Part of a series on Social Media In One Hour A Day by VmC Ink.
We debut the series with Instagram. If you haven’t heard by now, Instagram is the super popular social photo sharing app. First launched in 2010 and only available for iOS, Instagram is now on Android, too. You can follow VmC Ink. as @TheVmCInk or Victor as @vmcampos. UPDATE: Facebook bought Instagram! How does this change things? Hard to say. At the very least, more people will be able to admire your photos.
If you’re good at Instagram, like PmD Interactive, you have lots of followers with lots and lots of likes. If you’re great at Instagram you’ve got hundreds of thousands of followers and just as many likes. So how do you get “great” at Instagram? Read on:
What do you do on Instagram? You take photos and share them. So what sets Instagram apart from, say, Flickr or Photobucket? The allure of Instagram is to take a great shot in the square format (a 1:1 aspect ratio, as opposed to the usual 3:2 or 4:3 ratio), add a pleasant filter (you can also add the tilt-shift effect or foreground blur), share, comment, and like other IGer’s photos. When you like the photos of another IGer, you can follow them. Easy!
It’s a bit more complicated than that, of course, so here are my
Top 5 Tips For Using Instagram
- Use Tags
With more and more people signing up for Instagram every day, how do you stand out from the crowd? Tags! Just like hashtags on Twitter, you can tag your photos on Instagram. Just snapped a shot of your hilarious cat ? Tag it #cat, #kitty, #cute, #funny. Those are are the obvious tags. But if you want to stand out, you’ll need to choose tags that are hot and relate to your photo. Here’s an example of hot tagsI recently researched. By adding the right tags to your photo, you’ll increase your exposure, and likelihood that your photo will be favorited. To see hot tags, try these sites:
- Like People’s Photos
The whole point of a social photo sharing app is to be social. So browse the Popular feed and start double-tapping great photos that catch your eye. Also, search tags. Interested in funny #cat pictures? I’m sure there a few on Instagram you might like. What about photos of rain in San Diego? Find photos you like, and give them some love. Most people on Instagram are nice, and will return the favor. A little bit of effort goes a long way. Plus, you’ll be seeing some great photos along the way.
- Follow People
Do not blindly follow people to increase your Follower count. That borders on spam. Just like it’s not a good strategy on Twitter, it’s not a good strategy on Instagram. The Twitter Ratio also applies here: if your Follower count is higher than your Following count, it means your photos are worthy enough that people want to see them on a regular basis. You can “seed” potential followers by browsing topics (tags) you’re interested in, and following people who use those tags and have photos you like. Many times, a like-minded IGer will follow you back.
Commenting will build a rapport with people. Again, this is a social photo sharing app. Compliment people (genuinely, of course) or ask about their techniques. An open-ended question will most likely be answered. Just like Twitter, you can @ mention people. Don’t be afraid to namedrop other IGers into the comments of someone else’s photo. This will alert the other person and get them into the conversation.
- Shoot Great Photos
It goes without saying, eh? Great photos will get people to react: liking your photo, commenting on it, getting on the Popular page, touching souls.
So if you take an hour a day to post, tag, comment, like, and follow Instagrammers, you’ll get the most out of the app. I hope this top 5 list helps you reach your goal, be it to have more people view your art, spread your brand, or increase your Follower count. Instagram is fun, and much more fun when you get social.