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Instagram Best Practices

Staff Resources » Instagram Best Practices

Instagram is a visual, photo-sharing social network where users share photos or 15-second videos. You can only upload and post to Instagram through its phone app.

Launched in 2010, Instagram was bought by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012. There are now 400 million monthly active users who share 70 million photos a day.

Instagram posts that are successful are usually artsy. NAIT tries to share interesting photos that showcase campus or student life, which celebrate, inform, inspire, and engage. You’ll notice NAIT Instagram photos are more carefully curated.

Student use of Instagram has surged in recent years. In 2014, 63.7 per cent of NAIT students surveyed say they use Instagram, with 44.8 per cent saying they follow NAIT on Instagram.

Best Practices

  • Copy and paste your string of relevant hashtags
    On Instagram, it’s common practice to use lots of hashtags as there is no real character limit. It can get time-consuming to manually input each hashtag every time you post a photo. Consider adding all your hashtags in your Notes app and then copying and pasting into your Instagram photo to save you time.
  • Post your hashtags as a comment
    Having a chunk of hashtags in your Instagram caption can make your photo caption look convoluted. Add your string of hashtags as a comment so once a few people leave comments, your string of hashtags disappears from view, but your photo still appears in the search stream/photo category of each hashtag.
  • Use similar filters and photo adjustments
    Try and apply similar filters and adjustments on all of your images to achieve a consistent style (look + feel).
  • Think about your grid
    Strong Instagram accounts have beautiful photo grids. It’s important to think about how your photos look individually when viewed in the feed, but also how it appears when someone views your profile (and grid) as a whole.
  • Alternate between a variety of photo styles.
    Try not to have the same style of photo appear back-to-back in your grid. Rotate between a few different types of shots (close up, centered, off-centre, wide, etc.) to give your grid variety.
  • Engage with other accounts.
    Your feed can be stunning but if you don’t reply to those who have left comments on your own posts, or like or comment on photos from those you’re following or those who are following you, then you’re less likely to make an impact. Similar to Twitter, you need to put in time to build relationships with users in your network if you want to see return on investment.
  • Don’t automate/cross-post from Instagram to Facebook, Twitter, etc.
    Instagram gives you the option to publish your photo across various platforms. This is meant to make sharing easier, but from a business perspective, it does a huge disservice to your audience. You should always think about tailoring photos, captions, and social media posts to the platform by which you’re posting because depending on the platform, what photo you pick, how you phrase, or even how many hashtags you end up using, will change, and audiences will have different expectations.

Instagram Resources

Instagram Basics