Instagram Tips for SchoolsMarch 8, 2019
A note from Digistorm: This post was originally published in 2017. We've updated it to include more valuable, relevant content.
With the incredible milestone of over 700 million daily active users, there is no doubting that Instagram is a powerful communication tool. We’ll explore how Instagram should be used, how to establish whether it’s the right tool for your school and how to get the most out of the channel with some tips.
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a mobile app-based social network used for sharing engaging images and video content. The network centres around users ‘following’ one another in order to see their content, which they can then ‘like’ and comment on. Images can contain captions and image topics can be identified through hashtags, however on this network, visual content is key.
Should my school use Instagram?
Instagram can be a great way to share quality visual content with your online community. It is a free method of driving awareness and engagement with your school's brand, with the ultimate goal of encouraging visitation to your school website and eventually, online enrolments. While there is plenty of opportunity for valuable marketing, it is important to remember that this channel will require regular, ongoing and quality visual content to be captured by your school for the best possible performance. If you have the resources to capture lots of content, then you should absolutely trial Instagram as a communication tool!
How can I get the most out of Instagram?
We understand that school marketing is unique and differs from other businesses, so here’s where our tips come in. There are many learnings to be taken from successful Instagram accounts, as well as some simple tips that can help you to improve your Instagram marketing. These are the practices we believe are most important and encourage your school to undertake.
Create a school hashtag
Decide on a school hashtag and use it on all of your Instagram content. This will encourage your school 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 will give you access to user generated content that you can re-post, engage with. Check out our post on user generated content to learn more.
Utilise trending hashtags
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 and hashtagged #HarmonyDay, tapping on this hashtag would allow users to view all public content on Instagram tagged with that topic.
Remember image clarity and focus
The network is all about high quality, engaging images, which is why it’s important to consider the clarity and the focus of the images and videos that your school uploads. This isn’t to say that they should be taken by professionals or on DSLR cameras; the technology of modern mobile phones allows you to take incredibly high resolution photos that your audience will enjoy interacting with.
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… create a timelapse video of them doing a group activity, or take a shot of an incredible sunrise at the camp’s location.
Don’t forget your profile
It’s easy to become wrapped up in the excitement of creating valuable content, but it’s important to remember that you have a profile on Instagram which is essentially a point of contact for your audience. Ensure that your school name, school website link, description and contact details are correctly updated, and think about how your content looks when in the grid format on your Instagram profile. Does it flow well and look consistent? Some of the most successful Instagram accounts have beautifully consistent profiles, using similar tones, hues or colour schemes.
Keep it regular
Don’t forget to keep posting valuable content! There’s no rule to the frequency of posts, but you don’t want to overdo or underdo it. Aim for one post daily, maximum two and if you have more content to share, just use the multiple image upload feature, where you can upload up to 10 images in a single post.
Use Instagram Stories
This feature of Instagram allows 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.
To sum it all up
Trialling new marketing channels to promote your school, particularly when they are at low or no cost, is always positive for marketing your school. Instagram can be a great way to create engagement with both existing and prospective parents. Instagram has strong SEO, so your school's Instagram profile will also be likely to come up in search results when your school is searched for. Finally, it gives you a brand new source of fresh and exciting content to share that has been produced by your school community.
With such a broad range of potential benefits to your school's marketing strategy, give Instagram a try for your school. Looking to incorporate social media as a part of your marketing strategy this year? Check out our guide to inbound marketing.