After joining the instagram team in our first year of University, we (Emily and Rio) began to co-lead the Instagram at the beginning of 2022. Our experience of being on the team previously gave us a good prior understanding and ideas of what to post and we already had a structure. Once the Instagram was officially handed over to us, we began to make our own decisions about how to lead the team, what content to post and set ourselves goals to improve our online presence.
As soon as we were handed full control of the instrgram, we felt we should focus all our efforts to making the account feel more like a welcoming community for current students, gradates, lecturers and friends of the department. We also felt it was crucial that we captured the department in a way that was appealing for prospective students, showcasing the vast range of projects, techniques and classes available on our course. To do this, we wanted to share a larger variety of posts, creating a more engaging feed. We also wanted to aim to post much more frequently than the previous years team, and engage more with other accounts.
Updating the Account
We immediately noticed that the account had a very unprofessional bio. It did not accurately portray our department as it had a chaotic and haphazard appearance. The first noticeable change to the account was updating this bio, making it feel much more considered and designed. Emily had the idea of adding a link tree to our bio, adding level of functionality as it would provide viewers easy access to the department website, UoR website, open day bookings, baseline shift talks and much more.
Planning and posting
In order to achieve our goal of posting more frequently, we implemented a new strategy for planning posts. We used an excel spreadsheet to plan our each month of posts, and allocated each post to a member of the team. The idea behind this was to get more organsied and allow each member to have a clearer idea of what to post, and when to post it.
Unfortunately, in practise this did not work as well as we had initially intended. Often, team members would forget to post on their allocated day, or other content would come up that wouldnt follow the structure and disturbed the plan. In practice, this strategy was too rigid and. Once we realised this wasn’t successful, we met with the team to discuss their thoughts on how well this was working. We all agreed that a more forgiving and less strict structure would work better for the nature of the content that we post. We also discussed with the team that frequent reminders on our group chat would be helpful to remind team members to post content.
Emily had the idea of using our account to better celebrate the typographic side to our departments course. To do this, we contacted Gerry, and requested links to typefaces designed by past MA Typeface Design Programme students. From here, Emily designed a carousel post template and began showcasing these typefaces regularly on the account. We felt having these posts helped us achieve a more considered and balanced feed, providing us with an element of consistency within our posts.
These posts did well in terms of engagement, and we were pleased to see type foundaries sharing us on their stories!
Inside the Department
As we have previously mentioned, we wanted to create a more welcoming and community feel to the account. One of the main ways we strived to achieve this, was by sharing both feed posts and reels, capturing the department itself, as well as classes such as feedback sessions.
We found these posts did really well, not only with the current students, but also past graduates, providing them with a sense of nostalgia! This was especially the case with the video content and the photography of the outside of the building.
Tips and Advice
Over the summer holidays, Rio thought that it would be a nice idea to welcome the new Part One’s with an advice post to help motivate them and inspire them at the start of this new term. IIn order to achieve this, we implemented carousel posts that shared wisdom from graduates of the department as well as current students. We found this post was welcomed warmly by our followers and would love this concept to be adopted by the new team and continue to share tips and advice!
Introduction of Guides
Guides are a feature on Instagram that allow you to collate posts into one space within your account. We felt this would be the perfect opportunity for us to help current students find the work of previous year groups, to take inspiration from examples of work and to get a better understanding of what will be expected from projects. With this being said, we made a guide for each ‘part’ as well as a guide of Real Job projects, MATD typeface posts, posts within the department, and baseline shift content.
Having implemented this into the departments account, we spoke to a few students who all agree that it was a ‘useful’ addition allowing easy access to content, especially when you are looking for a particular type of post.
Creating these guides have also been useful to help us grasp a better understanding of what we need to post more or less on the Instagram. For example, at one particular point in the year, Emily and I found ourselves posting a lot of Part 2 content, as it was the most accessible to us at the time. Therefore, we decided to recruit new students in the year below to hellpus out with posting, and got in touch with students in the year above to ask permission to post their work.
Engagement & Following
One of the main goals of posting on social media is to promote our department to new students, as well as create an online community of students, staff and alumni. Therefore, engagement and following is important to consider when posting. We have realised that certain posts ie: pictures of the department, or posts that follow trends increase engagement, and often, we have aimed to focus our content based on which
Looking at out insights on our professional dashboard, we can see that in the past 90 days of running the instagram account, we have reached 61% more accounts compared to 1 Jun–29 Aug, engagement has increased by 29% and our follower count has increased by 3.4%.
Looking back on our posts since we have lead the team, there are certain posts that have stood out to us as being more successful than others, and these are backed up by interactions and reach. To measure the success of a post, we take into account the number of interactions with the post such as likes, comments and shares, as well as how many accounts the post has reached. Using our professional dashboard insights, we can see what our following found the most engaging, as well as features of posts which drew in non-followers.
Little miss post
With 203 interactions with this post, the little miss post that we illustrated and designed ourselves was our most successful post. This post was designed in response to a popular trend on social media based on the well-known Mr Men book series.
Joby Caters Workshop
With 199 interactions, our post about our recent visit to Joby Carters sign writing workshop has been another hit amongst our followers. Photos of lettering and typography are something that would be enjoyed by the majority of our following, so it is no wonder that this post did well. Posts such as these are important to keep other members of the department up to date on what everyone gets up to.
Photographs and reels of the department
Our posts showing photographs of the outside and inside of the department, frequently received comments such as ‘love that place!’, ‘missing the yellow doors’ and ‘brings back memories’. We found that sharing these photos have been particularly successful amongst alumni, bringing back memories for former staff and students reminiscing their time at the department. These kind of posts are also useful or prospective students to grasp a vision of what life in our department looks like.
Preparing the New Team
During the autumn term, we decided to speak to the years below us, and gather new members to join our team. Having run the instagram as just a pair for several months, we felt it was key that we grew our team both for our benefit, to take the pressure as we were now part three students, but to also set up the new team to take over from us. We planned to take a step back from running the instagram towards the end of the autumn term, and did our best to guide our new team members towards new leadership and help make them comfortable posting and sharing content. We held several meetings throughout the term to share the idea we had for new content, as well as encouraging the new members to share any thoughts they had. We hoped to ease the new team into taking over the account rather than what we experienced, and leaving them to fend for themselves without prior warning!
We are delighted to say that we were able to recruit four new members to our team and we hope we have provided all the support and encouragement they need to allow the instagram to continue to grow not only as a social media account, but also as a community for students, staff and friends of the department.
As soon as we were handed the account at the start of 2022, we came up with a huge range of ideas. Unfortunately we were unable to design all these posts and implement them into our feed, however we definitely feel we have made a hugely positive impact on the Instagram, improving the content, engagement levels and community feel to the account.
We believe we have successfully maintained a consistent posting schedule, posting throughout the week. Previously, when we were under the leadership of the year above, we found that we lacked content especially at the start of each term, with the majority of posts being shared after from end of term submissions. We also found the content was mainly final mockups of work. We feel we have used our prior experience regarding this, and made a series of changes to improve not only the feed’s variety, but also the engagement with our content.
It was an absolute pleasure running the Instagram and we both feel we have gained valuable experience throughout the process. We feel our success lies with our ability to work collaboratively to run the account, gaining key skills in team leadership and time management. On top of this, we were able to harness our creativity to bring new and engaging content to the account in a variety of ways.
On top of this, we hope we have successfully prepared the next team, helping ready them for the creation of new content as well as maintaining new ideas that we have implemented ourselves.
RJ00455: Student-lead Department Instagram 2022
Emily Collard & Rio Ware