Instagram for academics

Instagram for Academics, an intro

Are you on Instagram?

I love Instagram for academics.

I’m Jennifer, and my life is all about how a strong digital identity can support and empower faculty and researchers like you.

Welcome to The Social Academic, my blog about online identity in the HigherEd world.

This is my quick introduction to why you should be on Instagram. For my tips and tricks, download the guide at the end of this post.

Are you on Instagram yet?

Researchers and scholars are turning to Instagram to share their work

You should be. Instagram is a great platform for academics and researchers.

  • Instagram has more active users than Twitter.
  • This image centered platform captures the attention of experts and non-experts.
  • Hashtags are followable, which means it is easy to track and keep up with a particular group, interest, or type of person.
  • Instagram captions allow up to 2,200 characters and 30 hashtags.
  • You can now mute accounts you don’t want to see without unfollowing them.

View the Instagram Help page for info on creating an account and username.

The Profile

Here are my getting started tips for an awesome Instagram profile as an academic or researcher.

And, give me a follow on Instagram @HigherEdPR.


Your Instagram @handle or username is important because it’s what most people see when you interact with them

  • commenting
  • liking
  • posting
  • direct message
  • Interacting (i.e. answer a poll, ask a Question)

Use something recognizable for your handle, like a shortened version of your name (i.e. Jennifer van Alstyne | @JenVanAlstyne).

If you have other social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), I highly suggest you use the same handle across the board.


Tell people who you are, not just what you like.

Remember, people follow other people, not voids. Social media is about engagement.

Make sure to tell people what you’re all about and what they can expect from your page.


Your photo should be something personable, or approachable.

If you have other social media profiles, use the same profile image across all accounts.

This post was about updating your profile. Learn more about how you can use Instagram to engage your scholarly community.

Download your hashtag guide

"10 academic hashtags to find community (a guide by @higheredpr)" white text on a black and white succulent background

Join my community to get your free guide to academic hashtags on social media.

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Jennifer van Alstyne View All →

Jennifer van Alstyne is a Peruvian-American poet and public relations consultant. She founded The Academic Designer, LLC to help academics, researchers, and writers control their online presence and share their work with the world.

She holds a B.A. from Monmouth University in English, and an M.F.A. from Naropa University in Writing & Poetics where she was the Jack Kerouac Fellow. Jennifer also holds an M.A. from University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Literature and Cultural Studies where she was one of four master’s fellows and a finalist for the Outstanding Master’s Graduate Award.

9 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I’m not an “academic researcher” but I think I need to put a pin in this post and keep coming back to remind myself of what I want to project. Thank you for these tips, it was an insightful read.
    I just recently started a blog, and made a specific Instagram page for it. If you get a chance to check it out and get back to me about ways I can improve my platform i would LOVE that!

    • Hi Stephanie, I had some time today to check out your Instagram more. I love your account. You have a personable profile photo, use your name, and have some excellent shots in there. I especially like this photo [] but wish you had described what you were doing in the photo. A couple sentences description for work-type photos will help change the audience response, and you’ll likely get new engagement from other architecture people. I’d love to help out further. I encourage you to set up a social media consultation with me so we have some time to chat more!

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