UGA’s Instagram Takeover Program Surges During Pandemic

December 7, 2020 | By Kevin Gray

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TAGS: branding and marketing, coronavirus, nace insights, social media, technology,

Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

During a typical semester pre-COVID, up to five employers would participate in the University of Georgia (UGA) Career Center’s Instagram takeover program. This semester, UGA has already facilitated more than 20 employer Instagram takeovers.

“Employers want to increase their visibility and use this as a way to promote that, for instance, they are going to be at our virtual career fair or indicate the positions for which they are hiring” says Whitney Prescott, associate director of external engagement and communication in the UGA Career Center.

“It has definitely served as a great way to get the word out.”

The UGA Career Center’s Instagram takeovers are free and available to all employers that want to engage with UGA students. Prescott works with employers to select a date that aligns with their deadlines or events they want to promote.

“I’m able to look at analytics to know the days when we have higher engagement,” she says.

“Typically, Monday through Thursday are days when we see the most student views of our content. We also indicate the days we don’t want to host a takeover, such as on days we know we are already going to have a lot of social media coverage or on holidays.”

Once the date is secured, Prescott shares UGA’s guidelines with the employer along with links to past takeovers so they can see examples of what has worked best.

“Some employers set up a meeting with us to discuss their ideas,” Prescott says.

“The afternoon prior to the takeover, I email them our username and a unique password for the day for them to use. Once an employer logs into our account, they will only have access to the Instagram story for that day.”

She points out that employers have taken different approaches to their takeovers.

“Recently, because of COVID, their message has been that they are still operating and still hiring,” Prescott says.

“They indicate that things are a little different now, but show what ‘different’ looks like and detail the positons for which they are recruiting”

There are some common elements of successful Instagram takeovers, she says, including:

  • A formal start and end;
  • An introduction that lets students know what the employer will be doing during the takeover;
  • People in different roles, most notably some familiar faces, whether they are previous interns or UGA alumni who currently work within the organization;
  • Details about job and internship opportunities;
  • Showing off their office space;
  • Company perks, such as an on-site gym; and
  • Other elements that give insight into the culture or community, such as a local coffee shop that employees frequent.

“I also encourage them to use some of the features within the platform to help increase engagement,” Prescott says.

“Maybe they want to add a poll or put up a sticker that allows students to ask questions or tag their company’s handle so students can click to follow their organization. Employers that add those features tend to engage more students.”

The day after, Prescott follows up with a brief analytics report that outlines the success of the takeover. She explains that during these times, recruiters may have to make a case for recruiting at certain schools.

“This analytics report is additional data that they can share with their manager to show the success they have had branding and recruiting at UGA,” Prescott notes.

“This can help bolster their ‘why’ for continuing to recruit at UGA.”

The career center also lets employers know that the content from their takeover will be saved as a story highlight and will remain on the UGA Career Center’s account for up to five months so students can refer back to them.

The employer Instagram takeover schedule is placed on the UGA career consultants’ calendars so they can make sure students are aware of them. Direct links to the takeovers are also included in a special section of the career center’s newsletter that is sent to all students each Monday.

“Students have been very receptive to the employer takeovers of our Instagram account,” Prescott says.

“For employers that may not be able to come to campus for traditional recruiting and branding activities, this has been an alternative way for them to brand themselves and engage students.”

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