Instagram is a place where people share positive, real-life experiences. We like that.
If you follow our Social Media channels you have probably noticed how often we post news about Instagram updates. The truth is, we are big Instagram fans, and we want to help everyone enjoy this simple, visual means of communication as much as we do.
13 things you should know when you start your first Instagram account
This is what it sounds like, a very short Bio telling the world what your Insta account is all about. This is the only place on Instagram where you can include a link to a Website (short of using paid ads). You can use emojis and hashtags here if you wish.
You’ll probably notice that hashtags “#” get used prolifically on Instagram. Hashtags make your post searchable. Remember, if you have a private account anyone can see a post which you have used a hashtag in, simply by searching for that term. Hashtags can be powerful if you are using Instagram for your business because the right hashtags will get you the engagement and exposure you’re looking for. You can create a hashtag from any collection of words.
Important things to remember about hashtags: You can use up to 30, but shouldn’t use more than three or four if you want to stay relevant. They’re searchable. Check potentially controversial hashtags before you use them – you don’t want to accidentally make your Sunday picnic part of a political conversation!
You can choose to follow specific hashtags on Instagram, so that any post which contains the hashtag you’re following will show up in your feed.
The little round circles with your friend’s faces in them which appear at the top of your feed are called stories. You can choose to make your posts stories by selecting “add to my story”. Stories only last 24 hours and then they disappear from the net forever. It’s kind of like snapchat, and allows you to play with stickers and other similar “Cute” features. You can also add 15 second videos to your story.
You can post “at” your friend or other Instagram users by using the “@” symbol followed by their handle or Instagram name. This will then make your post show up in their notifications.
A tag is not the same as a mention. A tag lets you pinpoint specific people in your photos or video. A tag will show up in the tagged person’s profile, in the “tagged” section. If someone tags you without your permission you can choose to remove the tag if you wish.
IG Live is Instagram’s live video feature. It appears in the stories section of your feed and does just what it sounds like: It allows you send live video content to your audience. As soon as your live video is finished it will disappear.
You can choose to save a few of your stories on your profile as highlighted stories. This allows them to live longer than the usual 24 hours as part of your personal profile, but won’t appear in the story section of anyone else’s feed after the 24 hours are up.
DM stands for “Direct Message”. You may have noticed that you can’t share someone else’s photos on Insta the way you can on Facebook. DM lets you share images or posts from other users with specific people. You can also chat and reply via DM much as you can on any other Social Media platform.
If you don’t want to see someone’s posts anymore, but you don’t want to unfollow them either, then you can choose to mute them. You’ll still be connected, but you won’t see their stories and posts anymore unless you choose to visit their profile.
Hide your Story
So you’ve taken a sick day and don’t want your co-workers seeing your beach story? You can choose to hide your story from specific people. When inside the stories editing page, click the settings icon and go to “hide story from” then select who to hide your story from.
You can block anyone on Instagram, just like you can on other platforms. This will ensure that the blocked person can’t see your posts or your profile anymore, nor any posts that you’re tagged in.
See something nasty on your Instagram feed? Report it. Instagram will review your report and take action as needed.
If you run a business that lets you create a lot of visual content (for example a restaurant, a travel agency or a clothing store) you should definitely open an Instagram business account. It’s important to differentiate between your personal profile and your business profile. A business profile will give you access to insights and action buttons that are appropriate to what you do. Look out for our article “Instagram for your Business” which is coming out next month.