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Social Media: Best Practices: Creating Content

How To Create

Most photos on Instagram use a square format, although you can make photos portrait or landscape as a rare exception. So you'll want to create content with this in mind. When you are adding a post, you can use the two arrows in the bottom corner of your screen to switch between square and portrait/landscape modes. You can see in the example below that even though part of the image will be cropped in the square mode, it better fills the screen and looks better overall.

Example of where the arrows are

You can add to your story by clicking the plus sign in the upper left hand corner of the screen next to your profile photo. Unlike regular posts, stories use a portrait orientation, which means you won't need to crop your content. Instead, you'll have a host of new options and features to choose from. You can see some of these options in the screenshot below. Along the left-hand side of the screen are 7 options, plus, next to the white button that takes the photo, you have a whole host of filter options. Generally speaking, the left hand options are more useful than the filters.

The first option is the letters Aa and this allows you to add text to your story, as well as add polls, question boxes, countdown timers, and more. These are some of the easier ways to add fun and potential engagement to your stories.

The second option is the Boomerang option. This lets you record a one second video clip that plays in a loop.

The third option is Layout, which allows you to put multiple photos on one story.

The fourth option is Multi-Capture. This new option allows you to create a story with multiple new photos faster by allowing you to take up to 10 photos and post them to your story all at once.

The fifth option is Photo Booth. This works similarly to Multi-Capture, except Instagram takes the photos automatically and it only takes 4 photos instead of 10.

The sixth option is Hands-Free. This takes a video for you without you having to hold down any buttons.

The final option is Level, which adds a level to the screen while you are taking a photo.

Instagram Story Interface

Instagram Reels are based on the popular TikTok platform and allow users to upload 30 seconds of content that they think might go viral, accompanied by music.

Successful reels are likely to tie into an existing trend, so creating good reels will involve being active on Instagram and/or TikTok and watching for a trend that you can adapt for your own purposes.

The advantage to creating reels versus any other kind of Instagram content is that Instagram is far more likely to show your reel to a user who does not already follow you than to show any of your other content to them.

To create a reel, you can use the plus button on the main screen and choose reels from the bottom of the screen. Then, you'll be given a set of options along the left hand side similar to those used for stories.

First, you'll want to choose your audio.
Next, you'll choose whether you want the reel to be 15, 30, or 60 seconds.

Third, you can choose if you want to speed up or slow down the video.

Fourth is the option to add an effect to your video.
And the final option will let you use a countdown timer to record the video.

Along the bottom of the screen are the options to add a photo from your camera or to flip the camera around if desired.

Instagram Reel Interface

Content Ideas

Instagram is a visual platform. Thus anything you post needs to be visually interesting.

Content that works well on Instagram:

  • People
    • Group photos
    • Photos of faces
    • Information about people
    • People engaging with objects
  • Animals
    • Library staff pets
    • School mascots
    • Library mascot
  • Throwback Thursday
    • Thursdays are a great day to showcase photos from your archives. Use the two categories above for best results!
  • Memes
    • Be careful here--would every member of your audience find this humorous?


  • Aim for a caption length maximum of three sentences.
  • Make them casual, friendly, brief. Try to vary the way in which posts start.


  •  Use stories to promote events, special days of the week, or spontaneous fun. 
  • Any time you have a big event happening live in the building, you should be posting images and videos to your stories.
  • Stories are generally more upbeat and informal than regular posts.


  •  Reels are a new feature for Instagram, aiming to capitalize on the popularity of TikTok videos. Many content creators will post their videos to both platforms. See the tab on TikTok for more ideas on making Reels/TikTok videos. 


  •  Instagram's algorithm highly prioritizes the newest posts. Once your followers have seen a post, it will no longer be in the main part of their feed. You'll want to post regularly to encourage engagement.

Content Ideas


With every post, make sure to use appropriate hashtags. Decide on what hashtags you'd like to be standard to represent your library and then add more from there. Here are some examples of hashtags you might use. You can search for a hashtag on Instagram to see what others are posting before you create your post.


#YourLibraryName #YourCampusName #BookFace #LiteraryCharacters #Finals #Puzzles #LibraryFaces


Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
#SundayRead    #MondayMotivation    #TipTuesday #WhereIsItWednesday #tbt #FactFriday     #WeekendVibes
#ShelfieSunday          #MotivationMonday #TechTuesday #WhiteboardWednesday   #FridayFun       
#SpotlightSunday        #MovieMonday       #FunFriday       
#SundaySpotlight         #FridayReads