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Instagram Basics For Complete Beginners

Updated: May 5, 2022

Successful social media marketing is an incredibly tricky magic act to pull off. Unless you have a unique product that everybody is clamouring for or celebrity status that makes for automatic growth, gaining social media followers takes a lot of persistence and hard work.


Do it right, and you'll be rewarded with a loyal following that you can reach out to whenever you want to get the word out quickly. Make a hash of it, and you'll be looking for a way to pull a rabbit from a hat.


How does Instagram fit into the social media network tapestry?


Twitter is the home of acerbic quick wit or pithy one-liners and laconic put-downs, it is the wild west of social networks.


Facebook enables you to set up a company page and encourage likes and customer interaction and is a much more civilised place to do business. Facebook is the Rome of social media although getting thrown to the lions is a regular occurrence for those caught up in business malpractice.


And Instagram? Instagram is the London of social networks, fresh, sophisticated, cosmopolitan and rewarding dashing flair and panache.

Created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in October 2010 and purchased by Facebook in 2012, Instagram enables people to capture and instantly share their photos and videos. It has quickly gained more than 1 billion users making it one of the most powerful social networks. With its continuous innovation and development of new features, staying on top of the latest emerging trends requires constant attention.


To begin with, visit "play store" (for Android users - Samsung, Sony, Huawei etc.) or "App Store" for Apple users and download the Instagram App.


Step 1: Create Your Instagram Profile

To register for an Instagram account, open the app, tap Sign Up, and sign in with your Facebook account or provide an email address and password. I recommend you sign in with your Facebook account so that your accounts are linked.


Step 2: Add A Profile Picture

Add a profile photo to the Instagram app by tapping on your profile picture in the lower right, tapping the white circle by your name and taking a new picture or importing an image from your phone.


Use "edit profile" to change your name and how it is displayed and add some information about yourself. You can also add a link here to your website.


Step 3: Find People To Follow

If you are a Facebook regular, then you'll be offered a suggestion list of people to follow who also use the Instagram network. Think of some celebrities you like or subjects you are interested in and start following people to see what kind of images they post.


Step 4: Post Your First Photo Or Video

To post a photo or video, tap on the camera icon in the middle of the bottom menu of the app. You can then take a picture, record a video, or choose an image from your phone gallery.


Once you have selected a photo tap "next" and here you'll be offered an overwhelming amount of choices to edit your image either through filters, changing exposure, boosting saturation and much more. My advice to begin with is to ignore all these filters and concentrate on how the process of adding images works.


You can always delete images and repost them at a later date if you want to change something. Next, you’ll be prompted to add a caption, add any other Instagram user tags that you would like to include and add a description of your image.

Instagram has over 1 billion users worldwide
Instagram has over 1 billion users worldwide

Beginners Hints And Tips:


Image Sizes

In the beginning stick to square images. For the We Build Stores Instagram feed we use 750x750px as the standard size image, and we find this works best with display across all social media networks. You can use the built-in crop image tool to make your picture a square.


Use Your Best Photos


It's a common misconception among social media users that more is better and burying your audience under an avalanche of images is the way to more recognition and followers.


While you want to keep up a regular posting schedule (about twice a day is considered optimum) you also need to strike a balance between posting just because you can and posting because you have beautiful images to share.


You want people to be "wowed" by your Instagram feed and not left feeling underwhelmed with a succession of second rate imagery. The average social media user is firehosed with a torrent of pointless data so making a great first impression is imperative.


Tagging Other Instagram Users

Underneath the "caption" field you'll find the option to "tag" other Instagram users and let them know that you've posted a new picture.


Instagram Mentions

To mention someone in your caption, type @ in front of their username and they will then receive a notification in their activity feed.


You can choose to get a notification every time a specific user posts a new photo by turning on notifications for each user individually.


Visit the user's profile, click the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the post, and choose "Turn on Post Notifications". That way you'll never miss a post, and by following a few successful accounts, you'll get some great Instagram marketing ideas.


Likes And Comments

To like a photo or video on Instagram tap the “heart” icon. If you like a post by accident, you can tap the icon again to unlike it.


Use the bubble icon to send comments and keep them brief. Instagram is a visual experience, and no one wants to write a "War and Peace" reply on their smartphone.


Use Hashtags Intelligently


Using hashtags on Instagram is the primary way to reach a wider audience. Instagram limits the number of hashtags you can use in each post to 30.


Avoid hashtags like #dailypost or #instagood. In much the same way that targetting search engine keywords that are too broad is not good SEO practice, you need to niche down your hashtags so that they focus on a tight nit theme. Choosing broad themes will result in your images being lost in the cacophony that is social media.


Here is a great hashtag generator.


If you use short captions, then your hashtags are going to display at the top of your post and look messy.


There are several methods of moving hashtags down the page either through the use of special characters or hidden line breaks. If you are struggling to make line breaks work, then that is because Instagram is no respecter of formatting. Here's a great video explaining how to work around it.




Hide Old Posts from Your Feed Without Deleting Them


Once you've been posting for a few months, you'll start to get a feel for what type of content resonates with your audience by the number of likes and comments.


Rather than deleting old posts to spruce up a tired aesthetic, you can archive them instead to be restored at any time in the future.


Tap the three dots at the top of the post you want to remove from your feed


Select "Archive", and it will be hidden from your feed.


Add Unique Fonts And Characters To Your Bio.


Instagram has emojis built into its interface, but you can also copy and paste special characters and fonts using a fancy text generator site like Lingojam


That's the basics covered so open yourself an Instagram account and get posting!


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