Are you looking for a way to attract more budding college students to your college? Create an Instagram account. Research shows that more than 70% of people between 18 and 29 years of age use Instagram. Instagram can be an excellent way to boost student engagement and enrollment. Let’s explore the top Instagram marketing tips for colleges that want to engage students.
Instagram Marketing Tips: Promote Campus
One of the best ways to draw students to your campus is by showcasing your campus on Instagram.
For instance, you can post pictures of your school during the various seasons. In addition, highlight your school’s key buildings.
Also, let’s say your university has industry-leading classrooms. Use your Instagram account to show people what these spaces look like. You can also show students performing internships off campus.
Your goal on Instagram is to show prospective students what they can expect if they choose to learn at your institution.
Promote the School’s City
The top social media marketing strategies for colleges using Instagram also include promoting their cities.
Although you want to make your college campus look great online, you should also show prospective students what their surroundings will look like if they study at your school. This is especially important for schools aiming to draw international students, as they likely aren’t familiar with your locale.
Show prospective students your city’s most photogenic sites. In addition, provide a taste of local flavor by posting photos of the area’s most popular restaurants frequented by students.
Keep the Season in Mind
Are your students on summer break? Use your Instagram account to wish them a happy July 4. On November 18, wish them a happy Apple Cider Day.
You can also use the holiday season to encourage your students to share goodwill.
Instagram is the perfect place to welcome returning and new students when the fall semester begins, too. Then, use your account to say congratulations to all of the graduates in May.
Boost Student Engagement Via Stories
Sharing your students’ success stories is another way to boost student engagement at your campus.
For instance, let students share testimonials about how great university life has been for them. In addition, let notable and famous alumni share their favorite moments at your school in videos.
Student and alumni stories can help foster a feeling of community in the student body. It can also impress potential students and personalize your school to them.
Success stories can furthermore make your school appear more credible. In addition, it can provide enrolled students with the perfect role models.
Is diversity, equity, and inclusion a unique selling point at your school?
Let Black students discuss their heritage and family histories during Black History Month. The same can be done for Latino/Latina and Asian students. You can also do this for Indian and Native American students.
Note that you don’t have to limit these success stories to students and alumni, either. Let your staff members and faculty get in on the fun as well!
Promote Students’ and Faculty’s Work
Another way to increase student engagement on your campus is to promote your students’ and faculty’s work.
For instance, showcase art students’ visual works on your Instagram page. You can also post photos of successful student-athletes.
Has a student benefited their community by completing a service project? Talk about this in a story and photo as well.
Does a student dress as the school mascot at football games? Shed light on them in an Instagram post as well.
In addition, if faculty members have completed breakthrough research projects, let them talk about this in a video, and post it on your Instagram page.
Call Attention to Events
If you have special events coming up, use your Instagram account to tell prospective and current students about them. These events may include the following:
- Social meetings
- Open days
- Academic events
Here are a couple of ways to drum up interest in an event and keep people coming back to your college’s Instagram profile.
Post Event Countdowns
Use Instagram Stories’ countdown sticker to set an event end-time and date. You can even customize the clock’s color and name.
Current and prospective students on Instagram can then subscribe to get notifications when your event is over. Students can even add your countdowns to their Instagram Stories.
A countdown sticker is an excellent tool for boosting ticket sales and reminding students about early-bird event pricing or contest deadlines.
Post Event Teasers
In addition to creating an event countdown, consider adding important details about your event in the days preceding it.
Teasers do two things. They give your audience useful information about the event, and they can build up hype around it.
You can also use a teaser to highlight a guest of honor at your upcoming event. For instance, let’s say you are hosting a major conference. Use your Instagram account to introduce the guest speaker ahead of the event.
You can also share an interview with an upcoming event’s star. This may get more people excited about attending the event.
People love sneak peeks, so use this to your advantage on Instagram as well.
For instance, share some photos or video footage from behind the scenes. This college Instagram content may cover your speakers, programs, venues, and swag.
Goofy photos of those hosting the event or videos of their backstage shenanigans may make the event and those involved in it more personal and engaging to viewers.
After the Event
Once the event is over, share photos from the event to highlight how much fun event-goers had. This may motivate students who missed the event to pencil in the next one.
You may want to also post a time-lapse video of the event. This is a great way to show how the event unfolded in less than one minute.
