Instagram continues to be on the rise. With an amazing and fun suite of tools, Instagram has become a great space for storytelling and connecting with your audience. It is important to note that the rules of engagement vary greatly in this space compared to Facebook and Twitter. Aesthetics, quality and commitment to your niche are highly valued in this space.
When getting started, select an identifiable profile image that represents your brand. Remember that this mark/image will be viewed on your profile and in an even smaller view in the timelines of your audience. This means tiny details will be lost and will often appear as noise in the timeline, which could make for an unpleasant user experience.
While WashU and schools use specific logos, departments are encouraged to use images that represent their specialty rather than creating or using a mark.
As will all social media platforms, it is important to provide a brief bio that describes the mission of the account and/or focus of the department it represents. Social media accounts are encouraged to tag @WUSTL_Official in their bio and include hashtags, #WashU and #WUSTL.
There are two profile types available on Instagram. Personal or business. A business profile allows you access to various features, including:
- Instagram insights offers data on audience, engagement, impressions and demographics.
- Contact information and hours of operation
- Scheduling ability via third-party apps
Content life or relevance takes on a different meaning across platforms. A general rule of thumb is that features within the Instagram timeline have a 24-hour lifespan in the timelines of fans. There are exceptions to this rule, based on Instagram’s algorithm. Popular content will stick around longer for audiences to engage with.
There are multiple ways for users to engage with content on Instagram. Let’s discuss two:
Via their timelines
Via your profile page/grid
IGTV has come a long way. The primary benefit of this feature is the ability to share video for longer than 60 seconds.
Two things to keep in mind when using IGTV:
- Know your dimensions. Video used in this space must be in the following format: 1080 x 1920 pixels and an aspect ratio of 9:16, which is the same size as the Instagram story dimensions.
- IGTV now allows you to add a preview of your video into your grid. This allows for the most visibility with your audience.
While links are not actionable in timeline posts, profiles may include a link to their home page in their bio. Please note that services like LinkinBio are a solution for accounts who wish to share clickable content from their grid.
Links in stories are only available to accounts with a minimum of 10,000 followers at this time.
While image filters are a fun aspect of the platform, please keep filtering to a minimum, while also being mindful of brand standards.
As of now, Instagram Stories is the hot social media tool of the moment. Highly visual with a ‘sweet’ suite of tools, Stories offer users the ability to share more personalized content. WashU currently showcases a mix of student-produced content and PA produced content to share the WashU experience with audiences.
Stories have a 24-hour lifespan that creates a greater sense of urgency with viewers. That said, users have the option to save their stories as a highlight for a longer lifespan. Your highlights should be evergreen and truly focus on the mission of your account.
Business accounts have access to analytics. Via your account, you have access to analytics on content performance, profile activity and audience growth demographics.
- Quality, quality, quality! Dynamic, high-quality content not only excels on Instagram, but is also expected.
- POV and personality. This is a space to have fun, so dive in.
- Use hashtags. Hashtags are very relevant to Instagram audiences. Prior to using hashtags, always ask who you are attempting to attract.
- Don’t overly filter images or skip filters altogether
- Skip posting your flyer and opt-in for images that share the experience
- Text posts are coming into fashion on Instagram. When opting into this, always remember to keep you grid aesthetic in mind.