Alumni Spotlight

Instagram Story Series

San Jose State University Alumni

When I first started working for the San Jose State University Alumni Association as their Social Media student in 2018, giving their Instagram account a makeover was one of my main goals. Because the SJSU Alumni audience on social media comprised primarily of people ranging from 35-70 years old, the main social platform posted on was Facebook. However, being a student myself I encouraged my office to consider revamping their Instagram page and giving it a fresh feel to tap into the audience of freshly graduated students.

With a new audience in mind, I proposed that we make our Instagram a platform for alumni to "humble-brag" about their accomplishments in their professional lives. This way, alumni would feel recognized by their alma mater and current students and recent graduates would have inspirational stories to encourage them to pursue their own career goals.

How I Made the Stories

I started this project by doing research on SJSU Alumni on various social platforms, such as LinkedIn and Instagram. As I browsed through different profiles of people who self-identified as SJSU Alumni, I was looking for a specific set of criteria:

  • quality imagery, photographs, etc.

  • interesting career path (ie: self-made businessperson, non-normative career, etc.)

  • good social presence

By good social presence, I wasn't necessarily looking at how many followers our alumni had, but rather looking at how responsive and interactive they were with their network. Once I had a set of alumni I was interested in featuring, I would invite them to participate.


When they had agreed to participate, I would then email them some guided questions related to what inspires them and what they do on a day-to-day basis. Lastly, I would ask them to share some images with me so that I could put the Instagram story pages together.

After collecting all of my assets from each participant, I would begin pulling quotes from their responses to the questions I prepared, and I would fit their photos, videos, and GIFs into the templates I created. After making the Instagram story pages, I would send proofs to the person being featured for their final approval before posting them on our social pages.

Example screenshots from live stories below


custom Instagram

story templates I made


community response & other social platforms

Overall, the Alumni Spotlight stories were very successful. By having a schedule where one alumni story would be posted each week, the engagements and impressions of the SJSU Alumni Instagram account increased significantly. Due to the increased interactions, Instagram's algorithm began to show content from the SJSUAlumni account on more users' Instagram timelines.

In addition, I noticed a trend where our featured alumni would share our content on their own profiles, increasing the reach of our content. This helped the SJSU Alumni social accounts reach a broader audience and, as a result, our social accounts began to experience growth on all platforms.

The most important takeaway I got from this project was how it warmed my heart to see SJSU alumni feel seen and valued by their alma mater. Admittedly, this project was a way for me to discover what opportunities lay ahead of me as I anticipate my graduation this May, but it was exciting to see that other people were equally interested in what their fellow Spartans were up to post-grad.