Instagram handles of colleges are filled with inspirational quotes or pictures with event details, venue and timings. Do you think this is what Instagram was made and is that why Instagram is so popular? Government is contemplating regulating celebrities/influencers from promoting products on Instagram because it can be deceiving and the power unofficial advertisement has
in influencing peoples thought process is far greater than any inspirational or top of the line TV/Print advertisement.
Instagram for College 101: The How and Why!
Post Original Photos: No one likes to see an account that is stacked with stock photos or reposted viral photos. Event information and random, generic inspirational quotes are equally terrible for your timeline.
Audience: Think hard about who do you want to attract with your Instagram account. Current Students/ perspective students/parents/faculty and accordingly post relevant pictures. A good rule of thumb is to tailor your account for existing students, keeping perspective students as your secondary audience.
Add a Location: This adds visibility and your posts shows up to a larger audience.
Add a Long Caption: Instagram allows you to type 3000 characters in the caption section. Use this space to describe the picture, tell the story. This is by far the most overlooked feature of Instagram. Grab attention in the first three lines as that is what the reader sees first and then if they click on the description the entire paragraph opens up. This is the best way to get people to comment and interact.
Add Hashtags: anywhere from 5 to 30 hashtags is good. Adding hashtags in comments is usually better so your caption looks clean. Remember hashtags are not for people to see but for people to find you!
How many posts: I would recommend 1-2 posts a day and 1 live video everyday on the same time.
Follow: Start following all alumni’s and students so they follow you back. If the college’s handle is good this exercise needs to be done only for a few days before all college students become aware of the handle.
Unique Hashtags: Get students to trend hashtags by involving them.
Stories: Leverage the power of Instagram stories, which appear on the top of your followers feed and lasts for about 24hours. Anywhere between 1-5 stories will keep you on the top of the feed of all your followers.
Some Instagram campaigns colleges could run:
Around the Campus: Encourage students to capture spaces or scenes in and around the college and repost the best picture of the day from the official handle acknowledging the student responsible for the click. Have a weekly prize for the same use a unique hashtag for the contest.
Celebrity Student Gig: Get a famous Celeb/ Semi famous or an alumnus to spend a day or two on campus and actively post vlog or record their time. Depending on the celebrity and the script, a campaign like this can get you enough eye balls and has tremendous potential for going viral. Think Almost Famous.
A great Campaign by Starbucks and what Colleges can learn from it!
It’s that time of year again! Beyond the annual launch of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, Starbucks’ biggest cultural phenomenon is the launch on its iconic Christmas #RedCups.
Starbucks first ran a “preview” campaign, teasing Starbucks fans with the mystery of this year’s design. Starbucks allowed fans to preview the cups by “unwrapping” them on their Instagram Story. This is great because it informs fans that Starbucks’ Story may be a place for promotions in the future, which is sure to increase views.
I love this strategy because it’s a wonderful way to generate excitement for the upcoming launch of the red cups. The next time you’re launching a new product, try running a countdown promotion to build hype. This might come in the form of a giveaway or even discount codes for early adopters
After the cups have launched, Starbucks ran a series of contests to highlight the best photos featuring red cups from its fans. Each week features a different theme, like “home for the holidays” and “adventure”; three people won a $500 Starbucks gift card each week. Throughout the contest, Starbucks highlights some of their favorite entries on their Instagram Story.
This is an even better way to promote your products, for a multitude of reasons. First, it’s a sure-fire way to generate high-quality user-generated content for your campaigns or for future marketing efforts. Next, Starbucks’ idea to use their Story to showcase good entries is a nice way to reward entrants, even if they didn’t win. Finally, I love that Starbucks chose to give away gift cards – that’s always the best prize you can give as it ensures entrants are people who are interested in your brand and products.
Now how is this relevant for colleges? Clearly the college isn’t painting itself red for an Instagram post for Christmas, however, the take away here is that one can generate interest out of nothing, get people involved and reap the benefit. A sneak peak of the exam paper :0 or a sneak peak at a mid night menu in the mess for the exam week could be a good idea! All and all I think colleges need to up their game in terms of using the available platforms correctly and not just mindlessly posting and expecting any results from it.
Need help in getting your Instagram page up and being talked about? Get in touch with us. At IOS Ignite we have worked with several schools and colleges globally to come up winning campaigns and engaging social media accounts. Click Here to connect