Instagram for Education: The Next Big Recruiting Tool?
Instagram has come a long way since the early days of square-only photos and, in hindsight, mediocre filters. But the social media app’s recent growth extends well beyond its newfound ability to offer photos of various ratios and more refined image editing capabilities. Instagram has become such a major player in the social media marketplace (lots of users, large pool of advertisers, extreme mobile friendliness) that schools of all kinds – from K trough 12 to institutions of higher learning – have started utilizing the photo-sharing platform as a major marketing tool. Using Instagram for education, specifically for educational recruiting, is one of the latest trends to come out of our increasing dependence on the Internet for just about everything, but especially for socialization, information gathering and research.
Currently, schools are seeing the largest social media follower growth of any industry, and that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. As the younger generations, who grew up on the Internet and social media, begin to establish their online presence as young adults, they are looking to connect virtually with everything that’s relevant or important to them – school included.
As a result, the opportunity for Instagram in education is huge. The rates of engagement on Instagram are staggering, with the average institution of higher education boasting just under 10,000 followers and averaging between 800 and 1,000 engagements per post. With these kinds of numbers, higher education Instagram accounts are seeing all kinds of productive marketing benefits, including:
- Increased positive public relations.
- Increase in admissions applications.
- More efficiently targeted and promoted fundraising efforts.
- Improved alumni relations.
- Enhanced ability to measure results.
Especially for institutions that have other social media platforms already in place, creating an Instagram presence can be a relatively seamless process. You can take your existing digital marketing campaign and apply the same cycle to Instagram.
- Define your target audience on Instagram. Who are you trying to reach? Your students? Their families? Faculty and staff? Prospective applicants?
- Research your competition. Understanding what everyone else is doing, and going even above and beyond their efforts, is key to making your content stand out among the rest.
- Set your goals. What sort of return are you looking to get out of your Instagram investment?
- Build a core team of posters. Bring Instagram in the classroom and task your digital marketing students with assisting your school’s marketing department with cultivating content.
- Reinforce your messaging, and create original, engaging imagery and videos.
The most effective and engaging content found on Instagram for education purposes is that which truly speaks to your audience. It’s not enough to post a few sentences a week and expect to see results. On the flip side, too much “stuff” can net equally unfavorable results. Instead, take a step back and focus on the five C’s: clarity, color, composition, content and consistency. Make your message clear. Keep your colors true to your brand. Compose your imagery in a way that is pleasing to the eye. Establish a balance in the type of content you share. And above all else, aim for consistency throughout everything you do.
In other words, Instagram for education should infuse gripping imagery with compelling messaging to tell to a cohesive story that’s not only relevant to your audience, but also true to your brand. And whenever possible, use video!
For help creating an Instagram presence for your school, contact Paradigm Marketing & Design today to schedule a consultation.