Great idea: The University of Durham’s Instagram photo contest

We spend a lot of time examining higher education web and social media content. We know there’s a high standard of content out there but we have also noticed time and time again that engagement can be low, even on the best of social media accounts or websites. It’s particularly hard to get students to engage with content in any meaningful way. This is especially true if we consider meaningful engagement on social media as more than just a throwaway like or an infrequent comment, and instead, as an online community that students see themselves as part of. Previously we covered some great photo competitions like the "Great move in" competition held at the University of Bradford.

We love to see higher education social media accounts where it’s the students themselves that are providing the content. We’re seeing this more and more with student blogs, takeovers and vlogs. In today’s blog, we’re talking about a campaign that Durham University is running over on their Instagram account right now.

A snapshot of the Durham Instagram

Durham University has over 15.5K followers on their official university Instagram account and for the first three weeks of the new term are running a #DurhamDays Theme competition. Students are asked to send their best freshers photos to match a daily #DurhamDays theme to be in with a chance of winning a £25 voucher each week. Each day has a different theme such as heading to uni, first impressions, new friends, Friday feeling and matriculation.

For first year students who arrive on campus it can be hard to feel part of something, it’s one of the factors that contribute most to new students dropping out. A simple campaign like this can show student’s that they’re welcome and part of your campus.

In addition, this photo contest has generated a wealth of content for the university’s Instagram account and has successfully gotten new students involved in their online community. A contest like this is an inexpensive way to reach new students and to help them connect and feel part of your campus. On a boring but important note, it is very important to have a solid set of "Terms & Conditions" as you don't want to leave anybody upset!