Instagram has become one of the fastest growing social media networks and is not showing any signs of slowing down. With over 300 million monthly active users, growing at a rate of 8 million new users per month, you’d have to agree that there is more to Instagram than its awesome images. There are plenty of benefits to be enjoyed by setting up a profile on Instagram, and because it is free, there is nothing to lose. It’s time to share the Instagram basics, whether you’re new to the network or are looking for some additional tips.
How to set up an Instagram account – Instagram for dummies!
Unlike other social media platforms, Instagram started out exclusively mobile so to set up an account, you need to download the iOS or Android app for your phone or tablet. Registering is easy and requires an email address or linked association to an existing Facebook account.
If you choose to use email, you’ll be promoted to come up with a unique username and password. Once you have registered via a mobile device, you can access your account online.
Completing your profile
Uploading a profile photo and sharing a brief description about your business is the first step to establishing your Instagram presence. Limited to 150 characters, be succinct and don’t forget to include your website URL.
It is important to be aware that Instagram accounts are all public by default. From a business perspective this is appropriate, however if you are considering setting up a personal profile too, you may want to adjust the privacy settings so all images and videos uploaded are only visible to those to whom you grant access.
Snap, record and share
With the hardest part over, it’s time to have fun and join in the craze that is this instant, free, social platform we call Instagram. There is nothing complicated to it. If you can take a photo or record a video, you can use Instagram.
Start by opening the app on your phone or tablet, upload an image or video, edit it if need be and then have fun applying any number of filters, frames and special effects. And if your business has a presence on Twitter as well as Facebook, you can instantaneously publish it to your other social media profiles.
Don’t forget your hashtag
Have you ever wondered what that # symbol is that you see placed in front of words or phrases? It’s called a hashtag and they are used all over social media, from Twitter, to Facebook and even Instagram. Designed to categorise your images, they become searchable via the clickable hashtag and therefore invite anyone who shares that interest to locate your content and profile.
It’s like free advertising and something that should be part of all images uploaded. Don’t overdo it though. Ensure hashtags are relevant and, where possible, pick one or two that are trending or popular. See what others are using on content that is similar to yours and follow suit. Also consider inventing your own hashtag linked directly to your #brand; that way you become known for your unique tag and you’ll always be easy to locate.
Find and follow others who share content you admire and let them know. Comment and like their images. Regram or share your favourite Instagram pictures to your own profile too (you’ll need another app for that). Let your followers in on what goes on behind the scenes and give them a sneak preview of up and coming products. Tell them what you are doing, what you are spotting whilst you are out and about, and what matters to you. Don’t forget to respond to the comments of others on your content.
Take advantage of the bells and whistles available when uploading photos and turn what may be a simple image into something bold with personality. With more than 20 billion Instagram photos uploaded so far, you have the opportunity to tell your story, your way, but be true to your brand. Consider your Instagram account to be an extension of your business. You may want to stick to an editing theme, limit the amount of effects you use or simply keep your photos completely untouched. Find what works for you and stick to it.
Setting up an Instagram account takes a few moments but it can take awhile to establish a following. Upload content regularly but, where you are time poor or simply prefer the convenience of having some of your updates managed for you, it’s worthwhile making use of a range of scheduling tools that allow you to be more efficient with your time.
Latergramme is a free tool, with a paid option also, that allows you to upload single images from your computer or mobile device, and schedule them to be published at a time that best suits you and your audience. This tool does not automatically publish your content but allows you to have them uploaded and ready to go. With a handy reminder built in, you’ll be notified when your next image is due to go live and all you need to do is publish it. Think of it as your online Instagram personal assistant. This is great for when you have lots on the go and need a friendly reminder.
With access to scheduling limited to being on a computer, this tool offers not only the option to upload multiple images or videos at once, but a range of editing tools too. Limited to a 7-day free trial, this option costs for ongoing use but does publish your content for you, saving you the extra step.
As with ScheduGram, this is an online tool only and offers a mix of features including editing functionality, but limits use to one image upload at a time. Publishing is as simple as uploading an image, scheduling it to go live and the tool will take over. It is free to join however there are ongoing fees to use the service.
Instagram isn’t for everyone but if you are looking for a new way to branch out and your products are relatively photogenic, it’s well worth signing up and having a go. Don’t be a copycat and replicate what everyone else is doing. Make your own footprint online, invent your own hashtag and open your brand up to new demographic. For more information on how Instagram can work for you, chat to Media Heroes, one of the leading digital marketing agencies in Brisbane.