If any social media channel has become the one you can’t afford to be slacking on, it’s Instagram.
Yes, they copied all of Snapchat’s best ideas. Yes, we all want our chronological feeds back. And yes, it is a shame the ‘Gram is part of planet Facebook.
But, the fact is, Instagram is mega and we need to be using it well.
For universities, Instagram is a great space for a number of reasons; it works brilliantly as a softer, ongoing space for engaging your student body, it offers a window onto your campus for any prospective students peering in from the outside (especially international students sitting halfway round the world who, let’s face it, won’t be coming to your open day), and it’s a fabulous space for sourcing user-generated content.
With all that in mind, we wanted to be of assistance. So, here’s a trio back-to-basics Instagram tips that often get over-looked. No, we’re not breaking any boundaries here…but sometimes it’s just useful to strip things back.
You know about campus porn, right? It’s nowhere near as rude as it sounds; it’s simply posting shots of your campus looking 👌🔥😍
Why do it? Well, for one, your audience will love it. Trust us on that. Current students will relish seeing their home pop up in their feeds, former students will go dewey-eyed with nostalgia and prospective students will get stuck in a daydream imagining themselves on your campus in the near future.
Second, your campus is one of your biggest selling points. And, when it comes to selling points that work well as a visual, it’s probably the best you’ve got…so show it off!
Hashtags are the navigation system of Instagram – you don’t search by keyword, you search by tag. As such, if you’re not using relevant hashtags then you are missing out.
Do your own research on the search tab and find out what tags are popular on your campus – hint: start by trying #youruniversityname and then see where you end up and what variants fly on your campus. Once you’ve found the tags that people are using, start adding them to your content.
Look at, for example, how many the University of Glasgow uses. On Instagram, people don’t care if you load your captions with hashtags as long as they relevant – they’re part of the furniture!
But, don’t simply use hashtags to get more eyes on your own content. Get into the habit of searching for these tags every day and being generous with likes and comments on other people’s content. You can never underestimate how much good will double-tapping someone’s photo or leaving them a quick comment can generate.
In terms of brand building, it can be really powerful.
Make the most of user-generated content
Perhaps the most powerful tactic on Instagram is to make the most of user-generated content. It’s the best way to build community with your students, it’s a fantastic way to source a library of amazing visuals of your campus and it really helps build your following.
Take as an example the Instagram account for the social media management tool Buffer; UGC grew their Instagram account by over 400% in one year.
The easiest way to make the most of UGC is to search those hashtags like we said above, find great content and then DM the person who posted it to ask if you can share it, with credit, on your own channel.
Just like the University of Warwick has done here, for instance.
Or, why not go one step further and make your ENTIRE account powered by UGC? That’s what the University of Chester does – to really great effect.