Usually an Open Day is a hive of activity as prospective students begin to discover York, and throughout the academic year you can normally see Student Ambassadors delivering campus tours. However, in-person Open Days have had to move online, which set us wondering: how can we still show off our beautiful parkland campus and answer questions about it? The answer: Instagram live.
So Steph and I set to work on devising a campus tour streamed on Instagram live. We’d seen an example but didn’t want to just copy it as every institution is different. We wanted to showcase our green campus, iconic buildings and waterfowl through Instagram, the channel where we get some of our best engagement.
The run through
It was crucial to do a practice run using a separate Instagram account. We needed to make sure we planned out the route to show off all the major campus landmarks, as well as checking we weren’t going to hit a wifi black hole and have the stream drop out mid-tour. Luckily we managed to completely avoid this (although that didn’t stop me being very stressed on the path from the Quiet Place to the Exhibition Centre).
Steph and I originally intended the tour to be around 20 minutes – any longer and we were scared engagement would drop off and people would stop watching – but when we did a practice run it was clear that wouldn’t be long enough. Better to have it longer and create some good content than make it unnecessarily short. We had fairly level views throughout in the real thing it turned out – ranging from ~170 to ~250.
All this wouldn’t have been possible without Nadine, the great Student Ambassador who led the tour. Using an Ambassador was key, as they’re used to giving campus tours, so would feel comfortable and have authentic student experiences to mention (even if Steph and I are only a year removed ourselves!) To prevent any awkwardness we needed someone who was charismatic and a good screen presence – luckily Nadine was both.
The end result
While I filmed Nadine, Steph watched the feed, screening the questions and sending approved ones to Nadine to answer. We posted a story on Instagram including the questions sticker the day before, to ensure we had a bank of questions ready to go. It was important for both of us to be there – I wouldn’t have been able to send over questions while filming too.
Top tip – when doing any kind of filming, make sure you wear quiet shoes. Mine were hard-healed and quite loud which left me trying to tip-toe for a lot of the tour!
Overall we were really happy with how it went. Going live can be a good tool when done well and used periodically: it brings authenticity and puts you right in front of your viewers at the start of all of your followers’ story feeds. We’ve saved the tour on IGTV where it’s received over 6,500 views already. It’s a good complement to the rest of our great social content (rota team, take a bow), and we managed to make a little bit of campus accessible for thousands of people who couldn’t get there in person.