Being a highly visual platform, your school’s Instagram (when done right) can be a great extension of your school’s website for its ability to authentically capture campus life, showcase student achievements, and promote upcoming events.
But not all school Instagram content is created equal. Some schools are excelling at creating engaging, informative, and visually appealing content, while others are making mistakes that could potentially harm their brand reputation.
Uploading images of smiling students can seem like a fairly straightforward task. Yet, as you’re likely aware, it can prove tricky for a few reasons:
- It requires you to produce quality content frequently.
- Brand consistency is essential – from image choice to well-crafted captions.
- Finding the time and opportunities to capture content requires you to get creative.
Here are some dos and don’ts to consider before you pick up your camera and click that share button:
Showcase campus life: post a mixture of professional posed shots and candid shots. These shots can range from students inside and outside of the classroom, participating in extracurricular activities, excursions, and enjoying the campus facilities to capture an authentic visual of a day in the life and attract prospective families. Speaking of candid shots, Frensham (@frensham1913) is a great example of this, as they regularly post photos of students in the moment, whether it’s reading in the library, attending a motivational seminar, or participating in a group workshop.
Highlight student achievements: make a point to regularly celebrate the achievements and contributions of students and staff members within the various academic, art and sporting areas. This may be through student or staff-specific spotlights, posting pictures of students receiving awards, participating in competitions, or volunteering in the local community.
St Catherine’s School Sydney does a great job of this through their series on Instagram (@stcatherinessyd) ‘Hidden Heroes’ for unsung staff members who have positively contributed to the lives of their students. They also have a series ‘Everyday Greatness’ for students exceptionally excelling in other non-mainstream ways. By showcasing the diverse successes of students and staff, St Catherine’s is creating a positive image of the school and engaging with its followers.
Share key information: use Instagram stories to share news, updates, and reminders about events, deadlines, and other important information to keep the school community informed and engaged. While it may seem simple, many key events – like a Kindergarten Tour Day – are listed on the website but are forgotten altogether on Instagram. It’s no secret that social media is one of the first places many prospective families will go to find out more about the school so be sure to share your important messages.
Over-promote events: whilst it’s important to promote and gain traction around your school events, especially leading up to an Open Day, trust us when we say over-promoting and bombarding your followers with constant reminders can put your prospective families off. No one wants a barrage of post and story notifications – further this may create the impression that your school is desperate for attendance which may ultimately reduce its overall perceived value.
Post low-quality content: blurry or pixelated photos in poorly lit conditions not only look unprofessional but they fail to showcase the school in the best light, quite literally. With that being said, it’s highly unlikely you have a professional photographer roaming the school grounds 24/7. If you’re able to, you can capture a few action shots during sporting events or whole school assemblies with a high-quality phone camera in nice, bright lighting.
This is also a great opportunity to reach out to the school community and ask if parents, staff, or students have photos they’d like to share e.g., of a student taking part in a special activity during the school holidays or what an athletic carnival looks like as a parent cheering on from the sidelines. Just remember to check your permissions to publish!
Fail to engage with your audience: actively engage with parents, students, and alumni by responding to comments and messages (of negative and positive sentiment) within a timely manner. Rarely (or not) responding can create a sense of disconnect between the school and its community which may affect your brand. It’s surprising to see the number of schools who do not respond to the comments of alumni, for example. Every school places an emphasis on building a sense of community; you need to act on your brand promise and demonstrate a sense of connectedness and care.