitely check it out.

NASA     NASA

11. The U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior‘s mission is to protect the great outdoors. You find beautiful landscapes and rare animals on their Instagram.

U.S. Department of the Interior     U.S. Department of the Interior

12. The Boston Fire Department

The Boston Fire Department consistently uses the tags #BostonStrong, #BostonsBravest, and #BostonFire to share photos of fires in the city, honor brave firefighters, and show fire trucks new and old.

Boston Fire Department     Boston Fire Department

We hope this list has given you ample ideas and inspiration to create and improve your own Instagram account.

Did we miss some great accounts? Tell us about your activity with Instagram and we just might feature your work next time!

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