When you can’t meet in person —use these Insta Story features to stay connected & engaged

Using social media to stay connected & engaged

From quizzes to polls, music to gifs — Instagram is constantly updating their features to provide users with unique ways to engage with the app and with one another.

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Our picks to stay connected & engaged with your audience in the era of no events and social distancing

The question sticker

What can you use the question sticker for? Pretty much everything. In fact, it’s our most used Instagram Story feature.

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Have you ever rolled out a new program or policy and wanted to assess student sentiment? Do students understand it? What questions do they have? What do we need to explain better? And how?

Simply add the question sticker to an Instagram story post and ask What questions they have.

The question sticker gives the power to your audience and puts them in the driver’s seat. In turn, you’re able to glean valuable insight into your audience and create future content based off of the questions received. The question sticker has become so important for our NAU Social strategy that it turned into a weekly series #AskNAU — allowing us to capture questions our current students have — and prospective students and their families too.

Lumberjack Tip: Social media is a two-way street. Don’t forget to answer the questions in your story or reply privately and answer them in the DMs.

Other potential uses

  • Structured Takeovers — We all have those nightmares of someone taking our accounts over and going rogue. What can help qualm those fears? Using the question sticker to structure those takeovers.
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Have a student takeover and include an introduction post with name/major/interests. Then add the question sticker and the “takeover” will be that person answering questions that come in through a mix of selfie videos and past video/pics from their camera roll. This not only helps you — but the student too since it’s an easy formula to follow.

  • Find out what your audience would like to know more about. Does your audience want to see more takeovers or Q&As? Do they want advice from faculty/staff or from fellow students? Do they want walk through tutorials or opportunities to ask in a livestream? Again — use the power of the question sticker to survey your audience and then review the results.
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  • User generated content (i.e. call to audience for advice, tips) Your audience has a lot of great ideas to share. Why not ask them and include it in your content? For instance, every year we curate new NAU Spotify playlists based on suggestions we receive from our Instagram question sticker stories. We also share advice/tips sent in and frame it as “From One Lumberjack to Another.”

The countdown sticker

Chances are, you’re already adding events to your Instagram stories. How often do you think about adding a countdown sticker too?

Your followers can subscribe to the countdown through Instagram which then sends a reminder when the countdown is finished. The countdown reminder allows your audience not only to see that you have an upcoming event but also to physically see how long until the event happens.

This creates a sense of urgency to reply or register to ensure they don’t miss the event.

The best part? Your audience can share the countdown to their own stories as well — expanding the reach of the post.

Using the countdown sticker Just like any other sticker you may use on Instagram stories, you will find it in your sticker list. Once you click that sticker, you will be able to give the countdown a title and change up the color.

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From there, you will choose a date and a time and will have the opportunity to resize it onto your post.

Is your event on Facebook? Not a problem? Just note that on your Countdown text and include a swipe up link or add the link to your bio.

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Perfect for:

Zoom meetings

Application deadlines

Event reminders

Live chats

Enrollment dates

Scholarship submissions

Unit/Club Milestones


Polls and quizzes are designed to do just that — poll and quiz the audience. The content of the polls and quizzes is where the real creativity can happen!

Looking to feature the people behind your program/department/club? Try making it more of a game and use polls and quizzes in a Get To Know Me segment (Think This or That, True/False and 3 Truths and a Lie style)

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Sometimes, fun is what we need.

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Use polls to make predictions and get your audience excited about things to come.

Close friends list

The Close Friends features allows you to choose a group of followers to share private Instagram Stories posts with — meaning if you select close friends it will only share to that group and will not be visible to the rest of your followers.

When you post a story to your close friends, your profile will have a green ring around it instead of the usual magenta.

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This can be a great option when you want to share information with a select group of students. For example, let’s say you are hosting an information session for sophomore level students only. Those students can tell you what their Instagram handle is and you can add them to the close friends list and share relevant content to those students leading up to that event.

Or let’s say you want to share information with the officers in your club. You can create an officer list to send information to for discussion/consideration before sharing with the whole group.

Your close friends list is always editable so once that event is over, you can clear out the list and begin anew.


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Co-Watching will let you browse posts with your friends over in-app video chat. The feature can be accessed by starting a video chat through the Instagram Direct messaging tab and tapping the photo icon in the bottom left of the video chat screen. It lets you look at saved, liked, and recommended posts together as a group.

How can you utilize co-watching?

Instagram strategy sessions — If there’s multiple people involved in your posting, have a Co-Watching strategy session. Have everyone save posts they like and that they might want to replicate in the future. When your strategy session happens — everyone will get the opportunity to share what caught their eye and how it might apply to their own area.

Give an inside look into the student experience — Let’s say there’s a few students interested in studying abroad in Costa Rica. You happen to have a student Jen, who just came back and would love to share her experiences. Those students can hop on co-watching and Jen can share her experiences through her posts and posts she saved of places she went to/ate at. All the while — the other students are able to ask Jen questions at any time.

Event recaps & planning for the future — Get together and see the buzz on your social. Look through hashtagged content, other posts and take notes — what worked well, what could have been done better? If you do this, you’re in a better position for the next round.

There’s so many features out there. Don’t be afraid to try them out and see what works for you. You never know what is going to resonate with your audience until you test it out!

Remember to take advantage of free NAU Social resources such as Campus Happenings, Lumberjack Club Takeovers, and Follow Fridays.

DM/Snap or email us your flyers and we’ll add them to our Monday Campus Happenings weekly Snapchat feature.

Interested in a Takeover? Check out the different ones we offer and see what’s best for you!

Here’s to connecting and engaging

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It’s always a great day to be a Lumberjack! Join the conversation and share your #NAU story.

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