This is part one of an ongoing series written to help you get the most out of Instagram.
There are many reasons we love Instagram – it’s reasonably priced, simple to use, easy to connect to other social networks, and helps turn our mundane photos into art. What I think really drives us to Instagram is the other 27 million users on the app. Being curious is part of being human and a daily insight into the lives of people we share common ground with is a wildly attractive thing. As with any large group of people, there are bound to be some users you will love and some you could do with out and this guide will hopefully serve you to become a member of the community we can and will love for a long time to come.
Getting Started on Instagram
We’ve all been there before, being the new person in town (or in this case on Instagram) is not easy. Everyone starts with 0 followers and wants to know how to gain more. It’s been my personal experience that the best way to garner more followers is to share your pictures! Show the world what you see through your iPhone. What we’re all interested in is what you find interesting! Asking people to follow you is not only counterproductive to what you’re trying to achieve, it’s also really annoying. Put that energy into taking a walk around your block and snapping some photos, it’s much more gratifying to earn a follower than it is to beg for one. To paraphrase from the movie “Field of Dreams”, “If you photograph it, they will come.”
A picture is worth 1,000 words but people want to know what they’re looking at. The caption doesn’t have to be an essay but should at the very minimum tell the rest of the community what they’re looking at, what they should be looking at, or what you think about the Image you’ve captured. Using hashtags will help others find your pictures and also help you categorize your pictures if you’re looking to show someone a particular set of Instagrams. Some things you may want to hashtag are: the location of the Instagram, the filter you’ve used, the apps used to edit your picture, something distinctive in the picture, etc. The more hashtags you use, the more likely other users are to find your Instagram.
Get Involved in the Community
Find other users who’s Instagrams you may like by either searching hashtags (Profile tab > Search Instagram > tags) that appeal to you, or checking out some notable users and see who’s commenting and liking their Instagrams. Finding users that share common interests is a great way to develop relationships within the app and generate discussions about almost anything. Leave insightful comments on other users’ Instagrams; this may inspire them to check out your feed, like some of your photos, and leave a comment or two. Another great way to find new Instagramers is on your News tabs and switching from News to following. You never know who or what you’ll discover. Instagram is a two way street – what you put out is what you get back.
This series is directed to the new user on the app but I didn’t forget about all who have been here for a while. The best advice I can offer all you already deeply entrenched in the community is to lend a helping hand to those who are just starting out or even those who are repeatedly interacting with your Instagram feed. Liking a photograph or offering some praise/constructive criticism not only makes someone’s day who’s just started (we all remember the feeling of getting that first like/comment) but it should also leave you with a sense of pride that you’re helping to bolster the community that we all want to have on Instagram. Good manners go a long way in real life and especially on Instagram.
Have some more insight into getting started on Instagram? What do you think is the best way to get involved in the community? Leave your insight in the comments below.