Academics leveraging Instagram: #FollowFriday Professor 4, Karen Freberg

Freberg-2011Every Friday, I highlight one academic who is strategically leveraging the power of digital communications in the editorial series “#FollowFriday Professor” . The goal of this feature is that if you are an academic or thought leader looking to establish an online presence, you will be able to draw on this archive and use it as a source for inspiration in creating / refreshing your own personal brand.

#FollowFriday Professor Feature 4: Karen Freberg

Title: Assistant Professor of Strategic Communications at Louisville University

Where on the web: Blog, Instagram, Bio, Twitter and LinkedIn

Content focus: Reputation management, social media and crisis communications

Noteworthy communications tactics from Karen Freberg
Do a search in Google for professors using Instagram and you won’t see many results. Truth be told, I personally don’t use Instagram as part of my communications strategy, but I do believe there are opportunities for professors to leverage the social channel to achieve the following:

–       facilitate a learning experience for students

–       disseminate research and thought leadership in a visual way

–       build community and network

–       promote a school and classroom’s culture

Karen Freberg is doing just this. If you take a look at her Instagram account, you will see a number of visuals that highlight Louisville’s culture, her thought leadership on strategic communications and images from her classroom. She posts daily, integrates hashtags for her particular classes and uses the tool to connect with others while building community. She has a good post on her blog that highlights how Instagram can be used by professors.

It is important to not join the channel with the goal of drawing significant followings overnight. Freberg notes in her blog post the following: I don’t have the number of followers of course on Instagram like I do on Twitter or Pinterest, and the number of connections I have is still lower than what I have on Facebook. However, like all platforms, it’s about growing your community and presence visually and sharing your stories.”

While not for everyone, there are surely more professors that can be using Instagram to achieve some of their goals. If you are just starting out, check out Freberg’s account as a reference point for best practice.


The blogging machine: #FollowFriday Professor 3, Mark Anthony Neal

Using your blog to showcase press coverage: #FollowFriday Professor 2, Bill George

The art of integrating interviews into thought leadership: #FollowFriday Professor 1, Karl Moore