The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

Should Your University Be On Instagram?

Survey Wake Forest

The University of Lausanne on Instagram

When Facebook acquired Instagram for 1 billion dollars in 2012, many wondered why the social media giant would shell out such a large sum for a picture-sharing app. But two years later, the sum almost sounds like a bargain, considering Facebook’s recent acquisition of WhatsApp for 19 billion dollars and Instagram’s skyrocketing user base.

Instagram recently revealed that it now has 200 million users. Considering WhatsApp’s 500 million users, Instagram’s user base may not seem impressive at all.  But 50 million of those 200 million users signed up in the last 6 months, which means that Instagram is looking at a growth rate of roughly 100% in a short period of time.

With such growth rates, Instagram is becoming more and more interesting for companies, and of course universities. We’ll tell you why you should consider it.

The Power of Pictures

We all know, pictures on social networks work best to drive engagement among your audience, and Instagram gets the most engagement of all of them. To get even more response from your audience, focus on the people on your campus. A recent study has revealed that pictures with faces get 38% more likes.

A picture of the Boston College campus, racking up over 2,000 likes

Show Behind the Scenes

The University of Florida originally started their Instagram profile to show one picture of the university each week. But at one point, they asked students what they wanted to see. The answer was clear: behind the scenes pictures that they normally don’t get to see. The university has since made it a point to share exclusive pictures with their Instagram audience, such as a picture from the podium before the commencement speech begins.

A unique look behind the scenes: The University of Liechtenstein gives a sneak peak

Leverage the Now

Instagram makes it easy to share what is happening on your campus now, either only on your Instagram profile, or by pushing content through your Twitter or Facebook profiles. Instagram didn’t get its name randomly, the idea is to capture and share things when they happen, which makes it perfect for events and other occasions.

The University of Lugano knows how to use Instagram to show what is going on right now. The hashtag #USIwelcome13 was used to tag pictures from the last welcome day.

Not Ready Yet? Use it as Content Creator

Not ready to get on yet another social network? Not a problem.

But don’t stay away from it entirely and keep an eye on what your students share on it. Who can tell your story better than your students? In addition to making your voice more credible by letting others chime in, you also get brownie points from your students if you credit them.

And of course, you can always just set up an account to put your flag down, reserve your name, and listen to (or look) what is going on.

A master in curated content: the University of Basel regularly shares student pictures

By the way, we have invited the University of Lausanne to our next Digital Campus event in Switzerland to show us how they use Instagram. Sign up now and join us on May 6 in Winterthur to hear about Instagram for universities, bilingual communications, and more!

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