Instagram is a useful and aesthetic way for your university to reach out to its community of prospects, enrolled students and alumni. The image-sharing platform has over 400 million users and proves surprisingly versatile for higher ed marketing. Here’s an outline of eight ways your university can make the most impact with its Instagram account – plus some fine examples along the way.
Promote your campus
Instagram is the perfect medium to post snaps of your university looking its finest. You can capture how the campus looks through the changing seasons, highlight iconic buildings or show off viewpoints you're particularly fond of. You can also provide prospects with an accurate picture of what studying at your university is like. If your campus has state-of-the-art seminar rooms, show them off; or if outdoor study is a USP of a particular class, share a photo of classmates learning outside.
Promote your city
Making your campus look good is one thing, but prospects will also want to know what the surrounding area is like. This may be especially crucial for universities aiming to attract international students who may not know much about the area. Show prospects the region's most photogenic places and try to provide some local flavour: for example, University of St Gallen MBA posts restaurant tips.
A photo posted by Grenoble Ecole de Management (@grenoble_em) on Feb 3, 2014 at 11:58am PST
Share success stories
Sharing the success stories of famous and notable alumni can lend your university credibility, impress prospects and provide a role model for enrolled students. See Yale's photo of Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o for example.
Videos could include time-lapse footage of one of your events, a quick tour of campus or clips introducing prospects to members of faculty. Check out EADA's video below, which features on-camera testimonials from enrolled students praising their favourite parts of studying at the business school.
A video posted by EADA Business School Barcelona (@eada_world) on Feb 2, 2016 at 11:12am PST
Instagram can also be a handy way to run competitions. UCL encourages followers to post photos of the campus and republishes its favourites while University of Sussex challenges students to describe the uni in one word. Be sure to ask entrants to use a particular hashtag so you can keep track of submissions.
Promote your events
Spread the word about academic events, open days, social meetings, workshops, fundraisers, talks and all manner of events by posting graphics displaying all the key details. This will allow interested followers the chance to attend and also lends a creditability to your university's Instagram profile.
Use Instagram to wish students a happy Pancake Day, encourage them to make the most of their summer break or share goodwill at Christmas. Welcome new and returning students when a new academic year starts and send out congratulations on graduation day.
A photo posted by Stockholm School of Economics (@handels_sse) on Dec 21, 2015 at 6:21am PST
Showcase your students' work
This approach lends itself to visual art – see Plymouth College of Art's page – but can also work for other subjects when combined with a detailed caption: have a look at this example by Imperial College London.
There you have it – eight tips to inspire your uni to social media success. Be sure to use hashtags when posting to encourage discussion and monitor what's being posted about your uni by searching for relevant keywords.
Have you used Instagram to promote your university? Let us know by leaving a comment or tweet us @fullfabric.
This blog is part of a series exploring best practices for higher education marketing. Read more guides, case studies and tips by following the link below.
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