3 Simple Instagram Hacks For Student Recruitment

First impressions count. We know that on average prospective students will hang around for roughly 10 seconds before moving on. Something has to catch their curiosity immediately.

Instagram has become a playground of great content hosting features, but it is some of the more bread and butter functionalities which continue to make the best first impressions.

These are our three simple Instagram hacks you can implement right now to help student recruitment.

Use pinned and highlight content for newcomers

Students need to know what you stand for and what their life will be like at your institution within a few seconds. Stage managing your Instagram grid and highlights section for first contact is a must.

This is especially true if you’re running paid social media ads for brand awareness. Hundreds if not thousands of prospective new students could be landing on your profile every day.

In our experience, around 2 in 10 universities use pinned posts at all - let alone in a manner designed to draw students in. Many still see pinned posts and highlights as a way to increase engagement on chosen content rather than provide a service for first time visitors.

Institute of Science and Technology Austria

Use a link in bio tool

When was the last time you were promoting just one thing in higher education? Probably never.

Often we see university Instagram content casually telling followers to ‘check the link in our bio’. This link changes over time and with no warning, leaving much of the calls to action obsolete.

With the baked-in analytics tools of most link in bio tools you can see which links are attracting the most clicks and use that data to inform future Instagram posts.

Using a link in bio tool is a must for any institution running multiple calls to action across its Instagram content. Here are a few reliable options:


Linkinbio by Later


University of Cambridge

Use a consistent colour palette

It was true in the early days of Instagram and it’s still true today - visual consistency is key. 

Picking a colour palette for your grid section is as important as a tone of voice guide for your communications. It’s the visual identity of your offer.

However, this doesn’t mean you make the choice once and live with it forever. You could identify a colour palette for each season, a specific campaign or a certain number of posts. The point here is to make the decision consciously and with an end-goal in mind.

Sheffield Hallam University

Bonus tip: Engage with your community

We’ve performed plenty of social media analyses for higher education over the years and one thing we see time and again is institutions not getting involved in the comments.

Don’t just post and run. If there is debate about your content, get involved. If people are loving it, show them some love too. If they find it problematic, find out why.


Yes, putting time and resources into functionalities like stories and reels is important, but there is also plenty of low hanging fruit ready to be harvested.

By taking a few minutes right now to make these changes to your Instagram profile you’re already increasing your chances of students getting a lasting and positive impression of your university.

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