I just started using Instagram this weekend and I love it. It’s a mobile only app and a great creative outlet for sharing photos. Instagram is a great way to share images and videos that you take. Instagram asks in their help center that you don’t share images and videos that belong to someone else. That’s why you won’t find a share button underneath the images and videos. Instagram also states that you retain the ownership rights to the images and videos you upload and that everyone respect other users’ copyright.
Although I’m only using Instagram for personal use, it’s a great platform for marketing businesses and products. I recommend testing it out with a personal account before diving in with your brand or business.
Here’s how to get started on Instagram:
- Download the app to your iPhone or Android device and register an account through the app.
- The House icon in the bottom left is your Instagram feed. This is where images and videos you post will show. This is also where images and videos of people you follow will show.
- Moving to the left, the next icon is the Explore tab. This is where Instagram shows you images and videos you might like. You can also use the search bar at the top of the screen to find specific users and hashtags.
- Moving to the left, the next icon is the Camera tab. This is where you can take an image or video. You can also choose an image or video from your photo library.
- The next icon to the left is the Following/News tab. This icon looks like a talk bubble with a heart in the middle. The News tab shows you a list of users who have liked, followed, commented on your images or videos, or mentioned you. The list displays in chronological order with the newest action at the top. Clicking on Following will show you chronological order of users you are following along with how many images you liked at that time.
- The last icon on the right is your Profile tab. The Profile tab displays your bio and your Instagram posts. This is where you edit your bio and account settings.
- Your account will be public unless you make your photos private. You can make them private on your profile tab all the way on the right, click on Edit Your Profile, then scroll to the bottom and slide Posts are Private on. The app states that turning on privacy will allow you to approve anyone who wants to follow you. If you turn this on later, your existing followers will not be affected. When Posts are Private is set to on, people will not be able to browse your images unless they ask to follow you and you approve them.
- Continue editing your profile to add some basic information about yourself including name, short bio, website and image for profile picture.
- You can take a photo from within Instagram, import a photo from your photo library, or import a photo from another photo editing app.
- Click on the center blue icon to take a photo or video from within Instagram or select an image from your photo library by clicking on the image to the left of the blue button or the right of the red button. Doing this will display your photo or video library with a main image on top. You can select which image you want underneath the main image. You can toggle between photo and video by clicking the Video icon to the right of the blue button and the Camera icon to the left of the red button. For video, click and hold the red button.
- After you take the picture, you will be able to scroll horizontally through the filters. Click on each filter to see a preview of its effect on your image or video.
- The top left icon above the filters lets you straighten your image.
- The next icon to the right is a double square that will let you pick a border. You can only use a border if you pick one of the filters. The border will change depending upon which filter you pick. Tapping the double square icon again will turn off the border.
- The next icon to the right is a tear drop that will let you add linear (– on the tear drop) or radial (o on the tear drop) tilt-shift. This is a feature used on medium format cameras and is sometimes called selective focus. You can toggle between the two options and no tilt-shift by tapping on the icon repeatedly. After you choose linear or radial, drag to where you want the focus to be for the image. Anything not in the focus will become blurred in the final image.
- The icon all the way on the right shaped like the sun is called Lux. This option makes your images more vibrant while bringing out the details of the image. Please note this feature isn’t available on all Android phones.
- After you are done editing your image, click on Next in the upper right hand corner.
- This next screen is where you can write a caption, tag people, add a photo Map (this feature lets you show where you have taken your photos on a map), post to other social networks at the same time (Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Flickr).
- You also have the option of posting to your Followers (this is the default setting) or sending it privately (click on Direct) to up to 15 people (Instagram users). Both of these options appear at the top of the screen. If you send a Direct post/image/video to a user who doesn’t follow you or your brand/business, that post/image/video will appear in their Requests folder with the option or accept or ignore your message. This is also an opportunity for a brand or business to send target messages to a select group.This might include a special image/video or a special offer. This is also a way for brands/businesses to ask users to send them entries for a contest as opposed to submitting entries publicly with a specified hashtag.
- Consider using the same name on Instagram as Twitter. That way people will be able to follow you on both and know you are the same person.
- Instagram posts all images as a square. You can use move and scale to make sure images you import from your photo library or another app don’t have a black border on the top or bottom. Think panoramic images. Another way around this is to add a white border to the top and bottom of your image in another app to make it a perfect square to keep the panoramic look.
- Try and include a description and hashtags with your images and videos. Many Instagram users use hashtags to search for images that might interest them. You can always add a description and/or hashtag in the comments if you forget to when publishing your image. Tapping on a hashtag will bring up other images or videos using that same hashtag. This is a great way to find other users you might want to follow.
- You can also tag other users with the image similar to tagging in Facebook. Up to 30 tags are allowed on a post. If you add more than 30, your comment won’t post.
- Search for other users and click like on images you really like. Check out that user’s other images by clicking on their name above or below the image. If you like their images, click on follow. Do this because you like what they are posting, not because you want them to like your images or follow you.
- Double clicking on an image or video will Like the image or video.
- If you really like an image or video, leave a comment expressing that you like it and maybe what you like about it.
- Use the @ symbol along with the username of the person you are leaving the comment for when responding or leaving comments.