It’s no secret that Instagram is one of the most successful social media platforms of all time. Certainly, our @uofmichigan Instagram account is a huge component of our social media strategy. With over 60,000 followers and 2,000,000 likes on our media, UMSocial takes great pride in maintaining a powerful Instagram presence. A well-curated Instagram feed can do wonders for a brand or organization, helping to associate a concrete brand message with vivid, pleasing imagery. Additionally, Instagram affords institutions and individuals the capability to easily engage with their followers. It’s an immensely powerful branding tool, and we are constantly challenging ourselves to maximize the potential for visual storytelling and creativity that our account affords us.

UMSocial has also seen a huge amount of success with our @UMichStudents Twitter program. We feature a different student tweeter each week who acts as the ‘voice of campus.’ That account boasts over 12,000 followers, and we receive hundreds of student tweeter applications each year. This Twitter account allows students to share their individualized Michigan experiences, promote the organizations they are involved with, and share their personal pearls of wisdom about life as a Wolverine.

At the beginning of the summer, the #UMSocial team began to consider taking this concept and applying it to our Instagram presence. We believe that the Michigan experience is so robust, so rich with possibility, so bountiful, that no two students or community members could have the same one. Therefore, the only way to understand someone else’s experience it to see it. If our students can communicate their stories through a 140 text characters, how much more perspective can we gain through seeing their photos? The limit does not exist. The visceral nature of the platform, paired with the brilliance and creativity of our community, will result in some amazing content!

Our first ambassador was a Ross rising sophomore and UMSocial intern Jordan Katz. Jordan’s passion for photography, video, and social strategy make him an invaluable member of our team, and his incredible photographic eye made him a natural choice for the trial run of our program! He certainly did not disappoint, delivering a week full of incredible photos that captured campus from all sorts of interesting and unexplored angles.

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When asked to reflect on his experience as our ambassador, Jordan has this to say:

“As the Instagram ambassador, I was able to pair my passion for photography with my deep love for the University.  Though my own and fan-submitted photos and comments I was also able to engage thousands of people, including alumni and current Wolverines who share my love for Michigan.”

We’re very proud of Jordan and hope to keep showcasing his photography for a long time!

We ran our ambassador program during the first week of July, and we were incredibly fortunate to have out account taken over by Michigan Photography’s Eric Bronson, the UPAA (University Photographer’s Association of America) photographer of the year for 2013 and 2015. His career has taken him from Michigan to Maui to Alaska, and we are so grateful to have him back in Ann Arbor. Much of his work at U-M is covering athletic events, and his vast experience in sports photography is evident (in 2009, one of his photos was featured in Sports Illustrated’s Pictures of the Year issue.) During his week as our ambassador, Eric filled our feed with gorgeous images of nature, food, and scenery. He paired each photo with a backstory and included photography tips.

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Reflecting on his time with our account, he said:

It’s a wildly different feeling posting to 64,000 people than my 320 Instagram friends. It makes you think ahead and curate a very recognizable brand. I wanted to create original content for the feed to help tell the story of the week, and so far I think it has worked.”

We’re so grateful for the amazing content Eric produced for us, and we hope he returns as our ambassador again.

Now, however, we need YOU to answer our call to action and apply. Are you handy with a camera? Do you live for your Instagram feed? Do you feel that your Michigan experience is worth sharing with more than 60,000 people? If so, then you would be a perfect fit to be our next ambassador. We’ll be selecting one student each month to take over our account for a week. If you’re interested, visit this link  for further instructions on how to apply!

We can’t wait to see where this campaign takes us, and hope you’ll join us. As always, #GoBlue and #StaySocial!