With over 70% of Instagram users in in the under 35 category, colleges and universities should all be using Instagram to attract students. With Instagram Ads now available to all through Facebook’s Ad Manager and Power Editor, educators have a real opportunity to promote themselves to their target market.
These 5 tips will make sure that you get the most out of your investment.
1. Use your best images
This tip should really go without saying but it’s worth repeating! Instagram is all about using the best images that are rich in colour – even more so when you are including them in Instagram ads. When choosing the images to use, pick the ones that best represent you, your students and your campus.
Think about who you are targeting in your advert and what will appeal to them the most. International students, for example, may be more interested in the features of the campus and the surrounding area, whereas UK students are more likely to be interested in student life.
The University of Birmingham have a great mix of student and campus images that they use on Instagram. Tailor the images so that they are inline with your targeting options and your Instagram ads will be more successful.
When selecting images avoid embellishing them with the more unusual filters. Mayfair, Inkwell and no filter are the most popular and receive the most engagement. Images should grab attention because they naturally look good rather than because they have been heavily altered.
2. Research your targeting
This is another obvious one but is crucial to success. Instagram Ads are targeted using all of the comprehensive Facebook options so make the most them. Researching your prospective students thoroughly will ensure that your adverts are seen by the right people so your campaign will be more successful.
3. Stay True
Make sure that any images you use in your Instagram Ads truly represent who you are. All of the images you use should always match your brand. It can be tempting to create something that is specifically designed just to get the attention of a new audience but if it doesn’t represent who you are and how you normally post, it will be easily spotted and frowned upon by new followers. You may gain followers in the short term but you’ll also quickly lose them – in essence wasting your investment.
4. Create a Story
The carousel advert options in Instagram Ads can be very effectively used to create a series of between 3 and 5 photos that tell a story. You could showcase the different aspects of campus life, the campus and the surrounding area through the seasons, or follow the story of a student from undergrad, graduate and onto career professional.
The key to success is creating images that make you want to swipe through to the next one. Tesco did this incredibly well with their carousel adverts where they spliced one large image into four separate ones to encourage you to keep swiping to view them all.
5. Get the text right
Using the right text is important in your campaign. Choose or create your Hashtags carefully so that they are easily recognisable. You want your potential students to engage with you and hashtags will help you measure your reach and success. Mix generic hashtags and ones that are specific to you and encourage your existing and new followers to use them when they share content with you or regram the images you are using in your campaign.
Make sure that you also include a custom URL so that you can track click throughs and a powerful call to action such as “Find out more” or “How to apply” to encourage your audience to take the action that you want them to.