Of course people shared photos before Instagram. Thanks to its easy to use filters and sharing options, it becomes more and more popular nowadays. We are all addicted to post our good looking food, our traveling photos or our hipster decorations. With more than 400 million active users, Instagram is the place where you want to be: as an individual and as a business.

Even if Instagram may seem like a social media platform where only fashion or food brands can succeed, you will be surprised to hear this is not absolutely true. It can be a great way to promote your business as long as you know what you have to do. Before starting to rule the digital world, you have to be sure you learn more about it: what is it, how it works and how to use Instagram for your business.

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a mobile app and a social network that was created in 2010 by Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom. It was bought two years later by Facebook for $ 1 billion. According to its founders, its name is a portmanteau of two words: instant end telegram. In contrast to other social media platforms, Instagram is the place where users can edit and post photos and short videos. You cannot post text updates like you can on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

Do you want to learn some interesting stats about Instagram? Well, here’s what you need to know:

→ Until now over 40 billion photos have been shared
→ More than 3.5 likes are given daily
→ More than 80 billion photos are shared daily
→ Almost 50% of brand are on Instagram
→ Engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook
→ 50% of users are following brands
→ 70%of most used hashtags are branded

Source: brandwatch.com

How to download the app & create an account?

In order to learn how to use Instagram for your business, you need to download the app and create the account. Let’s learn how you can do this. Download the app from Google Store or Apple App Store. It is free. Once you completed this step, you will need to sign up. You can connect the app with your Facebook account or you can enter your email and complete the empty boxes with tour information. You can also set to find your Facebook friends to follow if you want to.

Once your account is set up, you can go to Profile tab in order to complete your profile. You can add a website, a profile picture and a short bio, not longer than 150 characters. From here you can change your password, the email address or your phone number. Every time you need to change the settings, tap the gear button on the top right corner.

How to navigate the app?

The navigation is simple and predictable. From the left to the right, you have the tabs: home, search, camera, activity and profile. Every time you open the app you will be taken to the home page where you will see the most recent posts from all the users you follow.

If you go to the search tab, you will see search bar where you can type what you are looking for by using a keyword. You can also see here the Trending Tags and a feed of posts called Explore Posts. These are some great ways to explore other businesses or people, interact with them and earn some brand new followers. The camera tab allows you to take instant pictures and post it on Instagram.

The activity page shows two tabs: following and you. When you go on the activity page you will be taken to the “you” tab by default. Here is where you will see your notifications: who commented on your posts, who liked them, who mentioned you in a post and so on. Once you switch to the following tab you will see the activity of users you’re following.

The profile tab is where you can see all yours posts and your profile information. Under your bio you have the buttons: the default view, the one that allows you to see your posts as a stream, the one that allows users to access the photomap and the last one that shows the photos tagged by other users.

How to create content?

On Instagram you are able to post photos and short videos, by tapping the camera button that will open your phone’s camera. You are able to take an instant photo or video or to select a file from your camera roll. You have tree options for your photos: filters, lux and, tools.

When you open a new photo you are taken by default to the filters. You are able to test by tapping them. If you double tap the filter you can pull up a slide that will let you adjust the filter. Once you edit it as you want it, you can update it.

You can also create or upload videos. You have 4 options that let you add various filters, adjust the way it fits the screen, choose a frame, and mute the sound. When uploading your photos or videos on Instagram, don’t forget about hashtags. They help users find you, by categorizing the content. Read this helpful blog post in order to learn how to properly use hashtags.

Another great feature on this platform that you can use is Instagram Stories. You can add here photos or short videos that will disappear in 24 hours. Do you wonder how to add an Instagram Story? Just go to homepage and access the + button from the left side of the screen or just swipe right from the main screen.

Tap the circle button in order to take photos or record videos. Edit them by adding text, drawings, stickers or whatever you think may look good for your business post. Tap done and the add your story button in order to share it with your audience. If you want to add more content, just repeat the steps.

In addition, you can use Instagram live videos in order to get in touch with your audience. You can give you customers a live look behind the scene or you can prepare a Q&A session with a person of interest from your business.

How to interact with users?

Now that you know what this social media platform is, how to create an account for your business and how to share content with your audience, it is time for you to learn how to interact with other users.

You can start by liking their posts, since this is the simplest way to connect with other users. Just double tap the photo/video or tap the heart shaped button.  You can also add comments, by simply tapping the comment icon and texting what you want to say.

When you answer to comments, don’t forget to use @ symbol and tag the user in order for him/her to get notified when you do that. Once you add new posts on Instagram, you can tag users. Every time someone will tap your post, the tagged users will appear on the screen.

Moreover, you can use direct messaging to talk with users. Even if this option helps you to get in touch with you audience simple and efficient, don’t forget to stay professional.

Now we’re pretty sure you you know how to use Instagram for your business. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments box bellow. We will be happy to help.

Featured image: Designed by vvstudio / Freepik

Ioana Dobresenciuc

Millennial, early-adopter and irremediably in love with Inbound Marketing. Curious mind and enthusiastic spirit. In possession of Inbound, Sales and Email Marketing certifications from Hubspot Academy.

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