Instagram Account Setup and Tips

Set up your new Instagram account

  1. If you do not have a personal Instagram account: Download the app on your phone and create a new account.
  2. If you do have a personal account: Navigate to your profile, tap your name in the top left corner, select “Add account,” and select “Create new account.”
  3. You will now be prompted to provide the following:
    • Username for the account
      • Make sure it has “Carleton” in the username along with the name of your department/office/organization. You can separate the names with an underscore (e.g. @carleton_english) or a period (e.g. @carleton.geology), or not separate them at all (e.g. @carletonbiology).
    • It will ask if you would like to share logins, if you already have a personal Instagram or Facebook account logged in on your phone—do NOT do this! Choose “Create password instead” (located at the bottom of the page).
      • This is so multiple people can log in to the account, and therefore management can pass from person to person when a student graduates or an employee leaves or retires.
    • Email
      • Use a Carleton email account if possible—preferably NOT a personal one, but a department one (e.g. or, again so management can pass from person to person when someone leaves.
      • You should add an email, not a phone number!
  4. Once the account has been created, you will need to add these details to it:
    • Name for the account (e.g. Carleton Dean of Students Office)
    • Website link
      • This can be a department website, a student organization page, a newsletter landing page, etc. You can also use a Linktree if you’d like to have multiple links.
    • Bio
      • Make sure it’s clear what the account will feature/who will benefit from the content (e.g. “The official Instagram account for the Carleton College German Department! Follow us for event information, language learning tips, and more.”).
    • Profile photo (recommended size is 180×180 pixels)
      • Pick something that looks good in a circular format—square logos will get their edges cut off, which looks unprofessional, and some users may think you are a fake account and block you.

Manage and maintain your account

Instagram is suited for mobile devices. You cannot upload photos through a web browser, so to upload anything to Instagram, you’ll need to download the mobile app on your phone.

Ideal dimensions for uploading content are 1080×1080 for feed posts (although photos no longer have to be square, so there is wiggle room here), 1920×1080 for stories, and mp4 files for video posts/Reels.

Thoroughly read and follow Carleton’s Social Media Guidelines, including those found on the Accessibility on Social Media page.

General tips

  • Use hashtags if they make sense for what you’re posting, in order to achieve a wider reach.
  • Do NOT type out links in your main feed captions, as they are not clickable. If you have a link you want followers to access, share the post to your stories and add a link sticker, or, if it’s an especially important link (like one to a monthly newsletter), change the link in your bio and direct followers to it (use #LinkInBio in the post caption).
    • You can also use a Linktree in your bio to add multiple links at once.
    • Do NOT use QR codes anywhere in Instagram posts/stories! Most people look at social media on their phones and therefore will not be able to scan the codes with said phones.
  • Tag and engage with other Carleton Instagram accounts as often as you can (especially the main @CarletonCollege account).
  • Using consistent graphics (e.g. same colors, fonts, etc. across posts) can make it easier for viewers to navigate your page.
  • Content Ideas:
    • Photo/video content from past and current events
    • Puzzles, trivia, etc.
    • Alumni/student/staff/faculty spotlights
      • This is a great way to introduce new people when they start working for your department/office/organization
    • Utilize Instagram stories to share live events and increase audience engagement via polls, questions, quizzes, AMAs (Ask Me Anything sessions), etc.
    • Weekly themes
      • #ThrowbackThursday, #FlashbackFriday, #WhereAreWeWednesday, etc.
    • Takeovers
      • Participants should be relevant to the account and share a day-in-the-life of their Carleton experience/program—or how Carleton ties into their daily life.
      • Takeover guidelines are available upon request from Erica Helgerud.

If you have any questions about account creation, management or content, please reach out to Erica Helgerud.