Instagram is an online social media photo and video-sharing platform, owned by Facebook. You can post photos, videos, upload stories, send direct messages, use IGTV and plenty of other features and tools. You can also use Instagram as part of a marketing campaign for your school.
Instagram’s meteoric rise continues and is now ranked the second most popular social media app. Back in June 2018, Instagram announced that it has reached 1 billion monthly active users, after passing 800 million in September 2017 with 500 million daily users.
How to start
Instagram allows you to easily use pictures and videos to tell and share your school story. It’s more popular among students than any other social media channel these days. This makes Instagram a great way to build your school community around something everyone likes to do, regardless of age. And that’s to look at pictures.
Between Facebook, which is still growing among the older population, and Instagram, which automatically feeds to Facebook, a school can cover a whole lot of social media users. Using Instagram as part of a marketing campaign for your school can prove to be very beneficial!
So how can your school start using Instagram to connect with your target audience?
1. Build your team
Assemble a team of staffers, who understand your marketing goals, are willing to participate and contribute, and are keen to share the responsibility of helping manage the whole process. Getting a team together will also help generate interest and accelerate the use of Instagram as an ongoing way to share school happenings. And the great thing is, more than one person can use your Instagram account, making it easier to manage.
You can appoint various team members to be responsible for certain content areas and submit photos accordingly. You may need a photographer, copywriter, photo designer/editor, etc. While the app has filters available to style your photos, don’t go over the board and don’t worry if the photos aren’t picture perfect either. People like authenticity and authentic scenes.
2. Create an Instagram plan
Your very first task as a team is to create a content plan for Instagram and to set your goals. You need to determine if your school will have more than one official Instagram account. For starters, it’s recommended to have just one. If your team has a high degree of participation and enthusiasm for the channel, you can create and manage multiple Instagram accounts. For example, you can have one for each school, or certain departments and designate those as official school accounts.
3. Share content regularly and engage with your audience
One of the most important things when using Instagram is to be consistent with posting. You need to attract your followers and make sure they stay with you as you tell your story. Tease and push users to a deeper dive into finding out what’s happening or what’s new with your school.
Be unique with your content, use hashtags and engage with users. Instagram Story and IGTV offer many options that can help you in engaging with your followers. On Story, you can create voting polls or use the “ask me a question” tool to answer questions. Make sure to respond to comments on your posts and don’t forget to have fun with your content!
4. Build your Instagram following
Having a larger Instagram following can mean more enrollments for your school, more views on your blog and a stronger online community. There are many ways you can build and grow your Instagram following, all of which include content and consistency.
Besides organic reach, you can always use Instagram ads and/or influencer marketing to reach your target audience. With engagement rates higher than on any other platform, now is the time to be present on Instagram. So make sure to include Instagram in a marketing campaign for your school!
5. Schedule your posts
Now it’s easier than ever to plan and schedule your Instagram posts. For the busy school communications professional whose day doesn’t end when the last school bell rings, Creator Studio helps with scheduling Instagram posts.
With Creator Studio you can go a long way to ‘extend’ your Instagram reach at times when you know real-time posts won’t be occurring. You can share happenings after school hours, over the weekend, and anytime you want to connect with your school community.
The biggest advantage Instagram gives you as a school is its user base. Instagram users are young, international and very brand-friendly. Engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook. This is great news for educational institutions looking to increase their online visibility. Use influencers in an Instagram marketing campaign for your school.
It’s also important to note that as Instagram’s popularity has grown, its audience has become more diverse. While the vast majority of users are still under 35, around 28% fall into older age brackets, with good numbers across all age groups:
This is good news for schools offering Master’s programmes and Doctorates, targeting older students through Instagram ads. The fairly even male/female split on Instagram ensures that you will find an audience for whatever specific programmes you are looking to promote in a marketing campaign for your school.
Instagram also enjoys visibility in many different markets and regions across the world, including top education hubs like Sweden, Australia, the US, and the UK, and key international student markets like Turkey, Singapore and Malaysia.
We mentioned that Instagram users are very brand-friendly. The platform’s own research claims that ad recall among its users is an average of 2.8 times higher than other social media platforms, while Statista found that almost 80% of respondents consider Instagram to be the primary social platform for brand collaboration.
On the downside, Instagram’s growth has been something of a double-edged sword for schools. While early adopters found great success on the platform, its increasing popularity has created a lot more competition for user attention and engagement. If you’re using ads, while they might be shown to the audience you target, the sheer volume of other posts competing for their attention can make it easy for your ad to get lost in the pile.
Another negative is the cost of Instagram ads for higher education. Schools will notice the average bid required to place an ad on Instagram is generally higher than on Facebook, and institutions with restrictive budgets may need to limit their placement on the platform to ensure their campaigns are cost-effective.
Thanks for taking the time to read our blog post on WhatsApp Business for universities. At faethe.marketing we have been helping schools to increase student enrollments since 2010. If you are looking to recruit the best matching students for your programmes with minimal cost and effort, feel free to reach out to us.