Your Facebook’s humming – but are you just copying and pasting into your Instagram account? Check out how you can leverage Instagram marketing for education to expand your reach.
Most schools we work with intuitively understand the need to create content and engage with their followers on Facebook.
At the social media pool party, Facebook is kind of the shallow end of the pool. You go there to relax and talk about each other’s kids.
But other channels don’t seem to get the same attention, which is why I want to dive into Instagram marketing for education.
You already know Instagram is a must for any self-respecting education marketing strategy.
This HubSpot article makes that pretty clear with the following stats:
- Instagram sees over one billion active monthly users and 500 million daily Instagram Stories.
- 60% of adults online use Instagram, including 35% of adults in the U.S..
- There are 25 million business profiles on Instagram.
- 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business, and 72% of users say they’ve purchased a product they’ve seen on the platform.
If these stats weren’t enough, in the video embedded on the article above, HubSpot makes the massive claim that as of 2019 your Instagram feed will become just as important as your homepage.
In many ways, they’re right.
In a short time, Instagram has become the tool of choice for many people – especially prospective students – to find and get to know education brands.
While other social media platforms get a lot of buzz from being new and hip, like Tik-Tok, Instagram has managed to maintain its “cool” status.
All this while major brands have jumped on the platform to reach those young consumers.
The Key to Instagram Marketing for Education
Although Instagram has 25 million business profiles, many of these business profiles simply don’t treat Instagram as a separate tool in their marketing toolbox.
Certainly most schools view Instagram marketing for education as an add-on to their social media strategy.
As a result, many education brands just copy and paste whatever they publish in their Facebook timeline onto their Instagram feed.
But Instagram and Facebook marketing are not the same.
While Facebook does own Instagram, and they share similar features as Instagram has evolved, these platforms have a unique culture to them.
Here’s the key to Instagram marketing for education: It’s about brand awareness.
If Facebook is the shallow end of the pool where you lounge with your family, Instagram is the deep end where you dive to find new friends you haven’t met before.
The designs and copy you place on Facebook don’t have to be perfect or sharp. It has a family, close-community kind of feel where you can walk outside in your bath robe to put out the trash.
Instagram, however, is all about the looks – it’s about first impressions.
This is the natural outgrowth of its humble beginnings as a photo sharing platform.
When it first started, Instagram only allowed users to upload pictures with a square 1:1 aspect ratio.
It was one of the first platforms to come out with filters for pictures, and this made it very popular. With filters, any Instagram user could look like a pop star.
Later, Instagram opened up to different aspect ratios, added messaging and graphics to be superimposed on pictures, and has allowed video content on their platform.
While its feature set has expanded greatly, Instagram has kept its photo-centric culture.
I can’t stress this enough for Instagram marketing for education.
First impressions are important, especially on Instagram.
Here, you’ll find countless pictures of food, clothes, and of course, selfies.
It’s a photo diary for your prospective students, a way for them to show the world who they are with artistic snapshots of their daily life in the most interesting way possible.
But doesn’t Facebook do that, too?
Yes, but it’s different.
With Facebook you post photos to keep up with family and friends. On Instagram, you’re posting photos for the world to see.
On Instagram, you’re looking to meet new people and new brands.
Everyone is wearing their best, looking their best, and showing their best.
How Instagram Marketing for Education Works
This doesn’t mean you’ve got to be as cool as Ariana Grande, the woman with the most Instagram followers, to have a sizeable and engaged following.
Your private college, university, or independent school can easily post compelling photos and video content on Instagram.
Here are a few recommendations I’ve seen really work for Instagram:
Treat Instagram as a separate channel.
While you can duplicate content across the platforms, remember that Instagram is a separate platform with a distinct culture.
Dive into photo and video content.
Instagram is where you want your content to stand out.
You don’t have to use the most expensive equipment in the world to do this, either.
With the right angle and filter, even an egg can get famous on Instagram.
Feature your students’ artistry.
You don’t have to do Instagram alone!
Ask students to submit their unique photos of your campus, faculty, classes, and events.
Give them credit and tag their Instagram feeds when you post their content. Not only does this help your school’s Instagram account, it grows your students’ followings.
Explore your campus through pictures.
You might not have a billion-dollar endowment, but that doesn’t mean your campus isn’t an incredible place to be.
Your campus environment is one of the main things that makes your education brand unique. Show it off!
Instagram is an incredible place to highlight sunrises and sunsets, architecture, gardens, and the many interesting facets of your campus.
One cautionary word here.
Definitely post pictures of your facilities, but do it in an artistic, aesthetic way.
For example, rather than showing flat, lifeless pics of your dorms, publish lively pictures of students playing, laughing, or singing in your dorms.
Remember, this is all about first impressions.
Leverage Instagram Stories.
Instagram stories are short video snippets where you can send visually appealing messages to your audience. They appear at the top of your follower’s news feeds for 24 hours.
Stories are a great way to communicate campus news, event updates, or send out congratulations to your audience.
Create Instagram Live shows.
Instagram Live broadcasts are live video feeds that only exist when you’re broadcasting.
Your followers will get a notification when you go live, and after you’ve finished, it disappears from the feed.
This means you can offer exclusive content to those who want to be involved with your education brand.
Some ideas for Instagram Live broadcasts are interviews with faculty, staff, students, and alumni.
Hashtags are your social media weapon.
And Instagram loves hashtags! No matter what photo you publish or Instagram Live video you broadcast, be sure to have your hashtags ready so that new people can discover your education brand’s Instagram content.
For more information on hashtags, download my free eBook #Hashtags: Your Social Media Secret Weapon here!
Now is the time!
No matter how well you’re doing at Instagram marketing for education, it’s always a good time to improve your Instagram feed for better results.
When you do, you’ll find new prospective students waiting to get to know your school’s brand.
As they engage with your content on Instagram, make offers from time to time to visit your other social media channels and your website.
Final word: Instagram is a solid way to reach prospective students because it appeals to the visual way Generation Z students prefer their content.
If you need help getting your social media strategy to the next level, contact us today!
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Featured image by deagreez via Adobe Stock
Man in Pool image by PeskyMonkey via Adobe Stock
Woman Traveler image by olezzo via Adobe Stock