So you want to learn how to use Instagram? If you’re new to the platform – or to the social media world on general – we certainly can’t blame you. With pretty much the entire world being connected, it’s pretty hard to resist the urge to be online yourself. And as far as online hangouts go, Instagram is by far one of the most fun places to be. Trust us, you do not want to miss out on all the fun Instagram users are having.
So, are you the only one left among your group of friends who is not on Instagram? Are you itching to change that, but not sure where or how to start? Then fret not, because we have got your back!
But first, allow us to tell you a little something about this photo-sharing app. Instagram launched in 2010, enjoying success almost instantly. It ended that year with one million users. Looking at it a decade later, it’s incredible to look at the platform’s growth. In 2019, it already surpassed the billion mark and spurred phrases like “Do it for the ‘Gram”.
What Makes Instagram So Popular?
Instagram is famous for so many reasons. First, it is undeniably an excellent way to be updated on how loved ones are doing. Second, you need not subscribe to a magazine anymore to follow your favorite celebrities or political figures. All you need to do is follow them on Instagram. Also, it is the perfect platform to know what are the latest offerings of your trusted brands and products. All these reasons are made more exciting by the addition of Instagram Stories in 2016.
Over the years, Instagram has evolved from being a photos-only platform to becoming an advertising and marketing juggernaut. Though still smaller in scope and reach than Facebook, Instagram is growing much more quickly. There is no better time to be a user than now!
Instagram may seem daunting and complicated to newbies, but using it and its various features is actually quite easy! We will lay down the basics for you so and we will make sure you will be able to use Instagram in no time!
Signing Up For Instagram
To sign up for Instagram, you need to download the mobile app on an iOS or Android phone or tablet, or on Windows Phone 8 (or above). Aside from the mobile version, which is the more popular one, you can also view your Instagram account on your desktop computer.
Once you have downloaded the app, tap the Instagram icon to open it. You are given two options on how you want to register your account. You can register using your email or using your Facebook account. Just tap on which option you prefer.
If you prefer to register with an email address, the app will prompt you to create a username and password, and to fill out your profile information. Tap “Done”once you are finished. If you choose to register with Facebook, the app will ask you to sign in with your Facebook account if you are currently logged out.
You can edit your personal information by tapping the person icon in the toolbar. Tap “Edit Your Profile” and now you can edit your name, username, even include a website or a short bio. Once you are done editing your personal information, tap “Done” on the iPhone, “Save” on Android, or the checkmark if you are using Windows Phone.
Now you have an Instagram account! See? It is that simple. Now you can start having fun using the app!
How To Use Instagram
Now that you have your Instagram profile, it is time to learn how to navigate the wonderful world of Instagram! And of course, you’ll have to start by familiarizing yourself with the Instagram profile, and what you can do with it.
Profile. Your profile includes your short bio and the photos and videos you have posted. From your profile, you can also edit your profile information (like what you did earlier) and adjust your Account Settings. Just tap the person icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen, and tap the “Edit Your Profile” button. You can access more information and choices by tapping the gear icon for Options.
Your bio could be up to 150 characters on your profile. You can also add or change a profile photo by importing from your phone’s library, Facebook or Twitter photos. From your profile, you can access your Photo Map that highlights where you have taken the photos you have shared.
Camera. The camera allows you to take photos directly from your Instagram camera or share photos from your phone’s existing photo library. You can access the camera by tapping the center icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen, and from there you can snap a photo, record a video, or choose a photo from your photo library.
Search and Explore. This function helps you find people to follow, search for users, and discover hashtags. You could access Search & Explore by tapping the magnifying glass icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen, and toggling between the “Photos” and “People” views to explore posts and users, or type in the “Search” box and choose between “Users” and “Hashtags.”
Home. The Home tab shows the endless feed of photos posted by you and by other Instagram users whom you follow. You can like and comment on the photos and videos in your Feed. Access your Feed by tapping the Home button in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. Like a photo by tapping on the heart icon, and comment by tapping on the speech bubble icon, and typing in your comment.
