Instagram continues to grow and it is more important than ever that school marketers include the channel as part of the social media marketing strategy.
Instagram has 500 million daily users and more than 80% of Instagram accounts follow a business account, so there's a real opportunity for schools to make an impact.
There are some key features that all of the best Instagram accounts have in common. Get these things right and you will give people a reason to follow and engage with you.
Key features of a perfect Instagram profile
1. Make sure people can see your content
Instagram gives you the option to have a public or private profile. This one sounds obvious but it is really important so we have put it at the top of the list!
A public Instagram profile can be seen by anyone - which is what you want for your school marketing. A public profile allows people to view your posts and follow your school brand if they want to.
By default, your Instagram profile will be public -- meaning anyone in the world can view your profile and posts on Instagram.
2. Have an easy-to-search business name
Make sure your business name is added to the 'name' section of your profile, it will then appear with your profile picture and username in a search.
3. Make sure your @username (handle) is recognisable
It's key that people can find your school easily. Make sure that your username is easily searchable and as close to your business name as possible. If your business name is taken, then you may need to adjust it but try to make sure your school name is at the beginning.
For example, if your schools is known as 'Oak' but this is taken, try '@oakschool' or '@oakseniorschool'
4. Make sure your Bio is actionable as well as informative
Your bio is one of the first things visitors to your school's profile will see.
You have a limit of 150 characters to use here - so use them wisely! Your bio is a place to let your followers known what your school offers and gives them a reason to follow you. Include who you are and what you do, but also try and show some brand personality.
You can also use this space to encourage some action, like using a certain hashtag or clicking a link in your bio.
5. Add a link to your school website in your bio
It can be frustrating for businesses that you can't share clickable links to Instagram posts, meaning it isn't a great platform for driving traffic to your website or other social channels. The only place Instagram lets your share a clickable link is in the single 'website' box in your bio.
This makes it easy for people to go straight from Instagram to your website. You could change this frequently to send people to campaign-specific landing pages or key conversion points like Open Day booking pages.
We recommend using shortened links that include UTM tracking codes so you can see how much of your traffic came from your Instagram page.
You can encourage people to click this link by adding 'Link in bio' to your Instagram posts.
6. Keep your profile picture on brand (but don't be afraid of change!)
Along with your bio, your profile is one of the first things people see when they visit your Instagram profile, it's right at the top! It should be something easily recognisable and that is on-brand with other social networks and website.
It is most likely to be your school logo, of course. Remember that Instagram crops you profile picture into a circle (110px diameter) when you upload it. To avoid cropping your branding, you will ideally upload a square photo with your logo in the centre so the corners can be cropped without losing any of your logo.
We recommend that your profile size is below 200 x 200 pixels so people don't see a blurry or stretched image.
Here's how our profile picture appears on desktop:
Don't be afraid to adapt your profile picture at certain times of year or in-keeping with certain events. Here's an example of HubSpot's profile picture from Pride month in June:
7. High-Quality Photos
This is a key part of an optimised Instagram profile! It's likely that the first thing people do when they visit your profile picture is scroll through the first photos from your feed. The quality of these images is a big factor on whether or not that person follows you or not.
You definitely do not want bad photos on your Instagram profile. Be sure that your photos include an interesting and relevant subject, a well framed and shot photo, and effective editing.
Keep your marketing personas in mind with every single post, what would they want to see from your school?
8. Post consistently and regularly
Your school's account should be active, photo quality is important so don't worry about posting multiple times a day. Focus on creating high quality content and posting at the right times for your specific audience.
Using a social media content planner and calendar can help you to achieve consistent posting schedules. It is a good idea to build up a bank of images you can schedule in advance.
Because Instagram is primarily used on mobile devices, users access it throughout the day but research has shown that many users engage more with content outside of work hours. Of course, we recommend testing and improving as you learn more about your specific audience.
Considering your wider content strategy?
Check out our free inbound marketing toolkit to support your school's growth goals.