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Instagram: How-To, Tips and What’s New

Instagram has become a very popular Social Network. Why is it growing so quickly? It is simple to use, all you need is a smartphone, very little writing is required and it is becoming very useful for social networking for your blog or business.

instagram, blogging, social media, photos, how to use instagram

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a social networking service that allows you to take and share pictures and videos through a smartphone app. It supplies and allows you to share your content to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and Flickr.

Using Instagram

Instagram is available for the iPhone, Android and Windows phones (not all features are available for Windows). There are 5 menu items at the bottom of the Instagram screen:

  1. Home – Scroll down and you will see all the activity of the people you follow.
  2. Explore (the star) – Search all of Instagram for users or hashtags. (except for users with private profiles or photos sent through Instagram Direct)
  3. Blue box – Use this camera to take a picture to share in Instagram.
  4. Heart – Lets you know when someone follows you, likes or comments on one of your photos, or when a FB friend joins Instagram.
  5. White camera on right – Your profile page. The round circle in the upper right corner brings you to a page of not only settings, but to Instagram help, the Instagram blog and more.

Taking and sharing photos is easy. You have two choices for photos to use. Use the Instagram camera to take a photo. Or, if you would rather use a picture already in your phone, touch the square to the left of the big blue camera shutter and it will pull up your photo stream. Make a selection and the photo will appear in Instagram and you can treat it just as you would one that you just took.

On the next page you can apply one of many filters to your photo or leave it as is. Then add a caption (I’ll discuss using hashtags and tagging people below), decide if you want to also share to other social networks and click share. Your photo will be added to the stream of all your Instagram followers.

Sharing Videos on Instagram is very similar to sharing pictures. If you don’t see a picture of a video camera to the right of the big blue circle in the camera page, then you have to update your app. Once you have it, touch the video icon, and a big red circle will appear. Press and your video will begin taking. Stop pressing when your are finished. Your maximum video length is 15 seconds. If you like what you have, press next and continue as you did with a photo. If not, press the X and put it in the trash. You can upload videos from your camera by pressing the square to the right of the big red button.

Instagram also has a website, but it can’t be used to upload or share pictures or videos. It can be used to follow users, browse through, like and comment on photos and videos.

Tips on Using Instagram To Your Advantage

Make sure that your profile is public. If anyone you don’t know starts bothering you or giving you the creeps, you can block them. If you have some personal photos that you just want to send to family or a few friends that are on Instagram, you can now do that through a new feature, Instagram Direct. But in general, if you are using this social network to grow your social media presence, you have to show yourself.

As you probably already know from other social networks, it is important to engage.  Like and comment on others photos. Comments on Instagram are short as a rule, so it is easy to comment on many.

Tag people. When you tag someone in one of your photos, the photo will show up in their profile. This could be a great way to connect with an influencer or someone that you have wanted to have more contact with. However, I would be very careful with the photo or story behind it that you choose to tag someone with. To tag someone, when you are on the last page of sharing a photo, under “share a caption” it says “Tag People”. Touch that and your picture comes up. Touch the person you want to tag and start typing their real or screen name and it should appear. If that doesn’t work type the name in the search bar above.

It is important to use Hashtags. You can only search in Explore for Users or Hashtags. Because Instagram is completely image based, using hashtags of the brands of events that the pictures are of is very the main ways to get the word out.

Another new feature now allows you to embed content from Instagram into your blog or web page. This is something you will need to do from the Instagram website. Click onto the Instagram profile of the person who’s photo you want to use. Click the picture you want to use, you’ll notice … to the right of the comment box. Click that you will see “embed”. Click embed and you will get the code that will give full attribution to photo’s owner with the picture. This is a win/win for everyone.

Good luck with Instagram. Have fun but also be professional.

midlife boulevard, columnist, midlife women, middle-age, midlife crisis

Jennifer Wagner

In addition to writing two blogs, Connect with your Teens through Pop Culture and Technology and her new blog, Technology at Any Age, Jennifer Wagner has also published a book, The Gamer Generation: Reaping the Benefits of Video Games. She also writes about technology in education and social good on her blogs. She is married and lives in NYC and has two grown sons. Instagram: jenwag57

Jennifer Wagner

In addition to writing two blogs, Connect with your Teens through Pop Culture and Technology and her new blog, Technology at Any Age, Jennifer Wagner has also published a book, The Gamer Generation: Reaping the Benefits of Video Games. She also writes about technology in education and social good on her blogs. She is married and lives in NYC and has two grown sons. Instagram: jenwag57

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Kim

Saturday 1st of March 2014

I'm new to Instagram, having joined a few weeks ago. I was wondering about embedding photos on my blog, so thanks for that tip!

Lisa Froman

Friday 28th of February 2014

Thanks for writing this. I haven't tried Instagram yet; I'm still doing good to keep up with two facebook sites and a wordpress blog and twitter. But just today I was thinking I should start exploring Instagram. And then I saw your article so I'm thinking it's a sign.

I'm gonna do it sometime soon. Thanks.

Jennifer Wagner

Friday 28th of February 2014

Lisa, It really takes very little time and is easy to use. My problem is that I often forget about it. I have to make it part of my routine.

Anne Parris

Friday 28th of February 2014

Thanks for the info, Jennifer! Instagram is my new, favorite thing, but I don't know much about how to use effectively.

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