Instagram Best Practices | Marketing Office | UNB

Instagram best practices

Instagram is an image and video-based platform that relies largely on user-generated content and audience engagement. The secret to success is creating visually engaging content. Maximize your reach with these best practices.

Quick facts

  • Largest age group: 25-34
  • Content format
    • Photos
    • Videos
    • Stories
    • Live videos
    • IGTV (long-form videos)
  • Key benefits
    • Highly visual, creative and engaging platform

Images and video

Practice makes perfect. Don’t overthink your social media posts. It can take a while to find what resonates best with your audience, and the best way to do that is by creating content you think fits within your established visual theme. When posting, it’s most important to consider consistency and quality.

Audience

Identifying your audience is a crucial aspect to Instagram success, it can influence the type of content you create, depending on what is most relevant to them. Some possible demographics may include:

  • Future students,
  • Alumni,
  • Faculty & staff,
  • Etc.

Quality

When you are representing the University of New Brunswick, it is important to make sure the level of quality is high. Content needs to stand apart, especially from other accounts that you might be competing with.

However, content should still appear organic and natural, even when striving for higher quality. “High quality” can include aspects such as resolution, but also the content of the photo or video. It’s best to avoid graphic elements and text-based images, as the Instagram algorithm will favour photos that feel more native to the platform.

Consistency

Visual consistency on your Instagram feed is crucial. When someone visits your profile for the first time, you have one chance to convert that view into a follow. Having quality individual posts is important, but it’s also important to make sure there’s a theme. This can be achieved with the use of:

  • Editing,
  • Composition,
  • Content, and
  • Captions.

Captions

This is where your account’s tone of voice has a chance to shine through and support the visual choices you have made with your posts. Keep it short and informative — but also light and engaging.

Hashtags

Limit your hashtags to a relevant few. If possible, work your hashtags into the body of your text, rather than adding them all at the end. This can increase your engagement with the hashtags you have chosen. Some commonly used UNB hashtags include:

  • #ProudlyUNB (Alumni)
  • #WeAreUNB (UNB pride)

Sometimes it’s necessary to create your own hashtag, if you’re promoting a specific initiative or event. Contact socialmedia@unb.ca for help creating a unique hashtag.

Emojis

Don’t be afraid to give some personality to your captions by using emojis — in moderation. You may find that certain emojis trend better with your demographic.

Feed vs. story

Instagram has two methods to deliver visuals to your audience. When starting out with a new account, it is important to distinguish a difference between them. Normally:

Feed: For your higher quality, planned content.

Story: More informal, spontaneous content. Use it to:

  • Support the content on your feed,
  • Engage with your audience through polls or questions,
  • Post about time-sensitive items that may no longer be relevant in 24 hours.

Scheduling

Being consistent in your posting schedule is important to keep your audience engaged. You can use third party software (such as Hootsuite) or create a schedule in your own calendar with reminders.

If you have an Instagram Business account, pay attention to your analytics for posting times. Instagram insights can offer a unique look into your audience.

Engagement

Engaging with your audience means:

  • Following relevant hashtags and interacting with their posts,
  • Responding to comments on your posts or related posts,
  • Following up with direct messages.

Implementing a combination of the above tactics is most effective. It’s crucial to engage with your audience in order to encourage the creation of user-generated content. Like, comment and repost — but make sure to give credit when posting other people’s images. Make your audience feel like their opinion matters and that they’re able to contribute to the conversation.

Direct messages (DM)

Use DMs for the following purposes:

  • Side conversations,
  • Dealing with negative comments,
  • Getting contact info, and
  • Other off-topic discussion.

Even though DMs are generally private, do not write something in a DM that you do not want the world to see. If you get a question you cannot answer, try to connect them with the relevant unit or faculty or reach out to socialmedia@unb.ca for guidance.

Summary

If you follow these best practices for creating content and engaging your audience, you should see a steady rise in your followers.

The most important part of a successful Instagram account? Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have some fun!