Net Natives Runs UK Education Sector’s First Instagram Ad Campaign

Net Natives Runs UK Education Sector’s First Instagram Ad Campaign

Last month Net Natives was privileged to run the UK education sector’s first Instagram advertising campaign for Lewisham Southwark College. Here Natives’ Head of FE Campaigns George Duffield talks to Sonia Furley, Lewisham Southwark College’s Head of Marketing to find out a bit more about what motivated her to run the campaign and how she found the experience.

George D: Hi Sonia, thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your recent pioneering Instagram campaign. First off, what was your initial reaction when Net Natives recommended using Instagram to reach potential students?

Sonia F: I was really excited when Net Natives showed me the reach potential with Instagram, and I could see how it would become a massively important new channel for us. Plus, finding out it would make us the first education provider to use Instagram advertising was irresistible!

What sort of engagement did you see on the adverts?

We saw a large increase in student engagement with our internal posts, and the sponsored ads created by Net Natives surpassed our expectations in that respect. We found it was a great way to raise brand awareness within our community – something we were particularly keen to achieve.

What sort of images did you use and why?

We really relied on Net Natives’ best practice with regards to the final pick of photos we used. We had a selection of images from around the area that we were keen to utilise as we wanted to focus the campaign on our community. Throughout the campaign, the feedback from Net Natives showed us that bold, vibrant colours saw the most engagement – steering away from traditional direct recruitment related imagery

Did you see any other effects of the advertising?

We saw an increase in traffic to our website too. It wasn’t the main objective for the campaign but, like I said, it really surpassed our expectations, not only with engagement on the platform, but also with the extra website visitors. In total we saw around 6,000 clicks to our website from around 300,000 impressions for our sponsored posts.

What results did you really want to see?

We wanted to see an increase in brand awareness – that was really important. Our Instagram account has been inactive for over a year, so we were also hoping to see an increase in previously low engagement on our account. We were initially skeptical of the platform but once the Net Natives team showed us the potential we couldn’t ignore it – we knew we had to take the chance and trust them!

What was the outcome of the campaign?

In summary, a really positive reception from our target audience. We received over 9,000 likes on the posts and great feedback from Instagram users. We also wanted to experiment with the ads we posted, to see what worked and what didn’t – we’ve learnt a lot from this campaign and the insights from the team at Net Natives have been invaluable.

So, would you use Instagram again for future advertising?

Absolutely! The Net Natives team have proven it as an excellent platform for student engagement. It has driven substantial traffic to our website, and helped us build a valuable audience on a key social network that we can continue to engage with.

What would you do differently next time?

Next time we would like to make better use of Net Natives’ expertise within the full student cycle, so we can have an annual plan in place and use the platform alongside other activity at key points of the year to boost exposure and engagement. We are also keen to use video content to showcase events and things happening in our community.

Any advice for those who are thinking of advertising on Instagram?

Clarity of message. Make sure your content is going to resonate with your audience and how they engage on the platform – by this I mean that both audience and platform need to be matched and not just recruitment messaging pushed through for the sake of ticking a box to say you’ve done it. It needs to match up how people engage with the platform to ensure success.

Any final thoughts?

This was a fantastic opportunity, and we’re very thankful to Net Natives for recommending the platform, their expertise, and how well the campaign was managed. It exceeded our expectations in the areas we were hoping for and even gave us results in other ways – so it’s safe to say it was a success!

Lewisham Southwark College's Pioneering Instagram Campaign
Lewisham Southwark College's Pioneering Instagram Campaign
Lewisham Southwark College's Pioneering Instagram Campaign

Digital Conversion for HE & Fe Marketers - Net Natives Events

To find out more about where Instragam fits into your student conversion strategy join Facebook (who own Instragram), Twitter, Linkedin, Google, a leading data lawyer and Natives’ founder Steve Evans at our Digital Conversion for HE & FE Marketers at Woburn House, London on 12th November. Click here for more information and tickets.