Instagram Tips & Best Practices

Follow @wesleyan_u on Instagram!

Instagram is a mobile app for sharing and finding beautiful visual content. You can take photos and short videos, use filters and effects to further stylize them, and publish directly to Instagram or to other social media sites. You can follow other accounts to see their updates, comment and like posts, and send private messages. Owned by Facebook, Instagram uses a similar algorithm to show you posts that Instagram thinks are most relevant to you, rather than what was most recently published by those you follow.

Instagram Stories are a series of videos or photos posted by a user that are only available for 24 hours. You can add text, icons, and drawings to them. Visuals posted to an Instagram Story do not appear in the regular Instagram feed nor on a user’s “grid," though they can be saved as highlights on their profile.

Do not create an Instagram account if you cannot regularly post engaging visuals. This is not a platform for text-heavy posts (generally).

Instagram Posting Best Practices

  • Be active. Post at least once a week.
  • Quality over quantity. Instagram is about beautiful visuals. Take the time to do it right, or don’t post at all. It’s better to post fewer high-quality visuals than many not-so-great ones.
  • Be brief. Keep your captions to 125 characters or less to avoid being truncated.
  • Use #hashtags. Ideally, 510 per post with a maximum of 30.
    • Use a few standards (#WesleyanUniversity #Wesleyan #GoWes), and vary the rest based on the content of your post.
  • Use Instagram Stories. You can create your own or even share others’ posts to your story.
  • Don’t use links in captionsthey aren’t clickable!
  • Encourage conversation—ask questions, respond to comments.
    • Don’t delete comments unless they’re profane, obscene, harassing, threatening, or contain personal information.
    • If it gets too negative/critical, go private or offline.
  • Tag other profiles in your posts if applicable.
  • Repost other Instagram users’ content, especially if they tag you in it. Make sure you credit them and ask for permission first.
  • Have fun! Don’t be afraid to inject humor into your content (if appropriate and relevant).
  • Optimize your bio to have relevant information such as what your department/office does.
  • Use a business account to see metrics about your posts and followers.

What should I post?

Always stick to what you know. You know your area well and people will come to your platforms seeking information about your area, so don’t stray from what’s relevant.

We get it. Many of those who handle social media at Wesleyan have a multitude of responsibilities, so creating content to constantly feed your social accounts may seem daunting. Our best suggestion? Think beyond your own content. Repost visuals that are relevant to your area.

Ask yourself: Is the text too long? Is my image artsy and eye catching enough for the Instagram crowd? Have I included enough descriptive hashtags? Are my stories appealing and/or informative?

Instagram Image Size Guidelines

Refer to this website for a detailed list of all image sizes, but below are the basics.

Recommended sizes:

  • Square post: 1080 x 1080
  • Horizontal (landscape) post: 1200 x 628
  • Vertical (portrait) post: 1080 x 1350
  • Video post: 1200 x 628 (1.91:1 aspect ratio)
  • Story: 1080 x 1920

 More Instagram Resources

Still need help? Request a Social Strategy Session.