Instagram is getting bigger and bigger, with celebrities and brands among those sharing images on the social app. If you're new to Instagram, it can be a bit overwhelming, so here I take you step-by-step through how to use Instagram.
The first thing you'll need to do in order to use Instagram is download the app. There is an Instagram website but it's very limited – you can't upload new images there, only view them and like or comment on them.
Once you've downloaded Instagram, read on to find out how to master the app.
Get the app
Create an account
Once the app has downloaded, you'll want to create an account. When you launch the app you should see a link at the bottom of the screen that reads: "Don't have an account? Sign Up." Click that to start the process of signing up to Instagram.
You can sign up with Facebook, or sign up using your phone number or email address. You'll then be asked to create a username and password. Your username is a lot like a Twitter handle in that it'll be the name your followers will see when you post a new photo or when they tag you in a photo, so choose wisely.
You can also add your full name and a profile photo if you wish to.
Once you're done, you'll be offered the chance to find your Facebook friends on Instagram, then contacts from your phone. You can skip by tapping at the bottom. of the screen if you'd prefer not to
Next, you'll see suggestions of people you might want to follow. These suggestions are likely to be celebrities and brands, and if you skipped the Facebook and contacts parts you can change your mind by clicking Connect to Facebook or Connect Contacts at the top of the Discover People screen.
Tap Done when you've followed some people. If you decide not to follow anyone yet you can tap Done and then tap Continue Anyway in the pop-up.
If you've followed all of the steps above, you'll now have created an Instagram account. Congrats! Now, you'll see the Explore screen, which lets you search for photos posted by other Instagram users from around the world.
Tap the search bar at the top to search for a topic, hashtag, person or place. Use the tabs along the top of the search screen to find what you're looking for.
If you're not looking for anything in particular, you'll see popular and personalised suggestions on the Explore page.
To return to the Explore page at any time, tap the magnifying glass button in the navigation bar along the bottom.
Share a photo
To share a photograph on Instagram, you can tap the square icon in the centre of the navigation bar.
From there, you can choose Library for photos and videos you've already captured that are stored on your phone, Photo to take a new photograph within Instagram, or Video to capture a new video within Instagram.
Videos can be three to 15 seconds long, and you can stop and start the recording simply by letting go of the big red record button and then pressing and holding it again when you want to record more.
Edit your photo
Once you've chosen your image, tap next to go to the filters and image editing tools. You'll first be able to swipe through and apply filters by tapping on them at the bottom of the article.
The sun icon lets you change the brightness and contrast of the image, and you can use the slider to change the effect. When you're happy, tap the + to apply.
For the finer details, tap the Edit button at the bottom of the screen play around with the options. We like to up the structure for a more crisp-looking image, and we often add vignette or tilt shift when we're feeling creative.
Share you photo
When you're happy with the edits you've made, tap next. You can now add a caption to your image, and include hashtags to help people find it.
You can also tag people, add your location, and if you've connected your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Flickr accounts you can share the image there directly from within Instagram too. To connect your accounts, tap on the relevant option on the share screen and log in.
If you want to share your image with a select few people, you can tap Direct at the top of the page and select the Instagrammers you want to share it with.
Tap Share at the bottom of the screen and your Instagram photo has been shared!
Now, you might start to see likes, follows and comments on your newly shared Instagram photo. Those will appear in the Activity section, which you can access by tapping the speech bubble icon in the navigation bar at the bottom of the app.
There, you'll see all of your recent activity, including new followers, mentions, tags and likes.
By tapping following, you can see what the people you follow have been liking, and who they've started following too.
The last icon in the navigation bar is usually your profile picture or a little person symbol. That's where you can have a look at your account and edit your profile.
Tapping the Pin icon will show you a map of your Instagram posts if you've been tagging your location, and the person icon will show the photos you've been tagged in.
A newer feature in Instagram that'll be familiar with Snapchat users is Stories. These are a series of photos and/or videos that are shared with your followers for one day before disappearing (and being replaced by the next day's story should you create one).
To create a Story, simply swipe right and press once for a photo, hold for a video. You can also change the mode to Boomerang or Hands Free (for a timer). You can add annotations and illustrations to these images too.
With Mentions you can now tag people in stories. When you add text to your story, type “@” followed by a username and select the person. When someone taps the mention, they’ll see a pop-up that takes them to that profile. Plus, the person mentioned gets a push notification.
‘See More’ Links allow those with verified accounts add links which can be viewed without leaving the app. When you see this, just tap “See More” or swipe up.
Instagram has been rolling out Live Video for Stories to users to kick off 2017 too. If it's not yet available for you, keep checking back in the Stories screen (by swiping right) to see if there's a Live Video option next to 'Normal'.
To start live video, swipe right from feed to open the camera, tap the “Start Live Video” button. You can stay live up to an hour, and your friends might get a notification. While live, you can pin a comment for everyone to see or turn comments off.
If someone else starts a live story, you’ll see “Live” under their profile photo in the stories bar.
Most of the time, though, you'll probably simply browse through the Home page of Instagram and watch other people's Stories. It's a bit like your Facebook or Twitter timeline, in that it'll show a long, scrollable feed of photos shared by the people you follow with a swipeable feed of Stories along the top.
You can double tap on an image to like it, or press the speech bubble icon to comment on the image. You can also see other images from the same location by tapping the location beneath the Instagrammer's username, or send the image to someone you follow by tapping the arrow.
Once you've mastered Instagram, you might find the need to set up a second account for your small business or for work. The set-up process is the same, but Instagram has recently introduced the ability to switch between your accounts quickly and easily within the app. To find out more, visit: How to add extra accounts to Instagram.
And if you no longer want your Instagram account, you might want to read: How to delete your Instagram account.
Your Instagram should look aesthetically pleasing and it should all tie in and be eye-catching. Keep it professional but keep it fun and interesting.
1- This is what clients see when you post on your Instagram highlight, normally its your logo or a picture of yourself. This needs to be clear as its only a small circle.
2- This is your Instagram highlights, this should relate to the theme of your business. Here you can make folders of previous images that have been on your story. I like to put my salon info here like opening hours, cancelation policy and prices. You can change the cover of the highlight without that going onto your story, but everything you want inside that highlight has to be put onto your story first.
3- This is your username, this is what clients will see but also what they have to type in to search you. Make sure it relates to your business and its something catchy that can be remembered.
4- Followers. Something a lot of us worry about, when really its pretty irrelevant to our business. How many of your followers actually help with your income, I know most of my clients are on Facebook only so don't see my work. My Instagram is a portfolio for my work that I can show my clients when they are in the salon and also inspiration for myself to see my previous designs. My Instagram community is great at the moment I have certain nail techs from across the country that support me on my posts and will like and comment on them to help boost them. I will do this to them in return, I have to give myself at least an hour on an evening to catch up with my accounts.
5- Your bio is extremely important this is what a potential client should see. Firstly it needs your name how can clients know who they are contacting without a name? I also believe this should have your location and what you are about so for me 'nail art and natural nails'. If you work with a salon or have a relating account then tag this too.
6- These are where your posts go. Unfortunately you cant move these images about once posted that's why its best to use an Instagram planner if you like your Instagram to look aesthetically pleasing.