Instagram Marketing Tips for Higher Ed

Young adults standing together to take a selfie.

When you started promoting your higher ed brand on Instagram, did you ever expect Instagram to matter this much? Or to be this much fun?

With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is the 6th largest social network worldwide. The pandemic might have driven that growth, but it is projected to continue for the foreseeable future. Including Instagram in your recruitment marketing plan was a smart idea. Now it’s time to boost your Instagram strategy with these helpful tips:

Curate Real Content

Maximizing your Instagram following means moving beyond posting creative content with brilliant hashtags. Try reaching out to your audience for content curation. Collect images from students’ family members on Parents and Family Weekend or connect to members of the football team for the student perspective on Homecoming. Encourage your audience to tell their own stories about your school, your campus, your brand. They will likely connect with prospective students faster than a free tour of campus.

Animate That

The debate is ongoing about whether video or still images get more attention on Instagram. The short answer is it depends on the situation. Much of social media seems to be moving toward video, but animation is also popular right now. Audiences prefer Instagram content that looks homemade rather than content that resembles a slick marketing product. A five-second animated image is easy to produce and gives that folksy flair.

Be Live – Instagram Live

Combining the allure of video with a personal touch, Instagram Live will help you connect with your audience. Consider using it for a question-and-answer session with the admissions staff, a meet-and-greet with one of your most esteemed faculty members, or a virtual campus tour teaser with the student class president. You could even give a short behind-the-scenes look at campus life with an Instagram Live from the student center. Come up with one compelling question to ask students exiting the bookstore.

Tell a New Story

Instagram Stories are relationship-builders because they seem to give your audience a peek into your brand, one snippet at a time. They don’t stick around long, which might be what intrigues followers and compels them to view. Stories are a great way to cover important events on campus. You can group videos and photos together to show students having fun on campus or show off the ribbon-cutting for the new science center. If you look around campus, you’ll see there is always one more story to tell.

Keep Reeling Them In

Here’s a chance to add a multimedia production to your volume of content. Instagram Reels offers the tools you need to put together a truly unique piece of content. Record short bits of video and combine them or upload a long video and chop it into digestible pieces. Use the tools to add music, change action speed, and put your own brand feel on it.

Use All the Crayons in the Box

When it comes to promoting your academic brand on Instagram, coloring inside the lines is not important. Make a bold statement, piece it together, be authentic, and tell your brand’s story. Instagram seems to favor brands that use all their tools, especially the newest ones – Reels, Stories, Live – so be sure to take advantage of every opportunity to create new and interesting higher ed content on Instagram.

Having trouble focusing on your Instagram plan? Struggling to find time for all the stories, videos, and animations? LIGHTSTREAM can help. Contact us today.