- General Best Practices
Instagram is a true visual storytelling platform, as it is solely intended for photos and videos. So really, what better medium could a school ask for? There's nothing complicated here: post engaging photos and videos, and earn likes. There's no character limit, no overwhelming algorithms (yet), and there still aren't too many ads. Personally, it is my favorite social media, and a lot of millennials feel the same way.
If you're not using Instagram, you should be — and the stats prove it:
- 75% of Instagram users take action (visit your website, etc.) after viewing a post or ad — the highest engagement rate of any social network
- Among teens 13-17 years old, 23% of Instagram's users are girls, and 17% are boys — which makes it almost an even split for co-ed schools
- 80% of Instagram users are actually outside of the U.S. Hello international recruitment!
- 55% of Instagram users are between the ages of 18-29, which is ideal if you're looking to engage young alumni.
To get you inspired about launching your school's own Instagram account, we're sharing five of our favorite accounts with you.
Taft School | Watertown, CT
Taft has an impressive Instagram following. With nearly 3,000 followers, we love their Instagram profile they capture what's happening on campus day to day. Posting at least two times per week, Taft uses witty and engaging captions that portray a definitive voice that is clearly targeted to their students.
With an average of about 400 likes per post, Taft proves you don't need to overthink what you post on Instagram to earn likes and comments.
They simply chose to use the word "Namaste" to share what this video represents:
They do a great job sharing different perspectives of their posts as well, like the impact their instructors are making on their students — but they let the photos do the talking, keeping the captions short and sweet.
They're not afraid to show their school pride...
...or the power of school spirit.
In addition to simple captions and great photography, Taft uses the branded hashtags across all their social platforms, including Instagram: #whytaft , #mytaft , #taftlife.
Key takeaway: Frequency, personality, simplicity and consistency is the key to a strong Instagram presence. If you want results like Taft, commit to posting two unique photos at least twice a week.
Free Report: The State of Social Media Marketing Among Schools
Trinity-Pawling School | Pawling, NY
In general, we love that more schools are turning to Instagram to showcase their personality and brand. But, we don't often see all-boys schools as active 'grammers, which is what makes Trinity-Pawling's account special (especially since 68% of Instagram's users are females according to Omniocore).
Not only are they averaging 100 likes on each post, but their profile is a collaborative work of photos and videos from students, faculty, staff, and more. Using the "Repost" app, Trinity-Pawling constantly shares content posted by other community members. This is a great way to make the community feel involved and save your marketing team time.
They re-shared this Instagram post from a secondary school Instagram account:
And this one from the school's lacrosse Instagram:
Key Takeaway: All the content on your social profile doesn't have to come from you directly. Using apps like "Repost" for Instagram can be another great way to share what your community is also posting about your school.
College of Coastal Georgia | Brunswick, GA
College of Coastal Georgia has been doing an amazing job sharing its brand on its Instagram profile. With over 1,300 followers, and at least 100 likes per post, one of our favorite parts of their Instagram falls within their bio.
Right off the bat, they are encouraging their followers to share their own photos and be part of the conversation that makes College of Coastal Georgia so engaging online with unique hashtags for the school - and their followers are listening.
#ccga has been used over 7,000 times! This is a great example of how authentic, student-driven content works so well. When you give your students the opportunity to share their own content, it helps bring your school's story and message to life, and at the same time allows your students to feel part of something special.
The school doesn't necessarily re-post these photos, but it's still a great way to encourage its community to be involved with the school online and have fun at the same time! Plus — this is marketing gold for recruitment! Imagine if a prospective student clicks the #ccga hashtah on Instagram: they'll be invited to view more than 7,000 authentic photo and video testimonials from students themselves. Whoa...talk about making an impact! If this doesn't sell you on the importance of hashtags, I don't know what will.
Key Takeaway: If you want students to be involved with your school on social media but you don't want to necessarily share every post you're tagged in, follow this approach by defining your own school hashtag and sharing it in your profile descriptions to encourage your followers on that page to share their own photos.
Hawaii Preparatory Academy | Waimea, HI
After talking with our Content Marketing guru Mia about how HPA actually recruited two students solely from Instagram, there was no question that HPA had to be on this list. Their profile has over 1,500 followers and earns an average of 300 likes per post — which is impressive for the small Hawaii-based boarding school. At first glance, their Instagram profile follows numerous best practices, including the use of high quality photos, images that reflect your school's brand, school colors, and more. Just look at how bright and inviting it is:
HPA's account is certainly one to follow if you're looking for inspiration on what to post and when. Posting almost every single day, HPA's Instagram is packed with beautiful content that makes the school's ideal location, unique programs, and one-of-a-kind culture coveted.
Using Instagram's new(er) slideshow feature, they shared a seven photo slideshow in honor of Star Ways Day last week (May 4th).
And if you dig a bit deeper, you'll notice quite a few photos from the school's spirit week. We like this one in particular:
Want to showcase your campus? HPA doesn't go for the tried-and-true campus shows. Rather, they share these horses just casually gracing the campus with their presence:
And lastly, HPA also does an amazing job re-sharing older photos on Instagram for #TBT likes these:
Key Takeaway: High quality, consistent content earns a lot of likes and engagement.
Choate Rosemary Hall | Wallingford, CT
Although I grew up in the same town as Choate, I promise this is an unbiased opinion: their Instagram and overall social media presence is just on fire. The profile itself has over 2,500 followers and their posts on average get at least 200 likes! Our favorite aspect about Choate's overall social media presence is how well they share their brand across all the platforms. For example, they're known for using hashtags like #gochoate and #choatemoment in many of their posts and encouraging followers to use them too.
Why does this work? Because hashtags were meant to be conversation starters. They're made for you to be part of something much bigger than a single post on your social media page.
They also proved how Instagram isn't just for photos anymore. Not only can you share live video on Instagram, but why not upload a fun slideshow like Choate did here for their prospective families visiting this spring:
Key Takeaway: You know your school brand better than anyone else. Whether its by using school colors, different kinds of typography, or a fun hashtag, bring your brand to your social media and you'll see how it'll work wonders for your school just like Choate.
So many different schools, but all have been doing wonders on Instagram.
- Share engaging content that is worth that "double tap"
- Encourage their followers to be part of a conversation
- Post content that is inspirational, informative, and shows off their own personality
- Highlight students/faculty/staff, events, accomplishments, and more
How does your school Instagram profile compare? Let us know at email@example.com and your school can be featured in an upcoming blog!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephanie brings a fresh new marketing perspective with her background in social media, communications, and radio broadcasting. She is a co-producer for the FinalsiteFM podcast network and is passionate about helping schools stay ahead of their marketing goals by tracking new trends and developments. She is also a practicing singer/songwriter and loves to expand her creativity in DIY projects.
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