Elevate Your School's Instagram Game with These 8 Simple Tips

Digital Marketing

First impressions matter, especially online. Your social media presence – particularly on Instagram – might be the first thing prospective families see about your school. With over 1 billion users monthly, Instagram is no longer just about aesthetic photos. It has become so more than that. Today, this powerful social platform is a strategic tool you can leverage to boost your brand and connect with families. A recent study by Pew Research Center reveals that 71% of U.S. teens use Instagram, and approximately 40% of parents use social media to gather information about educational institutions. This showcases the platform's critical role in shaping educational decisions.

In this post, we'll highlight eight actionable tips to ensure your Instagram profile is working as hard as possible to engage your right-fit families.  

Tip 1: Keep It Searchable & Consistent

There’s nothing more frustrating than searching for someone or something on Instagram and not finding them due to a confusing or misaligned username. Instagram’s character count limit for profile names is 30 characters – so if your school’s name is too long, use an acronym or a well-known shortened version. In the "Name" section of your profile, you can use the full name of your school. This way, whether someone searches the acronym, shortened version, or full name, they can find you on Instagram.

Next, make sure your Instagram profile logo is the correct one and in the right size. If you have a complicated or detailed logo, consider using a simplified icon so it’s easier to decipher at a small size. Whatever you choose, do your best to maintain consistency across all social platforms so your school’s brand is presented clearly and consistently across all platforms – and you’re easy to search for and identify. 

BONUS TIP: It helps to keep your social profile names consistent across all of your platforms, if possible – so families who find you on one can easily find you on another.

Tip 2: Keep It Relevant

Ensure your bio accurately represents your school and contains the most relevant information audiences may use to identify you. For example, it’s best practice to include the location of your school, like the city and state or province. This helps avoid confusion with other schools that may have the same name, and proves relevance to people who are searching within your area. 

You can also highlight key values or features of your school, such as grade levels, day/boarding, awards, signature programs, or specific sports programs. You may consider adding a compelling fact or unique value of your school, or even a famous tagline your school is known for. 

Most importantly, include a clear call to action – especially if it's admissions season! For example, “Click the link to apply now" or “Register for Fall Open House.” 

Tip 3: Keep It Accurate

It’s a good idea to double check all your Instagram bio links and buttons on a regular basis, to make sure they work correctly and are leading to the right places. This might seem like common sense, but it's often overlooked (and links may break without warning). 

While you’re at it, double-check your email spelling and phone number accuracy. Fixing broken links or email address typos are easy ways to make sure you never miss an opportunity.

Tip 4: Keep It Streamlined

Keep clutter out of your profile while providing relevant links and calls-to-action with a multilink tool. Platforms like Linktree, Liinks, or Later Link in Bio allow you to consolidate multiple links into one single URL. This can be incredibly useful for Instagram, where you're limited to just one bio link. 

A word of caution: If your multilink isn’t properly organized and updated, they can sometimes overwhelm users or lead to frustrating broken-link experiences. So be sure to update your multilink often, and prioritize and neatly categorize your links so your users can find top-of-mind information quickly and seamlessly.

Tip 5: Highlight Alumni Success

Our fifth tip for optimizing your Instagram profile is highlighting the success stories of your alumni. Alumni love to interact with their schools, and if you have a strong alumni program, Instagram is an excellent place to connect with them. Consider making Alumni one of your top three story highlights and featuring it as one of your top 3 multilinks on your profile.

You probably already have countless noteworthy alumni stories from your community; featuring them on your Instagram profile is a powerful strategy. Pinning those career milestones, achievements, and fond memories to the top of your feed helps boost your credibility among current and future families. It's not just about making your school look cool; it's about showing these families that your alumni are who their kids can become and more.

Tip 6: Highlight Your Stories

Instagram Story Highlights are curated collections of past Instagram Stories that are pinned to your profile, allowing them to be viewed all the time – and they’re a fantastic marketing tool. Transforming Instagram Stories into a more story-telling-type tool can effectively showcase the unique and special aspects that set your school apart. Use each Highlight to showcase a unique feature of your school, so users can quickly access and engage with the most important information first – such as campus life, FAQs, events, student achievements, sports highlights, and important announcements. 

Bonus Tip: Use visual icons on your Story Highlight covers to tie back visually to your brand and help users navigate straight to the information they need in that moment – creating a user-friendly experience for your current and future families.

Tip 7: Highlight Campus Tours

Use Instagram Reels or go live to give a peek into key locations of the school like classrooms, labs, and sports fields. This immersive content lets potential families explore your campus from their device – and entices them to see more in person. 

Ensure your Instagram Highlights feature these tours prominently, making them easily accessible for visitors to your profile. If you have beautiful and professionally shot campus videos, definitely share them. It's nice for parents to see what you’re about, and it helps future families get a feel for your school’s space and its culture.

Tip 8: Highlight Yourself

As we wrap up ways to optimize your school's Instagram profile, there's one overarching strategy that ties everything together: mastering the art of engaging content. 

Your profile is your school's first impression on Instagram, introducing audiences to your school’s differentiators, programs, facilities, people, and culture. Developing an engaging content calendar is not just a one-and-done task – it's a practice and a good habit to get used to for consistent and impactful posting. 

As a school, consider content buckets that showcase what makes you unique, from core strengths to extracurricular activities. Visual details matter – show off your school's cool indoor garden or incredible dance studio. Leverage Instagram Reels with student interviews and parent testimonials to keep your audience engaged and attract potential families. 

The possibilities are endless when it comes to content ideas. For more, check out these posts:

Finally, plan your content calendar strategically for PR purposes – announcing community partnerships, student achievements, and other noteworthy events. 

In a world where everything's online, think about Instagram as a digital front door to your school. Give these tips a try and help your school stand out on social media. 

At Metric Marketing, we develop measurable and practical strategies to help private and independent schools like yours to make the most of your marketing efforts. We'd love to discuss your private school's marketing requirements with you. Contact us today to speak with our marketing professionals or use the form below to sign up and receive more marketing tips in your inbox.


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