Instagram has a secret power that every school marketer needs to tap into: the ability to build community and connect people. In today’s article, we want to show you how to tap into Instagram’s goodness to strengthen your community and gain new enrolments as part of your overall school marketing strategy. We’ll discuss not only Instagram advertising for schools, but also how to manage your profile and plan your content.
Community building may sound soft and fluffy, but it is a powerhouse marketing tool that will increase almost all of your school’s success indicators. Strong communities have a joint vision and win together. They have low enrolment loss and increased revenue because they naturally attract families with their X factor. Students that are woven into the fabric of your school feel valued and flourish, building memories that make them life-long fans that will return with their own children one day.
Community building is a long-term culture that needs to be built into your college. This is the main reason why we are so excited about using Instagram for schools as part of our client’s strategies and why you should include it in your marketing arsenal. In today’s post, we will look at your entire Instagram strategy, from managing organic posting to engaging new families through advertising and strengthening connections with current families. Before we get started, let’s understand who we are talking to on Instagram and how the platform is different from social media marketing tools.
Understanding and Using the Platform
Instagram is a mobile-only, visual storytelling platform that is owned by Facebook. Instagram has over 1 billion active users who access the platform every month with over 60% logging in daily. Instagram users have become a lot more diverse in recent years and while they are known to be a younger audience, over 28% of users are now above the age of 35 which is why Instagram advertising for schools can be so effective.
Even though Instagram advertising is done on the Facebook platform, it is worth thinking about your strategy and messaging that is specific for the platform, instead of using a cookie-cutter approach for your whole digital marketing strategy.
Instagram is a great platform to reach young families for audience building for Kindy and Primary school enrolments. It is also a fantastic medium to use to market directly to teens, who play a huge role in the decision of which school they go to. Instagram is a great platform to raise your school’s profile directly with potential students.
Your Instagram profile should provide parents and students with a natural behind the scenes look at your school. Think of unfiltered candid shots, real stories and unscripted content.
Before we get the fun creative staff, let’s make sure you know how to get started by looking at the technical setup of your account.
Creating your School Business Profile
An Instagram business profile has the additional benefit of being able to add school specific information to your profile, such as your opening hours, address and phone number. It also has the added benefit of being able to view insights about your stories, posts and followers.
To get started, you will need to have a Facebook business account to set up an Instagram Business profile. Ensure you use your work email address that is linked to your schools Facebook account to create the new account.
Once the new account is created, choose the option ‘switch to a professional account’ to turn it into a business profile.
Thankfully, Instagram advertising for schools and post scheduling has become a lot easier because it is now possible to post and schedule content on your desktop using Creator Studio.
To use Creator Studio, your Instagram profile should be a business profile. Follow the prompts when selecting ‘add new Instagram account’ on the Instagram accounts tab on the sidebar.
Instagram posting is about a mix of pre-planned content and unplanned ‘capturing the moment’ content. Plan posts around your school calendar, holidays and special events, but always have Instagram in mind for the day-to-day life of your college too. These on-the-go posts are always higher in engagement.
When starting out, try to post to your profile at least twice a week, testing out what works and trying new things. As you grow, you will want to grow your team with those who can be trusted to post content regularly. The best school Instagram accounts are those that have embraced open communication as a college-wide culture, rather than restricting content creation to only the marketing department. Due to the nature of our roles, it is impossible to always be at the right place at the right time to capture every moment, but through great leadership we can train up our whole staff to follow guidelines and post engaging content responsibly.
The Meaty Part: Instagram Advertising for Schools
Facebook acquired Instagram a few years ago and because of this, all Instagram advertising is done within Facebook Ads Manager.
The click through rate on Instagram tends to be lower than that on Facebook and other platforms, which results in a higher cost per click. As a result, it is so important that you intentionally work around the visual aspect as the main focus of the ad. The image/video needs to give people a reason to click your school’s ad.
When creating the ad, you will have an option to choose a button. I recommend that you always chose a button for your ad so that the button appears as a bar below the image. I also prefer to have a little text on the image (keep this to less than 20% of the image) to really drive home the main call to action for the ad.
Your visual space is so important. I like the use of short and sharp videos for you ads because they give you more capacity to get your message across without relying on your text.
Now that we have a basic framework for our ad formats, I would like to go into further detail about your ad formats.
Instagram advertising images should have either square orientation (1080 x 1080 pixels) or landscape orientation (1200 x 628 pixels). When creating your ad in the Facebook Ads Manager, you will have the option to edit your image for Instagram and can crop your image within the platform.
Remember that organic posts have the additional option of a portrait image of 1080 x 1350 pixels.
Video consumption is soaring on all social media platforms, including Instagram. Your video must be a maximum of 120 seconds long. I would also ensure that you properly caption your video as many people have their settings on mute initially. Your video ratio should be 4:5 minimum and 6:9 maximum.
Don’t try to say everything you need to say to prospective parents, but rather think about short, sharp videos that will grab people’s attention so that they will click through for more.
Your text length (caption) is limited to 2,200 characters.
Instagram stories are images or videos that disappear after 24 hours. It’s a great way to encourage parents to take action and drive engagement. Stories Ads also look great with a full screen ad format that creates an immersive experience.
Hashtags helps your content to get discovered. To use them effectively, make a hashtags list by studying your competing schools and industry news and incorporate them whenever necessary. You don’t have to use 30 hashtags at once and keep it relevant to the post topic.
When using Instagram strategically to build community, create a school specific hashtag that your community will learn to search for to find the latest photos and updates. Start out by advertising your hashtag on school newsletters and releasing hot off the press content to this hashtag.
Add a school specific hashtag to encourage community contributions
Instagram Insights help you to understand your business profile followers, including your reach, website clicks and engagements on specific posts. You can access Instagram Insights by clicking on the ‘Insights’ button on the top of your schools Instagram profile.
You can also gain additional insights on how your Instagram advertising for schools is tracking using the Facebook Ads reporting tool and filtering it by ‘Instagram Advertising’ to view click through rates and conversion rates for specific ads.
This reporting can also be pulled into customised reporting dashboards using tools like Supermetrics.
I hope that this guide has been helpful for you. Over the next few days, take some time out to stop doing things for the sake of doing them. Stop ticking the box for a second and get creative with your Instagram strategy. Science has proven that marketers who have more fun have more success, so have fun with your Instagram strategy.