Instagram Basics

Get set for Instagram Success.

Instagram has come a long way since it’s birth in October 2010. Purchased by Facebook in 2012, the platform has grown at a staggering rate with new functions and features being added all the time. Instagram continues to rise in popularity, hitting over 1 BILLION monthly users in September, 2018. This makes Instagram a seriously big Social Media player.

But keep in mind there are ups and downsides to the platform. Instagram is

  • a highly visual platform requiring amazing videos and images for engagement. This may not be suitable for all industries.

  • plagued with ‘bots (more on this later)

  • limited in its links while missing obvious features such as Scheduling within the platform. We can teach you to work around this.

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Tips

  • Instagram is a mobile-first platform, meaning it’s designed to be used from a phone and not very user friendly on desktop.

  • Your Instagram username should be unique to you. You might need to add some underscores, numbers or spaces to get your name the way you want it. So if @Sarahscakeshop is already taken, you may need to take the user name @Sarahs_cake_shop or @sarahs_cake_shop_aus

  • All user names start with an @

In this module, we learn about all the essentials to understanding Instagram.

How To Get Started

  • Download the app to start setting up from your smartphone.

  • With your email account and phone number, create a username for your Instagram account

  • Once you’ve created your username, jump to ‘Edit Profile’. This is where you add and edit your details such as your Instagram Name, Username, Website and more.

  • In ‘Edit Profile’, add a profile picture or logo. If you want brand consistency, we recommend using the same profile picture as your Facebook Page.

  • Add your Bio details. With only 250 characters, this is a short introduction to your company or business so keep it snappy. Instagram doesn’t allow line breaks in your Bio, so if you want to separate lines, add emojis 🖖😊 We suggest you write your profile from your Notes app or in a Message on your phone. Then copy and paste across to your Instagram Bio.

  • Your Bio allows you one hyperlink to click through – but we know a work around for this. Type in your chosen website address for your one link. Or you can use the Linktree App to create multiple links from a little pop up box. Linktree offers the free plan for unlimited links from your Linktree, or the Pro Version which allows plenty of customisations while costing approximately $10 a month.

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Business Or Pleasure

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Just like Facebook, Instagram has 2 settings for User Profiles: You can have a Personal Account or set your Instagram up as a Business Account.

Go ahead: start exploring your Instagram Profile.

  • This Instagram Profile is set up as a Business Account and shows the ‘Quick Reply’ buttons.

Instagram’s Business Account offers access to Instagram’s Advertising Platform, Analytics and the option to add ‘Quick Reply’ buttons, such as ‘Call’, ‘Email’ and ‘Get Directions’ to your Profile. This makes it easier for customers to contact you instantly and directly from their mobile.

  • Watch our video for step-by-step instructions to switch to an Instagram Business Account

How To Post On Instagram

With your account set up, you are ready to post your first Instagram Post.

Instagram allows you to post images in all dimensions, and videos up to 1 minute long on your feed. You can also take photos and videos within the Instagram App using the Camera function.

  • Watch this video for step-by-step instructions on how to post on Instagram

How To Interact On Instagram

Just as Facebook loves you when you get involved across Facebook, Facebook/Instagram also love it when you get involved with the social conversation on Instagram. There are plenty of ways to Get Instagram Involved.

What An Instagram Profile Looks Like
  • Like Posts
    Double tap on an image to Like a Post. A heart appears over the image and also lights up the red heart in the bottom corner below the post. This is where you see how many Likes a Post has as well.

  • Follow & Be Followed
    Tap the Follow button in another Instagram profile. If an account is set to private, they will need to Accept Your Request to Follow them. You can also see how many Followers you have, and how many Accounts you are Following at the top of your profile.

  • Leave Comments
    Using the Speech Bubble under the image, you can Comment and Reply to posts. You can also tag others into the Comments just by adding their @username.

  • Direct Message
    Instagram has it’s own inbuilt messaging app with Direct Messages – or DM for short. You can DM people by tapping the arrow in the top right of the screen from your news feed section. DMs have a few features of their own too, such as quick replies, gifs, images and more.

  • Collections
    Just like Pinterest, you can save Posts to Collections to view later. Use the Tag Button at the bottom left of the image to save your post to a Collection. You can then find your Collection of saved items again within the setting section from your Profile.

