By Anne Foss
In February, the consular and public affairs sections at the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro produced Consular Team Brazil’s first-ever Instagram Live. The initiative was part of Consular Team Brazil’s outreach goal to use social media to engage the local community and demystify the visa process while promoting a positive image of the U.S. government.
Instagram is one of the most popular social networks worldwide, especially among young adults. This demographic often searches online for advice on applying for a U.S. visa. With 69 million users, Brazil ranks third in the world in Instagram audiences, and it is an audience that is steadily growing. Launched in June 2018, ConGen Rio’s Instagram account has grown to 15,000 followers, which includes 500 followers who joined while advertising for this event. Instagram’s algorithm rewards accounts that use all of the platform’s functions. Employing functionalities like live events is a best practice as it drives viewership and grows the number of account followers, benefiting not only future consular messaging but also the overall Mission’s messaging.
The February event reached 26,160 accounts and had 1,927 views, with many commenters praising the initiative. When reposted on Facebook and Instagram TV, the video’s reach skyrocketed to more than 100,000 people. The event continued the excellent collaboration between Rio’s consular and public affairs sections and will benefit Mission Brazil’s future outreach efforts.
Anne Foss is a consular officer and Maria Cecilia W. Pereira is a consular assistant at the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro.