Instagram (IG) has been described as a cultural powerhouse of today. This social media network is built primarily on sharing images and videos. Facebook acquired IG in 2012 and the platform has grown to have over a billion registered accounts. Many entities benefit from utilizing IG, including individuals, small businesses, large corporations, news organizations, cultural institutions, celebrities, photographers, and musicians.
Instagram is an excellent way to network, interact, and promote in this social media-saturated world we live in today. To help those who may not be familiar with IG or those familiar but need a few tricks, here are a few essential facts about this social media platform you should be aware of.
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- How to access. The app can be downloaded for free on iOS, Android, and Windows devices. Upon first using the app, you will be prompted to create a new profile or create one using an existing Facebook account. You are required to input your phone number/email, name, username, and password. You also can create and switch between multiple accounts. Desktop features have improved to allow profile editing, feed viewing, and direct message interaction. You cannot post photos to IG through desktop use.
- Primary Use. IG is a photo/video social media platform. When people visit your page, photos are going to be the first thing they see. What you post will impact the followers and interactions you have. IG keeps track of who you follow and who follows you.
- Profile Basics. Users often have a profile picture and a bio. Your profile picture will with your username. Your bio is a section to describe yourself or your brand. You can add a link to your website or any relevant contact information.
- You can edit your profile at any time. You can change your profile picture, bio, or username. You can also add your location if you so choose.
- You control which notifications you receive. You can adjust push notifications to your liking to notify specifically for new followers or new comments. You can turn notifications off completely.
- The app is easy to navigate. When you open the app, you see the main feed of recent posts from accounts that you choose to follow. The bottom of the feed is a menu bar with Home, Search and explore, Upload, Activity, and Profile.
- Instagram has several purposes. IG is used for self-expression, entrepreneurship, networking, and marketing. The basic idea is that you follow profiles that you are interested in while those interested in you follow you. People like and comment on posts to publicly interact.
- You can add photos/videos to IG by tapping the plus button. You can post up to 10 photos/videos from your photo library at one time.
- Fun filters. Instagram has filters that can be applied to change to look of images. Images can be made lighter, black/white, or any from a multitude of filters.
- Increasing Reach. Captions can be added to enhance your post. IG users caption using words, emojis, or hashtags. Mentioning friends or notable individuals is also a tactic to increase the reach of a post. Captions can be edited at any time.
- Tagging friends. You can tag someone in a post to include them or make sure that they see the post. They will be notified that they have been tagged.
- Tagging your location. You can also tag your location. Tagging your location lets others know where you are or where the photo/video was taken. You can also check a location to see others who have posted from that location.
- Cross-posting. IG allows you to post to other social media accounts simultaneously. You can cross-post to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
- Explore. A magnifying glass icon represents the Explore page. The explore page offers suggested posts based on what you follow. You can organize the explore page by topic. Users can also be searched up by name.
- Following. Any Instagram profile can be followed automatically unless the profile is made private by the user. Following someone ensures that you see their posts. Followers can see who you are following and who is following you. If a profile is Private, you must wait until the user approves your follow request to view their profile.
- Previous Contacts. A phone’s contact book can be connected to the platform, which can quickly connect to friends on the platform.
- Direct Messaging. You can communicate privately with other users using the direct message system. Messages sent to users who are not your followers will be put into a “message request” folder. The person receiving the message must then accept the message. A message bubble represents the Message icon. Messages include basic texts, IG posts, animated GIFS, and videos and can be liked or deleted.
- Stories. Stories are an Instagram feature where a post is viewable for 24 hours. Stories can be photos or short videos and are presented in a slideshow format. Stories have creative elements, including animated stickers and cartoons, polls and quizzes, dynamic song lyrics, and links. Stories can be published permanently and viewed at any time.
- Going Live. Instagram Live is a feature that allows you to live stream. Viewers can interact with the live stream by sending public messages and hearts.
- Tik Tok Competition. IGTV is a part of the social platform that allows for video posts of up to 15 minutes on mobile and 60 minutes on a desktop. IGTV has its app for iPhone and Android.
- Reels. Instagram Reels is a section of IG that lets your record and upload videos up to 15 seconds long. You can edit the video, add music, text, and special effects. Followers can like or comment on your Reels.
- Post Scheduling. IG allows you to schedule posts in advance. Scheduling posts allows for more control over what and when specific posts are shared.
- Viewer Management. You can manage who views your posts. You can set your profile to private, where only those you allow following you can view your posts. You can also set up a Closest Friends list. This feature lets you post stories that only your Closest Friends can view. You can also set up an age restriction on your account, where you control the age of people who can follow your page.
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Social media can be an excellent tool and platform for the modern-day individual. It allows for personal connections, business/brand growth, and self-expression. To many, the scope of what social platforms like Instagram are capable of are unknown. Hopefully, this list of need-to-know facts about Instagram will aid those wanting to expand their capabilities on the platform.