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Beyond the videoconference: piloting Instagram to reach more students for online events

Rowan Mills, Digital Communications Coordinator in Careers and Employability (C&E), shares with us a behind the scenes look at a recent event Careers and Employability hosted online.  

Creative Opportunities Unlocked was a 3-day online careers and employability event for UAL students and graduates. Taking place from 26-28 January 2021, we welcomed 16 organisations who shared advice about job-hunting and information about the roles they were recruiting for with attendees. 

This event was a C&E cross-team collaboration between the marketing team, the creative opportunities job board coordinator, and the enterprise and events team. 

As C&E continue to deliver services online, we continue to explore new ways and platforms to achieve this. Instagram is a channel we have been using for around 3 years to promote our activities and events in advance. Since the first lockdown in March it has been increasingly a platform we use to answer student and graduate queries, which are mainly channeled through our weekly ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions (hosted by the C&E Education and Support Team.) When devising the Creative Opportunities Unlocked event, we wanted to use some of this learning and experience to see how it would work within an event setting with external organisations. 

As part of Creative Opportunities Unlocked, we decided to host an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session with organisations and, amongst others, SSShakeGigl and Directory Group took part.

We also gave organisations the opportunity to “take over” our Instagram for the 3 days and post content relating to their company and vacancies. It was the first time Careers and Employability had used Instagram in this way, and it was an integral tool to deliver interactive activities for this event – to connect employers, students and graduates. We found it to be a successful tool and are proud of the results.  

Over the 3 days of the event our Instagram account: 

  • Gained 112 new followers 
  • Received 413 likes on Creative Opportunity Unlocked related posts   
  • Had 60 questions sent in to ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions   
  • Received 43,514 impressions, with 1,254 average reach   
  • Posted over 200 Instagram stories, averaging 102 views each 
  • Received 1,815 views on IGTV videos/video posts 

As well as this student engagement through social channels, companies such as RichemontEstée LauderKurt Geiger and Bonhams all posted vacancies on the Creative Opportunities jobs board. Organisations hosted one-to-one CV and portfolio advice sessions and group talks online through the more traditional platform of Blackboard Collaborate. The Education and Support Team also hosted workshops for job-hunting. In total, there were 1,748 bookings for workshops, 1-2-1s and employer talks, with 929 attendees. 

It is important to use appropriate channels for the differing formats and audiences, and great that we could broaden this through this extended digital model. 

Find the Careers and Employability team online, on Twitter @CareersUAL and on Instagram @careers_employability.

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