Host Instagram Competitions and Giveaways
Yet another way to boost student engagement at your university is to host an Instagram competition or giveaway.
For instance, encourage Instagram users to post pictures of your campus. Then, republish your favorites.
You can also challenge Instagram users to describe your college in a single word. Ask the entrants to include a certain hashtag as well (more on branded hashtags next). This will help you track submissions.
Then, give a free item to the winner.
Online users love competitions and giveaways, so creating one can easily boost your college brand awareness. A giveaway can especially help with converting Instagram followers into future event attendees.
Perhaps you’re hosting an event that has sponsors. Ask one of them for a giveaway item, and give them free publicity for it.
Develop a College Hashtag
Creating a university hashtag is one of the most effective ways to increase student engagement.
Choose a hashtag that isn’t being used elsewhere. In addition, make your hashtag specific to you. Then, encourage current and prospective students to use this hashtag when they post about your school on their Instagram accounts.
For example, you can encourage students to share pictures of the following and use hashtags in their posts:
- Campus activities
- Sporting events
- Acceptance letters
When students use your institution’s hashtag, you can easily find their content by searching for this hashtag. Other users can also find this content, which means you can easily broaden your reach.
Next, incorporate any user-generated photos and videos you find into your school’s Instagram account.
For instance, you can repost a student’s post on your Instagram page or as an Instagram Story.
Showcasing user-generated Instagram content can help with college recruitment because this type of content displays real students’ authentic experiences. It will also increase people’s engagement on your Instagram account.
Make sure your hashtag is as detailed as possible, featuring your school’s name. If your branded hashtag isn’t unique enough, it will more easily get lost in the sea of existing hashtags.
In addition, the shorter your hashtag, the better. This will help you fit in shortened URLs to your event pages within Instagram’s character limit.
Consider adding this hashtag to your other marketing materials, like printed materials, as well.
You can also go live on Instagram to recruit prospective students.
Campus visits and college fairs are traditional recruiting methods. Today, you can host a live talk about campus life and your programs using Instagram. This will give potential students a chance to engage with your school’s admission team from the comfort of their homes.
You can go live on several occasions, including the following:
- Campus tour
- Virtual fundraising event
- Q&A about your school’s admission process
You can also go live to share special announcements for your student body.
Do a Student Social Media Takeover
Doing a student Instagram takeover is another excellent way to make your school stand out online. This is where you let certain students take over your account for a day, for example, to share content about their school.
Student takeovers can create more authentic experiences, removing your institutional filter. This means potential students can hear from current ones directly.
A student takeover can also help you share stories that your marketing team cannot produce. These stories may include performance opportunities, research projects outside of your country, and even student life abroad.
Letting students share these stories is an exciting and compelling way to build your college’s brand.
A live takeover can make the takeover experience even more authentic. Let your Instagram team remain on call. However, they won’t have to participate in the event.
You may want to use a pre-recorded takeover if you prefer to have full control over your students’ posted content.
With this option, your students won’t need to access your social media account and password. This is another major benefit of the pre-corded takeover.
Introduce Key University Community Members
Instagram is also a great place to introduce your school’s important community members.
Let’s say your school has a small student population. Use Instagram to show how tight-knit your community is.
You can also use your Instagram account to introduce your school’s newest resident assistants or new faculty. New Instagram interns and peer leaders can also be showcased on your Instagram account.
Conduct an Online Tour
Give prospective students an online tour through your Instagram account as well.
If possible, let students conduct the tour to provide a more genuine experience. This will help establish trust and authenticity with your viewers and make the college tour more relatable.
Create a Custom Augmented Reality Filter
Finally, use augmented reality, or AR, effects to get Instagram users to engage with you ahead of an event.
You can use a tool like Spark AR Studio to design a branded AR filter. Users can then use this filter in their Instagram posts. This can lead to stellar user-generated Instagram content.
Attract Students Using Instagram Today
The top Instagram marketing tips for boosting college student engagement include promoting your campus and city. They also include showcasing your students’ work and even allowing students to take over your Instagram account for a day. You can even use an AR filter to let prospective students interact with a university event.
At Local Finder, we take pride in helping colleges and trade schools get back on track with their marketing. We’ll create a solution for you that will provide rapid results and long-term growth.
Contact us to learn more about our services, and let’s upgrade your marketing today!
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