A few weeks ago I finally did it. I had held out long enough to that point, turning away from the peer pressure simply because “everyone else was doing it.” I mean, of course I saw others doing it all the time: on Facebook, on Twitter, everywhere. I heard them talking about it, how great it was. But I had held out. Until one day when I just thought, “Fine, I’ll just go ahead and do it.”


That’s right. I finally started to use Instagram.


I can’t really explain why I had refused to join one of the fastest growing networks, however it might have something to do with me being annoyed at all of the filtered photos of waffles and cats. I also thought, “is there a point to join this when I can just see the pics people post on Facebook? Do I really need another social network, especially one dedicated solely to photos?”


Now that I’ve had it for a while, I can answer that question: Yes. I’ve found myself checking Instagram on my phone and through Flipboard on my iPad almost as often as Facebook and Twitter. While there is some overlap, my interactions on Instagram are much different than those on other networks.


A couple weeks ago, I followed CASE’s Social Media Chat on Twitter, which focused on the evolving use of photos in university/college communications and marketing. (Side Note: you need to check out #CASEsmc chat on Twitter. It’s always a great dialogue between higher education professionals nationwide).


CASE posted a great recap of the chat, linking to some great responses from participants. Check it out here.


It really got me thinking about why more universities and colleges need to start utilizing Instagram as a tool in their social media repertoire. John Ayers, one participant in the social media chat, did a great job summing up why the use of photos should be an integral part of your institutional communications strategy: “Photos can play a major role in brand building – pics are quick-reads, mobile friendly, sharable.”


Also, here are a few stats specifically about Instagram for you to digest:

  • Instagram gains one new user every second
  • One billion photos have been taken with the app
  • There are roughly 58 photos uploaded each second


(Stats from digitalbuzz, the following infographic sections are also from digitalbuzz)


The user growth seen on Instagram is fascinating, and it will be the only ‘social media giant’ to reach 100 million users in two years. Which, as noted below, shatters every other network’s record quite easily.



Also, as the infographic so eloquently points out, college students love taking and sharing photos—and Instagram users are highly engaged.



How can you begin to utilize Instagram as part of your social media efforts? Can you think of ways to engage your students to post photos of their experiences or connect to you as you share? Again, I urge you to read through the #CASEsmc conversation to see tips from other university communicators.


Let’s all just try to keep the cat pictures to a minimum, okay?