The Instagram platform is the most popular right now with over 500 million users strong and growing. Many people have asked me how to get started. And, if you haven’t thought about it lately, you probably should. Here are the six steps to get you on your way on to the Instagram world:
Download the app
Instagram is different from other social networks in that it is primarily a mobile platform.
Once your account is set up, you will have a page that can be viewed on desktop. However, the majority of your activity will take place within the mobile app.
Choose a username
You can sign up for Instagram with an email address or a personal Facebook account. If you want a business account, I recommend you create a personal one first to practice Instagram for a while.
Once you sign up, you’ll be asked to choose a username.
Your username will display publicly and will be what people see when they find you on Instagram. Make sure the username you choose is recognizable and is as close to your business or organization’s name as possible.
When signing up, Instagram will also ask for your full name. Here, you can put your full business name which will make it easier for people to find you through Instagram’s search function.
Update your profile
Instagram lets you fill out a 150 character bio about your business or personal account. Because of the text limitations, you’ll want to be clear and concise about who you are and what you offer. If you serve a local customer base, you’ll also want to add your location. Here is an example of what mine looks like for my blog:
Add a recognizable profile picture
The perfect Instagram profile photo will be 400×400 pixels.
But what’s most important is that the photo you choose is recognizable to people who know your business. In most cases, the best choice will be your business’s logo.
Your profile photo can only be updated on a mobile device. If you don’t have your logo saved to your smartphone or tablet, Instagram has the option to import it from Facebook or Twitter.
It’s essential to have a good understanding of the type of pictures others are posting. You can search any topic, movie, or place. Search #sodapopcurtis and see what comes up. Ok… I admit. I am a fan of Rob Lowe. You will see the top 9 liked posts for that hashtag and then below these 9 will be the more recent posts. More to come later on a strategy for followers and why this type of search is important.
If you want to create a business Instagram profile, start by finding a business in your industry who has a hefty Instagram following and high levels of engagement. What do they tend to send, and when do they tend to send it?
Even if you want to differentiate yourself from the competition, it’s essential that you know what others are doing.
Post your first photo
Okay, now that your profile is set up, it’s time for the exciting part!
Here’s a quick run-through of how posting on Instagram works:
First, click the icon (+) on the bottom in the middle of the screen.
You can either take a photo by pressing the circle in the middle of the screen, or click “library” on the bottom left to upload a photo of your own.
Note: “Video” on the right enables you to take a video up to a minute.
If you’re uploading a photo, you will have the option to crop it first. After that, you’ll have options for different enhancements. These are really fun to play around with.
You can choose from a number of filters that scroll across the bottom of the app. (Double tap the filter to add a border or alter the strength of the filter)
You can also click “edit” to access a number of other photo editing features.
Once you’re happy with your photo, hit NEXT in the top right of the screen. Here, you’ll be able to add a caption.
The best captions are the ones that describe the photo. Where are you? What are you doing? What would people find interesting about this photo?
You can also tag people and name the location. This is great to use if you are sharing someone else’s photo or if you want to tag your friends.
Lastly are the hashtags. Hashtags are key to getting your post seen on Instagram. Find the ones that relate to the photo. You can use up to 30 of them for one post.
There you have it! I hope you were able to set up your Instagram account. I will share my best tips and tricks for getting real Instagram followers in a future post. Tell me what hashtag you searched on Instagram. What was one awesome picture you found? I’d love to hear about it. While your on Instagram, follow me for more tips. @brendalhanley.