With the world becoming more and more social and less inhibitive about sharing pictures of themselves, it is no wonder that Instagram has hit off with the masses. With the ability to take photos and manipulate them into looking ultra cool, sharing them with the world, and following celebrities and big brands, its hard not to ignore its instant appeal. If you are new to Instagram, you’ll be slightly overwhelmed with its various features. This Instagram guide shows you how to use Instagram so that you can wok it like a pro.
Note: This guide uses Instagram on Android.
How to Use Instagram
To begin your Instagram journey, you must first download the Instagram app onto your mobile device. Although you can use the web site itself, the features there are highly limited, making it almost redundant as an app. So if you have an Android, go to the Google Play Store to download the app. If you own an iPhone, go to the iOS App Store and Windows users can try the currently in beta version of Instagram as well.
Once the download is complete, you can open up the app to create an account.
Create an Instagram Account
On the Instagram log in screen, tap the link at the bottom of the screen that reads: “Don’t have an account? Sign Up.”
You can then sign up with Facebook, with an email address or using your phone number. You will also be asked to create the a username and password. Your username is the name your followers see when you post a new photo or when they tag you in a photo, so make sure you choose the name wisely. You will also be allowed to add your full name and a profile photo if you want to.
Follow friends on Instagram
Once you’ve set up your account, you’ll be given the opportunity to find your Facebook friends on Instagram and contacts from your phone. You can also this skip by tapping at the bottom of the screen if you prefer to do it at a later time.
Next, you’ll see suggestions of people to follow. These suggestions are often celebrities and big brands. If you skipped adding your Facebook and contacts earlier, you can click Connect to Facebook or Connect Contacts at the top of the Discover People screen to add them now.
When you are satisfied with the people you have added as people to follow, you can tap Done. If you decide to follow people later on, you can still tap Done and then tap Continue Anyway in the pop-up.
Once all these steps are complete, you have setup your complete Instagram account.
You will now see an Explore screen. This screen lets you search for photos posted by Instagram users from around the world. Tap the search bar tab at the bottom of the screen to search for a topic, hashtag, person or place. Or you can tap the People icon at the far right-corner of the screen to explore people to follow. If you’re not searching for any specific topic or people, you can make use of the popular and personalized suggestions on the Explore page.
How to Share Photos on Instagram
Instagram may be a social app that allows photo sharing, but you are strongly advised against sharing images that are not your own. If you love a photo in your stream, you can double tap it to Like or Heart it. You can also send the post as a message to your contacts, but that is possible only via Instagram Direct, which you can access by tapping the square icon at the top right corner of the screen. Posts sent via Instagram Direct are visible only to people who can already see them and cannot be shared through Instagram to other sites like Facebook or Twitter.
That said, you can still share photos and videos from your own video or photo library. To do this tap the square photo icon in the center of the bottom menu. You will be asked permission to access your libraries. Tap Allow. Again, at the bottom of the menu, you will have options to choose an image from the Gallery, or take a new photo or video within Instagram for sharing. Videos can be 3 to 15 seconds long, and the big red Record button lets you start and stop recording them.
Before sharing an image that you own, you can apply filters and do simple edit fixes to make it a little more awesome. To do this editing, you need to first select the image you want to share, then tap the Blue arrow at the top of the screen to get access to the filters and image editing tools.
As you swipe through the filters, you can see a preview of the image with filter applied. You can tap the Sun icon to adjust the brightness with the slider or tap the Spanner icon for more tools such as Contrast, Saturation, Color and Fade effect and more.
When you are satisfied with the changes, tap the Blue arrow at the top of the screen to add some meta data.
On the next screen, you can add a caption, include location and tag people to the image. If you connected your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Swarm or Flickr accounts you can share the image to that platform directly from within Instagram. To connect the different accounts, you need to tap on the relevant option and log in.
If you want to share your image with just a select few people, select the Direct tab at the top of the page and choose the Instagrammers you want to share it with.
Finally, tap the Blue arrow at the top of the screen to share your photo on Instagram!
Activities on Instagram
The Activity tab (with the speech bubble and heart icon) on the bottom menu is where you can see likes, follows and comments on your newly shared Instagram photo. The You tab shows all your recent activities such as new followers, mentions, tags and likes will also be available here. The Following tab lets you see what the people you follow have been liking, and who they are following.
Using Your Instagram Account
The final tab in the bottom menu is the Account tab and this is where you can view your account and edit your profile.
The Gallery tab displays all the photos you shared while the Stream tab displays the actual post that you shared. The Pin icon shows you a map of your Instagram posts if you tagged your location, while the Photo tab shows the photos you’ve been tagged in.
Adding your location details in Instagram may not be the best idea as people unknown to you may track you down. If you are concerned about your privacy, you can remove the location information by following these steps.
1. Go to the Account page on your Instagram app and select the Pin tab.
2. You will see a map screen list of photos stacked against the locations you tagged them.
3. To remove the location, tap the menu icon at the top of the screen and from the pop up menu, tap Edit.
4. In the next screen, tap the Blue arrow at the top of the screen.
5. You will see a pop up asking if you want to remove the location data permanently from Instagram.
6. Tap Confirm.
Adding Extra Accounts
Once you’ve mastered Instagram, you can set up a second account for your business. Instagram has recently introduced the ability to switch between multiple accounts within the app if you are running version version 7.15 and later. This feature is rolling out slowly so you may not see it right away.
1. Go to the Account tab in the bottom menu.
2. Then tap the menu icon at the top right of the screen to go to the Options screen.
3. Scroll right down to the bottom of the screen. To add an account, tap the Add Account link that is available just above the Log Out link. This link will not be available if the functionality has not been rolled out to you.
4. You will be taken to the login screen where you must input details of your second Instagram account.
The process is pretty much the same as before and once you are logged in, you can see your new account timeline.
If you want to switch accounts, go to your profile page, tap the account name at the top of the app and select the account you want to switch to.
Deleting an Instagram Account
If, for any reason, you don’t want your Instagram account any more you can delete it. However if you delete your account, you cannot sign up again with the same username or add it to another existing account, and you cannot reactivate it either. All your data will be lost forever, so if you only mean to take a break from Instagram, you can temporarily disable it to hide your content until you are ready to reactivate it by logging in. You cannot temporarily disable or delete Instagram from your mobile app. Instead you need to:
1. Log into instagram.com from a mobile browser or computer.
2. Click your username in the top right and then select Edit Profile.
3. Click Temporarily disable my account in the bottom right and follow the on-screen instructions.
To Delete Your Instagram Account Permanently
1. Go to the Delete Your account page and login to your Instagram account.
2. From the Why are you deleting your account? drop-down menu select a reason for opting to delete your account. Then re-enter your password.
3. Click Permanently disable my account and follow the on-screen instructions.
For the most part, you’ll be spending plenty of time on Instagram’s Home screen, browsing through the timeline, adding your comments (tapping the speech bubble icon), liking posts (double tapping an image) and following people suggested to you.