Yellow post-it notes litter my desk with thoughts on how Instagram is utilized by the 232 colleges and universities I follow as of today. How that social channel is best being used is a matter of choice. The University of Utah posts a great number of stunning images depicting the beauty of the campus and surrounding mountains. Indiana University and Syracuse University concentrate on their eye-catching campus environment. Appalachian State University lets students tell the school’s story in their own unique and quirky way. Millsaps College used Instagram last week announcing late class starts due to winter weather. Last Monday the University of Richmond announced the selection of their next President, Dr. Ronald A. Crutcher with a great portrait. Kansas State University on the other hand is all about basketball. To be fair, they do post some decent campus building shots, but they pull out the stops for hoops.
A college Instagram feed can do a lot of things. There are a number of potential audiences to engage: Current students, prospective students, alumni, fans and of course parents of current and prospective students. Should you choose one or try to serve them all? I don’t think so. The best mix I have observed is speaking to prospective and current students. The audience is already there. The quality of the feed comes down to how well it is curated.
If you are looking to find a higher ed Instagram feed to learn from, none stood out more to me than West Virginia University. I confess a personal bias since they are my client. None the less, WVU makes the most of Instagram from their main feed. They provide a great mixes of campus scenes, events, news, people and sports. It communicates to their intended viewers.
There are a lot of well executed feeds out there. If your institution is not putting much energy into this feed you are missing an opportunity to engage with as big an audience as you can currently find in social media.