Similar to Facebook or Twitter, everyone who creates an Instagram account has a profile and a news feed.
When you post a photo or video on Instagram, it will be displayed on your profile. Other users who follow you will see your posts in their own feed. Likewise, you’ll see posts from other users whom you choose to follow.
Pretty straight forward, right? It’s like a simplified version of Facebook, with an emphasis on mobile use and visual sharing. Just like other social networks, you can interact with other users on Instagram by following them, being followed by them, commenting, liking, tagging, and private messaging. You can even save the photos you see on Instagram.
Because there is so much to know about Instagram, we’ve compiled a list of helpful articles to help you navigate the social media platform. The Ultimate Guide to Instagram will help you uncover even the most hidden tricks of the platform and help you connect with others in different ways.
Using Instagram as a Social Network
As previously mentioned, Instagram is all about visual sharing, so everybody’s main intention is to share and find only the best photos and videos. Every user profile has a “Followers” and “Following” count, which represents how many people they follow and how many other users are following them.
Every user profile has a button you can tap to follow them. If a user has their profile set to private, they will need to approve your request first.
Applying Filters and Editing Your Instagram Posts
Instagram has come a long way since its early days in terms of posting options. When it first launched in 2010, users could only post photos through the app and add filters without any extra editing features.
Today, you can post both directly through the app or from existing photos/videos on your device. You can also post both photos and videos up to one full minute in length, and you have a whole bunch of extra filter options plus the ability to tweak and edit.
Creating an Account on Instagram
Before you can start using the app, Instagram will ask you to create a free account. You can sign up via your existing Facebook account or by email. All you need is a username and a password.
You may be asked if you want to follow some friends who are on Instagram in your Facebook network. You can do this right away or skip through the process and come back to it later.
Sharing Your Instagram Posts
After you’ve applied an optional filter and possibly made some edits, you’ll be taken to a tab where you can fill out a caption, tag other users to it, tag it to a geographical location and simultaneously post it to some of your other social networks.
Once it’s published, your followers will be able to view it and interact with it in their feeds. You can always delete your posts or edit their details after you published them by tapping the three dots at the top.
You can configure your Instagram account to have photos posted on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. If these sharing configurations are all highlighted, as opposed to remaining gray and inactive, then all of your Instagram photos will automatically be posted to your social networks after you press Share. If you don’t want your photo shared on any particular social network, simply tap any one of them so that it’s gray and set to Off.
Start With Your Profile and Content
Nobody wants to follow a user who posts bland content. You want to make sure that your photo and video posts include the best, most high-quality content you can put out there.
Other users will visit your profile and glance over it quick before making the decision to either hit that follow button or leave. To increase your chances of getting new visitors to hit that follow button, you might want to think about giving your profile a serious makeover.
Find and Interact With Targeted Users You Want to Attract
You can have a great looking Instagram profile with lots of awesome content, but if you’re not doing anything to get your content out in front of the eyes of your targeted followers, then you’re going to have a hard time increasing your follower count. This interactive effort can be time consuming, but well worth it in the end.
To find targeted users to interact with, you can:
- Look at the users who are following profiles similar to yours.
- Look at the users who are posting content under specific hashtags.
- Look at the users who are posting content in specific locations.
Encourage Your Followers to Engage With Your Content
By getting your existing followers to like and comment on your posts, you’ll increase your chances of showing up in the Explore tab of users they’re connected to. For every Instagram user, the Explore tab shows a grid of both photo and video posts based on who they’re already following and the type of content they like.
This is a good thing, because it means you’ll be rewarded with a bit of viral spread just for posting great content! So if someone views one of your posts that shows up in their Explore tab and then decides to check out your profile, you might just gain a follow from them. This is exactly how some of the biggest and most successful Instagram users ramp up their follower counts fast and efficiently.
Use Instagram Stories and Instagram Live
Instagram Stories and Instagram Live are two other features that can help you interact with existing followers and bring you new followers in the process. If you take a look at the top of the Explore tab on Instagram, you’ll notice that both stories and users that are currently live show in a horizontal feed at the top, which is exactly where you want to show up too whenever you post a story or go live.
For any Instagram story you post, you should consider:
- Adding a hashtag to your story
- Adding a location to your story
Your story will show up on the dedicated page for the specific hashtag and/or location you tagged it with. This means that users who search Instagram for that specific hashtag or location might see your story and decide to watch it, which could earn you new followers.