Snapchat and Instagram Etiquette 101

Last updated: Oct 23, 2020

In today’s digital world, proper etiquette is much more than knowing which utensil to use or how to write a thank you note. How you conduct yourself online can be the difference between a fun, successful exchange and one that jeopardizes friendships or academic and professional opportunities. Here are some Snapchat and Instagram etiquette tips to keep your social media channels looking sharp.

USF students taking a selfie outside of the Marshall Student Center

Basics of Social Media Etiquette

No matter what kind of social media you use, it’s important to know the etiquette basics. Here are some points to keep in mind regardless of which social media channel you prefer.

Refrain from posting anything questionable whether it’s activity, clothing, or language and certainly never post anything illegal.

  • Similarly, social media will catch you in your lies. If you’ve told friends or employers you’re ill, then post a day at the mall, you’re probably going to get called out.
  • Decide what level of privacy you’re comfortable with and use the platform settings accordingly. Keep in mind that no matter how stringent you are with your profiles, posts can still be captured and shared to a wider audience than intended.
  • Keep your personal information confidential. Never share your full name, home address, phone number, Social Security number, passwords, names of family members, or credit card numbers.
  • Some colleges look at the social media profiles of their applicants and take what they see into consideration when making college admission decisions.

If you’re unsure about posting something, then it’s best to err on the side of caution and not post it. Remember, you want to use social media in a positive way.

Snapchat Tips

Fun and fleeing, you probably use Snapchat with your closest friends to share filter selfies and randomness from your day. Snapchat is a fun way to connect with your friends. Here are some simple Snapchat tips.

If somebody snaps you, snap back. It’s the equivalent of not returning a phone call, text, or email. Take cues from your friends about timeliness and frequency.

  • Reciprocate if someone watches your story.
  • Streaks matter too! Keep the conversation going and let the person on the other end know you care. Plus, you’ll get some cool emojis.
  • If you’re shooting horizontally, which you should only do when absolutely necessary, warn your viewers.
  • Avoid posting where you’re angry, tired, or rushed. You could accidently share something you might later regret.

students taking a group selfie

Instagram Tips

Initially just for photos, this platform has evolved into so much more, including videos and stories and with that more “rules” to follow. Have fun with Instagram by following these easy tips.

Always ask a friend’s permission before posting photos or videos of them and don’t forget to tag them!

  • Engage with others beyond just liking their post. Make a point to leave thoughtful comments every once in a while.
  • Don’t make your stories too long. Your friends want to see what you’re up to, but they don’t have all day.
  • There can be too much of a good thing and that goes for the overuse of geotags, lenses, and other features. Keep it simple and have fun!
  • Constant updates and changes can make staying up to date challenging and compromise your own use. Keep up with Instagram’s and Snapchat’s latest features on their help sites.

Stay In Touch

Social media is an awesome communication tool. It helps you stay connected with the people and stories you care about the most. Social media is also a great way to learn new things. We hope these tips will help you snap, post, and share with confidence that you’re using it in a positive way to strengthen your relationships, congratulate your friends’ successes, and share what’s happening with you.