Instagram Marketing Tips for Schools and Universities

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Nina Benson

Published: Jul 10, 2024

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Schools and universities have special opportunities and challenges in today’s digital age when it comes to connecting and interacting with students, parents, alumni, and the larger community. Instagram has more than a billion active users, making it a useful tool for colleges and universities to highlight their achievements, campus life, academic programs, and community service.

This article will examine successful Instagram marketing tactics designed especially for colleges and universities. It will provide insights, advice, and best practices to assist educational institutions in utilizing the platform to increase brand awareness, draw in potential students, encourage interaction among alumni, and create a lively online community. 

Instagram gives schools and universities a dynamic platform to engage with their audience and accomplish their marketing goals, whether it’s through sharing student experiences, showcasing faculty accomplishments, or advertising campus events.

Why do schools and universities need an Instagram presence?

 Having an Instagram presence is very beneficial for schools and universities for a number of reasons.

Enhanced Brand Visibility and Awareness:

Instagram gives educational institutions a platform to present their campus, programs, student body, and accomplishments to a worldwide audience. Educational institutions can create more brand awareness and draw in prospective students and parents by sharing visually appealing content, such as pictures of the campus landscape, student activities, faculty highlights, and academic events. 

Posting images of the campus’s amenities, student organizations, and sports teams, for instance, can offer fans an insight into the exciting campus lifestyle and help set the university apart from the competition.

Student Recruitment and Enrollment: 

Schools and universities can draw in prospective students by using Instagram as a potent recruitment tool. In order to attract prospective applicants, educational institutions can emphasize their distinctive features and highlight their extracurricular, academic, and campus amenities. 

Providing alumni success stories, virtual campus tours, and testimonies from current students can all help to convince potential students to think about the school. Posting success stories of former students who have gone on to accomplish noteworthy things, for example, can show how the institution affects and influences student outcomes.

Engagement with Current Students and Alumni:

Instagram serves as a platform for interaction and networking between current students, alumni, and the larger academic community. Instagram is a useful tool for educational institutions to share news, events, resources for students and faculty, and community projects. This helps to create a sense of pride and community among students and alumni. 

Enhancing connections with the campus community and promoting involvement in alumni events and fundraising campaigns can be achieved through posting content that honors faculty contributions, celebrates student accomplishments, and showcases alumni accomplishments.

Promotion of Educational Initiatives and Events

Instagram gives educational institutions a platform to reach a larger audience by promoting workshops, seminars, academic events, and cultural activities. Institutions can create excitement and buzz about their educational initiatives by sharing information about the event, including speaker biographies, RSVP requirements, and highlights. 

Event posters, speaker quotes, and behind-the-scenes videos are examples of visually appealing content that can be posted to draw people in and improve the experience overall. Sharing images and videos from a research symposium or career fair, for instance, can highlight the university’s dedication to giving both teachers and students engaging experiences.

 How to start an Instagram account for schools and universities?

In order to ensure a solid foundation and a successful presence on the platform, schools and universities must follow several important steps when starting an Instagram account. This is a comprehensive guide explaining how colleges and universities can create an Instagram account:

Determine Your Target and Objectives:

Make sure that your Instagram account’s goals are clear, including drawing in new followers, interacting with alumni and current students, promoting campus events, and showcasing your academic accomplishments.

Determine who your target audience is: potential students, enrolled students, parents, teachers, alumni, and the general public.

Create an Instagram Business Account:

To access extra features like Instagram Insights and advertising options, create a new Instagram account or convert an existing personal account to a business account.

Select a username (handle) that accurately represents the name or acronym of your college or university.

Develop a Content Strategy:

Build your content pillars around the main messages of your organization, the interests of your target audience, and your marketing goals. These could include events held on campus, faculty highlights, student accomplishments, campus life, academic programs, and alumni success stories.

To guarantee regular posting and diversity in your content mix, create a content calendar. For engaging your audience and maintaining the freshness of your content, think about implementing recurring series or themed days.

To keep your feed consistent and polished-looking, decide on your branding and visual style.

Engage with Your Audience:

In order to create enduring relationships with your audience and encourage meaningful interactions, quickly reply to remarks, direct messages, and mentions.

Like, comment on, and share the content of other educational accounts, such as those belonging to students, faculty, alumni, and affiliated organizations, in order to actively interact with them.

Through adherence to these guidelines, educational institutions can forge a robust online presence on Instagram, draw in potential students, interact with the local community, and accomplish their marketing goals with efficiency. Always remember to deliver value and establish deep connections with your audience while remaining loyal to your institution’s mission and values.

What kind of Instagram should schools and universities have?

Schools and universities should have an Instagram presence that speaks to the interests and needs of their audience while also reflecting the identity, values, and goals of the institution. The following are some essential elements of the Instagram presence that educational institutions ought to strive for:

  1. Authenticity: 

The university’s Instagram presence should accurately depict the institution by presenting its campus, student body, academic offerings, and community in a sincere and approachable way. Being genuine with one’s followers builds rapport and trust, which promotes involvement and loyalty.

