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A 'Uni'-versal Guide to Instagram in Higher Education

About the Book

Everything you need to know about Instagram in Higher Education. Learn how to source, create, plan and share content, engage with your community, grow followers and play the algorithm. Includes tried-and-tested planning tools, top tips and hacks.

Posting high quality square images every now and then sounds easy, right? But there's so much more to Instagram and it will be eating up your time before you know it. Find out how to manage your time to best effect and enjoy a bundle of free resources, handy apps and tried-and-tested processes to make Instagram management successful and enjoyable.

The book covers the following: basics, toolkit, content and community, hashtags, scheduling, Instagram Stories, testing and learning (how to run a pilot), and measurement. And if you make it to the end, you'll find out why you need to start salsa dancing,

Why this book?

InstHEgram was written following a three-month pilot conducted on The Open University's (OU) Instagram account and is based on research, experimentation (and a few mistakes), and immersing one's self in the world of Instagram (yes, it's likely you might start dreaming in square images and seeing the world through filters). The book's based on a real experience of Instagram in Higher Education from the perspective of the social media team OU, the UK's largest university and pioneers of part-time distance learning.

We learned a lot - and so will you.

PS This book has a HE focus, but if you're generally interested in making the most out of Instagram for Business, this book is for you too.

About the Author

Robyn Bateman
Robyn Bateman

Robyn Bateman is a former newspaper journalist-turned communications professional, specialising in content, social media, community engagement and mobile journalism. She currently works for The Open University's (OU) social media engagement team and is passionate about visual storytelling and the difference education makes to people's lives. Speaking of which...

Mature (ish) student

In the summer of 2017 Robyn will complete her MA in Online Journalism, studied part-time via distance learning with Birmingham City University and under the watchful eye of Paul Bradshaw. This book is the final project for the MA and follows, a community site for dog walkers in Milton Keynes; Ladies Wot Blog, a series of interviews to highlight the power and opportunities blogging presents to women; ContentEdMK, a hyperthetical business to provide content and social media training to small businesses in Milton Keynes; and, a resource for anyone interested in mobile journalism. You can follow her student journey at

Going back a bit

Robyn's career started when she joined Midland News Association's training scheme at the tender age of 18 (gaining a place possibly on the fact she knew the then local MP liked to eat honey sandwiches). Random knowledge will get you everywhere. She then joined the Ludlow Advertiser as a trainee reporter; the Shrewsbury and North Shropshire Chronicle as a senior reporter, then acting news editor; the Newport and Market Drayton Advertisers as chief reporter, deputy editor, then acting editor; and back to Shrewsbury as assistant editor to work on campaigns, resulting in the title of Campaigning Newspaper of the Year for the North Shropshire Chronicle's Sink or Swim Campaign to keep a local swimming pool open. She was also twice nominated for Headline of the Year in the Regional Newspaper of the Year Awards. She then moved to Leicestershire as editor of the Coalville Times group of newspapers, conquered it and fancied a bit of a change. Robyn joined The Open University in 2007 combining her journalism skills with a new technical ability, working on everything from community websites, multiplatform, multichannel campaigns and social media, always flying the flag for good storytelling, best practice and experimenting with new tools, technologies and processes.

Robyn blogs (not as much as she would like) at and you'll find her tweeting as @robynbateman. She's also blogged for a handful of third party sites like Wannabe Hacks, Lollipop Lane, Del Monte and Social Sign In.


InstHEgram is her first (and possibly last) eBook and it would make her very happy if people download it find it useful.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    • Who am I?
    • Who is this book for?
    • The Open University
    • The Masters degree
    • Instagram and the pilot
  • Basics
    • Setting up your account
    • Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come
  • Toolkit
    • Make the time
      • No, seriously. Make the time
      • Organisation and flexibility
      • Here’s the maths
    • Tools of the trade
      • Apps
      • Finding your mojo
    • Planning tools
      • Content diary
      • Content planner
      • Action/issues log
    • Design tools
      • You need people too
    • Content ideas
  • Content and community
    • Play the algorithm
    • Take good photos
    • Collaborate
    • Get your colleagues on board
    • Share the love: user generated content
    • Add incentives
    • Reward loyalty
    • It’s not all about images
      • Video
    • Don’t be afraid to go for the easy wins
    • If you post a question do you think you’ll get more comments?
    • Creating content for other channels
      • Quotes
      • The perfect recipe for cross-posting
      • Create presentations
      • People stories
    • Trending topics
    • Post at the best times of day
    • Call to action
    • Be different
    • Tone of voice
  • Hashtags
    • Monitoring
    • Create your own hashtags
    • Find new hashtags
    • How many hashtags and where?
    • Campaign-specific hashtags
    • Tag them!
    • Local hashtags
    • Geo locations
  • Scheduling
    • The logistics of scheduling
    • Should you schedule everything?
    • How often should you post?
    • Mobile phones and notifications
    • Scheduling in Instagram
  • Instagram Stories
    • Test it
    • Plan ahead
    • Safety in numbers
    • Take the right kit
    • Don’t capture content live (or remember that you don’t have to)
    • Pros and cons of vertical content
    • Make the most of Boomerang and Hyperlapse
    • Don’t forget your branding
    • Pre-prepare some Instagram Stories
    • Don’t forget context
    • Stats
    • Takeovers
    • Keep testing
  • Test and learn
    • Manage your expectations (and those of your manager!)
    • Set up a test account
    • Learn outside of Instagram
    • Don’t be afraid to ask
    • Don’t be afraid to compare
  • Measurement
    • Instagram Insights
    • Third-party measuring tools
    • Set some goals
    • Do an audit
    • Do your own tracking
    • Measurement isn’t just about numbers
    • Measurement doesn’t need to be channel specific
  • The end
    • Acknowledgements
  • Why salsa dancing is good for Instagram users
    • Addicted to your phone?
    • Blurring the boundaries between home and work
    • Training our body into discomfort
    • A state of stress
    • Salsa dancing could be the answer
    • Take a break, boost productivity
    • My smartphone is here to stay
  • The end. No, really

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