I hear adding Instagram is a daunting challenge for some in #schoolpr. We know it’s likely our most reasonable social media platform for connecting with students (though we could certainly debate exactly how much ‘connecting’ we need to be doing outside of school with teenagers).
The biggest fear I still have is that I’m missing an easier way to grow audience. While I believe it is an important social media platform for my school district to be active on, we do not have the luxury of full-blown Instagram marketing strategies.
Instagram also does not drive traffic to you through shares and retweets like other accounts do. Likes more often than that stay with you and your followers.
And of course, the rule of mobile-only posting (meaning you can’t post from your desktop or laptop computers) often means additional steps, which means more work and more time.
So … here’s how we made it more friendly for our time available:
Just post. The best way we have found to grow followers is to post photos and post often, perhaps 2-3 times a day.
Same content, new purpose
Stretch your current content further. Not all audiences overlap, so your content can. Use at least some of the same photos you post Facebook and Twitter on Instagram. Now, you can even post up to 10 photos to one Instagram post. This can helpful for showing lots of different faces (which helps with likes), or sequential photos.
Let Instagram be Instagram
Don’t make Instagram something it is not. Instagram is not great for sharing links. It’s not great for lots of text. It is great for photos with a sentence or two providing context. So keep this part simple.
Access to content simplifies the process
Use sharing capabilities between devices (like iPhone and Mac and iCloud) to have photos available ‘everywhere.’ Easy access is essential to easy sharing.
Use professional tools
Use a social media solution like Buffer or Hootsuite. They won’t post directly to Instagram for you, but they do allow for posting one time to multiple places, so you don’t have to retype or re-find photos that you are actively posting to Facebook or Twitter. Those apps can be set up to deliver a notification to your phone or tablet, and then you are just a few clicks away from sharing on Instagram. Often you can use these tools for free or at a low cost (if you don’t need a lot of users or social media accounts).
Make it a habit
Every time you visit a school, take a picture or short video. Every single time. Make it a habit. Of all the ideas above, the easiest way to grow audience is to consistently post relevant content.
Use the RePost app
If you have other entities (teachers, teams, schools, departments) using Instagram, use the RePost app to quickly and easily ‘re-post’ their content to your Instagram account. You can include that account’s name on the photo for proper sourcing and promotion.
Schedule regular ‘reminders’ to Facebook and Twitter to let those audiences know you have an Instagram account, and include the Instagram link in all emails and on your website. Make them prominent and purposeful.