Instagram isn’t just a social media platform anymore, it’s yelp, recommendations, websites, snapchat, open table, boutiques, camera roll, television and more all wrapped into one app. To make sure you are doing the most with your social media platforms, check out our In The Lights Social Media guidelines, tips, and checklists. For a guide to Instagram, read on! Below is our In The Lights Instagram Guide.

Set up your profile:

First and foremost, you need an Instagram handle. Before you lock one down (don’t worry, you can always change it later) try researching current handles that you’re thinking about. If there are too many of one or one that’s similar that doesn’t have a good reputation, try changing your name around a bit. Now you can find a lovely photo to represent your profile! If you are using a logo, make sure to use a circular logo or one that fits well within a circle. We recommend using your company’s icon. If you are using a photo, make sure the photo fits well within a circle and no major subjects in the photo are cut off when cropped.

Fill out your bio:

If you are a business put a short sentence on what your business does with the location. Make sure the sentence is clear on what your company does. Add your location, if you do not have an address to advertise list the location(s) in where your business services. Also add any phone numbers, websites, and other Instagram handles that may be owned by your business.


Instagram Feed content has always been a square. You now have the option to fit your photo or skew it so all sides are shown, but this will add white space to at least two of the sides. If you aren’t into the white space look, make sure all of your photos are cropped to square, a great app for this is Squaready. If you are creating graphics, you can set your graphics to 1080 x 1080 pixels for max quality. Instagram stories, however, are a different story. These are rectangles with a taller vertical than horizontal sides. Instagram Story graphics can be set to 1920 x 1080 pixels for max quality.


Create 1-3 hashtags for your brand. You may also add these hashtags if room allows it in your profile. Have fun with your hashtags and make them fun or witty! Always research similar hashtags first to make sure they are not taken already. You will want your brand to have its own unique hashtag. Because Instagram has updated it’s platform in 2019, photos with the exact same hashtags may get flagged as spam and as a result get less engagement. This doesn’t mean that you cannot use your business hashtag on photos, just try to do it every third photo or so, and then add new hashtags that are similar to the actual post in for others.


If applicable, add your location to your post. Location photos get 72% more engagement than those without. If you are a local business, add your business location or the city. If you are an online business, add a location to your service area or what is applicable to the photo.


Like and comment to those who engage on your profile. This will create a relationship and make the user feel valued. This will make them be more likely to like and comment in the future.

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