Instagram is a mobile app where users share their stories and events using only photos with dynamic filters and captions. Instagram is owned by Facebook and has more 400 million monthly active users sharing 80 million photos and videos.

Similar to Facebook, photos are posted to a feed where followers can see what is being shared and leave comments or “like” the photo. Users can tag a specific location to a photo and can view a feed of the most popular photos around the world from other public-sharing users.

Instagram can be used at Cal Poly to build brand awareness and showcase our unique campus and culture.

Instagram Basics

Instagram is not just about selling. Using your account as a megaphone to promote your product or service is a guaranteed way to lose followers. Here are a few fundamental rules to creating and maintaining a dynamic Instagram account that will keep your followers interested.

• Learn to listen
• Create engaging conversations
• Post ingenious images

By making sure you are practicing these essentials, you will develop an engaging Instagram account that will draw in new visitors and eventually establish an entertaining hub where users will habitually come back.

Best Practices

• Post quality, personable visuals. Your photos do not have to be professionally taken, however, they should be high quality and display a unique feature, event or aspect of your college or department.
• Use #hashtags effectively. “Hashtagging” pictures on Instagram means you are filing that image in a larger folder where the contents all share the same hashtag. Use popular and relevant hashtags to your department or college to draw in targeted users. Two to seven hashtags per post is good.
• Aim to be interesting and genuine. The most important tactic with your Instagram account is to post attention-grabbing images and videos. Capture photos that reflect the lifestyle of your constituents, while staying relevant and true to your “brand.”
• Don’t be afraid to post a few videos here and there. While photos will be your bread and butter, the video aspect of Instagram is growing.
• Mix up your content by hosting a contest. This can be done via Instagram and then shared throughout all of your social media channels. Asking users to use a common #hashtag will store all of the photos together making the contest easy to track.
• Plan your posts. The frequency of your posts is very important in the customer experience. No more than one post per day is recommended.

Tools & Resources

It is important to edit your photos so that they are in optimal form before posting. The Instagram application offers filters that you can use, however, if you would like to edit your photos further, we suggest the following applications:


• The website Iconosquare offers the top free Instagram analytics on the Web. You are able to monitor everything from monthly engagement rate to best times to post your pictures each day of the week.

Instagram Policy

Click here for Instagram’s Policies & Violations section.