10 things you should know about Instagram

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What is Instagram?

Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social networking service.

When did Instagram launch?

Instagram was developed by Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom who launched it in October 2010. Initially, it was exclusively on iOS before they released an Android version the following year.

Who owns Instagram?

After Mike and Kevin launched Instagram in 2010, it became popular instantly. 10 million users registered within a year. In April 2012, Instagram was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in stock and cash.

How do I post an image to the feed?

Open your Instagram app.

To upload a photo or take a new one, first tap the ‘+’ at the bottom of the screen:

  • To upload a photo or image from your phone’s library, tap ‘Library’ at the bottom of the screen and select the photo/s you’d like to share (you can share up to 10 photos as a single post –  in the feed you’ll see the first photo with a row of dots below it; people can swipe to see the rest of the photos you’ve shared).
  • To take a new photo, tap ‘Photo’ at the bottom of the screen then tap the circle.

Once you’ve taken or uploaded a photo, you can add effects or filters, a caption, and your location before posting.

What do I write as a caption?

As you are posting an image to your feed you will see a screen that asks you to write a caption.

Captions can’t exceed 2,200 characters. Some users write a short image caption, some users use the space to write a short article about the image. If you wish to have line spaces between paragraphs in your caption you will need to add a character, such as a full stop, as Instagram will not leave blank spaces.

What about hashtags?

Like on Twitter and other social media platforms, hashtags work by organising and categorising content. Hashtags are so important to getting your content found and building your audience on Instagram.

For each Instagram post in the feed, you can add up to 30 hashtags. There are mixed thoughts on the number of hashtags to use – some recommend using just 5-10, others recommend using all 30 because it gives you more opportunities to be discovered. The only answer to this is to test and measure. The most important thing to keep in mind when deciding what hashtags to use is that you’re being intentional — as in, you’re using hashtags that your target audience is actually searching for and following!

You might consider creating a branded hashtag that’s unique to your business, that you can use in every post, and also encourage your customers to use. For example, McDonalds use #ImLovinIt.

You might use hashtags related to your industry, or the theme of your Instagram profile perhaps.

You might have a core set of hashtags to use, with some variations depending on the individual image and reason for posting (eg for a seasonal event or awareness day).

Start typing the hashtag with the “#” symbol, and Instagram will give you suggestions based on popularity.

Some hashtags are more popular than others but using a popular hashtag such as #love is less likely to create engagement or find new followers than a more niche but more relevant hashtag that your audience will be searching for. The more generic hashtags tend to have the largest reach, but they also tend to be less relevant to a specific target audience as they are so broad. The narrower the scope of the hashtag, the more engaged users are.

The best way to find hashtags is to look and see what your audience and competitors are already using.

There is a trend of using hashtags in comments to help keep all the captions looking neat. Studies have looked at content performance of hashtags in the caption versus in the comments and the results are marginal. Including hashtags in the post caption resulted in more Likes, more reach while placing the hashtags in the comments resulted in more comments. It’s probably best to consider the extra time and steps it would take to go back and remember to add hashtags into your post comments over including them in the caption. Also, you can edit captions, but not comments. Personally, I separate my hashtags within my caption but using three lines of a ‘.’ to drop the hashtags out of site. I schedule some of my content so this means I do not have to remember to go back and add hashtags. Plus, I like that you can edit captions if required (you cannot edit comments).

As a user you can follow hashtags related to your interests. Tap on any hashtag you see on Instagram and tap ‘Follow’. You will then see its photos and videos appear in your feed.

Can I schedule posts to Instagram?

Instagram finally introduced direct scheduling in January 2018, via third party tools such as Hootsuite, and Buffer. Previously social media management tools could only provide notifications when it was time to post.

Not only can it be time-consuming to create Instagram posts, scheduling also gives the opportunity to use a desktop rather than solely a mobile phone. Personally, I use Planoly.

What is an Instagram Story?

Instagram Stories are a feature that lets users post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours (unless you add them to your profile as ‘highlights’.) You can find stories from the users you follow at the top of your feed. You can’t ‘like’ an Instagram Story, but you can reply to it by sending a message.

Find out how to great an Instagram Story, here.

Can I share videos on Instagram?

Yes!

On Instagram, you can share videos from 3 to 60 seconds in length in your feed, or a 10 second video on Stories. They can be uploaded from your phone’s library or you can share a live video.

  • To upload a video from your phone’s library, tap ‘Library’ at the bottom of the screen and select the video you’d like to share.
  • To record a new video, tap ‘Video’ at the bottom of the screen. Tap and hold the circle to start recording and lift your finger to stop.
  • Once you’ve recorded or uploaded a video, you can add a filter, a caption, and your location before sharing.
  • Below a video, you can see a count of how many times it’s been viewed. A video’s view count is visible to anyone who can see the post.

Videos can also be shared on Instagram TV. Find out everything you need to know about Instagram TV (IGTV), here.

How can I measure success with Instagram?

When you have 100 followers or more you can access Instagram Insights for posts, stories and your overall account performance. Remember, you need to have a business account to access Insights.

Using the mobile app, go to the graph icon in the top right corner of your profile. You will see information about the profile of your audience, the performance of your content and the following activity related data:

  • Impressions – the number of times your posts and stories were on-screen
  • Reach – the number of unique accounts who viewed your posts and stories
  • Website clicks – the number of clicks to links you’ve included in your business profile description
  • Profile visits – the number of times an account clicks on your username (to visit your profile)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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