The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus


#DCSF16 Day 1 | It’s All About the Network

Instagram

Rodrigo Schmidt (third from the left) answered our questions and told us about the importance of user experience and the developments he and his teams are working on.

Have you ever wondered what the people at Facebook are like? Today, I had the once in a life-time chance to walk into the Facebook premises and ask Rodrigo Schmidt, an Engineering Leader at Facebook & Instagram, all the questions I had about their platforms. It was only one moment in a day full of inspiring business encounters we had on our Study Tour with swissnex San Francisco. Continue Reading →


Seven Instagram Tips to Strengthen Your Brand

Instagram epitomizes the increasing importance of visual posts in social networking. Images draw people in like nothing else. The audience engagement rate on Instagram, for example, is much higher than on Facebook or Twitter.

Given this, Instagram can be a successful instrument to strengthen your brand if you follow several key guidelines. Peg Fitzpatrick, an author, speaker and social media marketing pro, teamed up with Sprout Social recently for an Instagram 101 webinar. Here, we summarize seven take-aways from her presentation that will help you get the most out of your Instagram presence.

1) Focus on your goal

Instagram is not just about taking pictures. You should ask yourself why you are publishing content on Instagram at all. What are your goals? Who is the audience you want to reach? A good exercise is to come up with three topics for your Instagram account and use them as guides. This could be campus life, behind the scenes, or science.

2) Tell a story

An Instagram post is basically a mini blog post with a compelling image combined with a short description to create meaning. It’s all about telling a visual story.

Experiment with different content and try to discern what works and what doesn’t. Think about what you want to tell your audience about your brand. What makes your campus unique, for example? Try to be consistent and bring added value: Does your post and picture help someone? Is it entertaining? Are you being true to the topics you’ve promised to cover?

3) Take awesome pictures

The key to success on Instagram is to post the best pictures you have. Yes, you can take great pictures with your smartphone, but think about using an actual camera once in a while if you have one. And take as many pictures as you can, but be sure to post only the best.

You can even plan ahead and make a list of objects you want to photograph. There is no such thing as being too organized.

Use natural light whenever possible and try to hold your phone or camera as high up as possible, to get the best angle. Don’t use zoom, just try to get as close as possible or crop the picture afterwards.

Try to take pictures with the rule of thirds in mind. Don’t place the object of interest right in the middle. Camera apps like camera awesome help you by providing a grid structure to take the perfect shots. Photographer Richard Schabetsberger has some great tips on how to take pictures with your smartphone.

4) Style pictures

Instagram filters are an easy way to make your pictures look compelling. To draw attention to the main object in your picture, blur the background to move the important objects in focus. Use the online design tool Canva to edit your pictures and add text to it. Other helpful apps for editing or adding text are Afterlight, Facetune, Over, and Word Swag.

Perfect pictures are one thing but it’s important to think beyond the timeline. The entire appearance of your profile is important. Try to avoid too many similar scenes (like group shots). Style and coordinate your grid. A perfect example is beauty blogger Michelle Phan’s Instagram account. She uses a color scheme and is very consistent.

5) Use Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to connect your content to other users. You can also come up with specific hashtags to group your pictures by topic. You can add hashtags in the description or in the comments of your pictures (if you put a hashtag in the comments, your description might look a bit cleaner).

Don’t hold back when using hashtags. Research actually shows that you have a much higher chance of getting likes by using up to 30 hashtags on your pictures, which is the limit on hashtags you can use. As it’s normally not that easy to come up with 30 meaningful hashtags, though, other social media pros suggest that 5 to 10 will do the trick.

Like all other social channels, Instagram isn’t a one-way street. Comment and like other pictures to build your community and strengthen your brand.

6) Optimize your workflow

Instagram works best on mobile—there is still no other way to post pictures than directly through your smartphone. Here is a workflow that might help master your tasks better:

  1. Take a picture
  2. Edit it on canva.com
  3. Use Trello or Evernote to optimize text and hashtags. Trello is great if you want to can add a due date to your task on Trello so you always get the overview of what to post at which time.
  4. Use your Trello or Evernote smartphone app to download the picture and copy/paste the description
  5. Post via the Instagram app
  6. Engage with your community via Hootsuite or the Instagram website (while logged in)
  7. Check your Instagram statistics via Iconosquare

 

This is just an example of what a workflow could look like. Based on the applications you are using, you could come up with a different workflow that might suit your needs even better.

7) Learn from the pros

No worries, no one is born a master. Experiment, play with it and find out how others are doing it. You can learn a lot by just browsing through Instagram and getting inspired by others. Keep exploring and learning from Instagram stars like Alice Gao.

 


5 Key Factors to a Successful Social Media Campaign

fordham 4 me tumblrWe all dream of hitting the jackpot with a social media campaign that goes viral. While it’s good to dream and aim for the sky, the reality is that any campaign can be successful just by following some simple guidelines.

During our most recent webinar, Patrick Powers of MStoner Inc., shared the fundamentals of a campaign undertaken by Fordham University in New York City, called #Fordham4Me.

Launched during the Spring of 2014, the campaign will run until the first day of school this coming Fall. So although the complete results are yet to be seen, there’s much to learn from how Fordham University planned and set up their campaign. Continue Reading →


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.
Continue Reading →


8 Creative Ways US Universities Use Social Media

I recently wrote a short version of this blog post for swissnex San Francisco’s blog nextrends. If you are interested in reading more about each example with more details than you can think of, than just keep reading. And if you only have five minutes, feel free to move right over to nextrends and read the short cap with a slideshow!

If you hold a university degree, chances are your alma mater didn’t have a Facebook page or Twitter account when you were enrolled. They do now. But before you start to feel old, let me remind you that the Facebook “Like” button just turned four and that Facebook only launched pages for universities in late 2007. Continue Reading →