Activity. The Activity tab has several functions, one of which is to see the recent activities of people that you follow. Tap the speech bubble icon to access Activity. By tapping “Following”, you will see activities from the people you follow. On the other hand, by tapping “You”, you will see the most recent activity related to your account like users who have followed you, mentions of you, and likes and comments for your photos and videos.
Finding Other Instagram Users To Follow
Of course, when on Instagram, unless you are a mega celebrity like Beyonce or Taylor Swift, the experience is not complete if you do not follow anyone.
Instagram makes looking for people to follow easy. It can help you find and follow your Facebook friends, even your phone contacts who are on Instagram. If you are on an Android phone, go to your profile and tap the button with three vertical dots on the top right corner. Choose “Find Friends” and then find friends from Facebook, from Instagram suggested users, or from your phone’s contact list. Tap “Follow” next to users whose posts you would like to see in your feed.
You can also find people whom you might like to follow through the Explore tab, which you can access by tapping the magnifying glass icon. Tap “Photos” to see photos and videos that people whom you follow have liked or that a huge number of Instagram users have liked. Tap “People” to see accounts that you might like, which is based on whom you follow, whom you are connected to, and what photos and videos you like.
Another way to find other users is by searching for people or hashtags on Instagram. Using the search bar at the top of Search & Explore, choose whether you are looking for users or hashtags. You can search for people by typing their name or their Instagram username in the search bar.
Uploading, Editing, And Posting An Image Or Video
Now that you have more or less polished your Instagram profile, it is time to upload and post an image. This is perhaps the most important aspect of being an Instagram user because of the platform being entirely visual- its primary purpose is to enable users to share images or videos with their audience.
When you share posts on Instagram, you have two options: taking a photo with Instagram’s camera, or uploading one from your phone’s photo library.
To upload photos or videos, tap the “+” icon in the bottom center of your screen. From here, you have three options. You can choose from your Photos library on your phone, you can take a new picture by directly using Instagram, or you can record a new video or choose from the ones which you already have. Tap “Next” in the top right.
But, you can edit your photos before uploading by tapping on either “Filter” and “Edit”. You can scroll through the carousel and click any of the available filters to apply it to your image. If you want to use a filter but you want to tone it down a little, double tap the filter and move the cursor to the left to lessen the filter’s intensity.
If you click on “Edit”, you can adjust contrast, brightness, warmth, and more. When you are satisfied with your edited image, or if you do not want to edit at all, click “Next” in the top right.
Once your photo or your video is ready, you can add a caption, tag people, and add a location. You can click the button beside Facebook or another linked social media account to share your image on those platforms. Once you are ready to upload just tap on “Share” in the top right.
Uploading An Image Or Video To Your Stories
In 2016, Instagram launched Stories as an answer to Snapchat, which then became an overnight sensation. Stories is a feature that allows you to post videos or images that disappear after 24-hours. Usually, contents posted on Stories are more candid videos and images as opposed to the more curated posts on a typical Instagram wall.
To upload an image or video to Instagram Stories, click the camera icon on the top left portion of your screen. When you are already in the Stories feature, you can take a picture or video straight from the app. Another option is when you already have an image or video saved to your phone that you would like to use, just click the small square in the bottom left corner and click on a photo or video.
On the top right, you have some editing features to make your post more interesting and exciting. The smiley face lets you add a location, hashtag, time, date, and other fun images or emojis to your picture. If you do not like what you chose, drag it to the trash can which will appear at the bottom to delete it.
The pencil lets you write or doodle on your image, while the “Aa” icon is your text button. Once you click “Aa”, you have the option to change your font by clicking “Classic” at the top, and by tapping on it again and again you will see the different font choices available.
You can also swipe left or right to add filters to your photo or video. Once you are happy with your content, you can either click the “+ Your Story” icon in the bottom left, which allows you to share your Story with everyone who follows you, or select “Send To” to send the post to someone directly. You can also share your Story on Facebook by tapping on “And Facebook Story” below “Your Story” (the one with your profile photo as icon) and tapping on “Share”.
There you have it! A crash course on how to use Instagram! We bet by now you are all ready to have loads of fun on this ultra popular and well loved app!