Preparing for a New Academic Year with Instagram

Here in higher education, a new academic year can mean a fresh start for many things.  Perhaps you have implemented new programs, hired new employees or students, or maybe you are just looking for a fresh start with a new focus.  Whatever the case may be, now is a great time to put those changes into effect as you are planning your year.

This also means that right now is a great time to be thinking ahead about events and things that you have coming up that you would like to promote and how is the best way to get the word out and reach your intended audience(s).  If undergraduate students are your audience, consider adding Instagram to your outreach.  For first-timers, Instagram is much more easy to figure out, so you might want to start there.

Instagram is image-based, so you will want to share photos, great photos!  Here are some ideas:

Good: Photos of you doing what you do

Great: Photos of students doing things

Here are some great examples of WKU departments who are quite simply killing it on Instagram! Click the images to link through to their Instagram profiles to see more.  Maybe these will offer you some great ideas of how to get started!

WKU HRL on Instagram
WKU Housing & Residence Life does a great job of showcasing students moving in to their residence halls and covers programming throughout the year.

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The WKU Honors College showcases students participating in programming, such as H4 and study abroad experiences.

What is going to make a student more excited about being a part of your program? What are the cool things that you do?  How about showcasing those things where students can imagine themselves in that space, doing those things.  Having fun, learning, growing…all the reasons they came to college in the first place.  Instagram is a great place to share things that will inspire and motivate!

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WKU Potter College of Arts & Letters showcases courses within the college and students being active and creative in non-traditional classroom environments.

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Probably one of the BEST campus Instagram accounts is WKU Study Abroad and Global Learning! Here you see students doing all kinds of amazing things all over the world!

One of the great things about Instagram is that you can link it up with your Facebook page and your Twitter profile so when you post an image it goes out everywhere, saving you some time.  Instagram is owned by Facebook, so the platforms work well together.  Instagram enables you to put as much text as you like on your posts, but just because you can, doesn’t always mean you should.  Instagram also makes use of hashtags, which we’ve talked a lot about in the past. Hashtags are used so that social media users and administrators can pull up and follow conversations about specific topics.  So looking at the hashtags in the image above ^^, you could search #hilltoptotheworld and come up with this: many, many photos using this hashtag, posted by several different people, not just @wkustudyabroad:

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#hilltoptotheworld on Instagram

Regramming is also something you can do if you do not have the ability to post frequently with your own images.  It is much like retweeting, but sadly, not nearly as simple.  You can see in the images above ^^ that there are images that are attributed to other Instagram users.  This is done using a separate app that you can attach to your Instagram account such as Repost for iOS or Repost for Android that will enable you to repost others’ Instagram posts to your own feed.  Remember, sometimes the best images that support what it is that you do best, are not always those images you took yourself!

We hope that this basic Instagram 101 will help you get started.  Photos are FUN and students love to see themselves in your feed!

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