  • Instagram Stories
    Okay, because this topic is so huge, we gave it it’s own chapter: similar to Snapchat (sneaky), Instagram created Instagram Stories. Stories are short images or video bursts that live on the platform for 24 hours and can be viewed in the little circles from the top of the Instagram news feed.

Creative Content

As a visual platform, Instagram is all about visually telling your story and inspiring your audience. It’s not about the singular post or video, but how all your posts and videos work together to create an overall look or moodboard for your brand. So this is where creative choreography comes into play.

Taking time to plan how each post will look when placed next to other posts is key to creating a visually balanced account. Companies and brands go even further, using an Instagram Post format by splitting a single image into grids: this is called 3square (covering 3 instagram square posts) or 9square (covering 9 instagram square posts).

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Check out the following accounts for some seriously creative inspo!

@adidasorginals uses the 3square formation

@basebodybabes uses pops of colour

@shiraleecoleman colour choreographs her account

@weliveweexplore contrasts texture & composition

How To Schedule Posts

Unlike Facebook, Instagram doesn’t have its own app to schedule posts, which makes managing content a little bit harder. We recommend using a third party tool acceptable to both Facebook and Instagram for scheduling. We use Schedugram recently rebranded to Sked Social, to manage content for our clients. Sked Social is a paid subscription and also accepted by Facebook and Instagram.

  • Sked Social costs around $USD40 per month and can have multiple accounts and users

  • Other planning apps and tools include Tailwind, Planoly, Plann, Buffer and Hootsuite

  • While Instagram Posts can be saved in the app as a draft, using Scheduling Tools allows more freedom and options to review and manage your content

  • Watch this video for step-by-step instructions to scheduling posts on Instagram with Sked Social

WTF Is A #

Hashtags are little search markers added to our Posts and Stories to help them be found and categorised on Instagram. Hashtags extend your reach and help your posts get discovered by more people. Tagging on the ‘gram is key to being seen outside of your Followers’ circles.

Instagram lets you tag in 4 ways

  • Hashtags on Posts and Stories help Content be found in its relevant category

  • Geo Tags allow Posts to be associated to their location

  • Product Tags allow Instagram Shopping, linking the Post to their products online

  • Tagging other accounts in Posts or Stories builds community and shares the Insta Love ❤️  You can tag up to to 20 other accounts per Post by tapping on the tag people function and searching for them

  • You can’t tag Private Accounts

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How To Be #hashtagawesome

Using Hashtags

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Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post and 11 hashtags on your Instagram stories, but quite a bit of confusion kicks in when it come to which tags to use and where.

  • Use up to 30 hashtags per post. You don’t need to use all 30 but we say, the more the better. Most brands use about 10 – 15 hashtags.

  • You can include hashtags in the Description Caption or the first Comment beneath the post. We prefer using the Comment section as it looks cleaner and stops your Facebook Posts looking messy if shared across Facebook – ‘cos Facebook doesn’t like hashtags. What this all means is when you Post, add your hashtags immediately below to the Comments.

  • Use different hashtag combos with your posts. Keep them relevant.

  • Save time by saving your hashtag groups into the Notes app or a file on your smartphone so you can copy and paste when needed.

How To Pick The Right Hashtags

Some hashtags are used so much, they start attracting autobots. Overused hashtags don’t provide any useful coverage, so we have to be selective with the hashtags we do use.

Hashtags can be divided into 3 groups: we suggest you use a mix of all 3.

  • Hyper Relevant Tags
    This means the hashtag is so descriptive, it can’t be mistaken for what you are or are about and are ideal for branding. An example would be #bondibeachbarbershop

  • Relevant Tags
    These hashtags are applicable to your business, topic or content. An example would be #barbershop #barbers

  • Generic Tags
    These hashtags are less descriptive of what you do but offer more coverage and reach. An example here would be #bondibeach #haircut #hair

Using all 3 sets of tag types provides a good mix of useful, targeted reach and coverage.

Understand more about hashtags from our blog How To Write Perfectly Awesome Hashtags >here.

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Geo Tagging

Geo Tags – or Location Tags – allow our Posts to be tagged to a specific location such as a country, state, town or area.

  • Posts can be tagged to a location – great for bricks and mortar businesses when your clients can also tag themselves there.

  • Great when added to Posts and Stories

  • Search. For example, search for all of Posts tagged #newyork with all recent and popular posts separated according to location

  • Watch our video for step-by-step instructions tor adding Geo Tags to Instagram Posts