Millennials are obsessed with curating and perfecting their "aesthetic" — especially on Instagram. As a recent graduate of the college, I was very familiar with the style, tone, and aesthetic of posts on Oberlin students' personal Instagrams. I found the best photos were well-lit, artistically framed, intimate, and often overlaid with filters that imbued them a slightly dreamy quality. I sought to capture this same distinctive look on Oberlin's official Instagram as a way to appeal to current and prospective students' visual sensibilities.
I also started a "Student Social Media Ambassador" program, in which I recruited several students to contribute content to the college's Instagram. I selected students who I felt had captured Oberlin in beautiful and unique ways on their personal accounts; who made us look at the school through fresh eyes. Additionally, I organized a week-long "Student Takeover" with a student who was studying abroad on the Oberlin in London program. We exclusively posted her original content for five days in order to promote and highlight the program.
Oberlin College has a rich and impressive history, and it was important to me to bring its stories to the forefront. Oberlin was the first college to admit African American students, so during the month of February, I designed an #OberlinBlackHistory campaign to highlight outstanding Black alumni. Featuring alumni such as abolitionist John Langston, artist Edmonia Lewis, and Director of the National Museum of African Art Dr. Johnetta B. Cole, the posts received an overwhelmingly positive response.
The account also featured photos of alumni who attended the Women's Marches in January 2017, and a photo contest for students who participated in Winter Term projects.
Instagram Stories are a relatively new feature on the platform, and I was extremely excited to take the lead in pioneering Oberlin's use of them. During spring 2017 semester, I created Instagram stories about the art rental program, sports championships, theater productions, a cappella concerts, convocations, and more. On Valentine's Day, I designed Oberlin-themed graphics that viewers could screenshot and share with their friends. I also upload weekly #ThrowbackThursday photos to our story, a collaboration with the Oberlin College Archives.
Our Instagram stories receive an average of 500 views per post, and our audience is constantly growing.