Instagram: Universities Capture a Photo Opportunity

Translated by Nina Fink, Marc Bonomelli
Publié le
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Instagram: Universities Capture a Photo Opportunity
For Bordeaux Montaigne University, Instagram gives "an alternative to official communications," with words and links taking a back seat to photos. // ©  Université Bordeaux Montaigne
While Instagram is not as popular with French universities as Twitter and Facebook, the app makes it possible to showcase student life and campus facilities and foster school pride. In French higher education, Instagram posts may be worth a thousand words.

At French universities, Facebook and, to a lesser degree, Twitter, have become essential communication tools for sharing official communications and event information. What about the platform whose posts are pictures? The question is worth asking. A Global Web Index study showed that 41% of Instagram users are between the ages of 16 and 24 and the number of everyday users has doubled in just two years to reach over 500 million.

Picture This

For Pierrette Langlais, communications director at Bordeaux Montaigne University, Instagram gives schools "an alternative to official communications, " with words and links taking a back seat to photos. She adds, "What’s on Instagram stays on Instagram. It’s a self-contained environment. We publish very few posts on our events. Instead, we highlight campus life. We share more emotions than announcements."

Picture Perfect

Given its focus on visuals, Instagram is "key to picture marketing, " comments Guillaume Devianne, director of ISEG Marketing & Communication School Nantes. It’s also ISEG students’ favorite. Devianne says, "You have to show what’s happening at your school in the moment."

Instagram prioritizes spontaneity, now more than ever. On top of its stories feature, modeled after fellow youth favorite Snapchat, the app added live videos in 2016. Paola Boulay, communications director at the University of Caen Normandy, notes, "Now you can share what happens behind the scenes at events." Yet Devianne warns that with stories, "the return on investment isn’t as high as it is for traditional posts."

The Big Picture

For Boulay, schools should be prepared to "invest in a good phone" and invest their time. For Devianne, "Social networks are not pure advertising tools. It’s about having conversations and sharing discoveries. Only talking about yourself is a mistake."

Of course, public criticism is a real risk. However, Devianne says, "The right to respond is important. Accepting potentially negative comments" builds trust with your followers. Thankfully, according to Boulay, Instagram is the social network with "the fewest trolls."

Read the full article (in French)


Translated by Nina Fink, Marc Bonomelli | Publié le

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