Instagram is free, and is generally a more visual social media community, than e.g., Facebook which is all forms of written and pictorial media. By using hashtags that people follow (e.g., #photo,#xxxcameraclub, #greyheron #busheypark), then your images and posts can potentially reach a lot of people. Essentially you need to post images quite often, use as many appropriate hashtags as possible, and get people ‘following’ you.The positives are that it is free, it is extremely popular and because it is generally photo or video focussed, followers are more likely to look through a longer trail of posts, compared to e.g., Facebook. It is good for recommending people to your page or images based on algorithms that determine images they may like. By tagging others, and getting them to like your image, could increase the visibility further into their own friend communities.The negatives are that it only works on smart phones, and although you can view Instagram on your PC in a web browser, you can only upload or post via a phone. You therefore need a process to move images from a PC to a phone, though one method is to just take screenshots from Facebook if you have uploaded them there first, or from a shared storage like Dropbox or OneDrive. There may be third party apps that will work from a PC if this is an issue.
Facebook is probably the most well known of social media communities. Camera Clubs can set up a ‘Page’, which is similar to your own personal profile, but has additional tools to promote, track, see insights, receive and respond to messages, create events and many other capabilities. You can also use hashtags on Facebook, though I don’t think it is absolutely necessary.The positives are that it is free, and the average person spends probably a few hours a day looking at Facebook. It has many tools and capabilities to promote things, and it is easy to create and share posts. You can manage your page alongside your own profile and can share the load with other people too. By tagging others, asking people to share your posts, and getting them to like your image, could increase the visibility further into their own communities.The negatives are that paid for campaigns are costly. Even with location-based filtering, and keyword matching, the ‘reach is unpredictable’. As an example, one campaign cost £30 over 7 days, reached over 10,000 people, and 241 people clicked on the link. Another cost £50 over 16 days and only reached 3,470. people, and 120 clicked on the link. These are very small numbers when you consider even your local town, let alone those around it have tens or hundreds of thousands by population. Facebook can be a bit 'pushy’ in very regularly reminding you to post or promote something.
Facebook has groups like the ‘East Anglian Federation’ (https://www.facebook.com/groups/EastAnglianFederation) or ‘UK Club Photography Group’ (https://www.facebook.com/groups/UKPhotography). The EAF Group and the UK Club Photography Group, which has a close connection with the PAGB, allow you to share or post upcoming events you have.
Maintaining your own website presence is a good idea and most camera clubs do it. Over time, Google and other search engines will pick it up, so people searching for a camera club with your regions name in it, should find it. This is a good way to promote the club, its members, and display your programme. The programme alone can result in a few hits if people are searching e.g., for the name of a well-known lecturer or photographer. You would need to buy a hostname and pay a web service provider to provide some templates and space, but these are generally very cheap if you don’t buy ‘premium’ packages.