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Setting Your Style on Instagram

Setting Your Style on Instagram
In our last Instagram For Government class, we discussed setting a style for your Instagram page. What is "setting a style" on Instagram?

When visitors come to your page, you want there to be a response of "oh, cool," "wow," or "I like that." It primarily has to do with appealing aesthetics, just like almost everything on Instagram.

From The Top

Along with making sure your profile logo or image is not chopped off on the edges, that it fits within the circular profile placeholder, and is identifiable as your organization's logo, you want the profile text to be clean, understandable, and to the point. Don't saturate it with the legalize and "by the book" wording, since no one reads that anyway.

Your Bio-Link

Next, have a bio link which is going to serve your organization well. Some departments like to place their department's website address in the bio link, which is acceptable. However, if you are genuinely using Instagram in a way that maximizes your engagement and encourages followers to "learn more," or "read more," than you need to change that bio link to a more helpful link to your mission.

For example, if you are making an Instagram post in which you want followers to go to a particular website address to get further information, pictures, video, or downloads, you'll want that link to change. However, if last week you made a different post with a different link, and someone is reading it today, then you're going to lose the engagement and confuse followers.

This is where a product like PoliceLink comes into play, which we developed specifically for law enforcement officers, departments, associations and LEO businesses. It allows you to have one link, which directs your followers to a page full of your most important and relevant links you want your followers to be redirected.

The Layout Of The Page

Consider doing something different regarding the overall look of the page. Start with the tone, but make sure to be consistent and repeat the tone for a set period of time.

You might want to use a filter with a certain hue or temperature, over each photo. You could also set a specific primary color to appear in each photo. We've all seen where some Instagram feeds consist of nothing but black and white photos. Then you might find some which are all black and white photos, but they have a blue or red object highlighted in the photo. This is their tone, which might change by the month, season, or campaign.

You probably think that it's impossible to change the layout of the Instagram page, right? Although you can't change the number of boxes, you can change whether each box is rounded, has a colored border, or has a more significant gap in between boxes.

There are plenty of apps out there which can help you make these edits to your photos. For example, using the app SnapSeed by Google, I can import a picture, select the Tool feature, add in a rounded border, add a color tone, and perhaps make the photo smaller inside of the frame to give a more significant distance in between pictures.


Create A Theme

One neat trick I have seen is a rotational posting layout, where all images in the right column might be infographics, the center column contains images, and the left column contains 1-minute safety tip videos.

Keep in mind, as a photo, an infographic, or video is added, it will shift the column over by one, and you have to keep the order of what you post, ie; if you have it set up as an infographic, video, photo, then your next post needs to be an infographic.

Theme Disruption

So what happens if you have to publish a news release to get some information out to your community, and it doesn't fall within your pattern? There are two options you can use.

First, consider making the news release fall within your pattern requirements. There is nothing which states a news release has to be a PDF or MS Word document. You could make an infographic, image, or video, containing critical points of your news release, and give more information in the text area of the post, or refer them to a news release link on your website.

Second, you could merely archive the post after a week or so, and removed it from your feed, but not delete it. You might need to take this on a case-by-case basis, depending on the popularity or gravity of the news release or information.

Be Creative and Have Fun

The Instagram platform is all about visual content, and aesthetics and visual appeal are vital components of this platform. Remember, we're all fighting commercial posts, marketing and advertising dollars, and highly popular Instagram accounts who monopolize the platform.

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