Already beloved by actors and athletes, Instagram is now honing its pitch to a new category of celebrity content creators: politicians.
Corporate parent Facebook is hiring a Washington, D.C.-based political outreach manager "to manage and execute relationships with governments, politicians and political influencers on how to best use Instagram." Duties include overseeing an Instagram training program designed for governments and politicians and crafting best practices to distribute to them.
The job listing suggests that politics is a major area of focus for Instagram, which still has less than 30 employees. Instagram still has plenty of runway ahead of the 2014 midterm election, and it's taking a page from its social-media predecessors by hiring a Washington-based specialist to evangelize the network on the Beltway and beyond.
For example, Twitter hired Adam Sharp -- a former C-SPAN producer and deputy chief of staff to Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu -- to start its Washington office in 2010 and begin outreach to government and political groups. (The political team at Twitter subsequently grew in the lead-up to the 2012 election and included Peter Greenberger to lead ad sales.)
While many high-profile U.S. politicians have Instagram accounts, user engagement there seems relatively low. And because verified accounts don't exist on Instagram, it can be hard to figure out which handle -- if any -- is official.
For example, New Jersey Governor and expected 2016 presidential contender Chris Christie has just 1,088 followers on Instagram. A photo of him circa 1980 in his high school baseball uniform that would seem ready-made to become viral gold has just 112 likes. Meanwhile on Twitter, the governor has upwards of 386,000 followers.
And Newark Mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker -- another New Jersey politician with a national profile -- has only 27,000 Instagram followers. On Twitter, where he's known for responding to constituent mentions, he has 1.4 million followers.