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Using Instagram

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a photo and video sharing social media network owned by Facebook, Inc. This mobile app allows users to upload photos and videos which can then be edited with various filters and organized with tags and location information. Users can post to their feeds or Instagram stories to share content with their followers.

Who is Using Instagram?

Instagram users can vary, but overall the platform slightly skews female (according to Pew Research) where 64% of the users are between the ages of 18-29, so this is a great way to reach your students and prospective students.

Around 40% of the platform is used by 30-49 year olds, so this is also a great way to engage others in the community as well. According to Pew Research, 60% of Instagram users are on the platform daily.

What are Instagram Stories?

The Instagram Stories feature allows users the ability to engage with audiences in new interactive ways. Users can post content in vertical formats to help promote events, messages, etc. About 400 million users post to Stories daily. Users have the option to include polls, mentions, hashtags, locations, gifs, and drawings in their stories. You can easily share posts from other users, ask engaging questions, post 15 second videos, boomerangs, and even live video.

What is IGTV?

Instagram TV or (IGTV) is one of the platform's newest features. Users are allowed to post videos, but the time was limited in the stories and feed areas. Videos are limited to 1 minute in the feed and 15 seconds in the stories feature. Instagram TV is the place where users are able to post longer videos (Up to 1 hour)

Why should I use Instagram?

Instagram offers users the opportunity to share photos/videos about events, services offered, and the benefits of our many programs here on campus. Users have the ability to give prospective students a look behind the curtain to see how it feels to be on campus. It also connects alumni and current students to the entire University community.

How do I use Instagram?

Download the mobile app on your smart phone.

Visit to explore Instagram Web Profiles. With the online access hub, you can follow other users, edit your profile, and comment on photos from the convenience of your web browser. Only your followers can see your photos online.

Link your Instagram account with other social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter handles to share your photos with all of your followers and increase participation in your social media accounts.

Think about a great username people can find.

Unfortunately, an audience doesn’t always think on brand. While branding is important, so is thinking like your audience. Choose a name that is easy to find and promote outside of social media.

Fill out your description.

When you first start Instagram, you will have to fill out a description. You have limited space so make the most of it.

Include a link in your bio.

This is the only chance you will be able to include a direct link so make this one count! Some departments use a program called link.tree in order to include more link options in the bio.

Strategies for using Instagram

Remember, Instagram is all about art and beauty. This is not the place to post busy graphics and posters. It’s okay if you aren’t a professional photographer, just figure out what content your audience wants most.

Tip: Before launching your account, research what other brands like yours are posting to Instagram. Also, try to come up with a solid content plan so that you can begin posting right when you launch. How often should you post? 2-3 times per week is enough, but once per day is ideal.

Take photos often and share them with your followers habitually. Sharing frequently will increase your traffic and followers, and encourage users to participate.

Engage with your followers. If you see a photo you like, double tap on it to “like” it. If someone comments on your photos, feel free to respond back to them in a professional, but friendly manner. Engaging with other accounts encourages them to follow and engage with you.

Mention another user in your content. In the caption or comment, use “@” and then another Instagram user’s username. Be sure to tag @norfolkstateuniversity or other departments so other users are able to find your content easily.

Use appropriate photos that share something unique about your department, program, or organization. Keep photos fresh and fun.

Respond to comments on your photos. Replying to users' comments will help to grow your audience, and it will also encourage activity and engagement between users.

Use plenty of hashtags. Use “#” and a topic keyword (#norfolkstateuniversity); hashtags increase discoverability of your photo/video by other users. Other hashtags you may want to include are: #behold #beholdthegreenandgold #norfolkstate #spartanpride. Take the time to make your own unique hashtag or discover what’s popular in your industry.

Warning: Be sure to do your research before you adopt a hashtag. Make sure the images are NSU appropriate and also be sure another university is not excessively using the hashtag. There is another university that uses the “NSU” tag in their social media posts.

Experiment with the different filters. Take unfiltered photos on your mobile phone’s camera, and then open them in Instagram to experiment with the various filters to achieve the best image. You can play with the colors, make photos black and white, and you can use them for either your feed or Instagram stories.


Do it! When someone comments on your photo, feel free to respond back and follow. Network with other NSU channels by commenting on their photos or sharing their content on your feed.