Instagram 101

Instagram 101

Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social networking service. When you create an account, your posts will show up in your followers' Instagram feeds.

Maximizing Your Posts


Hashtags allow you to search within Instagram by topic. You can create hashtags to make your topics and events searchable to you and others, and you can use common hashtags in your posts to help them be seen by a larger audience. Check out this list of.

Use caution when utilizing hashtags, as Instagram users can become fatigued by excessive use of hashtags. As a general rule, it’s better to use popular or organic hashtags (ex: #seattleu) than to try and invent a whole new hashtag and gain a following.


Mention other users by referring to them in your post (ex: “I am excited about the @GoSeattleU award ceremony this weekend”). When you tag users, your posts appear in their notifications, which gives you the opportunity to be seen by the accounts you choose to tag.

Replies, Likes, and Sharing

You have the option to like, reply or share other users’ posts, all good ways to gain exposure. Replying starts a dialogue with another user. Insider tip: if you want more people to see the reply in your newsfeed, start with a period. Ex: “. @GoSeattleU what time is the award ceremony tonight?”

Liking a post is a very nice way to let someone know you saw and liked what they posted, without starting a full dialogue.

Sharing a post with your followers or friends is a great way to share information and help users find accounts you might want them to know about or follow.


Instagram stories are a great way for you to display a photo or video for only 24 hours. Stories work well when you want to make an announcement or provide urgent information to your followers. 

Within your stories, you can also tag accounts and use hashtags to maximize your story.

Creating an Instagram Account

Choosing a Username

Choose a name that’s short and easy to identify. 


Follow users who are relevant to your channel. The more people you follow, the more followers you will get. Many people will notice that you have followed them and return the favor. Mentioning users in your posts and using hashtags also helps you to gain followers. Aim high – often celebrities and major organizations will respond to you if you mention them!

Profile Photos, Cover Images, and Page Design

Seattle University’s Marcom office has new tools on hand to help you select profile images, cover images and background images that adhere to the new SU brand.

Please refrain from using the university seal as your profile image. .

Use Caution When Posting

Deleting a Post

Instagram will allow you to delete a post after you’ve published it – just click on the three-dot icon on the top right of the photo and click delete. 

If you are tagged in a post that you don't want to be tagged in you can hide your profile so it does not show up on that post. Click the photo you are tagged in, then click on your profile that is tagged, then you can either remove or hide your profile from that post.

Direct Messaging (DM)

You can utilize the DM feature if you want to speak directly to someone in a more private way than commenting on a photo using @username.

Spam Accounts

Sadly, it’s unlikely that all of your 1,500 followers are real people. Some accounts following you may be spam. If you detect a follower you believe to be spam or a troll, you can block or report the user (easily done in the drop menus).

Private vs. Public Accounts

You have the option to make your Instagram account public or private. If you are posting on behalf of a Seattle University entity, you will likely want to make your account public so that all users can see your content. Private accounts are only visible to people who are already following you.

Finding Your Voice

Use your best judgment when deciding on a voice and style for your Instagram account. Unless you are an individual (ex: a dean, a coach, a professor), you will likely not want to post in the first person, but rather use the third person for a more inclusive feel. Ex: SU Athletics is a large entity, not an individual, and as such should not tweet in the first person.

 Use a great image to tell your story.

  • Choose high-quality photography
    • The quality of photo you choose sends a direct subliminal message to your audience about the quality of your program. Just like with our website, aim for crisp, sharp images (nothing grainy, pixelated or stretched) that tell a clear and relevant story. That said, it’s a great place to get a little artistic and a little bit creative. Use your best judgment–does it tell a clear and relevant-to-you story? Does it look cool?
    • Make sure the photos you use are optimized for the web and will load quickly. Users don't like staring at a blank screen for too long!
  • Use Photoshelter to your advantage
    • Many beautiful and recent images are available to us thanks to our campus photographer, Yosef Kalinko, via Photoshelter. Browse the site for photos and you can request images from Marketing Communications.  
  • Be unique
    • Be aware of your neighbors’ images–try not to duplicate images.
    • Be cautious of branded images or logos–a good thing to avoid. See us for questions.
  • Change it up
    • Cover photos shouldn't be static. Your profile photo (the smaller, square photo) should always stay the same, but the cover photo can change as much as you'd like. Consider changing it at least once a month, and more if you have sufficient photography.