Social Media Engagement Soars as a Result of Instagram Challenge

Here at Rowland Hall, we are always looking for new ways to increase social media engagement with our students. As a result of our Instagram Challenge, we saw some astounding results! During the four-week contest period, our Facebook and Instagram engagement jump by 550%. In addition, ourYouTube channel reach increased by 600%. This contest was a fun way to increase engagement while extending our social media brand, and a great way to get our students involved.


We had heard from other schools, mostly in higher education, about high levels of engagement between students and the school’s social media channels. We have had great success engaging parents (FacebookPinterestYouTube), but we have seen less interaction between our students and our social media outlets.  As we thought about ways to involve the students, we asked ourselves what social media aspect seems to interest the students the most. The answer: hashtags. #duh



At the start of the school year, we launched an advertising campaign which incorporates the hashtag #RHiSMy. The campaign reflects on what Rowland Hall means to the person in the advertisement, and fills in the blank ‘Rowland Hall is my _’.  (see examples) In addition to the headline, the ads are hashtagged with #RHiSMy. As we thought about ways to expand the reach of this campaign, and looked for ways to involve students, the idea to create a contest that involved photos and hastags became the obvious answer. #brilliant. The idea was furthered after the Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake hashtag video was released. Seeing this funny video spawned the idea to create our own original hashtag video as a way to kick off the contest.

So this is how the contest went down:

High School students were invited to participate in the inaugural Instagram Challenge at Rowland Hall. They were asked to reflect on what Rowland Hall means to them, capture it in a photo, and post the photo to Instagram using the hashtag #rhismy. The contest was kicked off with a screening of our hashtag video, featuring our Middle School and Upper School Upper principals. #hugehit   #wannabeactors  #hams



During the following two weeks, photos streamed into Instagam. After the photo entry period was closed, the voting began! We pulled all of the submissions into an Instagram Challenge 2013 album on the Rowland Hall Friends and Families Facebook Page. Official votes were cast by logging into a Facebook account and “Liking” a favorite photo in the Facebook album.  #rockthevote


Three student winners were announced during an assembly on Monday, December 16th, 2013. The three photos with the most “Likes” received Apple gift cards.


When we launched the contest, we were unsure of how it would all play out. But in the end, we took the chance, had fun with it, and ended up with a wildly successful social media campaign that met all of the goals we had hoped for.