The image boom: universities on Instagram
The image boom of social media is here to stay.
Instagram is now more popular than Twitter, the Chinese photo app Camera 360 has surpassed 250 million users, and photos continue to get the largest engagement rate on Facebook (more so than videos).
It is therefore no surprise that Higher Education is starting to embrace Instagram. 41% of Instagram users are aged between 16 and 24, which coincides with the undergraduate target market, meaning the platform could be utilised for student recruitment.
Here are some quick tips for making the most of your University Instagram account.
1. Buildings are good…
Photographing campus landmarks is a great way to engage international students. They cannot visit your campus for an Open Day (not without a long flight) so snap pictures of where they will be studying.
Today is the start of LGBT History Month and we’re celebrating with a screening of Pride at The Broadway cinema in Nottingham this afternoon. There are more screenings and events happening throughout February – keep an eye on our Twitter for details @UniofNottingham #uon #uniofnotts #uniofnottingham #universityofnottingham #nottsuni #nottingham #LGBTQ #LGBT #film #events #pride #diversity #rainbow #trentbuilding
2. …people are better
Most applicants do not want to see photos of buildings. Successful social media content is about empathy because users want to see themselves in the content. However, the most successful content is also about aspiration because users want to see an idealised version of themselves in the content.
Therefore, pictures of students on campus, living the life that our applicants hope to be living in the near future, are social media gold.
A photo posted by University of Birmingham (@unibirmingham) on
3. Instagram takeover
Improve the authenticity of your photos by arranging for a student to takeover your Instagram account for a few days. This will give applicants a better insight into student life and allow them peer-to-peer engagement with a current student.
Ithaca College organise weekly student takeovers. The student who posted the example below was a member of the Guiding Eyes for the Blind society and took lots of photos of his guide dog.
Got a beautiful campus? Organise an Instameet. You simply arrange a time to meet on campus and get the word out there to students, the local community and any other interested Instagram users.
Provide your group with a campus tour, show them points of interest and let them take lots of photos (all labelled with your hashtag of choice, of course). Images of your campus will surge across Instagram and you will see a spike in engagement with your account.
Final reminder for our joint #instameet with @igerscoventry on campus tomorrow – meet at the Koan near Warwick Arts Centre at 11am and join us for a Spring photo walk. Can’t make it? Then make sure you keep an eye on the hashtag #igerscov_warwickuni_25apr to see the photos from the meet. #igerscoventry #communityfirst
A photo posted by University Of Warwick (@universityofwarwick) on
5. Measure your engagement
Social media ROI is hard to measure but using a free site such as Iconosquare can help track user engagement with your Instagram account. Put together a simple report and justify your activity with senior officers. 158 likes for a sheep? Not bad.
Travelling to Bristol from London Paddington train station? Have a look for this colourful Shaun the Sheep which has been sponsored by the University of Bristol to support Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal, a charity which supports sick children and their families throughout the UK. ‘Lambmark Larry’ has lots of London and Bristol sights painted on him, see how many you can spot! #shauninthecity