Over the course of the past decade social media has become a significant part of our lives. Research shows that approximately 72% of the American people have social media, with teenagers representing one of the largest demographics.
Nevertheless, many school administrators and leaders aren’t sure how to best incorporate social platforms to their advantage. With nearly all students using Instagram or other social media platforms on a near-daily basis, having a plan with how to adopt it effectively matters. Not only can it help attract new families to your school, but it can also be an effective learning tool for students.
Are you wondering if Instagram for schools is for you? Keep reading for all the reasons using Instagram can benefit your students and school in this modern age.
Instagram For Schools: It Makes Sense for your School
It’s important to remember that both students and parents frequently check, as well as post, on social media. For students, it allows them to connect with their peers, check with one another about assignments, as well as assist them in studying for upcoming tests. It can also help students find different perspectives or information to facilitate continued learning outside of school hours.
Therefore, capitalizing on the connection of what students care about (i.e. social media) can help create intrinsic motivation for students. If your school account regularly showcases student work or achievement, students may notice that their efforts have a wider audience than the classroom. The result? Students who are willing to dig deeper as well as create more authentic work.
Furthermore, using Instagram can also help parents feel more engaged and connected to their students in the classroom. Regularly posting photos of activities, collaboration, or outcomes can give invested parents a window into the learning that is occurring each day.
There is also a considerable amount to be said about how using Instagram can help teach students about responsible digital citizenship. Moreover, they learn STEM skills while connecting their projects to something they likely utilize frequently on their own.
Instagram is a great marketing tool as well. If you’re looking to attract more families to enroll, then marketing your school on Instagram is a great place to start. Not only does it showcase your school, but it can link your school website to give parents more information.
Set Up an Action Plan
Once you’ve decided to invest time in a school Instagram account, you’ll need to come up with an action plan. This can involve items like who will be an administrator with permission to post, what approvals are needed for posts, how often you’ll post and respond to comments, as well as what voice you want for your page.
This may appear to be overkill, but the best Instagram accounts with significant traffic are not afterthoughts. They are carefully curated to have a consistent voice.
How to Set Up a School Instagram Account
Setting up a school Instagram account is fairly straightforward. It can be done through an existing account, such as a school administrator’s, or by creating a shared account with a new email that allows multiple people to manage or create content.
Furthermore, ensure that posts are done on a consistent basis with a similar message or idea. If you deviate too much, your followers may become confused about the end goal of your profile. If it’s not clear why you exist, narrow the focus of your posts to demonstrate your mission to your audience.
Optimizing Your Profile
Obviously, the goal of your Instagram account is to engage with followers, boost visibility, and market your school. So how do you boost views as well as engagement?
One of the best ways to help you attract views is to include hashtags. Coming up with a unique hashtag for your school is one of the first steps. This is something that viewers can refer to and include when posting their own relevant material. Hashtags can reach audiences that may have been out of your scope without them.
But there are innumerable hashtags that you can employ to help reach people as well. Check out tools that help to generate popular education or community hashtags. Furthermore, social media research will show you what hashtags are trending. Brainstorm how (or if) they can be capitalized on to your advantage.
If this sounds out of reach, then you can always hire a company to help you with your branding, message, as well as reach.
Instagram Posts 101
When it comes time to decide what you want to post to your Instagram, you need to put together creative, attractive, and relevant content. If your material is bland, it won’t generate much interest.
Creating a brand on Instagram doesn’t always mean everything should be original content. You can repost from other schools or individuals, especially if they have a strong post that fits your school.
Types of Instagram Posts
You may not know the various types available on Instagram or how to best employ them. But what you choose, as well as when, you post matters.
- Stories – posts that are viewable for 24 hours before they disappear.
- Highlights – At the top of your page, you can group relevant material into common categories for easy viewing.
- Reels – Reels are short clips that are less than 15-seconds.
- IGTV – IGTV is for posting video clips longer than 15-seconds.
If you post a longer announcement or video, then IGTV is better than Reels. Another idea is to group pictures into highlights. These can be basic categories, such as for the football team, concert band, or grade level.
How to Utilize Different Types of Posts
Using the tools available on Instagram is great, but only if you’re posting consistently. Consequently, your audience will forget you without a frequent presence.
In each post, create content that showcases your school’s strengths. Write powerful captions and place up to 30 hashtags to help promote your brand. Parents can copy the same hashtags as well to help generate more traffic, as well as engagement, on your account.
Why You Need To Respond to Posts, Stories, and Reels
One of the top reasons to take advantage of social media is that it creates a two-way conversation. If you want to keep that conversation going, be sure you’re engaging with your followers.
There are a few ways to accomplish this. The first is to reply to comments that are posted on Instagram. Just like in face-to-face interaction, this helps keep the conversation going.
Accordingly, it’s vital that you respond quickly to comments. Social media moves at lightning speed. A delayed response can be interpreted as a lack of care or attention. While it can be time-consuming, establish a set turn-around time with your marketing team to ensure current interactions with your followers.
Another way to create interaction is to follow parents and students, then like or comment on their content as well. This helps you appear invested in their lives, as well as giving you further reach into creating connections outside the walls of your school.
Moreover, always answer direct messages. If parents have specific questions, point them to who can answer them. Quick, professional responses will win you points with your audience!
How to Incorporate Instagram with Project-Based Learning
Instagram isn’t just for administrators to help market your school. It’s also a fantastic tool for teachers to incorporate into projects in order to engage their students and create authentic learning opportunities.
Project-based learning has been shown to boost collaboration, creativity, as well as critical thinking skills. Incorporating social media is a natural segue way to connecting students’ work with the world. It also helps them to learn social media research and technology skills.
Below, we have a few ideas for how you can add value to your lessons and activities with Instagram for students:
1. Book Report
After students have read a book, they can create a visual book report using tools in Canva, PicMonkey, or another graphic design site. This can be presented on IGTV or a series of photos that can be posted.
Students can research hashtags for the book title, author, or genre. They can create a post with their hashtag in order to connect with a larger audience.
If students have a research project, have them create an infographic as opposed to writing a paper. This will still incorporate the information, sources, or statistics they need while making it visually appealing.
Cross-curricular ideas are endless from history to English, to science and math.
3. Short Stories
Students can learn about the elements of fiction, plot diagrams, and writing skills by writing their own short stories. This could be a fable, biography, science fiction, or historical fiction. The sky is the limit!
Students then turn their stories into a video, which can be posted on IGTV. This could be a great “Get to Know You” activity at the beginning of the school year!
Interested in Using Instagram for Schools?
Instagram for schools is a great tool. Not only can it benefit teachers, parents, and students by creating new learning opportunities, but administrators can utilize it as an effective marketing tool.
But it’s no secret that those in the education field lack the time to devote to consistent posts and responses. Coming up with the content, captions, or hashtags can feel like a full-time job when done well.
That’s where we come in. We can help you with all your marketing goals to help you generate traffic to your Instagram account. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your school’s social media presence!