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An introduction to Instagram [Part 1]

15th July 2015

As part of our latest blog posts we are introducing you to each social media platform, and going right back to basics to help you understand how you can use each one for your business, and which ones could be right for you.

Following on from Twitter, we are now looking at Instagram. A lot of people we meet are using Instagram from a personal point of view, or just as a camera tool, but it could be so much more than that, and depending on your business, could direct an enormous volume of customers your way. So, here we talk you through it from the beginning.

Instagram help guide photo 1What is Instagram?

Instagram is a photo sharing site where beautiful images are shared with the user’s followers. The image is set as a square shape, and filters can be added to alter the image and transform the mobile phone shots into something stunning.

Instagram was launched in October 2010 and has taken the world by storm! As of December 2014 it was announced that Instagram had 300 million users each month, with 8000 users liking a photo every second, and 5000 comments made per second. More than 5 million photos are posted per day with a lot of them using hashtags to link to a bigger conversation (as we discussed in our Twitter introduction.)

Instagram is owned by Facebook, after they acquired it in April 2012 for approximately $1 billion. In 2013, Instagram grew by 23%, in comparison to Facebook which grew by just 3%.

As of June 2013 you have also been able to upload short videos (15 seconds maximum.)

Instagram help guide photo 2Why should I use Instagram?

Instagram is a brilliant visual tool to create strong awareness and aesthetic for your business and your brand. By giving an insight into your world around you, your followers and customers will identify with you and feel connected to you, and in turn, buy from you. You can promote your products on Instagram, but like Twitter, don’t rely on it purely as a sales tool.

As instagram is used mostly on mobiles and tablets the accessibility is phenomenal, and the possibility of reaching out to a wider market is huge. Make your images clear and attractive, with a good filter and you will gain likes and comments, which can then filter into customer loyalty and sales.

Instagram help guide photo 3How do I use Instagram?

By now, you should have got the hang of Twitter from our blog posts, and Instagram works very similar. @ mentions, # hashtags and follows all work in the same way as on Twitter.

Along the bottom of your Instagram you can see the following widgets.

  1. Home tab – This is where you view your newsfeed. All the images posted by the people you follow will be here. From there you can like (by clicking on the ‘heart’ underneath the image) or comment (by clicking on the speech bubble underneath the image).
  2. Explore tab – This is where you can search for users (@) or hashtags (#). Instagram also suggests followers or trends that you may want to follow.
  3. Camera tab – Clicking on this allows you to take an image to then upload to Instagram. You can also import an image you already have on your device from here too.
  4. Activity tab – This is activity that has been happening from people you are following – images they have liked, or photos they have commented on. This can give you more ideas of people to follow. On the right hand side of the activity page you can see your notifications - who has followed you, liked a post or tagged you in a conversation (@).
  5. Profile tab – By clicking on this icon you see your Instagram profile. This is how others see you. You can see your bio and the photos you have uploaded.

Why do we love Instagram?

Instagram is a wonderful image sharing tool which not only gives you access to millions of visual delights, but can also connect you with other like minded individuals and raise your brand identity. By adding hashtags to your images you can bring potential customers into your world. Also, by searching keywords you can discover what else people are doing and talking about in your sector. Oh, and you can get lost in the beauty of all the photos! It really is offering a great human element to your business, and that is what Social Media is all about.

Next time: signing up and taking photos!

All three parts of the Instagram guide are available here and as a complete downloadable PDF document.

Download Full Guide to Instagram PDF.