Why Instagram is Absolutely Perfect for Your Program

When deciding how to spend your time and money on social media, it’s important to stay aware of trends—especially when a platform hits 700 million users like Instagram did last spring.1

Whether your school or camp uses Instagram or not, here’s a crash course in the platform that can help you decide if it’s right for your camp or school. (Hint: It is! For ideas, scroll to the bottom of this article.)

The Instagram audience

Think Instagram is just for teens? While 27% of adolescents consider Instagram the most important social media platform (second to Snapchat by only 1%),2  consider this profile of Instagram users, according to Pew Research Center3:

  • Between 18-29 years old (59%)
  • 32% women and 23% men
  • College educated (35%) and all income levels
  • Ethnically diverse4

Even more relevant to your program is the fact that 75% of Instagram users take action (such as visiting a website) after looking at an Instagram advertising post,5 reported Hootsuite. “If you’re hoping to spread the word about your business, Instagram is a statistically sound place to invest your time and energy,” says Hootsuite blogger Sydney Parker.

The Instagram voice

Since the heart of Instagram is sharing great images, the platform is ideal for camps and schools, where there’s abundant youth, energy, beauty, and inspiration just waiting to be captured.

In fact, Time reported that more students are relying on Instagram to choose colleges when they can’t afford campus visits.6 (Though it’s interesting to note, students gravitate to Instagram feeds created by other students, instead of university administrators’ picks. No surprise there!)

Getting started

Campfire Marketing suggests using your Twitter username to create your Instagram account. “It’s not mandatory, but it will help your fans tag your camp between different social networks,” says blogger Doug Ridley.7

After you’ve created your account, share your new Instagram presence everywhere—on your website, your email newsletters, and your other social networks. Ridley says, “The biggest mistake brands make when they start a new social network, is not telling anyone about it.”

Get your entire team involved, and ensure quality by appointing one Instagram administrator. To simplify the process, ask your team to upload photos to Dropbox.8

Building your following

First, check out this 2-minute video from Outside Online about capturing and posting great content on Instagram:

 

Here are some other nuts-n-bolts tips from Campfire Marketing for successfully building your Instagram community:

  • Create a camp hashtag: If you don’t have one already, make sure your program has a memorable hashtag and put it everywhere—website, email, t-shirts, photos, and signage.
  • Monitor and respond. Consider a third-party site like Iconosquare or Ink361 to help monitor your account. There are three types of engagement you want to monitor and respond to:
    1. Comments on your content.
    2. Other users tagging you in their content or comments.
    3. Users of your camp’s hashtag.

Teaching with Instagram

Perhaps more exciting for you to think about are ways you can use Instagram­–beyond branding–to engage and educate students. Here are some cool ways teachers are using Instagram10:

  • Snap and share students’ artwork and projects.
  • Feature a student or camper of the day (or week).
  • Document field trips and parties.
  • Challenge students to post like a historical figure. (What would you find in Abe Lincoln’s Instagram feed?)
  • Or post like a literary character. (Harry Potter, anyone?)
  • Encourage students to share and review favorite books.
  • Post science experiments—from the beginning, middle, and end.
  • Post photos as writing prompts.

Hopefully, we got your wheels turning on what Instagram can mean for your school or camp. Instagram is meant for having fun, so don’t take your learning curve too seriously!

If you’re ever in doubt…ask a teen friend for help!

We’d love to hear how you’re successfully using Instagram here on our Facebook page.

Sources:

1Instagram Press: 700-million

2Fortune: Snapchat Now Beats Instagram Among Teen Users

3Pew Internet: Social Media Fact Sheet

4Pew Internet: The Demographics of Social Media Users

5Hootsuite: Instagram Statistics

6Time: How High School Students Use Instagram to Help Pick a College

7Campfire Marketing: A Summer Camp’s Guide to Instagram: 10 Must-Do Tips

8Schneider B Media: Should Schools Bother with Instagram? 

9Hootsuite: Instagram Statistics

10We Are Teachers: 10 Surprising Ways to Use Instagram in the Classroom 

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About Gina Calvert

Gina Calvert is the Senior Marketing Writer for ACTIVE Network, providing marketing and business resources for active lifestyle organizations across a range of markets, including government, nonprofits, camps, schools and endurance events, for more than six years.