  1. Visual Appeal

To effectively capture followers’ attention and communicate the institution’s brand identity, high-quality visual content is crucial. Academic institutions ought to concentrate on producing aesthetically pleasing images and videos that highlight campus features, student activities, academic events, and campus landscapes. Maintaining a consistent visual aesthetic and branding is essential for keeping the feed looking polished and unified.

  1. Informative and Educational Content

Instagram can be used as a platform for posting educational and informative content about the academic opportunities, resources, and programs offered by the institution. This might involve exchanging faculty perspectives, student endorsements, research highlights, academic accomplishments, and advice on how to succeed in college or university.

  1. Alumni Engagement

Schools and universities should prioritize interacting with their alumni on Instagram. Instagram is a useful tool for institutions to stay in touch with their alumni, share updates on their accomplishments, plan reunions and events, and encourage their involvement in mentoring and fundraising initiatives.

How do you gain more followers on Instagram as schools and universities?

Increasing your Instagram following as a school or university necessitates a calculated strategy centered on adding value, interacting with users, and highlighting your establishment’s distinctive features. This is a comprehensive guide explaining how colleges and universities can increase their Instagram following:

Identify Your Goals and Audience:

Determine who your target audience is: potential students, enrolled students, parents, teachers, alumni, and the general public.

Make sure you are clear about your goals for your Instagram account: are you hoping to draw in new followers, interact with existing students and alumni, advertise events on campus, or highlight your academic successes?

Enhance Your Online Presence:

Make sure your profile picture is easily identifiable by using your school’s mascot or logo.

Create a captivating bio that highlights the goals, core principles, and distinctive features of your organization. To make your bio stand out, add emojis and pertinent keywords.

Provide a link to the admissions page, website, or other pertinent landing page where prospective students can find out more information or take action about your school.

Produce Superior Content:

Distribute eye-catching images and videos that highlight academic programs, student activities, campus life, and local events.

Give your audience useful and instructive content, such as faculty insights, student testimonies, academic accomplishments, and advice on how to succeed in college or university.

Utilize user-generated content (UGC) to humanize your brand and create social proof, such as student and alumni testimonials, stories, and photos.

Post Consistently and Strategically:

To ensure a consistent presence on Instagram, create a content calendar and plan and schedule your posts ahead of time.

To keep your feed interesting and diverse, post a variety of content kinds, such as images, videos, carousels, and narratives.

Utilize Instagram Insights to examine the habits and inclinations of your followers, then modify your posting schedule and content strategy accordingly.

Two colleagues laugh together, one holding a tablet in a sunny, glass-walled workspace.

Schools and universities with the most successful Instagram pages

The “most successful” Instagram pages for colleges and universities can be determined in a number of ways depending on the quantity, quality, impact, and engagement of their content. Still, a number of universities have very active Instagram accounts. Here are some instances:

  1. Harvard University (@harvard)
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (@mitpics)
  3. Stanford University (@stanford)
  4. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) (@ucla)
  5. University of Oxford (@oxford_uni)

Is it mandatory to have Instagram for schools and universities?

No, having an Instagram account is not required for colleges and universities, but in the current digital environment, it can be very helpful. Instagram gives academic institutions a strong platform to present their campus, programs, student body, accomplishments, and community involvement to a worldwide audience. 

Instagram presents special possibilities for visual storytelling, community involvement, and reaching a younger demographic, even though other marketing channels might also be successful. Schools and universities can improve their brand visibility, draw in prospective students, interact with current students and alumni, and effectively promote educational initiatives by having an Instagram presence. 

All of these benefits can be applied to their overall marketing and communication strategies.

How soon can you establish a strong Instagram presence for schools and universities?

The time it takes to build a strong Instagram presence for colleges and universities can vary based on a number of variables, including audience receptivity, engagement tactics, content quality, and brand awareness already in place. 

Within a few months of being active on the platform, educational institutions can start to see results with a clearly defined strategy, regular posting schedule, and engaging content. But developing a devoted following, encouraging deep connections, and continuously adjusting the content strategy to match audience preferences and learning goals can take six months to a year or more to achieve a truly strong and influential presence. 

Establishing a strong Instagram presence that effectively connects with students, alumni, and the wider community requires consistency, authenticity, and engagement.


In conclusion, Instagram gives educational institutions a strong platform to communicate with their audience, build brand awareness, and advertise their distinctive offerings in the digital era. Educational institutions can showcase their academic excellence and campus life, engage with current students and alumni, attract prospective students, and create a sense of community by effectively utilizing Instagram through authentic storytelling, high-quality visuals, and meaningful engagement. 

By adopting a strategic approach that prioritizes value provision, relationship building, and brand identity maintenance, educational institutions can create an engaging Instagram presence that positively impacts student outcomes in the constantly changing educational landscape.

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