The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus


Seven Instagram Tips to Strengthen Your Brand

Instagram epitomizes the increasing importance of visual posts in social networking. Images draw people in like nothing else. The audience engagement rate on Instagram, for example, is much higher than on Facebook or Twitter.

Given this, Instagram can be a successful instrument to strengthen your brand if you follow several key guidelines. Peg Fitzpatrick, an author, speaker and social media marketing pro, teamed up with Sprout Social recently for an Instagram 101 webinar. Here, we summarize seven take-aways from her presentation that will help you get the most out of your Instagram presence.

1) Focus on your goal

Instagram is not just about taking pictures. You should ask yourself why you are publishing content on Instagram at all. What are your goals? Who is the audience you want to reach? A good exercise is to come up with three topics for your Instagram account and use them as guides. This could be campus life, behind the scenes, or science.

2) Tell a story

An Instagram post is basically a mini blog post with a compelling image combined with a short description to create meaning. It’s all about telling a visual story.

Experiment with different content and try to discern what works and what doesn’t. Think about what you want to tell your audience about your brand. What makes your campus unique, for example? Try to be consistent and bring added value: Does your post and picture help someone? Is it entertaining? Are you being true to the topics you’ve promised to cover?

3) Take awesome pictures

The key to success on Instagram is to post the best pictures you have. Yes, you can take great pictures with your smartphone, but think about using an actual camera once in a while if you have one. And take as many pictures as you can, but be sure to post only the best.

You can even plan ahead and make a list of objects you want to photograph. There is no such thing as being too organized.

Use natural light whenever possible and try to hold your phone or camera as high up as possible, to get the best angle. Don’t use zoom, just try to get as close as possible or crop the picture afterwards.

Try to take pictures with the rule of thirds in mind. Don’t place the object of interest right in the middle. Camera apps like camera awesome help you by providing a grid structure to take the perfect shots. Photographer Richard Schabetsberger has some great tips on how to take pictures with your smartphone.

4) Style pictures

Instagram filters are an easy way to make your pictures look compelling. To draw attention to the main object in your picture, blur the background to move the important objects in focus. Use the online design tool Canva to edit your pictures and add text to it. Other helpful apps for editing or adding text are Afterlight, Facetune, Over, and Word Swag.

Perfect pictures are one thing but it’s important to think beyond the timeline. The entire appearance of your profile is important. Try to avoid too many similar scenes (like group shots). Style and coordinate your grid. A perfect example is beauty blogger Michelle Phan’s Instagram account. She uses a color scheme and is very consistent.

5) Use Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to connect your content to other users. You can also come up with specific hashtags to group your pictures by topic. You can add hashtags in the description or in the comments of your pictures (if you put a hashtag in the comments, your description might look a bit cleaner).

Don’t hold back when using hashtags. Research actually shows that you have a much higher chance of getting likes by using up to 30 hashtags on your pictures, which is the limit on hashtags you can use. As it’s normally not that easy to come up with 30 meaningful hashtags, though, other social media pros suggest that 5 to 10 will do the trick.

Like all other social channels, Instagram isn’t a one-way street. Comment and like other pictures to build your community and strengthen your brand.

6) Optimize your workflow

Instagram works best on mobile—there is still no other way to post pictures than directly through your smartphone. Here is a workflow that might help master your tasks better:

  1. Take a picture
  2. Edit it on canva.com
  3. Use Trello or Evernote to optimize text and hashtags. Trello is great if you want to can add a due date to your task on Trello so you always get the overview of what to post at which time.
  4. Use your Trello or Evernote smartphone app to download the picture and copy/paste the description
  5. Post via the Instagram app
  6. Engage with your community via Hootsuite or the Instagram website (while logged in)
  7. Check your Instagram statistics via Iconosquare

 

This is just an example of what a workflow could look like. Based on the applications you are using, you could come up with a different workflow that might suit your needs even better.

7) Learn from the pros

No worries, no one is born a master. Experiment, play with it and find out how others are doing it. You can learn a lot by just browsing through Instagram and getting inspired by others. Keep exploring and learning from Instagram stars like Alice Gao.

 


A Farewell

Looking back on our first meeting in Bern in May of 2011, I was full of trepidation and concern typical of any large event. Could we really add value? Will they fall asleep during my presentation? Will the room be large enough for everybody?

And while not everything went perfectly, the support and encouragement Megan, Julia, and I received from you filled us with energy and the desire to do everything possible to help you and serve you better.

It’s been four years since that first meeting in Bern and I am incredibly proud of what you have accomplished and also immensely grateful for your support and friendship. Continue Reading →


Understanding your Audience

Businessman Looking up at Camera and Standing Outdoors Surrounded by a Large Group of Business PeopleAt the recent CASE Conference in Miami, Stanford’s Alumni Association shared their behavioral segmentation approach, what they call the “Relationship Model,” which allows them to communicate with their alumni in more effective and relevant ways.

The objective of the model was to identify how alumni interacted with the university and trying to understand shifts between groups and how to increase impact with relevant communication.

Instead of trying to migrate all alumni towards a higher engagement level, the point of the model is to better understand Stanford alumni and serve them better.  Continue Reading →


Why We Love Twitter Lists

Twitter is great, but we all know it can get overwhelming at times. A more organized approach to Twitter can be achieved by making use of its less known functions: its lists.

You can create your own lists, or use lists that have been created already. There are tons of lists out there that are awesome collections of great sources.

Are you using them already? If you do, we’d love to hear how in the comments. If you don’t, then take a look at our top reasons why you should consider them. Continue Reading →


50 Creative Ways Colleges Are Recruiting Students Today

Originally published on http://collegestats.org/

For decades, schools have made college recruiting an art. From slick marketing packages to the ultimate campus visit, there are seemingly endless ways to entice new students to enroll. But these days, admissions staff are armed with a whole new set of tricks, thanks to technology developments, social media, and good old-fashioned ingenuity.

  1. Rating systems:

    More schools are tracking data on prospective students, developing rating systems and devoting more or less time to each student based on the likelihood that they would enroll. Continue Reading →


How to Manage Your University’s Brand

Branding for higher education institutions is quite unique, and Deborah Maue, a senior strategist at mStoner, recently covered this challenging topic in a webinar for Digital Campus members. Along with an introduction to branding for higher education, she gave us some pointers on how to tackle a rebranding.

Long Neglected, But Important

Higher education institutions didn’t always pay a lot of attention to their brand. It was only about ten years ago that brand strategy became a hot topic at universities, even though most of them have had a brand for a long time. So what exactly is a brand? Deb Maue from mStoner defines a brand like this:

Branding definition

You are trying to influence what your audience thinks about your brand, but you also need to make them do something based on that perception. Otherwise you are wasting a lot of time. Continue Reading →


Need Some Inspiration for Your Science Communication?

EMCUniversity press officers work relentlessly to spread the word about the latest science news at their institution. And yet sometimes, the hard work does not result in news going viral and massive press coverage.

While we are not arguing for hyperbolic headlines or doing away with traditional communication plans, we do think that there is room for new approaches in science communications.

Check out our list with examples on how to put the fun into science! Continue Reading →


New Tool Alert: FanPage Karma

We keep an eye on the latest tools and platforms. Read about the most recent one we’ve tried.

Fanpage Karma thumbnailI am pretty sure that a tool that has “shitstorm” alert is going to be all the rage with you all in Switzerland!

In all seriousness, Fanpagekarma is an amazingly generous tool that gives you a ton of information about your posting patterns, reach, and your audience but that also lets you track other facebook pages! Continue Reading →