Instagram may be one of the most popular social media sites, but Instagram ideas to build identity are sometimes hard to come by.
We all know that marketing your community college on social media is essential in our connected world. The benefits of social media sites may be obvious, but how do your posts help build your college’s identity?
When you add social media to your marketing efforts, your audience can get to know your college. Like, really get to know your college. Social media allows your current students, prospective students, and alumni to see what your college is all about.
One social media channel that encompasses all of these elements is Instagram. The visual platform helps you create a highlight reel of every great thing about your college. And with over one billion active monthly users, it’s no wonder why Instagram is essential in your strategy.
There are endless possibilities for engagement with your content on the platform. Plus, about 31 percent of Instagram audiences globally are between 25 and 34 years old. The platform’s huge popularity makes Instagrammers a key demographic for community college outreach efforts!
Your college’s identity is more than a logo and school colors. It’s a culmination of your messaging. With Instagram, you can enhance your college’s online presence and grow your community. But how? Keep reading to find out how you can use Instagram to build your college’s identity.
Review and Research
Chances are that your college may have a few social media pages already. It’s important to review any social media strategies in place.
Keep your goals at the top of your mind while preparing your Instagram overhaul. To start, you want to establish how your college positions itself on Instagram. What kind of messaging is showing up on your profile? Your content and tone should back this up.
Take a look at your college’s other social media platforms, as well as your website. Ask some questions, such as the following:
- What kinds of content perform well on your college’s other social media pages?
- What general message can you take from your existing online content?
- What are the goals of your online content?
- What kind of value does this content give your audience?
Of course, your Instagram content will perform differently than your other social media content. But it’s a good place to start!
Once you answer these questions, consider your target audience. Your college’s Instagram profile should encapsulate your community college’s values. But how do you nail these down?
Take an Instagram Inventory
Does your community college already have an established Instagram? Then it’s time to reassess your profile. Take a look at the content you have posted. What kind of content performed best? Examine other community college profiles that crush their Instagram presence, too.
A strong brand identity builds trust and loyalty among your audience. You want your audience to view your college as a trusted and knowledgeable resource. Having this kind of resource is important for students, alumni, and the community. You can emphasize this messaging with the help of Instagram!
When reviewing relevant profiles, take a few notes about the kind of content they post. Look at elements like the following:
- How often are they posting?
- What is their engagement like with their audience?
- Which hashtags are they using?
- What accounts are they following?
For example, check out elements from Irvine Valley College’s Instagram profile:
- Their bio has a clear message and links to affiliated profiles and resources.
- There’s a simple and clear profile picture.
- The in-feed content includes high-quality photos and videos.
- Instagram highlights of past content are easily accessible (smaller circles at the top of their profile).
- They actively use the Stories feature (pink and orange ring around the profile picture).
Using these elements positions IVC’s Instagram as a trustworthy resource for their audience. They provide valuable information, and they do it in a visually appealing way!
Attracting Your Audience
Hashtags are a great tool to help your audience find you. Do some quick hashtag research to see which ones are trending and make it a goal to use those. Check who uses these hashtags, how often, and what their relevance to community college is or might be.
Following other profiles is a great way to help boost engagement, too! Follow Instagram profiles for programs, departments, clubs, and sports at your community college. You can also follow other colleges and schools in your region.
Building Your Brand Voice
Your college’s brand voice can be more laid back and informal on Instagram than on your website. But you still want your college to convey that they are the experts in their field.
While writing as your college, always keep your college’s values and messaging in mind. This practice will help keep your brand voice and tone consistent. Your audience will be more willing to engage online with someone they feel like they know!
Check out this definition of brand voice and tone:
“Creating a cohesive brand voice allows you to tell stories that are consistent and relatable to your brand. The easiest way to ruin a good story is to suddenly break the immersion by changing how it sounds or the way it’s told.”From Sendible
Curating Your Community College’s Instagram Content
Now that you have done your research, it’s time to consider what kinds of content you will post. Reflect on some of the information you gathered:
- What types of content did other successful profiles post?
- How do you think those posts strengthened their brand’s message?
- What content is posted on your college’s other social media platforms?
- How can you incorporate a cohesive brand voice into your content on Instagram?
For many, Instagram serves as a first impression of your college. You want to ensure your Instagram content is both appealing and valuable to your audience.
From photos and videos to Stories and Reels, Instagram has many engagement opportunities. But which of these elements should you focus on?
What Type of Content Should You Post?
Consider the type of content you post. Whether it’s photos, videos, Stories, or Reels, it’s best to use a healthy combination of all four. Doing so will boost your engagement and help solidify your college’s brand identity.
A helpful way to stick to your social media strategy is to develop content pillars. These will help give you a strong foundation for posting fresh online content. Read our blog about social media content pillars and other strategies in our ultimate guide, Sustainable Social Media Marketing Strategies for Higher Ed: How to Keep Your Content Fresh and Flowing.
With our help, you can eliminate the guesswork about what kind of content you should post. Interact’s Media Prefs data gives valuable insight into what students want to see. Some of our data this year revealed what students want colleges to post about:
- College events
- School updates
- How-to guides
- Stories from students/alumni
You should center your high-quality content around what makes your community college unique. Highlight relevant career education programs, the campus, facilities, student spotlights, and more!
How Often Should You Post?
Posting content consistently should be a goal in your school’s social media strategy. You should also be actively engaging with your audience on the platform. When you post consistently, you remind your audience to keep you top of mind!
Consider other higher-ed Instagram accounts from your research. Look at how often they post and at what times. According to this Union Metrics study, most brands post 1.5 times a day, on average.
You can use this info to create a solid foundation for a posting strategy. Mixing a few in-feed posts a week, along with a few Stories a day, is a great place to start. Take note of what kind of content performs best!
Make sure you’re consistently responding to comments and reposting any tagged photos. This will help you keep up engagement and build a connection with your audience.
Some Helpful Resources
There’s no shortage of resources to build on your college’s brand identity on Instagram.
Check out this guide about Instagram Reels from Hootsuite!
To mix up your college’s content and post eye-catching stories, use these free templates on Canva!
And check out our blog about refreshing your social media strategies. You can learn more about content pillars, content calendars, and more!
To Wrap Up …
To conclude, consistency is key.
Combining a strong content strategy, consistent engagement, and brand voice is essential. When using these methods, you’re sure to solidify your college’s identity.
- Evaluate current Instagram profile
- Nail down college brand voice/tone
- Convey your message
- Create and post valuable content
- Engage and be consistent
By following these steps, you’ll give your audience a clear idea about who your college is and what they stand for!