Instagram Tips for SchoolsSeptember 1, 2019
A note from Digistorm: This post was originally published in 2017. We've updated it to include more valuable, relevant content.
With over 1 Billion monthly active users, there’s no doubt that Instagram is still one of the world’s most popular social media platforms. In this post, we’re going to get you up to speed on everything you need to know in order to successfully market your school on Instagram.
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a mobile app-based social network that has been around since 2010. The platform quickly gained popularity among users as it enables them to share engaging images and video content with others. The platform is centred around users ‘following’ one another in order to see their content, which can be ‘liked’ or commented on.
As you can see from our example post here, Images can contain captions and hashtags which are used to categories and highlight topics. While engaging captions are important, Instagram is first and foremost a visual platform, so engaging imagery is key!
Important feature update!
In July, Instagram rolled out a test to hide the number of ‘likes’ on posts in a number of countries, including; Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, and Japan. Why? Well, the Head of the gram’ Adam Mosseri says this move is all about “creating a less pressurised environment where people feel more comfortable expressing themselves.” The ‘like’ count hasn’t been entirely removed and is still visible to the user, though it is no longer published publicly. Although Instagram has expressed that the update has been rolled out purely as a test for now, it’s received mixed reviews from users.
Should my school use Instagram?
There are many reasons why Instagram can be a valuable tool for schools. You can visually showcase your school, engage with your community, and attract prospective parents. However, it’s important to point out that like any social media platform, Instagram requires quality content, regularly in order to be successful. If you’re going to kick off an Instagram account for your school, ensure that you’re able to allocate the time and resources to create content.
If you’re stuck for ideas, check out our post Instagram Stories: Opportunities for Schools to learn how you can create authentic content through Instagram’s ‘stories’ feature.
How do I get the most out of Instagram?
We understand that school marketing is unique and differs from other businesses, so your strategy needs to be a little different. There are many learnings to be taken from successful Instagram accounts, including some simple tips that can help you to improve your Instagram marketing.
1. Create a school hashtag
Decide on a school hashtag and use it on all of your Instagram content. This will encourage your community to do the same, and soon you’ll build a library of content for anyone tapping on your school’s hashtag to explore. This also means you’ll be able to see user generated content that you can re-post, engage with.
2. Utilise trending hashtags
As we mentioned earlier, hashtags are essentially ways to identify categories or topics for your post, which are linked to all content that other users have identified as being under the same topic. For example, if your school shared a photo of the activities taking place on Harmony Day with the hashtag #HarmonyDay, tapping on this hashtag would allow users to view all public content on Instagram tagged with that topic.
3. Think outside the box
Instagram is a social network where you can get creative. Sharing a snap from school camp? Don’t just take a photo of a group of students smiling at the camera, try creating a time lapse video of a group activity, or take a shot of an incredible sunrise at the camp’s location.
4. Update your profile
It’s easy to become wrapped up in the excitement of content creation, but don’t forget to keep your profile information up-to-date too. Make sure your school name, school website URL, description and contact details are accurate.
5. Post regularly
Make sure you’re posting regularly to keep your followers engaged. There aren’t any hard rules around how often you should post, but you want to make sure you’re not over-doing it or under-doing it. You don’t want to spam your followers, but you also don’t want to post so infrequently that they forget your account even exists. Try to aim to post new content around two to three times per week and if you have more content to share, mix things up by uploading multiple images within the same post, or by trying your hand at Instagram Stories.
6. Use Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories allow you to share real-time content in the form of images or videos (of up to 10 seconds in length) which will feature on your profile for 24 hours. It’s a great way to share time-sensitive posts that you don’t necessarily want on your profile permanently. Stories are a great way to show authentic, behind the scenes footage of your school too -- try taking your followers on a virtual tour or put them on the slide lines at your next big sporting event!
With such a broad range of potential benefits to your school's marketing strategy, we recommend giving Instagram a try for your school. If you’re looking to ramp up your school’s social media marketing activity this year, be sure to get your hands on our free guide to inbound marketing for schools. In here, you’ll find everything you need to know from creating a digital marketing strategy to social media and nailing content creation.