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What is Instagram and how can it be useful to my group?

Instagram is a photo-sharing site found at instagram.com. Snap a photo with your mobile phone, then choose a filter to transform the image into a memory to keep forever.

Getting Started

  • To start, download Instagram from the App Store on your smart phone. Instagram is a free app.
  • Establish a username that resonates with followers and the College. If possible, use the same name on all social media accounts.
  • The username and avatar will be the most viewed part of your Instagram profile.
  • Optimizing your profile for Instagram searches:
    • A carefully selected name is the most crucial part of being found in searches. This is because most users will not search for you by your exact username and will add spaces that do not match your username.
    • Make sure the name includes words you believe will be used when searching for the profile; CofC, College of Charleston, etc.
  • The "one line bio" will appear with the username and name in search results. Use this area to note your relationship to the College of Charleston if your username and name have not already made this clear. For example, only using "CofC" may create confusion since not everyone knows “CofC” is the College of Charleston. You must include “CofC” or “College of Charleston” in your title or bio to be officially recognized.

Understanding Instagram

  • A hashtag is #WORDS with no spaces. A hashtag is used to mark keywords or topics in a post. It is also used to categorize post. If you post with a hashtag, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your tweet.
  • Using @NAME allows you to “tag” an Instagram user in a post.
  • Website links are not hyperlinked within posts, so keep your URLs short since users will have to retype to get to the website.
  • One of the most unique parts of Instagram is the ability to add filters to photos. The most popular filters are Lo-Fi, X Pro II, Valencia, and Amaro. Statistics reveal the Mayfair filter results in the most comments and likes.

Getting the Word Out

  • Follow others - this allows communication between you and your followers and is part of Instagram etiquette. Strive for a 1:1 ratio between followers and those you are following.
  • Search for key words relating to your department or group – then read the bios of the people who are instagramming on these topics and follow them if relevant. Search for CofC or College of Charleston to find alumni to follow. See who is a thought leader, connector, or a decision-maker.
  • Add a link to your department or organization's website on your Instagram profile.
  • Follow other official College pages to cross-promote.
  • Include an invitation to follow your organization on Instagram in your e-mail signature.
  • Use word of mouth to encourage people to follow you.
  • Include your social media information in promotional materials.

Now what?

  • Post regularly (at least once a day) - appoint more than one person to post if needed to continue regular content. Ideally, you’re posting two to five times per day.
  • Humanize your photos by using a personal style in the caption.
  • It is recommended to always write a caption and use at least two hashtags, though photos with five, nine and 11+ get more interaction than others.
  • Don't over post information that is not interesting to your followers.
  • Understand why people follow you. If your followers want information about the group you represent, they probably don't want to know your daily activities.
  • If you choose to post about your daily life, include interesting information or facts. Rather than stating that you just ate lunch, mention details such as the location, who joined you, the menu item ordered and whether you would recommend it.
  • Engage followers by asking questions and collecting feedback.
  • Respond to questions or statements from your followers. Do this publicly if the response is interesting and acceptable for all to see.
  • Posts that get the most likes include a base color of blue, have a high degree of lightness, and are more colorful.