One of the most impactful mediums for engaging with your audience is Instagram – and a compelling way to use that platform is to leverage the power of Instagram Stories.
Last week, we talked about why you should consider making Instagram Stories a big part of your marketing strategy. In case you missed it, you can read the whole article here.
This week, we’ll start by looking at how The Exeter School and The Maynard School (no connection to Ambleglow – we just think they’re doing things right!) use Instagram Highlights effectively. Then we’ll move on and give you a list of high-impact takeaways you can put to work in your marketing right away to start getting more out of Instagram Stories.
If you’re interested in discovering how you can leverage Instagram stories to maximum effect, then read on!
Instagram Highlights – A Powerful Tool in The School Marketer’s Arsenal
When you examine the Instagram accounts of either of the schools we’ve mentioned here, you see the use of the Highlights feature – these are the round icons below your logo and essential information. In case you don’t know, a Highlight is essentially a permanently saved Story. While regular Stories disappear 24 hours after being added, a highlight remains on your profile until you remove it.
Highlights are useful for a few different reasons.
- Some of the people you’re trying to reach won’t interact with you on any other platform apart from Instagram. These people may not visit your site or other social media accounts. With this in mind, your Instagram account is almost like the home page of your website – and the Highlights you list there are the navigation links to pages you want them to visit.
- Thanks to Instagram’s page design, Highlights catch your eye as soon as you navigate onto someone’s profile so that you can easily direct the attention of your audience towards the things you feel are most relevant such as takeovers or Open Day announcements.
- Historically, ‘Stories’ have been seen as secondary content in favour of scrolling down the newsfeed like Facebook, but now the tendency is for users to naturally click on ‘Stories’ when landing on the app.
You can see more from both these schools using the links below.
The Maynard School
Getting the Most Out of Instagram Stories – Quick Tips & Key Takeaways
Here’s our list of quick tips and key takeaways, all designed to help you get the most out of Instagram Stories & Highlights.
Whatever your level of experience with the medium, we’re sure you’ll find something useful here!
First things first: if you don’t yet have an Instagram profile set up for your school, you should handle that right away. Our guide walks you through the process of setting up a business Instagram account from start to finish.
Remember that your goal with Instagram Stories is to get your target audience (parents and pupils) to engage authentically with your content. One good way of doing that is to keep things relatable and realistic for viewers. Part of the beauty of Instagram Stories is that they don’t have to be big, polished productions. Let people see the story behind the glossy content you usually put out – keep things laid back and “real” for maximum effect.
We see many schools focus excessively on academic achievements, and not enough on the human side of their institution. You can get around this with effective use of Stories and Highlights showcasing the best your school has to offer – aside from academic success!
Remember that if your Instagram account is like your home page, your Highlights are like pages on your website. Use them to link to important events, communicate crucial info (e.g. Open Day details), or to direct their attention towards other relevant types of content you want them to see.
There are several types of Story/Highlight to consider. For instance, “Day in The Life” style videos can give valuable insight into the activities of each year group. Saving these Stories to your Highlights will give people easy access to revisit them long after the day has passed.
Term round-up videos can be another good option. Turning these into Stories can help you get higher reach and better engagement than a platform like Youtube, where it’s likely to be forgotten about after a few months.
You can use Stories to give quick promotion to other parts of your marketing campaigns. For instance, if you’re running a Facebook Live event, you can drive traffic to it with a simple story on your Instagram profile.
You can use Stories (and then save them as Highlights) to celebrate & document events as they’re happening. School trips, sports team victories, awards ceremonies, musical productions – they’re all potential (effective!) fodder for your Instagram stories.
You can also try repurposing existing content into Instagram Stories. For instance, if you have any text-heavy articles on your website (even something like an end-of-term newsletter), you can easily repurpose that information into a number of simple slides and create a Story out of them.
Remember that your goal when saving a Highlight to your profile is to drive relevant attention to it in the future. Bear that in mind when selecting your thumbnail, title and even when choosing to include it in the first place. Get creative! Use your brand colours for consistency, but don’t be afraid to explore different icons or patterns to bring them to life.
To quickly recap on what we covered in last week’s article.
The merits of Instagram as a platform according to Rose McGory are:
- 41% of UK adults aged 18+ use Instagram
- The website has 23 million active users in the UK
- 69% of male and 91% of female internet users under the age of 24 have an account on the site
- 30% of male and 47% of female internet users aged 35-54 use the platform regularly
And why you should use Instagram over other social platforms:
- According to Adespresso, Instagram images get 23% more engagement than their Facebook counterparts
- Additionally, brands (i.e. businesses and schools) can see up to 4% of their followers regularly engaged on Instagram. This is much higher than the 0.1% organic engagement these same businesses typically report on Facebook and Twitter
Finally, the three reasons why Instagram Stories are more powerful than simply using the site to post regular pictures and videos:
- Attention: When someone is watching your Story, it takes up their entire screen. There’s little scope for something else to distract them during their session, which helps to ensure they engage fully with what they’re watching
- Scarcity and FOMO: Stories (unless added permanently to your profile) disappear 24 hours after being posted. This also means that they’re usually of current events – stuff that’s happening right now. People may fear missing out on what’s going on, so will click in to avoid this
- Authenticity: Globally recognised brands such as BBC, Nike and National Geographic all leverage the power of Stories to engage authentically with their audience. This content doesn’t have to be as polished or refined as the regular posts you see: they can be more real, which is preferable for many viewers
If you’re not already using Instagram Stories as part of your work as a school marketer, we suggest you start now. The benefits you’ll see (increased engagement, more reach, and less stress around the quality of the content – because you’re supposed to create something simple and real) will more than justify the effort you put in.
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