Instagram is a free photo-sharing app and social network that saw the light of day in October of 2010. Since its creation, the company has seen huge success among teenagers and young adults. In fact, according to The Factory Live a little more than 1/4 of its user base is between 18-24 years old. This exact age bracket coincides with the typical age of college students around the world. College students are adept of this relatively new service! Instagram is seeing steady growth among this age group and here is how one of its founder, Kevin Systrom, has explained the phenomenon:
“I think images are an incredibly accessible medium, you don’t have to speak English to be able to enjoy photos from around the world. We’re visual beings and we love being stimulated visually.” - Kevin Systrom
These facts are very insteresting for student organizations. If you want to attract the students of your campus, you should have a presence on Instagram. If used efficiently, students will undoubtedbly find you and show their interest in your endeavors. Here are some ways student organizations can use Instagram efficiently:
1- Ask for feedback
In some cases, the campus student body is the one who elected your student executive team. Therefore, it is important to keep your ears perked up and to listen to students’ needs. Use social media to know what the students like to see on your Instagram feed. Some students might enjoy seeing new campus building developments, others would rather see impressive sporting events photos while others might prefer seeing exclusive point-of-views (like behind-the-scenes pictures of college concerts). You should always measure the pulse of students. Post what students want to see and not necessarily what you want to show them.
2- Provide content to other social channels
Photos are known to attract the biggest amount of social interactions. Use this at your advantage! In some cases where universities don’t have a huge amount of student enrolled, it may be tougher for student organizations to gain traction on every social media platform they own. Use your Instagram account to feed your other channels. Instagram allows you to modify your “Share Settings” to spread your photos on several different outlets. You can push your posts to your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and foursquare accounts all in one click. This will make you social media management easier!
3- Promote your events
Instagram can be a very useful tool to build buzz and excitement around an event! Post pictures of the preparations leading up to your big events. This will make students feel involved in its organization. Also, use hashtags for specific events (for example, #UNFWelcomeWeek or #YSUCampusGame). This will raise the awareness of your event as students will recognize the hashtag when others use it. The hashtag will also allow you to monitor the impressions of students about the event. With a simple search of the hashtag name, you will get access to every photo taken from the event.
We have only mentioned 3 ways to use Instagram as a platform to connect and engage with students but there many other ways out there. The key is to listen to students’ requests. This app is a hip “new” channel of communication so using it might help you get your message out easier and make you stand out of the crop!