Handy Instagram tips for schoolsSeptember 1, 2019
A note from Digistorm: This post was originally published in 2017. We've updated it to include more valuable, relevant content.
With over 1 billion monthly active users, there’s no doubt that Instagram is still one of the world’s most popular social media platforms. In this post, we’ll get you up to speed with everything you need to market your school on Instagram successfully.
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a mobile app-based social network that’s been around since 2010. The platform quickly gained popularity among users as it enables them to share engaging images and video content with others. The platform allows users to ‘follow’ one another to see their content, which can be ‘liked’ or commented on.
Should my school use Instagram?
There are two key ways that Instragam can be useful for your school. Firstly, you can showcase your brand, facilities and activities to prospective families. The content you post can form a ‘digital brochure’ to attract potential parents. Users can experience the variety and diversity of your school’s offering with a single scroll of their finger; sports teams, drama clubs, cultural days, classroom facilities, and your beautiful campus. What are the most attractive features of your school that you could post on Instagram?
A lot of prospective customers use Instagram as a way to get a quick sense of the overall ‘vibe’ of a brand or business. If they like what they see, then they’ll click over to a website for more information. This behaviour can also work in reverse; potential parents browsing your website can view your Instagram profile to get a more informal sense of your school’s atmosphere.
The other key benefit of Instagram for your school is that it helps to build engagement and enthusiasm within your existing school community. The more parents, students, and staff are ‘leaning in’ with your school online, the more visibility your profile will gain.
It’s important to point out that, like any social media platform, Instagram requires quality content posted regularly to be successful. If you’re going to kick off an Instagram account for your school, make sure that you’re able to allocate the time and resources needed to create and post content.
How do I get the most out of Instagram?
We understand that school marketing is unique and differs from other businesses, so your strategy needs to be a little different. There are many learnings to be taken from successful Instagram accounts, including some simple tips that can help you improve your Instagram marketing.
1. Create a school hashtag
Decide on a school hashtag and use it on all of your Instagram posts. This will encourage your community to do the same, and soon you’ll build a library of content for anyone tapping on your school’s hashtag to explore. This can help you attract more followers as your school’s visibility increases, and it also means you’ll be able to see user-generated content that you can engage with and repost on your profile.
2. Utilise trending hashtags
Hashtags are essentially a way to assign a category or topic to your post, which links it to all the content that other users have posted under the same topic. For example, if your school shared a photo of the activities taking place on Harmony Day with the hashtag #HarmonyDay, tapping on this hashtag would allow users to view all public content on Instagram tagged with that topic. Other users who are scrolling through the #HarmonyDay hashtag may come across your photo, which will lead them to your school’s profile.
Pro tip: The more specific the hashtag, the more likely your post will gain visibility and traction. For example, the #HarmonyDay hashtag has over 40,000 posts attached to it, whereas #HarmonyDay2021 has just over 1000. There’s no limit to the number of hashtags you can include with your post, so if you’re trying to decide, it doesn’t hurt to use a few — just don’t go overboard!
3. Think outside the box
Instagram is all about creativity. Are you thinking about sharing a snap from school camp? Instead of just a photo of a group of students smiling at the camera, try creating a time-lapse video of a group activity or a shot of an incredible sunrise at the camp’s location.
Another way to get creative on Instagram is using their latest feature, Reels. Introduced in response to competing social media juggernaut, TikTok, Reels are 15-60 second video clips that offer various editing and display options. You can cut several clips together, set them to music, or add text bubbles over the video. Reels are a great way to boost your profile’s visibility because Instagram is trying to compete with TikTok in this space, so their algorithm is more likely to promote profiles that include Reels over those that don’t.
4. Update your profile
It’s easy to become wrapped up in the excitement of content creation, but don’t forget to keep your profile information up-to-date too. Make sure your school name, school website URL, description and contact details are accurate.
5. Post regularly
Make sure you’re posting regularly to keep your followers engaged. There aren’t any hard rules around how often you should post, but you want to make sure you’re not bombarding your followers, nor do you want to post so infrequently that they forget your account even exists. Aim to post new content around two to three times per week and if you have more content to share, mix things up by uploading multiple images within the same post or by trying your hand at Instagram Stories.
If you’re looking to step your designs up a notch, check out Canva's Instagram Templates. Here you can choose from a wide range of template designs to create an even more engaging and customised look for your posts!
6. Use Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories allows you to post real-time content in the form of images or videos (of up to 10 seconds in length) that will feature on your profile for 24 hours. It works well for time-sensitive posts that you don’t necessarily want on your profile permanently. Stories are a great way to show authentic, behind the scenes footage of your school, too; try taking your followers on a virtual tour, or put them on the sidelines at your next big sporting event.
If you’re stuck for ideas, check out our post: Instagram How schools can use Instagram stories to learn more about how you can create authentic content through the stories feature.
With such a broad range of features and potential benefits to your school's marketing strategy, we recommend giving Instagram a try. If you’re looking to ramp up your school’s social media marketing activity, be sure to get your hands on our free social media toolkit for schools. In here, you’ll find everything you need to know, from creating a social media strategy to nailing content creation.