Here’s what one staff did to brand their Instagram accounts


This post originally appeared on JEA Digital Media on January 11, 2019.

Sometimes we forget that our student media programs are a brand in themselves. And when we forget that they’re a brand, we oftentimes forget to promote them as such and use our social media channels to showcase what the brand has to offer. We stepped back and looked at the Tom Tom brand as a whole, evaluated what different media we use to tell the stories of others and our own, and then we decided that we need to try something else to push our own identity and brand.

We decided that Instagram was our chance to do just that, especially in our sports media program.

At the beginning of the school year we archived all of our Instagram content from both of our accounts (@ACHSTomTom and @SequoitSports), and we agreed that we will do this at the beginning of each school year. Armed with a plan that would be executed in stages, we moved to rebrand our Instagram presence to focus on our brand.

Our sports account has now become a place to showcase creative work and promote games and teams. Since our sports media program is an IMC (integrated marketing communications) program, we felt it was important that, that Instagram account became a chance for kids to do advertising, public relations, journalism and marketing in a different way.

Now, that account is full of promotional posters, team schedules, athlete posters and Adobe Spark Posts and Videos prompting the student body to attend certain games.

Our news and lifestyles account rolled out a new Instagram model slowly. The plan for that account is more structured and consistent, much like Emily Ristow outlined that the Journal-Sentinel (a paper servicing our neighbors just north) moved toward.

  1. Fun interactive content getting our readers to our website, such as recipe promos and links
  2. Polls on a specific day of the week to get audience feedback or garner excitement
  3. Mondays became Motivational Mondays where a different staff member each week shares something that keeps him or her going
  4. A new addition is “Weird Fact Wednesday,” which resulted from a staff member believing kids in our school just don’t know enough “weird stuff.” While random, it sparked interest and provided an opportunity for this student to share what she was interested in to her school.
  5. Promotional content for events going on in school that aren’t athletics, because that went to our sports account.

We’ve decided that our Instagram account needed to be an extension of our brand, one that was unique and full of personality–our personality. Everything about the Tom Tom as a brand will now be housed on our Instagram accounts, our traditional storytelling will continue to flourish in print and on; Snapchat will still be our place where students can see live stories beyond the use of Facebook Live; Spotify will continue to be our “what are we listening to now” or “what is ____ listening to right now” home; Facebook will push out stories, photos, videos and magazines; and Pinterest will continue to dominate our desires to organize ideas; however, now, we have something that makes our Instagram matter more and become more personable.

Is this the best idea? Who knows, but it shows a personality that we haven’t shown before now.

Is it an idea worth trying so people can know us better?
Sure is.