USC Annenberg Media Resources

Best practices for Instagram

Social media is a storytelling tool. Be sure to think about how best to use it for every story you are telling. Before posting to any platform, you MUST check in on the #socialmedia Slack channel and say what you are doing. ALWAYS check previous posts to make sure you are not duplicating work. For more on social media guidelines, see our Universal Style Guide.


  1. Every Instagram post should be a compelling photo or video. It’s important to respect Instagram as a visual medium
  2. Do not use filters! We should not alter photos when it might not be immediately obvious to the viewer whether or how we did it
  3. To issue a correction on Instagram, use the comments. Follow the style for corrections on the website
  4. Instagram doesn’t lend itself well to linking out and has unlimited characters, so consider how you can tell a complete (but short) story — including making every update contextual. But keep your text to about 3-5 lines
  5. Space out your posts. Instagram will soon have a Facebook-style algorithm, plus we don’t want to flood users’ feeds

Use hashtags liberally. Hashtag culture is different on Instagram than it is on Twitter, so it’s OK to use a lot of hashtags related to your post, such as #news, #la, #dtla, #losangeles, #college, etc.

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