How to use Instagram: secrets to make the best use of it

How to use Instagram is the aim of this guide, but it is necessary to proceed step by step. What is Instagram? In a nutshell, we could say: a photographic social network, owned by Facebook, which allows you to use your smartphone camera to take photos or short videos and apply effects to them.

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How to use Instagram: account creation

Instagram is available for all major mobile platforms: Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. After downloading the app, on the screen that opens when you launch it, select “Don’t have an account? Sign up” at the bottom and follow the procedure to sign up for the service.

You can also register for Instagram from your desktop. As you will see, this is a normal account creation procedure that requires no special skills and is common to practically all social networks.

Customize your Instagram profile

The first step is to choose a username. Here you can decide whether to use a fancy name or your real name. People tend to interact more with a real name. Remember that you can always change your username later. However, it is a good idea not to change it if you have already generated an identity around that name on other social networks.

how to use instagram profile

In your profile, you can enter 150 characters to describe yourself. Remember that you can also link to your own web address, e.g. the one that represents you the most (blog, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter) and that will be the only outgoing link you can insert.

If the goal is to understand how to use Instagram to generate direct traffic to a site, it is good to take this into account.

In the private information area, there will be your email – the one you used to create your Instagram profile (even your company profile) – your phone number if you want to add it, and now, also the possibility of specifying male or female gender.

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Instagram private/public profile

By accessing the menu, you will find the possibility to enter your profile as public or private. It is obvious that in the case of a public profile, the photos will be visible to anyone. In the case of a private profile, your authorization will be required to see the photos, in fact when your account is set up as private you must expressly approve any requests received from users who want to follow you.

instagram profile

How you use Instagram is up to you, but consider that a private profile reduces your chances of being followed and prevents you from becoming famous. Only people you authorize will see your pictures. Also, by using a private profile, any hashtags will not be visible.

Taking photos and uploading images to Instagram

A guide on how to use Instagram in the best possible way cannot ignore some useful pointers to the main tool of the visual social network par excellence: taking a photo. Doing it directly with the internal application is very easy, but it is not the only solution. Instagram allows photos to be posted either by taking them from the app or by uploading them from our phone’s image gallery.

upload images

To shoot with the application, simply click the large button at the bottom center and the camera window will open. At the top, we have the option to use the grid and the flash. By clicking directly on the screen, a flashing circle will appear, indicating the position of the focus.

Instagram currently allows as many as 24 filters to be applied to the image in the post-shot phase. We can apply these filters either to a photo taken directly with the application, or to other photos that we have in the gallery, simply import them by clicking the little square in the bottom left-hand corner.

How to use Instagram to edit photos

Instagram adds two functions to improve the appearance of the image. The cogwheel icon will automatically improve the brightness and contrast of the photo.

Sometimes it works well, depending of course on the type of situation in which we took the photo. You can try clicking to see if you prefer the new image, otherwise, you can return to the original image with a second click.

edit photos

The tilt-shift, on the other hand, is that icon with a small drop. Clicking it repeatedly will give the effect of a horizontal, circle-like tilt-shift. In a nutshell, it is used to blur the parts outside the circle, or above and below the horizon, in order to give a depth effect to the image and make the subject stand out and remain in focus.

Here too, by clicking, you can see the effect produced depending on the images chosen.

Photo editing of images is also available on Instagram. To activate it, simply click on the spanner icon, which will give you access to options for editing images in the most common ways. You can now change brightness, contrast, temperature, light, shadows, vignetting, and so on. Simply slide the horizontal bar left and right to see the effect on the screen.

The most interesting aspect is that it is now possible to select the intensity of the filter to be applied to the photo, so as to better define the result.

Color and Fade were then added. With Color you can adjust the intensity of color, specifically, it will adjust the hue of light reflections and shadows, while Fade will soften colors and vary their hue.

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How to save photos on Instagram

Every time we take a photo, the same shot will also be saved in the phone’s internal camera roll; to save the photo with the filter, however, it will be necessary to share the image on Instagram. In the iPhone version, an Instagram album will automatically be created where all photos taken with the application will end up.

save photos in instagram

How to share photos on Instagram

As we have seen, you can either take a photo right away and apply special effects to it, or choose to act on photos already in the phone’s library.

Once you have defined all the parameters for customizing the photo, it will be ready to share it. On the next screen, you will be able to enter a comment or a title, and then you can also enter hashtags (#). It is also possible to share the same photo directly on different social networks.

Tagging a friend on Instagram

Knowing how to use Instagram to tag a friend is essential to stimulate engagement, which is what the Facebook-purchased app is all about. Immediately after writing your comments, you will see the option with a little man on the left that gives you the possibility to add a tag (not to be confused with writing hashtags in comments). You can add a tag either to an individual person or to any profile.

Tag the username you are interested in identifying. This means associating your photo with another profile. The person in question will receive a notification in his or her account, and depending on the settings he or she has entered, your photo will go into his or her profile automatically, or after confirmation.

You can tag other users, simply click on the relevant icon with the little man, then tap anywhere in the photo, search for their names, and add them.

tag a friend

How to use Instagram: localization

Thanks to a new update, it is now possible to show where the photo was taken. To activate localization, simply click ON immediately after the friend’s tag option, at which point you will be asked for permission to enter the location data. Photos can still be removed at a later date.

Then go to your friends’ profiles and click on the pointer icon to see their photos and geographical location; only if they also have location enabled.

How to use Instagram: posting a video

Not just photos. If you want to know everything you need to know about how best to use Instagram, remember that videos work just as well on this social network as photos. You can record videos of up to 15 seconds and you can do this simply by clicking on the video button, which is located next to the button for taking photos.

You can also pause the video. To record the 15 seconds at separate times, simply hold down the record button, and each time it is released, the video will pause, pressing the button again will restart it.

post a video

Thirteen dedicated filters can be added to videos, and a live preview is also visible.

Thanks to an update, users can import videos directly from their gallery. Videos will be reduced to 15 seconds. You will be able to decide the starting point so that you can insert the part that interests you. At the same time, the videos will be cropped into a square shape and it will be up to the user to decide which part of the recording to keep.

Once the video is finished, one can choose a cover to be shown on social as the first image. Comments, hashtags, and locations can be added as in photographs.

A few months ago, Instagram launched the Instagram TV application entirely dedicated to the creation of mobile-first videos. To find out what it is and how it works, I refer you to the dedicated article. Read more about how Instagram Stories work.

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The Instagram Explore Page

How can you use Instagram to meet new people or discover interesting content? To browse the photos posted by users on Instagram you have two options: tap on the little house icon at the bottom left of the main screen or tap on the heart icon.

In the first case, you will only see the photos and videos that the users you follow have shared, while in the second case, you can also see all the other activities carried out by them.

On the screen that is shown to you after tapping on the little heart icon, you will also find a tab called “You” with a history of all the notifications you have received (comments, likes, new Facebook contacts active on Instagram…)

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