A big announcement came from Instagram today about how you can now send private messages (photos and videos) to users now. Of course, this changes a little bit of the photo sharing game especially when you are looking at the presence of Snapchat and their popularity. It is interesting especially when you remember that Facebook tried to buy Snapchat and now – Facebook owns Instagram, so you have to wonder what the story is regarding this? Interesting.
Another factor we have to consider here, especially for PR (especially with this Edelman Digital post) and social media professionals is another metric that could be analyzed, and that is attention. Meaning, if you are able to take the time to engage with users and directly connect with them with these direct photos, you will get their attention. However, when you are looking at the challenges this can raise (increase of spam, privacy and content, etc), this has to be considered here as well.
With this being said, these changes in Instagram raised the question for me regarding how professors could use Instagram for their classes. I realize that most of my colleagues are using Twitter and Facebook for their classes, which is great, but how could Instagram be incorporated?
I actually used Instagram much more this past semester for my class than previously. I actually learned some best practices and tips on what worked for me with my class:
Exclusive announcements for class: Whether it’s meeting times for presentations, guest speakers, exams, or exclusive insights on the clients for the class, Instagram is a great place to make these announcements. You can put out teasers both on FB and Twitter for your class and then publish the content on Instagram using the class hashtag. This is what I did this semester for my client announcements.
Highlight guest speakers both in photos, videos, or both in a collage: This was huge – I was able to feature and thank the guest speakers (who were also on Instagram) and then cross promote the content through Facebook and Twitter. I actually was able to also attach more hashtags for the pictures so I was able to generate some more awareness of the class with fellow students at UofL, faculty, and community professionals. I’d recommend downloading the PicPlayPost app for this.
Visual Art: You don’t’ want to use just photos for Instagram, so you want to make sure you mix up the content to be creative. I have fond some great inspirational quotes and fonts from the Rhonna App for the iPhone. It’s great and it does personalize the class a bit more.
Highlight student conversations and give them shout outs: All of my students were on Instagram, and they were using the class hashtag at the time as well (#Freberg13) so I saw some of these posts and I wanted to make sure to engage them there as well. You can also use the Repost It app to give the students credit for the photo and share it with your followers.
Collages of major events in the class: Presentations, meetings, and experiences are just a few things to think about when you are capturing the story of the class on Instagram. I did this for the final presentations on Instagram to show how well the students did this semester.
Capture cool RTs or Mentions of brands/individuals using class hashtag: It was pretty cool to see how certain big name brands like Hootsuite were sharing our content from class and using our hashtag. I wanted to share this with the students and my friends visually, so this was cool to use Instagram for in this case.
Overall, Instagram is not only a useful tool for professionals and brands to explore, but this can be a great platform to engage students visually. I am planning to continue using Instagram for #Freberg14 as well – I would be interested in hearing what other ideas or uses you may find Instagram good to use from a teaching perspective.
Have a great day!