It’s all very well having taken and uploaded a beautifully filtered photo but if no-one else ever gets to see it can be a somewhat one dimensional experience. Instagram allows you to easily find your friends using a number of different methods.
You can search for people to follow. Tap the profile option and then choose “find friends” or “invite friends.” You can find friends from your own smartphones contact list, from your Facebook or Twitter friends, right from within the app.
Alternatively, you can search names and usernames. Try doing a simple search on various celebrities’ names and you’ll be surprised who you might find! Every time you find someone of interest to you simply select the follow option and their photos will appear in your news feed. Like a visual form of Twitter! You can unfollow anyone at any time.
Having now located and followed your friends and other people of interest, you will find your newsfeed being updated in realtime with pictures they have uploaded. Instagram offers you a number of ways to interact with the people you follow.
You can click the “heart” icon to “like” their photo, much as in Facebook. Clicking on the speech bubble icon allows you to leave a comment to help explain why you are in that ridiculous bent over pose for example. You can also save any photo to your own smartphone or share it with others.
And you will find the more you interact with the people you follow, the more in turn they will interact with you. People can like, comment and share your photos in the same manner as yourself, when this happens you will be notified in your newsfeed. You will also find that the more prolific you are on Instagram, the more attention you receive.
The old adage applies – “the more you put in, the more you get out.”
Instagram focuses on quality photographs, and this is what other users appreciate here. Pointless sloganeering and feel good imagery is frowned upon, unlike Facebook which is awash with it. Beautiful and considered pictures are valued, and posted thoughtfully, can garner even the newest user many followers in a short space of time.
But there is another tool at your disposal to ensure maximum exposure and more followers. The “Hashtag.”
A hashtag is a “symbol” (or code) that allows web search engines to find and categorize messages, keywords and in the case of Instagram, pictures.
For instance, if you type #dog or #dogs in one of your pictures, any user anywhere in the world looking for “dog” or “dogs” on Instagram will easily find your picture and others users’ photographs using the same hashtagged keyword.
So with this in mind and to maximize your exposure on Instagram, the more the merrier applies here. Add a hashtag that refers to every part of your picture, leaving nothing unmentioned and you will find the likes, comments and follows start to roll in. If you leave a very specific hashtag then your tag won’t be swamped by other identical tags and hence is more likely to be noticed.
On top of this, there are some very popular Hashtags that are used regardless of the subject matter, in order to further promote your pictures. Three of the most popular are #picoftheday, #instagood (both pretty self-explanatory) and #iphoneography (after the techniques used to take great pics on an iPhone, made famous in a book written by Stephanie C. Roberts named ‘The Art of iPhoneography: A Guide to Mobile Creativity‘)
So, armed with this knowledge, it shouldn’t be long before you’re “Instagramming” away with the best of them! Happy snapping.