Instagram is a powerful platform. It allows you to engage followers with highly visual content, present an authentic image, and gives people a full picture of everything your school has to offer.

But without having an Instagram account in the first place, you won’t be able to experience these benefits for yourself!

We’ve written this quick, step-by-step guide to help you do just that: set up an Instagram account for your school, giving you the chance to leverage this platform in all of your marketing efforts.

Mobile or Desktop?

One thing which confuses many first-time Instagram users is what platform they can use the website on. Can they use it from their office computer? Or do they have to access it on their smartphone?

You can log in to Instagram on a computer, tablet or smartphone (i.e. an Android or iPhone), but it’s designed to be used on your phone. If you use it from your computer, you’ll find that you can like photos, leave comments and complete other basic functions… with one notable exception:

You can’t post photos or other content.

You can get around your lack of posting privileges by using a social media posting tool like Buffer or Hootsuite, which automatically schedule and upload your posts. However, those tools usually come with a cost to unlock their full features. And given that you’ll often want to create quick posts and Stories on the go, you probably won’t be able to get away with only using Instagram on your desktop.

So, the answer is that you can (and should) use Instagram on both your smartphone and desktop.

Step 1: Set Up Your Instagram Account (PC)

Setting up your account is equally easy on both your PC and smartphone. For the sake of convenience (e.g. accessing an account verification email), we recommend you set up your account on your computer, but either option is perfectly fine.

When you make your way to instagram.com, you’ll come across the following screen:

As you can see, you have two main options for creating an Instagram account:

  1. Log in with your Facebook account
  2. Set up a new account from scratch

If you choose to set up a new account (despite having a Facebook account for your school too), don’t worry – you can connect your Facebook page at a later time.

If you choose to create an account from scratch, give a little thought to the username you choose. Try to pick the shortest version of your school name, to give people the best possible chance of remembering your account name and making their way back to your profile.

Don’t worry if you’re having trouble picking one you like. You can change this later on too.

To keep everything clean, make sure that the email address you connect to the Instagram account isn’t someone’s personal one. Use a school one – and one that is regularly monitored.

Once you’ve settled on a username you like (and that’s available) and chosen a secure password, you’ll be ready to create your account. Simply click the Next button and follow the process outlined (picking a few initial accounts to follow, inputting basic details, and verifying your account).

Once your account is set up, you can move onto the second step: setting up your smartphone to use Instagram.

Step 2: Set Up Your Phone For Instagram Use

Once your Instagram account is created, accessing it on your smartphone is simple.

First, you should download the app onto your device using the links below.

If you have an Android, click here.
If you have an iPhone, click here.
If you have a Windows phone, click here.

You can set up your Instagram account on a few different mobile devices if you like. However, Instagram can be a bit finicky when multiple different devices access an account at the same time, so be careful to avoid too much overlap in your usage!

Once the app is installed on your device, you just need to input the login details you created in Step 1 to log in.

Step 3: Personalise Your Instagram Account

Once your account is created, it’s time to move on and make it yours by writing your profile.

Take a look at this example of a school who has a well-established profile for an idea:

When we look at this account, we see that:

  • Their school logo is set as their profile photo
  • They offer a quick overview of their school, then summarise their value in a unique and compelling way (their schools is “the making” of their pupils
  • They include a link to their school’s website in their bio (so people have an easy way to learn more about them)

All in all, their account is well-optimised. When coupled with their effective use of Instagram Highlights (discussed in more detail here), we think their Instagram profile is a significant asset to their marketing efforts.

In addition to doing the above, follow other interesting accounts. For instance, these could include:

  • Other schools in the local area to keep up with what’s going on with their accounts
  • Local politicians and celebrities
  • Charities and businesses that have a connection to your school (either in ethos or in practice)

Step 4: Start Using It!

Once you’ve completed these steps, there’s only one thing left to do… start using Instagram!

Create your content schedule, post photos, make use of the Stories feature, edit and play with images to your heart’s content – all of these actions are part of using Instagram effectively.

One word of warning though, you can’t have any clickable links in a post. So the workaround is usually to either put in a static link in (but who wants to type that out?!) or ‘click on the link in our bio’ and ensure that your bio link is your website. Not ideal! The other way around this is to invest in Linktree or Lnk.bio where you can create a mini website for your Instagram account. This means you can have one link in your bio to house all the content you’re driving followers to. This article from Social Media Examiner has a useful ‘how to’ guide.

Step 4: Gaining More Followers:

A sound strategy and relevant, engaging content are the backbone of any social media campaign, but using a ‘#’ also help with getting more eyes on your content. Intagram experts Wishpond have broken down effective hashtags into three main categories:

Brand and campaign hashtags

These two are quite similar, but if done right both pack a powerful punch in their own way. Brand hashtags should be a company name or a tagline that people know. It’s always relevant because it’s your brand.

Trending hashtags

We’ve all seen them #throwbackthursday or #blackhistorymonth – Trending topics are really useful because even though the event might only be short term—a few hours, days or weeks—the traffic and followers you get can stick around for a long time to come.

Content hashtags

These are not only relevant to your brand but to that specific update, you’re about to put online too.
Does your update fit any of these categories:

  • Product
  • Lifestyle
  • Event
  • Location

According to Sprout Social, Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have 12.6% more engagement than those without, so it’s worth experimenting!

If you’d like more a personalised roadmap to help you achieve your goals and turn your social media accounts into valuable marketing assets, just book a discovery call with us here.