Welcome to the world of social media. Once again we have new functionality in one of the major social networks: Instagram. However, you may be familiar with it already. That's because it mirrors Snapchat almost identically.
Yesterday, Instagram announced its Instagram Stories feature. Functionality that allows a user to post a "story" with text and drawing overlays to followers that will disappear in 24 hours. So, as a boarding or private school, how would this functionality be useful? You may be saying "It's not for us," but ultimately it has a host of benefits, a few of which I've listed ] below:
Covering Events in Real-Time
With social networks like Facebook and Instagram, we've always been taught they aren't like Twitter, where you can post consecutively to cover events in real-time. It's not accepted. However, you now can with Instagram Stories, because in 24 hours those posts will be gone. Since the posts will disappear you don't have to worry about them cluttering your profile page or spamming your followers. It's their choice if they tune into your "stories" during an event to follow along with either photos or video posts. It really opens up a lot of new doors for schools who cover academic, art or athletic events.
How many times have you tried to post school announcements on Twitter and Facebook for them to be ignored by students? Well, the majority of students aren't on those platforms but are on Instagram and SnapChat. Now, with Instagram Stories, you can use the 24 hour period to post an announcement to students, who likely follow you more on Instagram than anywhere else. Want to make sure students know that tomorrow is a formal day? Post a pic of a student in their formal wear, add some colorful overlay text saying "REMINDER: Formal Friday Tomorrow!" and post. Since the post will disappear in 24 hours, you don't have to worry about the announcement becoming old news and still remaining on your profile page. Even worse, you don't have to worry about Instagram's new algorithm hiding the post and it showing up in student's streams two days later.
Students absolutely love SnapChat. It's addicting. Since Instagram has some similar features now, it might make it more appealing to students who want to help your school. At Cheshire Academy, we have student interns who post to our Instagram. Now, they can continue to do so, but with more consistency and personality. While the posts to the profile page of your Instagram account can be focused on prospective students, the Instagram Stories could be more of the day-to-day activities on campus for students. Students can post if they are at the football camp and want others to come down and support the team, or if there's a cool science project happening. While that may also be good content as a profile post, if the students feel more comfortable posting as a story then it's ultimately better than nothing and will likely build a stronger connection with your student body moving forward.
What uses can you see Instagram Stories playing at your boarding or private school?