Love ’em or hate ’em, Instagram Stories are here to stay. With the rise of video as a dominant player in digital advertising, Instagram Stories have some remarkable strengths that cannot be ignored by higher education marketers looking to cut through the noise and reach prospective students as they make their college decisions.
Video is entertaining and engaging, and consumers especially like to see video from brands, as it makes them more relatable. Instagram actually reports that over 500 million users are watching or posting Stories every day. With prospective college students on Instagram throughout their daily routine, it is more important than ever to take advantage of this audience at all phases of their college decision process. The strengths of Instagram Stories are in the ability to connect with your audience on an authentic level throughout every stage of your enrollment funnel. As it turns out, specific types of content perform better at different points in the funnel—but don’t worry, we’ll go over that too.
Strength #1: Increase brand awareness of your school
Instagram Stories are a brilliant tactic for increasing brand awareness among prospective students (especially undergrads) who may or may not know about your school. Because Instagram shares a platform with Facebook, you can use all the targeting parameters that Facebook provides, such as age, location, education level, interests, and behaviors. What videos perform best for this tactic? Those showing shots of campus, students and professors interacting, or current students sharing their testimonials have repeatedly proven effective at encouraging curious prospects to explore more about an institution.
As an added bonus, studies show that Generation Z is not very concerned with beautifully put-together videos, so the more relatable and natural your content, the better! This content can be repurposed from longer videos or even filmed on an iphone—it’ll still communicate well on Instagram Stories. If producing a video is a little tougher for your team, you can also run a static image with animation or a slideshow with several images on Instagram Stories.
Strength #2: Encourage your website visitors to submit an inquiry or further engage with your school
Once students have found your school through a website visit or by submitting an RFI form, you now have audiences you can target either via a Retargeting audience or a list of inquiries.
Retargeting is an essential marketing tactic. Student recruitment doesn’t end with the first RFI submission; you need to keep your institution top-of-mind through consistent, varied visibility throughout the digital landscape. One intelligent way to do this? Instagram Stories.
You can encourage prospective students to schedule a tour or attend one of your open house events through intentionally crafted Instagram Stories. Since these students have already interacted with your school in some way, seeing a video from you again while swiping through their Instagram Stories will remind them that they should take the next step and visit!
Pro tip: Carnegie Dartlet recommends refreshing Instagram Stories creative every couple of months to avoid saturating your audience with the same video. For example, running new videos for both fall and spring open house events ensures users only see fresh content.
Strength #3: Push admitted students during yield
Your application date has passed and your admitted students are beginning to narrow down their list of colleges and make their final decision. This is the perfect time to implement a yield campaign through Instagram Stories. Yield campaigns push admitted students to submit their deposits to your school or attend an accepted students event to help solidify their decision. The strength of a yield campaign on Instagram Stories is in their exceptional ability to appear conversational and natural. By utilizing Instagram Stories for this campaign, this content can serve as a reminder to take that next step without seeming pushy. The best content for this type of campaign? Think videos of students interacting, classroom scenes, or campus events—anything that gets students excited about attending.
Get ready to launch Instagram Stories!
You can see the exceptional strength of Instagram Stories in student recruitment and enrollment marketing. Video engagement specifically has increased by 53% year-over-year, and this percentage continues to rise! No matter what stage of the marketing funnel you decide to target an Instagram Stories campaign to, your prospective students will be more likely to engage with your school through this medium.