You might not get as many likes as Kylie Jenner, but you can definitely boost your Instagram game with some of these tips from JWU's Social Media Marketing class.
THE FIRST PLACE POST BY HALEY NAVARRO ’20.
It’s hard to imagine getting graded on your Instagram performance, but in JWU’s Social Media Marketing class it’s a requirement. Elizabeth Carey, an associate professor in the College of Business, put her class to the test with a competition that required them to use the techniques they learned in class to get the most engagement on an Instagram post.
At the beginning of the fall term, each student was assigned a week when they had to post on Carey’s class Instagram account, @profcareyjwu. Their post could reflect topics such as what’s trending in the news, an important cause or a national awareness month. Then, using Instagram Analytics, the students tracked the post reach, likes and impressions to see who had the most engagement.
THE SECOND PLACE POST BY ALANA MILAZZO '20.
The first-place post was by Haley Navarro ’20, who posted a photo from the Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park. Second place went to Alana Milazzo ’20, who posted a photo of artwork by Hannah Good that encouraged people to take care of their mental health and not let stress overwhelm them. In third place was a post by Kathryn Horrigan ‘20 that celebrated National Cheeseburger Day.
“The best social media techniques I learned from this class are simple and easy to apply,” said Horrigan. Here are her top three:
1. Know your audience
A successful post is a relatable post. People love Halloween activities, everyone deals with stress in life, and a lot of us can’t resist a delicious burger — so the top three winners definitely achieved this step.
THE THIRD PLACE POST BY KATHRYN HORRIGAN '20.
2. Turn on Instagram Insights Analytics
All you have to do is switch your Instagram to a business account to access the Insights feature. Anyone can do this, and it won’t change the format or look of your profile. “This was one of the first things I did with my own personal Instagram,” said Horrigan. “It really allows you to get a more in-depth read of your audience and reach.
3. Find peak times to post
This is important, because if you’re posting at a time when most of your audience is not active on Instagram (i.e. sleeping), chances are there won’t be as much engagement. You can see what the peak times for your audience are with Instagram Insights.
Of course there are many other techniques, such as hashtag usage, tagging other accounts and finding a consistent aesthetic for your posts. Some people may wonder why this is a valuable thing to learn about. The answer is: whether we like it or not, social media has become a huge part of marketing for virtually every company and business worldwide. “I know that what I've learned will give me an edge in my career search,” Horrigan said. She hopes to run a lifestyle and travel blog for a fashion magazine.
I know that what I've learned will give me an edge in my career search.”
And even Milazzo, a Restaurant Food & Beverage Management major, acknowledged the importance of social media skills in her career path. "I don't plan to pursue a career in social media, but I feel that the knowledge I've gained in this class will aid me in operating my future restaurant," she said.
From an educator's standpoint, teachers know how important social media skills have become. “Students need to understand the relevance of analytics to make strategic content marketing decisions across social channels,” said Carey.
When Carey first began asking students to post on her class Instagram account, it was mostly just to show them how the Insights feature worked.“I really have to give credit to former students in my class who said I should make it more of a competition to get full participation from the students. Chocolate and cookies as prizes also helps!"
Be sure to check out @profcareyjwu on Instagram to see all of the class posts.
THE THREE WINNERS RECEIVED CHOCOLATES AND COOKIES FROM WHOLE FOODS.