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Instagram Reel Ideas for Schools Who HATE to be on Camera
Connor Gleason

If you really want to engage your audience, you’re going to need to put a face to your content. Why? As humans, we’re hardwired to recognize and connect with faces. It’s a survival mechanism — even before their eyes can focus, newborns are drawn to faces, each day connecting more and more with loved ones.

And it makes sense — we’re intrigued by people and stories, and that's why video is so important. Video can share those stories so well, so quickly, and video can be very influential. In fact, 98 percent of marketers believe video converts as well, or better than other types of content. The bottom line is that video is one of the most engaging forms of media out there. On Instagram alone, video posts are two times more likely to generate engagement than image posts.

Reels get 22 percent more interaction on Instagram than standard video content and it’s even predicted that 2.5 billion people will engage with Reels this year.

So, video and faces are important and that leaves content creators on a never-ending hunt for faces. But what happens when there isn’t a face of a student, teacher, parent, or coach to feature? And where does that leave those who HATE to be on camera?

We’re often our own worst critics — it’s tough to be on camera! We’re overly critical and cripplingly shy, and let’s “face” it, the students and faculty are the real stars, not us.

But just because you’re not comfortable being on camera doesn’t mean you can shy away from the lens forever. The importance of video, and user-generated (UGC) video, continues to dominate social media. In fact, 60 percent of consumers think UGC video is more authentic and trustworthy than brand content.

So here are some faceless social media post ideas that can still improve engagement for your school, even if you’re feeling like today is just not a camera day...

1. Share a before/after or then/now

Mockup of a then/now Reel on an iphone

Buildings and rooms across the Brooks School’s campus were compiled into a then/now sequence for a #flashbackfriday post. It's a nice virtual walk down memory lane to support their upcoming alumni weekend. “The campus has so many beautiful updates,” the post said. “We can't wait to share them with you while catching up!”

2. Showcase a classroom or learning space

Mockup of a campus tour on an iphone

St. Anne's-Belfield School showcased one of its most iconic buildings on campus, then prompted viewers to share a favorite memory from that building — a great idea for engagement!

3. Record a tutorial for viewers

Mockup of a website tour on an iphone

To help communicate and promote its new website, Francis Howell School District recorded a Reel taking viewers through some of the highlights of the new site. It’s a great way to show the exciting updates, changes, and additions to the site’s content and navigation — without having to be a tour guide!

4. Film a timelapse of an event

Mockup of a graduation timelapse on an iphone

Certain content just looks cool in a timelapse. The Lake Washington School District recorded one for its graduation ceremonies — nowadays that's easy to do with a sturdy tripod and a smartphone.

Mockup of a pottery project on an iphone

Lakeside School featured a POV timelapse of a student working on a clay project. Starting from a single block, it’s fun to watch its progression into a beautiful piece. It’s a creative way to keep users hooked and boost engagement, too. Who wouldn’t hang around to see the completed piece?

5. Go where others can’t

Mockup of a dining hall on an iphone

Show a behind-the-scenes look at a theater production, game practice, or a favorite lunch being made. Usually off-limits to students, the Awty International School took a walkthrough of its new kitchen facilities inside its new campus center. It’s a great experience to share and build some excitement for the updates.

Mockup of a schoolbus on an iphone

Orange Unified School District recorded the demolition of its older diesel school buses as part of a grant agreement that helped provide seven new electric-powered buses. It’s a great visual and exposure to an event that probably wouldn't be offered as a field trip any time soon…

6. Flip through your viewbook or other marketing material

Mockup of a mailer on an iphone

William Penn Charter school stitched together photos of a mailer to create a video pumping viewers up for its big game. “Are you ready?!” the Reel asks before offering viewers a tour of the new athletics & wellness center.

Mockup of a magazine Reel on an iphone

Kent Place School did this with its alumni magazine — not only do we get a peek at the most recent issue, but the Reel doubles as an explainer of the tear-away section in the magazine that recipients can use to create their own content. Impressive!

7. Share a text-only video or a motivational quote

Mockup of a quote on an iphone

Cor Jesu is able to elevate its content by adding just a little motion to its text-based Reel. With a subtle movement, it brings a little life to what would be static text. Try adding animation to your posts' text and see a bump in engagement.

8. Hands (or feet) only point of view

Mockup of feet Reel on an iphone

Baylor School kicked back and relaxed with a favorite book for this Reel — a quiet moment overlooking its beautiful campus. They racked up nearly 16,000 plays and hundreds of likes!

Mockup of a POV Reel on an iphone

McCallie created an AMAZING point-of-view Reel featuring all the different aspects of being a student. After watching that, who wouldn’t want to spend a day in a Baylor student's shoes?

9. Film a favorite spot on campus

Mockup of a campus tour on an iphone

Jakarta International School turns photos into a video for a quick virtual tour of its amazing campus facilities. This one little Reel has over 17,000 views and as one comment reads, “Love to see everything attached to me, even until today ... missed my second home 😍”

10. Re-use audio & create your own content

Mockup of sweater weather Reel on an iphone

St. Paul’s School in Brooklandville, Maryland used “sweater weather” audio to feature its school store's merchandise. It’s creative, it promotes your school’s swag, and with over 3,600 views and 145 likes, we’re not the only ones who think it’s pretty funny.

11. Feature a favorite recipe or book

Mockup of an MKA Sandwich on an iphone

Who's hungry? Montclair Kimberley Academy took its lunch menu to the next level and in celebration of National Sandwich Day, featured the mouth-watering “'MKA Special.” Delicious!

Mockup of a book Reel on an iphone

Portsmouth Abbey School highlights its library system and the titles they have in stock, but AREN’T available at the local library. It’s more engaging and creative than just posting a picture of the book’s cover and does a great job showcasing the library's resources.

Key takeaway

When producing content for your school, you should always try to feature someone to increase your chances of connecting with your viewers. But if you’re truly left without options, or maybe just having a bad hair day, creativity can often be a substitute. The dozen-or-so Reels above have collected more than 70,000 plays (and counting) — all without featuring a face!

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Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.

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