Social Media 101: What is Instagram?

Social Media 101: What is Instagram?

We have written about various platforms in our Social Media 101 series. in this post, we talk about Instagram.

What is Instagram?

According to Wikipedia, ‘Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them on a variety of social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.’ But I promise you it is more fun than that.

Seriously, this is the platform that celebrates the ‘selfie’ and food porn. It is a phone-based app that allows you take a picture or a short video with your phone. You then apply filters to it, making the picture look more professional and you look a lot younger. It was also the fastest growing platform in 2014.

Why is it important?

A beautiful, well-styled picture is worth a thousand likes. Well not right away, but give it time. Instagram allows people and brands to share their stories in a visual format, a perfect square to be exact. It is great for reaching the millennials, but it is certainly not limited to them. In addition, users are more likely to interact with brands on Instagram than on Facebook or Twitter. Instagram users can be considered early adopters of trends.

How to set up an Instagram account

  1. Download the app and set up a profile for yourself or your brand by visiting
  2. Instagram will assign a username to you. Mine is, for example,
  3. Edit your profile, add a picture and write a bio.
  4. Find other people to follow and start building your following.

How to use Instagram

  1. Open the app on your phone, choose the camera setting and take a picture. You can also choose a picture from your gallery, although I find it better to take the picture in the app.
  2. Once you have a photo you like, choose a filter.
  3. Add a relevant caption and appropriate hashtags.
  4. Once you are done, you can choose to share it to certain other platforms and you can tag your location.
  5. Find other users to follow. Search hashtags that are appropriate to you or your brand.
  6. You can tag other users by typing @ before their username, for example if you want to tag me you’d type @miajou

Instagram Tips

  1. Beautiful images are key on this platform. Take the time to style your shots to create the most expressive image.
  2. Hashtags are very important. They help new users find your profile and brand. Search for the hashtags that are most used for your interests or industry.
  3. Unlike Pinterest, the images don’t link back to your website. Be sure to include a link to your website in your profile.
  4. Authenticity and honesty are the key to succeeding here. The community is mostly positive, but they tend to embrace and be more welcoming of ‘real’ people and honest brands.
  5. Grow your following organically. Be careful of fake accounts that promise you hundreds of followers in return for following them or accounts with only a few photos and a huge following.
  6. Post content regularly, but don’t flood your followers.
  7. You need to download an app: to ‘regram’ a post.
  8. Instagram now has a new private message function that allows you to send a message directly to another user.

P.S. If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join us for The Complete Blogging Course

 by Mia Botha

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Posted on: 28th September 2015